Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Latoya Johnson-Foster, MA, LPC, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor
After experiencing anxiety and depression in 2017, I was able to better understand my clients and their symptoms from a different perspective. Some common symptoms of anxiety that clients I work with report include negative thoughts, overthinking, constantly feeling on edge, Black superwoman syndrome, and constantly worrying.
Through my clinical work, I realized that many of my clients had no idea what triggered their anxiety. I began having clients track their mood changes and symptoms by writing down their thoughts or situations that happened right before they noticed a change in their mood or symptoms. I then explored the coping mechanisms my clients used to manage their symptoms and explored their support system. I quickly realized that many of my clients were dealing with their problems independently and lacked a strong social support system.
Another common theme that has emerged in my clinical work with clients, is “what if” questions followed by a negative statement. For example, some clients who desired to accomplish something often wondered, “What if I am not successful?” To counteract these obstacles, I work with clients to identify healthy coping mechanisms to use during the upcoming week and I check in during our next session to assess their progress. My clients who are committed to implementing the coping skills often begin to see improvements.
Common coping mechanisms I suggest to my clients are:
Journaling every day to keep track of their feelings and progress
Replacing negative thoughts with positive statements to increase positive thinking
Inputting a positive statement behind any “what if” questions
Meditating for 5-10 minutes in the morning
Using essential oils to help improve their mood
Reaching out to trusted family members and friends when they need help instead of assuming that people won’t help them
And most importantly not over committing, learning how to say “no,” and putting themselves first (focusing on their mental, physical, and emotional well-being)
I Got This! 30 Day Tips for Black Women with Anxiety or Depression
In my book I Got This! 30 Day Tips for Black Women with Anxiety or Depression, I address some of the negative thoughts/feelings Black women may experience and counteract that with a positive statement. I also include a healthy coping skill to use. Each day has a daily reflection page to go with it, so that women can journal their thoughts/feelings.
Latoya Johnson-Foster is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago, IL. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Counseling. Latoya’s specialty areas include working with couples and African American females with anxiety and/or depression. She resides in Illinois with her husband and daughter. She currently works as an Adjunct Counselor at Moraine Valley Community College and she also works part-time in private practice at The Psychology Center, where she meets most of her female clients. Latoya’s goal is to work with as many Black women as possible by helping them make their mental health a top priority. She plans to deliver speaking engagements and host events addressing the mental health needs of black women.