Imani Ibrahim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Her powerful, therapeutic work focuses on increasing awareness and breaking down cultural stigmas about mental health, specifically as it relates to African American men.
“I always knew that I wanted to help people,” Imani says. “I originally thought I would do that as a nurse.”
After starting nursing school, however, Imani realized that there was something missing. She spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting, noticing the people who had the most impact on her: the social workers. It was then that it clicked that social work was how she wanted to make the same long-lasting impact on others, switching to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work from Aurora University, where she also attended undergrad.
Along her career journey, Imani found herself working with African American men. She found this group to be “the most challenging, yet clinically rewarding, population” that she had had the privilege to work with.
“There is such a stigma in the American American community regarding mental health services,” Imani states. “Although African American men are 20% more likely to experience psychological distress than any other race and suicide is the third leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of 15-24.”
In addition to these sobering statistics, Imani found herself called to create a safe space for a population that may have felt as if they didn’t have one. From a social justice perspective, Imani is passionate about providing care and services for people who may have never experienced the kind of processing and support she brings to her work.
As a supervisor, Imani cites the human relationship, integrity and competence as her top three values. Supervisees should be free to be human, which includes having an array of emotions and struggles, while also maintaining a professionalism of integrity, respect and competence in the skills and interventions they are using to help their clients.
When it comes to feelings of countertransference, Imani likes to work with supervisees to help them understand that countertransference is an exercise in being both trusting and accepting of one’s own feelings as a therapist. “I support them in knowing that the countertransference experience can be helpful when it supports and enhances the treatment,” she says. She then goes one step further to help clinicians develop healthy ways to be present during sessions when feelings of countertransference pop up.
The best advice Imani ever received in her own supervision was simple, but potent: “Trust in your skills as a clinician!” It’s this trust in oneself that ultimately provides the foundation for a therapist to work from.
In terms of continued education and career growth, Imani also recommends taking advantage of any type of trainings offered or intervention skills taught. “They will remain useful and relevant years later into your career,” Imani says. “I still use activities and interventions that I learned and a social work intern seven years later!”
When it comes to external influences and resources, Imani doesn’t have to look far to be inspired. “Professionally, I am most influenced by my other colleagues,” she says. “I’m inspired by the people who are doing the day-to-day work in assisting others in their life journey.
She does recommend a couple Instagram accounts to follow for those interested in cultural competency and awareness in the the African American community: @TherapyforBlackGirls and @BlackTherapistsRock.
In addition to serving and advocating for those who need it most, Imani is also interested in staying current tech-wise, finding ways to harness new tools to expand access to supervision. “I joined Motivo because I think this platform is on the forefront of technology with online supervision,” she says. “It provides a more convenient and accessible for people to obtain supervision.”
It’s another way Imani is creating a new (and needed) space.
We’d love to introduce you to Imani through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.
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