Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamika England.
Hi Tamika, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
It’s ironic that only those close to me truly know my journey. I never grew up imagining that one day, I would own a private practice, treating individuals that look like me. Sometimes I stand back in amazement of where my life is today and think “wow”! Who knew that back when I was struggling with depression anxiety, suicide attempts, grief, and so much more many many years ago that all the pain I endured would be the breakthrough I needed for me to live purposefully. I never went through life thinking about what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I always knew I desired to live a life full of meaningful experiences. The joy comes in the surprise of what those experiences look like and when they would make their way to me. One of the experiences was the desire to enlist in the Armed Forces. It was so far-fetched, those who knew were shocked, to say the least, and didn’t believe I would go through with it.
Unfortunately, life happens, my mom fell ill, I had the opportunity to continue my journey and enlist as an Officer once I graduated or stay home to care for my mother. The decision was family for me. I completed my undergrad degree while still navigating depression that surfaced as I began to grieve the death of my father as an adult. The pressures of life as the youngest of four continued to mount while learning how to care for my mother who had just undergone heart surgery. I pushed through (autopilot…really), made a snap decision to go to grad school majoring in Counselor Education. I remember once I decided to not reenlist, I had a few weeks to complete the application for school, interview, and see what the future holds. What’s interesting, people always ask how I decided on my major. To this day, I still don’t have an answer. What I can say, I have always been divinely led. I completed my program in 1.5 yrs and never looked back. My experiences of being judged by professors who didn’t think I was capable of navigating a rigorous program while dealing with depression and suicidality, being on the other side of clinical professionals staffing cases like it was a midday talk show with comedic breaks making light of symptomatic behaviors experienced by hospitalized patients, working for agencies where the bottom line mattered more than caring for those who put their lives in your hands. I vowed to myself, I would create a space for myself to employ the opposite of everything I found degrading and distasteful both in my personal and professional clinical experiences. My purpose in this life is to put people in position, to be a vessel, and my agency has allowed me to do just that.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This journey called life has always been an uphill battle for me. In my career, I took jobs that I know weren’t meant for me, working with unethical professionals, not being valued for my contributions, and most importantly, not being trusted to do what I do best. I was edged out of many jobs due to being divinely led. I was instructed to launch my agency full-time at the onset of a pandemic. I quit my job with nothing to fall back on (or at least that’s what I thought). I’m blessed to have divine discernment where business is concerned. It’s truly been my saving grace. The difficulty for me, more so is when will my obedience free me from the pressure of my assignment? Managing a fully-staffed agency, completing a doctorate, running an EAP firm with my business partners, expanding my business, releasing my first publication, training interns, and providing clinical oversight for associate-level therapists has many struggles. At times, you lose yourself in your purpose (in my opinion). It becomes all about the “assignment” and less and less about me. I’m doing my best to trust God daily, trust the process, surround myself with those who have been assigned to help me navigate various seasons until it’s my time to rest.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Looking Forward Counseling and Mentoring Services, LLC is an agency that provides a person-centered therapeutic approach where clients and their needs are our number one priority. We enjoy meeting our clients where they are. We use an array of theoretical approaches to meet clients where they are while assisting and empowering them to be the best version of themselves. We pride ourselves on providing services with excellence, integrity, and compassion. Our experience enables us to offer effective outpatient, individualized, psychological care. We treat an array of mental health disorders, psychosocial issues and provide a safe place for individuals, families, and couples. At Looking Forward, we specialize in offering services geared to helping our clients heal holistically. As an agency, we want our clients to feel supported and assured we are equipped to provide services that are solution-focused and client-centered.
I’m most proud of the diversity of our team and also the diversity of our client base. While making the decision to explore the therapeutic process can be scary, we educate clients who have no experience with therapy, those who have had a negative experience, and most importantly, we as a team do a phenomenal job at normalizing support self-advocacy and making oneself a priority.
At Looking Forward, we offer the following: Individual/family therapy, life coaching, vocational training, anger management/community linkage, psychoeducational, clinical supervision for associate-licensed therapists for the state of GA, and premarital and Christian counseling.
Newly added, our agency has a publication that we launched this year geared to help clients embrace the therapeutic process.
Any big plans?
My dream is to continue to grow my business where we can create a wider reach within the community. One of my goals has always been to normalize mental health in the black community while fostering relationships with community partners in an attempt to ensure mental health services are more accessible and affordable. Since I’ve ventured into publications, I will also like to continue to develop reference tools that I use with my clients to further the therapeutic process or encourage those who have yet to take the leap.
- 200-85 (range for sessions)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.lookingforward-cms.com
- Instagram: lookingforwardcms
- Facebook: @LookingForwardCMS
Thornhill Media Company-Airelle Thornhill