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Meet Jacquelin Darby of The Pinnacle Center in Maryland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacquelin Darby.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My journey to becoming a psychologist is an interesting one because growing up, I did not want to be any sort of counselor. I was asked quite often to be a peer counselor or be a part of a peer mentor program and I would say no because I didn’t think that was something that would be a good fit for me. However, it wasn’t until I took an AP Psychologist course in high school that I understood what being a therapist meant and I found that this field was for me all along. When I went to Chicago State University for my bachelor’s, it was there I was able to begin to shape my identity as a Black mental health provider. The faculty in the psychology department had a profound impact on my education and to this day, I often reference them when I provide supervision. I remember one professor who said “get all the degrees, you can” and so I have to drive to do just that. The education that I received at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology not only reinforced my clinical skills, but it showed me how I can infuse multiculturalism into psychology. That faculty pushed me and when I applied to my doctoral program in DC, they weren’t shocked because they saw that I was capable of doing it. So, five years later, here I am, doing exactly what I said I would never do and that is being a licensed psychologist.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Was the road smooth? Ha, not at all. There were many bumps along the way. Some because of my own doing and some because of the system. The one thing that I had a struggle with was learning how to handle the microaggressions that I encountered. I am grateful that I have a great support system at my school, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a toll on you. I remember individuals being shocked that I was in a doctoral program. I had a man come up to me and say “aren’t you too young to be a doctor?” or I had someone who didn’t believe that I was a doctor only because I didn’t “look” like one. Having to constantly break the stereotypes of what a doctoral student or even what a psychologist looks is a big and constant struggle.

The Pinnacle Center – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Currently, I provide individual therapy at The Pinnacle Center which is located in Waldorf, Maryland. I work there on a part-time basis. My full-time work is at American University where I am a Post-Doctorate Fellow at the counseling center. At both agencies, I work with young adults with a variety of mental health concerns. I specialize in substance use disorders, anxiety, body image concerns, and relationship difficulties. I love helping people learn how to make themselves a priority and to put their emotional health first. I am proud of the work that I get to do with these individuals. It’s great to see a change in people and what sets apart from others is the emphasis I place on building the therapeutic relationship. If there is no trust between me and the client, then, it makes it harder to do the work.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have a lot of proud moments, but they don’t involve me. I am really proud of my clients. I think it takes guts for them to face a lot of the hard stuff that they have been avoiding. Nevertheless, my proudest moment was when I got to accepted to present a paper at the 2018 American Psychological Association Annual Convention. I have always wanted to present an academic article at the convention so as to have the opportunity in August to do that is awesome.

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