Group Therapy For Teen Girls

The Story of Transforming Lives Counseling Service



I have been asked many times what made me decide to start my practice and in particular why my practice is centered around providing psychotherapy to women and adolescents of color in particular Black women and girls.   This post will tell you a little about me and what led me down this path.

I’ve been a therapist for 24 years and I’ve worked in various capacities and several agencies as well as at an inpatient psychiatric hospital.    During this time I’ve worked with many different populations and have also been a speaker at different organizations and written articles about therapy with Afro Caribbean families and women.

Working at agencies is very stressful and although I loved my clients I knew I couldn’t be there forever. I had always wanted a private practice but due to several circumstances I didn’t begin the process until 2016.   After my last position as a clinical supervisor at an outpatient substance  abuse clinic in New York City, I decided that it was time to start my practice.  I’ve always been passionate about helping women of color especially Black women who often feel ashamed to seek mental health treatment.   I started Transforming Lives Counseling Service in July 2016, first it was only online and then as I grew I decided to open an office in addition to seeing people online via video.  My practice has grown so much since this time and I’ve expanded and have a wonderful therapist, Jennifer Dorsey, MHC-LP working with me.

People have also asked if it’s discriminatory that my practice focuses on the mental health needs of women and girls of color in particular Black women and girls.  Psychotherapy is often viewed as a luxury for wealthy white people and I wanted to bring culturally competent care to Black women and girls who often don’t get to see people who look like them as therapists.   All my clients are not women and girls of color.  I will work with anyone who feels they need to begin therapy to learn how to live a fulfilling life however my primary goal and focus will always be helping Black women and girls.  If you want to learn more, take a look at my website, Transforming Lives  .

Be well

Racquel P. Jones, LCSW

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Preteen and Teen Girls and Self Esteem



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Does your daughter often say, I’m fat. I’m too skinny. I’d be happy if I were taller, shorter or had longer legs? Does she seem to constantly put herself down? If she does, she is not alone, many teen and tween girls struggle with self image and body image. As her body changes, so does her image of herself and she may have difficulty adjusting and this often affects her self esteem.

Why Are Self-Esteem and Body Image Important?
Self-esteem is all about much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you behave. A person who has high self-esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of her behavior, and will enjoy life more.

Body image is how someone feels about her own physical appearance.
For many girls, especially those in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. This is because as kids develop into teens, they care more about how others see them.

What Influences a Person’s Self-Esteem?

Some girls struggle with their self-esteem when they begin puberty because the body goes through many changes. These changes, combined with a natural desire to feel accepted, mean it can be tempting for girls to compare themselves with others. They may compare themselves with the people around them or with celebrities they see on TV, in movies, or in magazines. It’s important to talk to girls about these changes and how everyone develops at different rates and no matter what they are beautiful.

Outside Influences

Family life can sometimes influence self-esteem. Some parents are very critical with their children. This often reduces the child’s ability to develop good self-esteem. While you don’t need to praise your child all the time, it is important to praise them and offer constructive rather than negative criticism.

Healthy Self-Esteem
If your daughter has a positive body image, she will like and accept herself. This healthy attitude allows your child to explore other aspects of growing up, such as developing good friendships, growing more independent from her parents, and challenging herself physically and mentally.

Tips for helping your daughter Improve her Body Image:
It’s important to talk to your daughter about the many different types of bodies. It’s important to help her to realize that no matter what she’s beautiful. If your daughter continues to have feelings of low self esteem, it may beneficial for her to receive counseling.

Should You Be Friends with Your Co workers?





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It used to be considered a bad idea to become friends with your co workers however today with the growth of social media , our personal and work lives tend to blend together more than in the past.  We often connect with co workers on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn soon after meeting and this will draw them more into our lives.

Of course being friends on social media with co workers has some drawbacks.  For example, should you post about hating your job if you have coworkers as Facebook friends?   And do you let your friend, who is also a colleague, know you weren’t really sick last Friday and went shopping instead of coming into the office?  You can hide some posts on social media so that’s a good option if you don’t want co workers to know everything going on with you.

A Gallup poll discovered people who identify having a best friend at work are  happier on the job. These people also rank high in overall job satisfaction. They tend to be more productive  and more loyal to their employer, and also get  sick less often.   The poll’s results suggest, spending time during your lunch break with colleagues  and meeting up with coworkers on the weekend can benefit you professionally as well as personally.

Here are some strategies for how to interact at work that allow you to spend quality time with coworkers while maintaining a good reputation:

  1. Take note of the office culture. Identify what attributes are valued among team members and how they communicate with one another. This will help you establish how you fit into the team and how to communicate with them.  This will give you a  a better idea of whether or not  your coworkers seem like people with whom you’d like to spend time outside of work.
  2. Avoid talking about other coworkers.  To avoid creating an awkward situation when a coworker is gossiping, you can reply with something like, “I don’t know, since I haven’t talked with her much.”

If you’re a manager or supervisor, you have a few extra things to consider.

  1. If you supervise people who are friends outside of work, make sure you never share information about other coworkers. What is workplace gossip to colleagues of an equal level is generally a violation of privacy for managers.
  2. Don’t try to cover things up. In most situations, honesty is the best policy. Tell your own supervisor if one of the employees you supervise is a friend and ask them to keep you accountable regarding fair treatment. While it’s not something you need to send a company email announcing, you  should acknowledge the friendship among your team if it comes up.

It may sometimes be  more difficult to navigate work and life when they intersect, however having friends at work can make you feel happier about going  to the office and it creates a culture of support when work gets complicated and life gets difficult.


Misconceptions about People who go to Therapy

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“Talk to your family and friends, why are paying someone to talk to you”.  “Are you crazy or something?”  These are phrases people often say to others when they hear that you’re seeing a  therapist.   Many people won’t seek therapy because they don’t want to be labeled as “crazy”.   Therefore in order to shed light on the truth about seeing a therapist and raise awareness, I’ve  complied a list of things you shouldn’t assume about people who go to therapy.

1. They’re weak.

Going to therapy is a very courageous and strong thing to do.  You have  to be open to facing every corner of your mind and heart and be completely open about fears, truths and experiences in order to really get the most of what a therapist can offer. This requires strength.  You need strength  in order to explore your own emotional and mental limits and boundaries, strength to be guided in directions you wouldn’t go and strength to learn and actively seek a better place.

2. They’re crazy.

Whether someone  is suffering from a mental illness or seeking help for overwhelming feelings/thoughts, “crazy” is never an appropriate term.


3.  Therapy is for rich people.

Therapy can be expensive, but there are different ways to pay for therapy.  Many therapists accept insurance and some have sliding fee scales.  Also Open Path Collective can connect you to therapists who charge between $30-$50 per session.

4. They have no friends.

Therapy is not a replacement for friendship, and a therapist is not a friend. Friendships are two-way streets, which can cause a very biased view of experiences and circumstances; therapy is a one-sided relationship with a professional who has the skills to guide and help you through your struggles and needs.  Most of my clients have many friends who love and care for them.


5.  They’re in a bad “place.”

Someone  does not need to be in a “bad” or “dangerous” place to see a therapist.  There’s usually a catalyst for deciding to go, but it could be a culmination of experiences or feelings, not necessarily that something bad recently happened to you.

6. There’s a set time frame for being in therapy.

Some people go to therapy for years while some only go for a few months to work on a specific issue.  The client and therapist will decide together an appropriate plan for treatment.

7.  They’re  on medication.

It’s common for people to believe that if you’re in therapy, you must be on medication.  While some people who are in therapy are also taking medication, many are not taking any medication.  Most of my clients in my practice do not take medication.

8. Their  therapist tells them what to do and what to think.

A therapist is there to help you  uncover your strengths, work through your struggles and help  you to lead a healthier, happier life not tell you  what to do.


It’s my hope that these common misconceptions will change and people will feel less ashamed about going to therapy.  Remember there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help.

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8 Things To Do instead of Spanking Your Child

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Spanking as a form of discipline has been shown to  teach and perpetuate violence,  rather than helping children to make better choices.  Children who are spanked are also more likely  to  have low self-esteem, depression, substance abuse and incarceration.  Contrary to the belief of many people, spanking your child will not keep them out of jail and most people who are in prison have been physically disciplined.

I’ve complied 8 suggestions which hopefully will be helpful to parents who want to learn ways to discipline without physical punishment

1 – Get Calm

First, if you feel angry and out of control and you want to spank or slap your child, try to leave the situation.  . Calm down and get quiet. In that quiet time you will often find an alternative or solution to the problem. Sometimes parents lose it because they are under a lot of stress. Dinner is boiling over, the kids are fighting, the phone is ringing and your child drops the can of peas and you lose it. If you can’t leave the situation, then try to step back and count to ten.

2 – Take Time for Yourself

Parents are more prone to use spanking when they haven’t had any time to themselves and they feel depleted and hurried.  It is important for parents to take some time for themselves.  Some examples of things to do would be taking a walk, reading or exercising..

3 – Be Kind but Firm

Another frustrating situation where parents tend to spank is when your child hasn’t listened to your repeated requests to behave. Finally, you spank to get your child to act appropriately. Another solution in these situations is to get down on your child’s level, make eye contact, touch him gently  and tell him, in a short, kind but firm phrase, what it is you want him to do. For example, “I want you to play quietly.”

4 – Give Choices

Giving your child a choice is an effective alternative to spanking. If she is playing with her food at the table ask, Would you like to stop playing with your food or would you like to leave the table?” If the child continues to play with her food, you use kind but firm action by helping her down from the table. Then tell her that she can return to the table when she is ready to eat her food without playing in it.

5 – Use Logical Consequences

Consequences  that are logically related to the behavior help teach children responsibility. For example, your child breaks a neighbor’s window and you punish him by spanking him. What does he learn about the situation? He may learn to never do that again, but he also learns that he needs to hide his mistakes, blame it on someone else, lie, or simply not get caught. He may decide that he is bad or feel anger and revenge toward the parent who spanked him. When you spank a child, he may behave because he is afraid to get hit again. However, do you want your child to behave because he is afraid of you or because he respects you?

Compare that situation to a child who breaks a neighbor’s window and his parent says, “I see you’ve broken the window, what will you do to repair it?” using a kind but firm tone of voice. The child decides to mow the neighbor’s lawn and wash his car several times to repay the cost of breaking the window. What does the child learn in this situation? That mistakes are an inevitable part of life and it isn’t so important that he made the mistake but that he takes responsibility to repair the mistake. The focus is taken off the mistake and put on taking responsibility for repairing it. The child feels no anger or revenge toward his parent. And most importantly the child’s self-esteem is not damaged.

6 – Withdraw from Conflict

Children who talk  back to  parents may provoke a parent to want to hit them. In this situation, it is best if you withdraw from the situation immediately. Do not leave the room in anger. Calmly say, “I’ll be in the next room when you want to talk more respectfully.”

7 – Use kind but firm action

Instead of  hitting an infant’s hand or bottom when she touches something she isn’t supposed to, kindly but firmly pick her up and take her to the next room. Offer her a toy or another item to distract her and say, “You can try again later.” You may have to take her out several times if she is persistent.

8 – Inform Children Ahead of Time

A child’s temper tantrum can easily set a parent off. Children frequently throw tantrums when they feel uninformed or powerless in a situation. Instead of telling your child he has to leave his friend’s house right before you have to leave, tell him that you will be leaving in five minutes. This allows the child to complete what he was in the process of doing.

Aggression is a form of perpetuating violence in society. A

form of this is spanking because it takes it’s toll on a child’s self-esteem, this often causes the child to be rebellious and uncooperative. Consider for a moment the vision of a family that knows how to win cooperation and creatively solve their problems without using force or violence. The alternatives are limitless and the results are calmer parents and happier more well adjusted children.

How to Keep Love Alive


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It is often said that long-term relationships eventually  become flat and boring. Many people believe this  and expect this to occur to them. When they experience moments in which feelings of desire, or sexual excitement are not as  stimulating as before,  they assume that the flame has gone out and that the future is bleak and uninspiring.   It’s  impossible to prevent stale moments from  occasionally occurring,  however it is possible to strengthen the  relationship to minimize their impact and diminish their frequency.   You’re probably thinking, there’s a catch but there isn’t one, keeping your relationship fresh, passionate, and exciting—whether you’re 20 or 90—just requires putting more fun and passion in your life.

Try some of these tips to keep passion in your relationship:

  1. Identify which person can help deepen intimacy.In most relationships, there is one partner who places a higher value than the other on romance.   Since this person is more likely to notice when the romance is fading,  they have  more power to introduce corrections to foster more closeness and playfulness. They are not solely responsibility for keeping an eye on things, but because of their awareness, they are more capable of influencing the depth of your connection.
  2. Keep dating each other. Leaving the home provides a change of scenery and enlivens things for both partners.  Staying home for a date can be fun, too.  Try to make dates a regular part of your relationship.
  3. Unplug. Designate a time for when you will  create a tech-free zone which will assure you that there will be no interruptions.
  4. Dance in private. After dinner you can listen to music together, and then dance. If you’d prefer privacy, try dancing with your partner in your own living room or bedroom.
  5. Give each other massages. Massage is another great way to keep romance alive. You don’t need a massage table or fancy scented oils—and you don’t have to be a professionally-trained masseuse.
  6. Hide love notes for your partner to find. Love notes stuck in books, under plates and pillows, and in the  drawer will  draw smiles of appreciation.
  7. Speak the language of love to each other. Last, but not least, is the way lovers talk romantic talk. It needs to be sincere, intimate, and full of feeling from the heart.

    Taking the time to be with each other will do .wonders to rekindle the spark in your relationship.  Remember to have fun and enjoy new things that will bring increased happiness and wellbeing to you and your partner.