MATTHEWS – Joy Robbins has operated a private mental health practice, Creative Counseling and Consulting LLC, for nearly 12 years in Indian Trail and Matthews. Throughout her career, the Waxhaw resident noticed there was still a stigma associated with mental health, which often prevents people from receiving the proper help they need.
To counter this stigma, Robbins decided to write her first book, “On My Couch: A Therapist Journal.”
“I wrote the book to give readers an insider’s view of counseling,” Robbins said. “I think anyone who reads it will be able to relate to at least one of the stories that I shared. I hope that therapy will be demystified for anyone who reads it.”
An estimated 16.2 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2016, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Of that 16.2 million, 37 percent did not receive treatment.
Throughout the years, mental illness has gained more awareness. Robbins said she is thrilled people are becoming more aware of mental illnesses; however, she said more work needs to be done, especially with minority groups and adolescents.
Robbins acknowledges mental health has attributed to school shootings.
“I believe that these teens and adolescents are more stressed than ever before,” she said. “They have access to everything and all types of information. Combine this with them not knowing how to handle their emotions properly, will cause the worst possible outcome.”
She mentions how mental health has also affected the African-American community, specifically women.
“As black women, we are raised at a young age to be strong, move forward and push those feelings down. As we become more stressed, we lose grip on what we are pushing down and start to question ourselves by saying, ‘Am I crazy?’ And I want them to know, they are not crazy. It’s OK to reach out and ask for help.”
She mentioned that faith is also attributed to why many women of color will not seek help from counseling.
“I am a woman of faith, and I always will be,” Robbins said. “But we are often told to ‘pray about it,’ and sometimes we need both counseling and prayer.”
Robbins said every detail in the book is real; however, she emphasized that she takes her patients’ privacy seriously.
“To keep my patients’ identity a secret while giving readers a real taste on what therapy is, I have changed the names, age and gender to hide their true identity,” she said.
“On My Couch: A Therapist Journal” offers readers to not only view what therapy is, but to journal, as well.
“I often give my patients homework to help them dive deeper into what is causing their inner conflict,” Robbins said. “This homework assignment is often using a journal to express these thoughts. I use prompts to help the reader along with journaling. I would ask ‘How do you feel today?’ or ‘what you do you think about that?’”
Want to learn more?
Creative Counseling and Consulting LLC is located at 2101 Sardis Road N., Charlotte. Her book, “On My Couch: A Therapist Journal,” can be ordered on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Call 704-243-8781 or visit www.creativecounselinggroup.com for details.