August 1, 2021
Welcome to DIRECTIONS the monthly online newsletter of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi). We look forward to providing our readers
wiith pertinent information to support, encourage, and uplift our community and those who
serve the community. The goal of DVABPsi is to make a positive impact on Black Mental
Health today and for the future.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.- Editor
Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
Go Back and Get It
The Association of Black Psychologists (www.abpsi.org) held its 52 Annual International
Convention virtually, with the theme, Black Forward, under the leadership of the 46th President of ABPsi, Dr. Theopia Jackson, a dynamic, beautiful, brilliant, Healer Warrior
Sister. Our own former DVABPsi president, Dr. Yuma Tomes served as the National
Convention Chair, and did an excellent job. Kudos Dr. Tomes!
Dr. Theopia Jackson, 46th President of ABPsi
Black Forward addressed the fact that although Blacks have faced some of the most horrendous acts of violence against us, we have persisted and succeeded where others
have failed. Black Forward, back never! Black Forward is accomplished by grounding in African/Black history and values such as Ma’at (Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Order,
Harmony, Balance, and Reciprocity). ABPsi was formed in 1968 to address the needs of
Blacks from an African perspective with the goals including to Liberate the African/Black
mind, Empower the African/Black character and Enliven and Illuminate the African/Black Spirit. As a chapter of ABPsi, DVABPsi embraces these goals and is dedicated to realizing
them through the work we do. At the convention, there was such a healing energy that brought together Blacks from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Caribbean Islands, the
United States, and Africa.
An alliance was created with the presidents of the psychological associations for Native People, Asians, and Latinx. ABPsi is seeking similar alliances with various Black organiza-
tions and groups. The vibrant president of the National Association of Black Social Workers, Ms. Melissa Smith Haley has committed to working with ABPsi and combining a future convention as part of the new coalition. Are you joining ABPsi and DVABPsi, and helping to heal the world? Share with us what you are doing so that we can add you to our resource
list. The ABPsi 52nd Convention was an invigorating, healing convention that brought Black
people together from all over the world to sing in one voice:
ZOLA (LOVE) UP ON WE!
Harambee! Harambee! Harambee! (Let us all pull together).
Hotep (Peace and Blessings)- Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, LLC
Guest Contributor: Judy Benjamin Henderson, MHS, MS
BECOMING: A PERSONAL REFLECTION of SELF ACTUALIZATION
“To be self actualized leaves me with the wonderful feeling of true self acceptance and the understanding
that the journey has no ending. We are always becoming!”- J. Benjamin Henderson
Growing up in the small racially divided southern town of Marion Alabama during the 1960’s was an ordeal for me. As such, it was important that I learned to accept myself holistically. I could not lie to
myself about my identity as an African American because my skin color and ethnicity were quite evident.
I knew early and soon accepted my strengths and weaknesses and the adjustment needed to render the external relevant factors. However, attending and graduating from the first racially integrated high school
in the city left no room to become dissatisfied with who I was and my accomplishments or lack thereof. Fortunately, my parents instilled in me the desire to always seek progress and to take the necessary
steps. The most crucial step was to adopt an attitude of fearlessness to go against the grain. As human beings, we have basic psychological needs for personal growth and development throughout our lives.
By accomplishing self-actualization, you are able to find meaning and purpose in your life, and you are
able to say that you truly lived. I now understand that seeing and accepting who I really am as a person
and then taking the necessary steps to become the best version of me was the driving force of my
journey towards self-actualization.
It was during my college years as I studied Human Services, that I became fascinated with Abraham Maslow’s final stage of development in his “hierarchy of needs”. As a young adult, I often wondered whether anyone could ever achieve the last stage (self-actualization) in their lifetime. However, over the years I have acquired self-awareness with the understanding that there is no such thing as a finished product. And, that you never stop growing as a person and learning as a professional. You must conquer one thing after the other. Today, as the founder and CEO of a behavioral health and mental wellness
clinic in Philadelphia, it has become increasingly clear to me that my inward desire is to make the world a better place; and that my commitment to quality service, care, and concern are all fueled by the work that
My educational background in human services and organizational dynamics prepared me for my leadership career. My father once told me that education is the one thing that can never be taken away
or lost. That statement continually ignites my desire to keep learning. This motivation continues and the desire to explore other avenues led me to become an international trainer and consultant. I have also provided ministry consultations in Africa; working closely with the Ministers of Health in the countries of Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria. My ability to train and obtain consulting assignments has not only
broadened my horizons but continually fortifies my view of the world.
I am also proud to carry the title of “author”. My first book is “Entrepreneurial Ministry – The Catalyst
to Community Social Change.” At this senior stage of my life, I am engaged in a doctoral program to
obtain a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. This body of work will add to advancing the field of human services. It will also greatly impact my life outside of my career by providing me with the opportunity to
write more books and to publish scholarly articles on topics that enlighten the readers; provide relevant
and inspirational lectures at universities internationally, and ultimately spend more time as a volunteer mentor to local agencies that serve at-risk populations with the main intention to reach and teach. At this point in my life, I have embraced the unknown and the ambiguous and have experienced many ways of living, loving, and learning. It is now time to share through leadership what I know for sure; and what I
still view as unsolved. Self-actualization (in my estimation) has brought me inner peace in knowing that
my journey is the destination to becoming all that I can be.
Judy Benjamin Henderson is the Founder and CEO of Empowerment Resource Associates, Inc. (ERA)
a licensed community-based outpatient mental and behavioral health clinic. ERA is the first African American female-owned and operated outpatient clinic in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia and Chester County offices serve as community education sites for practicum, volunteer, and work-study opportunities for various Pennsylvania universities. She is also the
founder of the Resource Initiatives Giving Hope through Training (RIGHT) Foundation; a community-based 501 (c) (3) social service agency dedicated to preventing the spread of chronic degenerative diseases namely HIV/AIDS, hypertension, and diabetes through education. Judy Benjamin
Henderson can be contacted at jhendersen@email@example.com or www.eraservices.com.
Voices of Our Ancestors
History and Human Behavior
Dr. Amos N. Wilson
Simply because we choose to forget a traumatic event, simply because we choose not to learn of a traumatic history and a history that may make us feel ashamed, does not mean that history is not
controlling our behavior. Simply because we don’t know our history, and may have not heard of it, does
not mean that the history does not control our behavior. One of the most profound things that we’ve
learned in psychology is that the most powerful forces that shape human behavior are those factors that
are consciously not remembered by human beings, that are unknown by the person, are those
experiences the individual can swear he’s [she's] never had. That is one of the paradoxes of human behavior, that the very things that shape us and make us behave the way we do, see the world the way
we see it, and relate to people the way we relate to them, are those things that occurred in our lives at
points we cannot remember or recall.
Source: Baruti, M.K.B. (2005). Kebuka!: Remembering the Middle Passage through our ancestors' eyes.
Akoben House: Atlanta, GA.
*Dr. Amos N. Wilson was a strong advocate for Blacks supporting other Blacks, especially economically.
Mother to Son by Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
*Langston Hughes, Lincoln University graduate, 1929.
Dr. Ferlin Charles Dr. Amarachi Akwarandu
Congratulations Dr. Charles and Dr. Akwarandu from the officers, members, and friends of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi) on
the successful defense of your dissertations:
Dr. Charles- "Life Satisfaction Among Black Women"
Dr. Akwarandu- "Social Support from Parents and Friends Among Black and Multiracial Adolescents: Responses to Stressful Situations in Multiple-Risk Neighborhoods"
Thank you both for what you have added to the academy.
Judy Benjamin Henderson, MHS, MS
Paperback is available on Amazon.