Mental Health Change Agent
Published by: RallyUp Magazine
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, with a Group Psychotherapy Practice and Coaching and Mental Health Consulting Firm in NYC. She has over 15 years of experience as a therapist and coach, taking those skills from the couch to support professional women in shifting past fear, perfectionism, and all the emotional noise they experience that puts limits on their dreams.
She is passionate about underserved populations building their emotional toolbox and embracing the importance of mental health in their everyday lives. Her background in Mental Health gives her an edge as a coach, as she infuses the psychology of how we think and the power of mindfulness to inspire women to calm their inner critic, trust their abilities and live fiercely as they challenge their potential.
Before founding her practice and coaching firm in NY, Amanda became an expert in her field, specializing in treating Trauma, Depression, and Anxiety. She earned her Master's in Social Work from Fordham University, where she now teaches, and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut, where she ran track and field as a sprinter and 400meter hurdler. Running is how she remains grounded with one Marathon under her belt, and 3 half marathons for this year alone. In addition, she loves to take every opportunity to normalize mental health through speaking engagements, workshops, and also as a writer for Rally Up Magazine holding down the Therapy is Dope section, her trademark, and Ask Amanda.
Originally from Trinidad, she now resides in NY with her husband Keith and their two young children and cherishes her time spent with them and helping others find their joy again.
What does mental health and wellness mean to you? Mental health is your wealth. If you don't invest in it with intention, you are building your whole life on an unstable foundation. Wellness is the everyday things you do to support your emotional wellbeing. Go for that walk sis, connect with a group for socialization, challenge yourself to do something new (even once a year), listen to podcasts or read books to increase your knowledge about life, and exercise self-compassion with yourself. I'm a psychotherapist and coach, and there are days when I don't get this self-care thing right and neglect myself or my relationships. I have gotten better at reminding myself I'm human, I will mess up sometimes, and it's ok to come back to the one thing I can do with the moment I have right in front of me.
Tell us about your work as it relates to mental health and wellness? Mental health is the cord that connects all that I do. I've been a Psychotherapist for over 15 years and took that experience to start a group psychotherapy practice in NY called Kenso Psychotherapy Services. Ken means the beginning of knowing, and sho implies that you need something more. I recognized our black and brown communities needed more emotional support, and the practice was born out of that. Coaching for women in business was a natural transition because I saw too many women doubt their skills and struggle with anxiety and perfectionism- maybe not to the level of needing a therapist but needing a coach to guide them as they pursued extraordinary goals. To widen my reach on the importance of mental health, Therapy is Dope, my social media platform, was nurtured and used to promote the message of mental health being essential to our lives. In addition, I speak, conduct workshops, and even teach at a school of social service. Sharing this right now, I realize this has become an important mission in my life- the health and success of our people through the lens of mental health.
Are there any mental health-related issues that you or someone you know experienced that might have led you to become a psychotherapist? Honestly, no. I accidentally came into the field. I've always wanted to be in the helping profession, and I thought as a teacher- but my mom said no, they don't make any money. I tried pursuing physical therapy, but chemistry and I disagreed strongly, and chem won. I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a sociology degree and didn't know what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted a break, but God had other plans. He sent a sister in my church to slap me back on track. She told me to keep going and try Social Work. I did and fell in love with assessing, diagnosing, and serving underserved populations.
Individuals that work in helping professions (nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists) may experience compassion fatigue at some point in their careers. Have you experienced this? If so, describe that for our readers. There were some tough moments working in a psychiatric facility for children. Hearing their stories and recognizing their hurt was because of the choices of the adults in their lives or their environment- there were some tough days there. Unfortunately, I didn't have space to take a break because the work was constant, so I think, like most, I worked through the fatigue and the stress to make sure our kids got the care they needed. Eventually, I was over it but inspired by it, and it was my push to move into higher positions to reduce my stress level. Many of us in this field learn to compartmentalize or work through it, a few leave, but most stay, but it changes them. Burnout is real, and you see it with irritable people, disconnected from the joy of the job and just bitter. I didn't want to be that way, and I haven't regretted my decision to leave systemic psychiatric work for private practice.
How do you prioritize self-care? What does a self-care day look like for you? It's building it into my schedule, so it feels a part of life. I get my nails done biweekly, I run weekly and train for races to stay in shape and destress, I try to be consistent with date night with my family, and I plan for big trips and even time off. It's all about little consistent things and scheduling things down the line. When I see a day off come up on my phone, I'm shutting it all down! If my nails are looking ratchet, I'm squeezing in an appointment for that day. I'm also good for a midday nap!
What advice would you give to someone that wants to become a mental health professional? We desperately need providers- there aren't enough of us to meet the current mental health crisis, so let's go! BUT, please respect the field. Recognize your limits, everyone doesn't need to be your client, and everyone doesn't need to be in private practice. Take your time and get your experience, get supervision, get additional training, and show up as your best educated and authentic self because our people deserve that.
Any final words for our readers? Life is worth living. God will put the right people on your course to guide you, and if you stick it out, you'll see that so much more is possible. Meantime, keep moving, laughing, and get some rest! Your beautiful mind needs it.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, Psychotherapist I Speaker I Mindset Coach
IG: @amanda.fludd & @therapyisdope
FB Group: Mindset and Motivation for Woman Entrepreneurs of Color: www.facebook.com/mindsetandmotivationforwomenofcolor