La’Tesha Sampson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has leveraged years of professional experience to cultivate positive change within her community. Her conviction towards helping those in need is what fueled her ongoing academic success, and she is now a prominent author, grant writer, non-profit trainer, and program facilitator.

Dr. Sampson is a proud graduate of Syracuse University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree before completing a Master’s in Public Administration from the Metropolitan College of New York, a Master’s in Social work from Kean University, and a PhD in Christian Counselling from Northern Theological Seminary. 

La’Tesha Sampson attributes much of her professional success to her time spent at University. As a strong advocate for formal education, she firmly believes that obtaining a post-secondary degree can help catapult career ambitions while providing the opportunity to develop life-long skills. 

Dr. Sampson is currently the President and Founder of Great Joy Counseling and Consulting Services in Westfield, New Jersey, where she provides innovative, therapeutic psychotherapy and life coaching services to individuals, couples, and families. She is also the Chief Executive Officer at Erase the Divide, a New Jersey based nonprofit aimed at eradicating the digital divide in communities of color.

Having been a prominent member of her community for over two decades, Dr. Sampson has also sponsored and assisted numerous non-profits globally including programs in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Ghana, Mexico, and the United States.

As a spokesperson for positive change and a voice for communities in need, La’Tesha Sampson takes pride in her ability to help others transform not only their way of thinking, but also their everyday life.

1) How did you get your start in serving disenfranchised individuals and communities?

“I began working formally in the social services field in 1998; however, I have always been a social justice advocate. I remember wanting to change the world as a child, and consistently speaking up about unjust practices, much to the chagrin of my family. Throughout my two-decade journey, I have worked with disenfranchised individuals domestically and abroad.”

2) What inspires you to be an agent of change?

“I firmly believe that coming together to cultivate positive change can improve the human condition. Recognizing the pain that others feel motivates me to actively engage in relevant social causes while working to implement long-term solutions. I have received a wide range of professional opportunities, and I want to use my knowledge and resources to help underserved individuals and communities.”

3) How do you inspire others to realize and achieve their fullest potential?

“I inspire others to realize and achieve their fullest potential by reminding them how to tap into their own voice. I teach them how to drown out the expectations of others and look inward, then to truthfully determine the life they want to live. I help people understand the importance of being fulfilled in both their personal and professional life.”

4) What tactics do you recommend our readers use to safeguard their mental health during Covid-19 and the protests for justice?

“I think it is vital to remember that social media is an effective tool to generate engagement and to come together as one; however, it can also be a primary source of anxiety, especially for today’s youth. News outlets continue to display graphic images of the protests while providing commentary on the current economic and global health crisis which can exacerbate symptoms of PTSD and depression. 

To combat these symptoms, I would recommend that people develop a daily routine. Having a set schedule for yourself and your family can help you remain grounded. I would also highly suggest limiting the amount of time spent on social media and watching the news, and when doing so, making sure you engage only with reputable sources.” 

5) What role does the media play in the advocacy for mental health, and how would you like to see this changed?

“Mass media exists in almost every facet of our everyday lives, and therefore plays a prominent role in shaping our perceptions and behaviors. Unfortunately, the media often perpetuates harmful stigmas and negative stereotypes, which is especially evident in the entertainment industry. I see many television shows attempt to address mental health concerns only to dramatize real-world issues. I think rather than focusing on the negative aspects of mental health, we would do well to highlight the positives of therapy and MH treatments.”

6) What do you recommend for people who are feeling overwhelmed with the current social climate in the United States?

“It is vital to remain informed, especially given the social upheaval that is currently happening globally. However, instead of focusing on aspects of the situation, you cannot control, I think it is important to channel your emotions positively.

We can all contribute in some way or another, and it is up to you to figure out the degree in which you can cultivate positive change. It may be as simple as sharing an informative article online to starting a community-wide initiative. When you actively acknowledge relevant social issues, you become part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

7) What advice would you give someone entering a career in social work?

“Social work is not for the faint-hearted, but it is also highly rewarding due to the nature of your role. Social workers are problem solvers and are committed to helping represent and empower underserved communities. I am forever grateful that I have both the connections and resources available to help make a difference in people’s lives. My advice to individuals new to this career? Enter this field with your eyes wide open. Be an agent of change. Commit yourself entirely to the initiatives you believe in.”

8) What challenges have you overcome to achieve your success?

“I have overcome many challenges to get to where I am today including childhood sexual abuse and trauma, domestic violence, homelessness, racism, seismic, and classism. I draw from my personal experiences to better understand the pain of others.”

9) How has Covid-19 affected your ability to provide therapy?

“Like many other businesses, we are using the current situation as an opportunity to improve our services. We have been able to connect with clients online, which has only enhanced our communication efforts. I look forward to seeing what the future holds as we continue to offer a wide range of services to the best of our abilities.”