“There’s been an uptick because people are anxious,” said the founder and CEO of F.A.I.T.H Connects LLC and co-founder of Connections Matter LLC.
“People are struggling with how do they adjust to this new norm, not knowing all the information and not knowing how long it’s going to last.”
The relationship therapist has been helping her clients cope with mental health challenges brought on by the pandemic such as panic attacks and anxiety disorders
Allen-Wilson has also observed that some of her clients are dealing with a huge amount of grief around losing loved ones to the coronavirus and the loss of their regular lifestyles.
“I think that people are struggling with the loss of lives that they knew, the loss of rituals and quite frankly, the loss of human contact because the very thing that we were socialized to do, which is to socialize, was kind of stripped due to this COVID-19,” she said.
“This was a huge undertaking for people to wrap their arms around living a different lifestyle and not knowing how long. I feel like that if anything people became more open to the process of therapy because they recognize that they had to do something — that we’re not in normal times. People need help. They need to process all that has changed in their life.”
When the pandemic hit in March, Allen-Wilson quickly shifted from holding in-person therapy at her Wynnefield-based practice to offering online sessions for her clients.
Allen-Wilson has more than 20 years of experience as a relationship therapist. She has worked as the director of Clinical Training at Drexel University’s Couple and Family Therapy Department, an assistant director of Training for the Post-Master’s Certificate Program, co-director of the Anger Management program and a full-time clinical practitioner at Council for Relationships.
She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Howard University and a doctor of philosophy degree in couple and family therapy and master of family therapy degree from Drexel University
When Allen-Wilson started her practice in 2009, she named it F.A.I.T.H., which stands for Family and Individual Therapeutic Healing, because she regarded therapy as a healing tool.
“A lot of African Americans and people of color are sometimes fearful of therapy and they tend to have a stigma that is attached to it – that if you were to go to a therapist or engage in therapeutic intervention, you’re crazy,” she said.
She acknowledged that many African Americans have a cultural distrust of the mental health system.
“When we have engaged in the clinical process sometimes it has not served us very well,” said Allen-Wilson, who is also a radio and television personality.
“We have not been understood. We have often times been mistreated and devalued so it makes sense that people of color don’t trust this process.”
“We have not had the best relationship as people of color with therapeutic intervension and what I realized early on was that I was committed to helping anybody that came through my doors, but particularly committed to people of color because I feel like we get the short end of the stick,” she said noting that African Americans have dealt with 400 years of slavery, systemic racism, social unrest and social inequities.
“All of that has permeated our history on this soil and we need a safe environment to process all that pain,” Allen-Wilson said.
She has built a thriving brand and is often called upon share her expertise for radio and television appearances.
The Philadelphia native juggles running her clinical practice with working on Connections Matter, a business entity she that co-founded in 2015 with her husband, Morgan Wilson.
They recently produced an online show titled “Quarantine Talks,” which offers people a safe space to talk about how they are feeling during the pandemic and strategies on how to interact with their families and partners.
Allen-Wilson has authored a book titled Courageous Conversations Connect: A Pathway to Reset Your Mindset with Intentional Thoughts From the Inside Out and does media appearances and speaking engagements at colleges, universities and businesses under the umbrella of Connections Matter.
“Part of the whole Connections Matters piece is engaging with corporate America,” Wilson said.
He said they are helping businesses address issues of racism, bias and microagressions occurring in workplaces so that their staff and people of color can have a safer environment.
“In the diversity and inclusion space we’re trying to bridge that gap and come into that void,” Wilson said.
“We’ve been having webinars and workshops with companies and major corporations and helping them piece together what its like to have those conversations within their organizations (and) how does the executives in the C-suite create a safe environment to have those conversations.”
Allen-Wilson views her work as a labor of love.
“It leaves me with gratitude that even in the midst of a pandemic that our business is flourishing because we’re helping people on all different levels,” she added.