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- Building Our Own Table: Shayla Sima Dube
Building Our Own Table: Shayla Sima Dube
Meet the founder of Wellness Empowered Counselling & Consulting Inc
I’ve been following Shayla Sima Dube for quite a while on LinkedIn. I’ve enjoyed her focused and unapologetic posts focused on empowering people and Ubuntu, so I was delighted to feature her work and approach here. Please meet Shayla…
Shayla, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding Wellness Empowered Counselling & Consulting Inc
In addition to mothering/ co- parenting and general adulting, prior to starting Wellness Empowered, I was practicing frontline clinical social work as a child and youth mental health therapist in a community health capacity and I have been a registered social worker since 2009 serving diverse children, youth and their families as an employee for 13 years altogether.
Give me the elevator pitch for Wellness Empowered
Established in 2019 just before covid, Wellness Empowered’s offerings are: individual psychotherapy, cultural safety consultancy, psychoeducation workshop facilitation and equitable clinical supervision for social workers and counselling therapists across Canada.
And in more detail?
Using identity affirming, anti-oppressive practice, collective healing centred, culturally responsive and decolonizing - intersectionality lenses, I am an African centred space holder who bears witness to multistoried healing journeys of people who are racialized as Black, other racially minoritized groups, indigenous peoples and gender diverse folks and sexually expansive people so that they can reclaim their silenced voices, power, sovereignty and sacredness in a world that invisiblizes, inferiorizes, disenfranchizes, minoritizes and dis-indigenizes them.
What inequity were you trying to redress/address, and why is this important?
Elevating myself to become a clinical social work supervisor was inspired by that in the 11 years that I have been a therapist, I have never had either a manager or a clinical supervisor who looked like me. That erasure of my identity and those of other racially minoritized people in leadership positions and the disproportionate numbers of racially minorized therapists inspired me to pursue my own practice so that I could give permission to fellow therapists of African and Caribbean descent to occupy space and be the change they wish to see.
If social workers and therapists aren’t decolonizing their approaches to mental health and supervision, they are inevitably recolonizing and oppressing people instead of being social agents of change and disrupters of status quo.
How’s it going? What has the response been?
The relief that therapy participants, supervisees and organizations’ staff members often express about feeling wholly seen, understood and validated without being subjected to micro and macro aggressions, racial gaslighting, code- switching and translating their souls has been rewarding and fuelling. When I started the business it was part-time for 4 years, however I have finally summoned up the courage to transition from agency work to full-time private practice as of 15 January 2024 and I cannot wait to bloom and blossom with those that I partner with and serve.
What’s next for your Wellness Empowered?
What’s next is growing Wellness Empowered from solo to group practice by 2025, weasel out of individual psychotherapy and focus more on group therapy, workshops and cultural safety consultancy as collective healing solutions and to have more impact while combating western psychology of individualization and prescribing individual solutions to systemic oppression.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
I envision a human conscious and Ubuntu centred society that sees and honours the humanity and souls behind diverse skin colours and colonially rooted social constructs. We cannot end racism by perpetuating the same pseudo ideologies of human division that are rooted in dehumanization as they work to maintain the superiority-inferiority complex binaries that fuel systemic racism. My fervent hope is that we will all eventually redefine our own identities in our own narratives and outside the confines of coloniality of power so that we can reclaim our precolonial sovereignty, sacredness and communal solidarity.
Is there anything I haven't asked you that you'd like to add?
Who my inspiration is: My philanthropic 83 year old grandmother, the matriarch of my family who didn’t carry me in her womb but has continued to carry me in her heart and spirit through her steadfast prayers. I am my grandmother’s teachings and I stand on her strong shoulders.
I love Shayla’s vision for the world and her inspiration. Please use the links below to connect with her and follow her work.
Connect with Shayla Sima Dube
Thanks for reading,
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