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Exploring Life & Business with Afiya K. Hooker, MS, LPC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Afiya K. Hooker, MS, LPC.

Hi Afiya K., we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Similar to my story in my first interview with you all a couple of years ago, I always knew that I would be a business owner. However, it was not until around the age of 10 that I knew that I wanted to be a psychotherapist. I started my entrepreneurial pursuits in the 3rd grade, selling McDonald’s toys and bottled water to my classmates, and that desire has stayed with me throughout my entire life. Fast forward past several other businesses I’ve created over the past two decades, I decided in 2019 that it was time for me to focus on my primary passion, psychotherapy and mental health wellness. So, in October 2019, I dropped all of my other entrepreneurial pursuits and dived head first into my mental health practice, The Sunshine’s Haven Counseling Center. Two years later, after expanding my services, I decided to partner with a colleague to form the first black women-owned mental health wellness center in Mobile, AL, Yin Yang Wellness Center.

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?
In my opinion, risk is a necessary aspect in life and business. It is a prerequisite to success. Anyone who is a risk-taker knows that there are some expected challenges and bumps in the road. However, one cannot have success without failure and one cannot fail or succeed without taking calculated risks. One of the main challenges I experienced throughout this journey early on is not having a mentor or someone that looked like me, a black woman, doing what I aspired to do. Don’t get me wrong, there are several successful black women in my life, my mom being the first to come to mind. However, learning how to be a multi-business owner plus a clinician is no easy feat. I will say that the trial and error has been well-worth the lessons provided.

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?
I am the Founder, CEO and Licensed Psychotherapist of The Sunshine’s Haven Counseling Center, LLC; Founder and Executive Director of The Sunshine’s Haven Empowerment, and co-owner/co-founder of Yin Yang Wellness Center, LLC. The Sunshine’s Haven Counseling Center is my mental health group practice where we offer an inviting, therapeutic, and confidential space that allows clients to process their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, while also gaining insight on how to address presenting problems and concerns effectively.

We specialize in the presenting issues of our clients, which include, but are not limited to, feelings of depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, behavioral problems, family conflict, grief and much more. In this practice, I also have a contract with the state that allows us to provide in-home services to individuals in need ranging from 3 years old to 19 years old. These individuals receive in-home therapy, psychoeducation, and therapeutic mentoring. The Sunshine’s Haven Empowerment is a nonprofit organization that allows my staff and I to provide necessary resources to the community, including but not limited to, free and reduced-cost therapy sessions, a free donation closet of clothes and household items for individuals at risk and/or in need, and other programs that help aide in the wholistic wellness of our community.

Finally, Yin Yang Wellness Center is a mental health wellness facility that provides therapy services, case management, wholistic wellness services, and other social services to help those in need. Three different brands with three different missions, but all created as a way to further support my community.

What does success mean to you?
Every single day that I am able to live out my childhood dream of being a psychotherapist and multi-business owner, success is defined for me. My community and the people that I serve are the most important factors behind the success of my brands. The number one referral source for The Sunshine’s Haven Counseling Center is word of mouth, whether that is through family or friends telling others or social media. I am also honored to have my hard work and passion recognized by others through several tv and magazine interviews and awards, including but not limited to, being named Who’s Who in America, receiving the prestigious honor of 40 under 40 in Mobile Bay’s 2022 Class, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Health & Human Service Award in 2022 and being named President for the Alabama Counseling Association Chapter VIII. These are just a few accolades that help define my success, but it also shows the support from my community in regards to the strides I have made in the mental health wellness community.

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Image Credits:

Main picture only: Matthew Coughlin FB: matthewcoughlinphotographer IG: @matthewcoughlin

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