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Meet Alvin Sutherland, Jr. of The Sutherland Center in Douglasville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alvin Sutherland, Jr.

Alvin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story began with being raised by my mom in Hephzibah GA; she is also Dr. Sutherland. My mother modeled and promoted education and family morals. She taught me (and continues to teach me) how essential family is to be able to stand with confidence in your prospective regardless of other’s attempts to sway with contrasting philosophies. Keeping Jesus as the center of my life, seeking His face and praying daily was one of the staples in our household. My mother inspired me to value education and to be, as my former defensive coach Jeff Farrington would say, an overachiever. After graduating from Hephzibah High School I attended West Georgia College where I played and later coached football. I earned my undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation and my master’s degree in School Counseling. Growing up as a young black man in Hephzibah, I did not witness anyone that looked like me with higher education; I wanted to set the best example for the young men and women that would follow my legacy. So I decided to continue my education and earned my Doctor of Education Degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University Sarasota.

During my stint at Argosy, I was afforded the opportunity to conduct extensive research on the effects of father absence. A year into my doctoral program, my mom joined me. We attended several classes together. Now imagine you in graduate school with your mom. It was truly a wonderful experience. We both spoke about the experience in our dissertations. My mom taught me how vital it is to connect with and stay connected to family. I believe when people are positively connected to the significant people in their life, the more their life will be enhanced and the connection can, in many cases, reduce the impact of negative intensities. The greater connections within the family unit can build better communities, cities, states, and nations; these connections will greatly impact the world we live in. Since starting my journey, in the counseling field, in 1998, I was afforded the opportunity to have worked in a variety of mental health settings within the metro Atlanta area.

These opportunities include (but not limited to) a community mental health center (working with adjudicated youth and their families), psychiatric hospital (counseling youth with sex offending behaviors and their families), and the public school system (providing counseling and consultation services for elementary, and middle school-age youth). I also served, for seven years, as an adjunct professor, at my alma mater (Argosy Atlanta), in their community counseling program. In addition to my professional achievements, I married a remarkable woman, who is also a licensed professional counselor. I fathered three extraordinary children and a proud grandfather of one. I enjoy reading, swimming, spending time with my family, going to the movies, playing tennis and riding my motorcycle. My favorite sports teams are the Denver Broncos and the Syracuse Orange.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The path to my continuous success has been fairly smooth. The Sutherland Center, LLC have and continues to have a great deal of support from several significant people. The biggest challenge of being a business owner is establishing and maintaining effective marketing. However, this polite is getting better with the help of social media and companies like VoyageATL. It is one of The Sutherland Center, LLC philosophies that controlled growth is a key to sustainability and longevity.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Sutherland Center – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Dr. Sutherland Jr., the owner, of The Sutherland Center, LLC, is a National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC), a National Board Certified School Counselor (NBCSC), a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Board Certified-Tele-Mental Health Provider (BC-TMH) and a Certified Professional Counseling Supervisor (CPCS). I am also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, INC through the Nu Phi Chapter at West Georgia College and a member of the Xi Chi Sigma Chapter, Atlanta. The Sutherland Center, LLC is a mobile counseling center that strives to improve the overall quality of living for its clients. We are committed to staying on the leading edge of the exploration and discovery of human potential. Our staff of counselors and consultants are trained in human development and psychology. We are able to customize our services to meet the needs of churches, schools, individuals, couples, parents, families, adolescents and professional organizations.

The Sutherland Center, LLC serves 13 counties in the metro Atlanta area providing in-home and TeleMental health assessments, individual counseling, couples counseling, and family counseling. In addition to the services mentioned above, The Sutherland Center, LLC facilitates a 6-hour continuing education workshop and offers clinical supervision. All clinical supervision is provided by Dr. Sutherland, Jr., himself; to produce clinicians that think highly of the work they generate (efficient and effective) and for clinicians to become a commitment to producing quality counseling services (competent). Dr. A. Sutherland Jr. has been featured in the April 27, 2009 issue of Newsweek Magazine amongst the best providers in Mental Health. Featured therapist on two reality television shows on separate networks (Bravo, April 2014 (Real Housewives of Atlanta); and the summer of 2015 (BET, Frankie and Neffe show). Dr. Sutherland Jr. is the driving force behind The Sutherland Center, LLCs impact, success and continues to support/promote other clinicians/business owners in gaining their success in the mental health field.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The counseling field in the next 5-10 years will continue its massive growth in TeleMental health services (the use of telecommunications technology to provide mental health services). With our society appearing to crave attention and immediate feedback/approval from others, counseling services provided via laptop, iPad, computer, and even your cell phone will fall right in line with Generation Z’s expectations. One of the originating reasons for TeleMental health was to make mental health services accessible in areas where there may not be any or very few mental health providers. However, TeleMental health has evolved; everyone can obtain quality mental health services, from individuals not being able to leave their homes to individuals with busy schedules.

Another big shift and trend in the counseling field will be the increase in black men therapists entering the mental health profession. Dr. Sutherland, Jr. began mentoring a group of 4 black men that evolved into a group of 43 (and growing; The Counseling Brothers of Atlanta). The Counseling Brothers of Atlanta is a group of black men who share compassion and excellence in the field of mental health. This group banded together to enhance the city of Atlanta, and its neighboring cities and counties, by providing quality counseling services.

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