Retta Williams, Licensed Professional Counselor
Founder of Apples of Gold Counseling
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
I worked as a 911 Operator for many years and became aware of the mental and emotional distress people frequently experience on a regular basis. As I prayed for my purpose in life, I discovered my calling as a Mental Health Counselor, which would allow me to help people find the resources and ability to maintain a sense of wellness, safety and resilience. I obtained a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, became a Licensed Professional Counselor, and trained in a community healthcare agency, a psychiatric hospital, and several other agencies. My areas of focus have been in treating individuals with trauma, anxiety and depression.
What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?
I once heard the quote “Service to humanity is service to God”. This has been my belief for many years as I volunteered as a Women’s Center advocate, an Ombudsman for the elderly, a Chaplain for a law enforcement agency, a group facilitator for a grief center, for a hospice agency, and in other capacities throughout my life. As owner of a part-time private practice in Houston named Apples of Gold Counseling, and a contractor with several mental health agencies, I am aware of the different social determinants that impact our community. I provide the mental health services and resources to help increase a person's resilience and ability to manage stress in the world around them.
What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?
Black mental wellness is making sure that our community is aware of and utilizes the resources available to them to overcome mental health related issues. Our community seems to hold the belief that our ancestors overcame many struggles without help and we can do so as well because we are so “strong.” I believe it is important for us to learn from the struggles of our ancestors, but let our children know that it is okay to seek help when we need it, to seek and achieve our purpose, and to use our available resources to heal. Community consist of people with common values, characteristics, customs, norms as well as geographical areas. We are our brother’s keeper, are accountable for those that God puts in our paths and have a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to mental wellness.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
I currently spend time journaling, meditating, exercising, practicing chair yoga, taking walks by the lake and spending quality time with my family. I am spending more time preparing green smoothies, meal prepping, and cooking and preparing meals that are nutritional and tasty.
Retta Williams, M.A., LPC, is a licensed professional counselor from Houston, Texas. She is the owner of Apples of Gold Counseling and also provides work for several other mental health agencies. She has a master's degree in Counseling and is currently training to become a certified trauma therapist with a special interest in cultural trauma.