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Exploring Life & Business with D’Anthony Harris of Interlinked Counseling and Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to D’Anthony Harris.

Hi D’Anthony, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born and raised in Warner Robins, Georgia. I grew up in projects with a single mom. She raised 3 kids practically on her own. I had an estranged relationship with my biological father as a kid. Needless to say, this created several issues for me as I sought to navigate the challenges of boyhood and young adulthood. As a kid, I struggled with low self-esteem and poor self-concept. A lot of my personal challenges were due to being poor and constantly comparing myself to others. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of direction in my life. I carried this idea that I would only get so far in life. I guess this idea or self-talk was affirmed by people that I saw in my family and in the projects. Everyone seemed to have low ceilings. I started to notice the internalization of the “low ceiling” motif my senior year in high school when I was told I was not going to graduate because I had missed too many days.

Fortunately, I had a principal that showed me grace. I started college at Savannah State University (HBCU) not knowing what I wanted to study. At this time, I was going because all my friends were going as I was still struggling with direction in life. After a few years of fumbling through classes making poor grades, my GPA dropped really low and now I’m faced with getting kicked out or academic probation. (very similar to high school). While I was at Savannah State, I joined the Air Force (Air National Guard). I honestly did not have a lot of discipline during my early days in the Air Force, in fact my Military career was mirroring my academic career. I eventually transferred to a different base where I became a Security Police officer. I would like to say that my challenges were over, but not so much. I struggled with balancing everyday life and the military. I was a young father that was unmarried and very angry. I battled with becoming a “non residential father”. I had always told myself that I would not make the same error as my father yet here I was.

With military demands and family challenges, I remember turning to alcohol, I was pulled over twice for drinking and driving. Here is another place where I was shown grace. It was at this point that I was forced to get help or I was getting kicked out of the military; not to mention a little boy (Carson) that needed me. I reluctantly went to see a counselor. As a black man, I had always been told that tears, talking, and asking for help was a sign of weakness. As I started to talk about issues in my life, I noticed my heart started to change. I was growing spiritually as a Christian as well as unpacking emotional struggles that I had followed me since childhood. It was from this experience where my heart for Mental Health Counseling was born! I developed a passion to support Non-custodial fathers that are trying to stay involved. I discovered that non-residential did not mean absenteeism! I also developed a passion for supporting my brothers and sisters serving in the military. Suicide rates in the military are still on the rise! I started Interlinked Counseling and Consulting LLC to support individuals that find themselves coming back to the same hurt under new circumstances over and over again.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road lol. I struggled with how to be a father. For a while, I was trying to be the father that I never had, instead of being the father my son needed.

I had to overcome a lot of mental hurdles before I saw any success as a dad, Airman, and a Clinical therapist.

I worked as a janitor for several years because it was familiar. I did not think I could do much more than that. I eventually commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force (currently a Captain). I graduated from Mercer University with my Masters with 3.9 GPA. I have a wonderful relationship with my son who is now 12 years old. I met the woman of my dreams, Joanne Harris (who is also a mental health nurse in the Air Force Reserves).

I think my challenge with seeing any of these accomplishments in my life was never about potential as much as it was about perceptions. I think it all stemmed from the same source, me! When I started to see myself the way God saw me, I saw growth.

We’ve been impressed with Interlinked Counseling and Consulting LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, my goal is to empower individuals and families to make the changes required to resolve and overcome issues that impede their ability to live fulfilling and joyful lives. My educational background in clinical mental health counseling and theology is the basis for my holistic approach to wellness. The scope of my experience ranges across multiple spectrums including but not limited to: the Juvenile Justice System, drug court, father advocacy, and the local school system. I encourage my clients to be accountable for their decisions, learn from their mistakes, and celebrate their successes.

Additionally, I hold extensive experience in working with veterans and their families struggling with various issues involving post-traumatic stress, secondary trauma, and substance abuse. My specialty areas include but are not limited to anxiety and depression, trauma treatment, male masculinity and sexuality, adolescent behavior issues, grief, parenting, and substance abuse/dependence.

My theoretical orientation is a blend of Client-Centered Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Existential Therapy. My therapeutic approach is coupled with a holistic treatment program, which uses the mind-body-spirit concept to help client achieve stability and harmony.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Yes, I think the best advice I can give others is to dream BIG! I entered my business career and military very timid  about what I wanted. I was too nervous that my ambition  would offend others (lol). I think I’ve heard someone say that “your dreams should scare you”. I would also say, Pray for the right people! You want people on your team that support your vision! Next, invest in your brand. Your brand is how people experience your business before receiving your services. Lastly, and more specifically for my career field as an African American Male Therapist, don’t be afraid to network with people in your career field. Often we allow competition to drive interpersonal division! Small business owners have a tendency to isolate their business from others. Not one business can serve everyone all the time! Collaborate!

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