By Alicia Payne, Contributing Writer
Embarking on a quest to find a therapist of color, De'Asia Thompson, the unstoppable force behind Rise Counseling Group, found herself facing numerous obstacles. In 2017, she came to Dayton, Ohio, in search of a therapist and realized the pressing need for therapists who can relate to and support marginalized communities. Undeterred by the lack of financial support, Thompson fearlessly launched her therapy business, defying all odds.
Mrs. Thompson says, "When I first started in Dayton, there I was, the only one in Dayton in 2017. Later, there were four others within the area. Now, that has changed, but it is still limited."
To kickstart her business, Thompson pursued extensive training, licensing, and sought advice from organizations like the Small Business Administration and Goldman Sachs 10k. Despite limited financial resources, she secured an office space, furnished it out of her own pocket, and utilized platforms like Therapy for Black Girls and Psychology Today to connect with potential clients.
While facing challenges, Thompson persevered. In the early days of her practice, she was one of only four therapists of color, despite a significant population of black women in the area. However, over time, more therapists of color have emerged, breaking down systemic barriers and expanding the availability of diverse mental health services.
Now Rise Counseling Group is in connection with all African-American therapists across Ohio. Ms. Thompson holds practices in Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus and plans to coach upcoming therapists. Rise Counseling Group now has two interns, a clinical manager, two admins, and two part-time and full-time clinicians. They are also always hiring. The demand for therapy for black women is skyrocketing.
Mrs. Thompson finds time to balance her business and her role as a therapist while prioritizing self-care. She achieves this by spending quality time with her family and effectively delegating tasks through hiring individuals, which helps her focus more on the business aspect. Mrs. Thompson's business is dedicated to providing therapy to marginalized communities. She firmly believes, "You can't take that out of therapy work." Mrs. Thompson is committed to her mission of serving this community because they face mental health challenges, which hold significant importance to her.
Rise Counseling Group is a licensed organization that "Holds a space where you can heal" Their techniques, such as addressing racial trauma, utilizing trauma therapy, and employing narrative therapy, aim to effectively process and navigate traumatic experiences. With only 4% of therapists currently representing communities of color, Rise Counseling Group has become a vital resource, providing essential support and guidance to women of color.
This article originally appeared on Dayton Weekly News and republished through its partnership with Elevate Dayton.