Note: Tonya has graced us with
her Connections column for the better
part of two years.We finally get a chance
to talk to the GeoClan.com contributor
to get a little more on what makes her
tick. To see one of her columns on GeoClan.com
check out this one on saying
(GC): Where are you from and where do
you want to go?
Ladipo (TL): Geographically I am
from Chicago. I say that because
it's a big part of who I am. Though
I have been in Philadelphia for 11 years,
I still feel like a transplant at times.
plan to stay in Philadelphia and continue
working in my private practice.
I am fortunate to have a job that I absolutely
love. In starting my own therapy
practice I am able to work with clients
of my choosing, and I get along well with
my boss (me!).
What do you miss about the Windy City?
family, the lake, and the pizza.
While Philly is my new home, Chicago always
has my heart. Of course family
is irreplaceable. And it wasn't
until I moved to Philly that I realized
how much I love seeing water daily.
Chicago is situated on Lake Michigan so
it's all I saw every single day, I really
miss it. Chicago's deep-dish pizza
is truly an unique food that you cannot
get anywhere else. Whenever I go
home I make sure that's at least one of
What made you decide to take your career
In college I was interested in researching
sexual assault. I planned to graduate,
work for a year to gain some experience
then return for my Ph.D. and research
sexual assault. After graduation
I fell in love with the work. I
realized that I like working with people
much more than researching them.
As a result graduate school was put on
hold for several years and I gained a
lot of experience from my work.
Give us your path to having your own private
practice. What does that mean to you?
After working in various agencies for
10 years I recognized a pattern, I liked
my clients but because of agency culture
and/or policy I was not always able to
work the way that I wanted to.
I decided to try my own practice.
I could create my own policies and ways
of working and really work with the clients
I wanted to. I thought that by
having my own practice I would not have
to "fight" with a system to see clients
of color. As a result, a large
part of my practice is geared toward serving
the African-American community.
How does your background and experiences
help you in your profession?
My own struggles help me understand the
reactions, thoughts, and emotions of others.
Even though I do not have the same
experiences as all of my clients, my personal
experiences help me to understand their
feelings. I know what sadness,
guilt, fear, and shame feel like.
I also know courage, joy, peace, and contentment.
Experiencing my own journey helps
me to understand my clients' current perspective
while giving them hope for how things
can be different in the future.
When dealing with your clients what do
you try to impart with them?
I want all of my clients to leave therapy
knowing that they are resilient and capable
people. They can endure difficult
life situations and still have joy in
their world. When they cannot find
solutions on their own they can reach
out for help. These are all things
that I want my clients to have.
What's the big part of HIV/AIDS people
still don't get?
can contract HIV/AIDS. Some people
also don't realize that while the treatments
for HIV/AIDS are significantly better
than in the past, there still is no cure.
Prevention is the only cure.
What's the best/worst thing about what
The best thing about my job is being able
to witness and be a part of people's changes.
I love watching clients come to
me who don't know how to improve their
situations. In our time together
I witness them learn more about themselves
and discover new ways of interacting with
others that brings them the changes they
is the worst thing? This is actually
the hardest question to answer.
Now that I have my own practice I can't
think of anything that I don't like within
it. I like my work, my clients,
my boss, what's there to dislike?!
Tell us about your practice and website.
What can people find/get services for?
In my practice I work with individuals
and couples. I provide my services
to the African-American community and
the LGBT communities. Sometimes
people ask why I focus on these groups.
As an African-American female I
really appreciate the desire of some to
meet with someone who has an understanding
of being Black in America. I want
to serve my community and be a resource
working with the LGBT communities, I have
a lot of experience with these communities
and a strong desire to be of service to
them. It can be difficult for LGBT
folk to find a therapist who is more than
tolerant but who is understanding, accepting,
and informed about their struggles.
Because of this the LGBT communities are
also a focus of my practice.
has more information about my services.
What's been the response your Connections
People seem to really enjoy the Connections
articles. They learn new information
each month as well as upcoming events.
I also really enjoy writing it.
What's next and anything else you want
the people to know?
In the future I plan to expand my services
to work with families. Currently
I focus on working with individuals and
couples because of space restrictions.
Hopefully in the years to come I will
be able to expand my practice to include
this important area of therapy services.
How can people reach out to you?
Contacting me via phone (215.421.9056)
or e-mail (email@example.com)
is the best way to reach me.
any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org