The Free Private Practice

Update as of March 2020: So obviously the pandemic is pushing back the start date to the opening of my private practice SIGNIFICANTLY.

I’ll keep y’all updated with every move I make towards this goal.

This is my (therapy-related) dream.

This is happening.

It’s just a matter of time.

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Pierre. I am a Black New York State licensed psychotherapist (Licensed Mental Health Counselor).

I have significant clinical experience providing long term individual, group, and couple’s psychotherapy to people of various ages, socioeconomic statues, sexual orientations, genders, etc. as well as people living with various kinds of physical illnesses, chronic health conditions, trauma histories, substance use issues, etc.

I’m dedicated to:

  • A post-modern, systemic oppression-aware, client-centered, trauma-informed, harm-reduction-guided therapeutic approach
  • Therapy as a collaborative effort between the therapist and the client

Why i got into counseling? And why do I want to do this?

CW: Description of the recession in NYC, poverty, system oppression

I’ve told this story many times over the years and I noticed recently that over time, the story has evolved. It’s changed as I have changed. It’s changed as I’ve learned more about myself. For example, the beginning of this story has changed over time. Today, the 2020 version of myself starts this story in 2009, the year the recession officially touched every corner of my life and everyone I could see. I had to suddenly drop out of the state college with the wild high tuition because I couldn’t “afford” it anymore. Student loan companies stopped giving out loans for a bit during the recession. And my low-income a** could not go to that college (or most colleges) without student loans. I moved back to my Mama’s place in the Bronx. I was shocked and sad. All the promises and exceptions placed on me for how my life was supposed to go evaporated all around me.

And I wasn’t the only one. People also lost their jobs, their homes, etc. I saw so much suffering in my own communities and then heard so many horror stories about people’s experiences with therapists who did not know or want to know how to serve Black people. And research has shown that Black people have a harder time finding quality, competent therapists to work with them due to systemic and interpersonal racism and other oppressions. I ultimately decided to become a psychotherapist so I could help fill that gap for Black people and link with other Black therapists so that we as a people can do the work to heal ourselves.

As many Black academics can tell you, academia is not for US. And this is especially true if you have other marginalized identities and/or are dealing with other areas of oppression. We are many times blocked at the gate. Less likely to receive various supports and mentorship in grad school. Less likely to be in situations where one can make those crucial professional connections, which makes it harder to network. Many have talked about this before: being pushed out and/or enduring toxic environments. The recession made it especially hard to find work, particularly if you didn’t/don’t know the “right” people or have the right connections. Even with degrees, we all know that Black people are less likely to be hired for entry-level professional positions. I’ve watched white colleagues in grad school get offered jobs in hospitals right out of school. I’ve seen them get side jobs/internships in private practices and hospitals while still in the program. Or be allowed to skip drug tests and/or become clinical directors 2 years after graduation.

It has taken me about 4 years to do something that less disadvantaged colleagues have completed in 2 years at the most due to systemic barriers like job discrimination, application fees, exam fees, and a certain set of specific, expensive, but secretly required licensure exam materials and also interpersonal barriers like clinical supervisors valuing unquestioned obedience over growing the clinicians working under their license. I’ve been knowingly rejected from a few opportunities and later found out that the employers didn’t think someone who stuttered could be a therapist. I was also actively avoiding jobs in correctional facilities or working closely as a liasion with police, which lessened my job options. And I’ve dealt with severe chronic work harassment and being forced out a clinical job with nothing to fall back on. And when the economy is already terrible and systemic oppression made it incredibly difficult to find work, it’s hard to just leave a toxic workplace or to recover if forced out.  There were a lot of moments of uncertainty and a lot of unnecessary, manmade sacrifice to get to this point.  

Going through everything I have been through to get to this point has only strengthened my desire to provide this service for Black people. 

I want to help our people heal themselves. 

I want to make this career easier to get into for Black therapists coming up after me. 

Because we are needed in. And we need more Black therapists providing free services for our people. There shouldn’t be a price on healthcare, especially mental healthcare.

What is QueeringPsych? 

“Queer” = Using the word academically, queer is ultimately, a rejection of socialization (cultural/social norms, stigmas, values, etc. that we are all taught from birth to keep up the status quo of oppressions). To queer psychology (in my opinion) would be to practice therapy from a trauma-informed, systemic oppression-aware, harm reduction-guided, and client-centered approach.

I started QueeringPsychology, the standing resource website/blog on January 1st 2018. Like I said in the About Me on the site, I started this website as a way to use my clinical experience and skills to provide information/tips to people, mainly Black people, who cannot access therapy. 

This is a standing reference page where I share information regarding psychology, therapy, etc. in ways that can be easily useful in people’s lives. 

For free.

What is QP the private practice? What services are included?

The gov name for this private practice is “QP: Mental Health Counseling & Psychotherapy for Our Communities, PLLC”. I call it QueeringPsych, QueeringPsychology, or QP for short. 

This is a free private practice for ***low-income Black people***. Yes, free. Free as in 0.00. Like you do an intake, show up, and receive services without paying me and without swiping an insurance card. Like free, free.

My Services Upon Opening:

  • Home-based Psychotherapy Sessions
  • Psychotherapy Sessions in rented office spaces as an alternative to home-based sessions
  • Tele-therapy: Video therapy sessions for initial screenings and/or for when we cannot meet in-person

Future Goals:

My experiences getting to this point in my career have taught me the importance of Black psychotherapists coming together, not only to provide free clinical services to our people, but also to help up-incoming Black therapists navigate this field that is not set up for them to succeed. And to connect with other Black therapists with similar goals and values. I’m imagining Tele-Group Supervision sessions and other ways to support each other. I’m also imagining, at some point, being able to take interns under my license and covering their salary, paying for their NYS licensure exam and study materials, and paying for license and certification fees to help more Black low-income LGBTQAI people get into this field where they are sorely needed.

How do I plan to fund this?

I plan to fund this myself with the help of individual donations. I do not want to apply for grants because I don’t want to report my client’s information to the city, state, or federal governments. I want clients to feel comfortable using my services.

What do I need to do to open this private practice this year?

I plan to officially start seeing clients in the Fall, September at the earliest, in order to give myself enough time to file the PLLC and finish all the following preparations to make this transition as smooth as possible:

  • Filing for QueeringPsych, PLLC in New York State
  • Electronic medical record – monthly 
  • Renting office space for non-home visits – monthly
  • Storage rental – monthly
  • Business cards
  • Liability insurance – yearly
  • 1 fire-proof locked cabinets for client records
  • Tax Preparer, minimally

How can you support?

You can donate to my Gofundme campaign for the private practice here.

You can donate money to @Queeringpsych on PayPal or Venmo. 

As it stands right now February 2020,         @queeringpsych on PayPal & Venmo are connected to my personal account.

For now, any e-donations need to be labeled as donations specifically for the practice until I can open the official business account in a few months once the the state finishes filling all my PLLC paperwork. 

Please write something like “Donation for QueeringPsych” or “Donation for the Private Practice” in the memo/notes in PayPal or Venmo for my records. This will help me transfer the money to the official business account later. Thank you! 

Any extra private practice donations received beyond the needs to run this practice/provide services will go to pay for professional trainings and other continuing education for my NYS license and will also be donated to the gofundme’s and other crowdfunding accounts of Black LGBTQAI people.