Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenji Jones-Lane.
Hi Kenji, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve always had big dreams and strong determination and it has led me to where I am today. When I was younger, my dream was to become a lawyer because I was very inquisitive and loved to debate. It initially seemed like an interesting field but, after seeing my mother prepare for work wearing white from head to toe, my passion changed and I wanted to become a medical professional. I chose the field of nursing since helping and caring for others was a trait that came naturally. As we all know, life happens and plans change. After successfully completing high school and entering college, I had to leave my educational journey to tend to family matters. In 2007, I returned to college to complete courses to begin my journey to become a registered nurse. Upon completing my required courses for nursing school, I decided to continue with college to obtain my Associate of Arts degree for personal fulfillment. I happily received my degree in 2008 and was asked to be the class valedictorian for graduation…what an honor! With much anxiety, I delivered the valedictorian speech to a very large crowd and was ultimately accepted into the nursing program, but had to unexpectedly decline due to yet another dose of life.
Continued determination pushed me to further my education in a field that I found to be both interesting and engaging. Learning about psychology and sociology has been pivotal in dealing with my personal struggles and has also given me some much-needed space to increase self-awareness and healing. I obtained both my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Minor in Sociology and Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy degrees from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH-GO TOROS!) in 2012 (Cum Laude) and 2015 (Summa Cum Laude), respectively. Obtaining my degrees increased my self-worth, so I decided to embark on an unthinkable, unimaginable adventure: obtaining my doctorate degree. This was a goal that I had never thought of achieving when I began this journey in 2007, but I completed all of my requirements and defended my dissertation, successfully earning my doctorate degree in Psychology. And although you no longer receive honors and awards, I maintained a 4.0 GPA for the entire 2 years of instructional study.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
No! This has not been a smooth road at all! Gratefully, it’s been extremely instrumental in creating the woman I am today. While in junior high and high school, I experienced many obstacles, including bullying, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, and racism. I also lived during a prevalent time where an inner-city epidemic destroyed black families everywhere. As an only child, heartbreak, abandonment, and neglect were all familiar friends to me and I handled my struggles the only way I knew how: with suppression, spontaneous actions, and irrational decision making. I deflected my pain and hid scars that were both physical and emotional.
My aspirations and dreams were placed on hold in 1994 when I dropped out of college to care for my family. My choice to leave school was made with no hesitation, but I received negative judgment and criticism from unlikely sources, resulting in low self-esteem and depression. Life has definitely thrown many curves my way, and it has not been easy to process all that I’ve had to face, but I know I have an assignment, my purpose is greater than my pain, and the rest of my story is still unwritten.
Losing loved ones is never easy but when you lose them in close succession of one another, it’s difficult to process. Within seven years, I lost 11 relatives, including both of my grandmothers and my parents. I can’t begin to convey the emptiness and pain I’ve experienced, but still, I keep moving forward. Feelings tend to resurface but thankfully, my children, my husband, and my prayer warriors continue to encourage and support me. I am more than a conqueror and because of that, I refuse to stop fighting.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Aspire to Inspire Motivational Services?
I am so excited for this new venture-Aspire to Inspire Motivational Services is coming soon! It is being created to bring mental health awareness to underserved, underprivileged communities through education, outreach, and engagement. My goal is to eradicate the stigma and misconceptions surrounding Black mental health.
My future outlook is to foster a space that cultivates community, safety, and mental health education through local resources and like-minded mental health professionals. I would love to be part of the foundation that promotes and supports positive change as it pertains to mental wellbeing within the Black family unit.
As a psychological therapist, I specialize in individual and group therapy, dealing with issues surrounding trauma, mental health disorders, and marriage and family concerns. I am proud to be a Black female therapist that actively gives back to the community that I grew up in by bringing mental health awareness to those that don’t have a clear understanding of what they need.
The field of mental health lacks familiarity in the Black community, so I would like to pour into that overlooked and marginalized space that’s been ignored for far too long. The space where one can find comfort when they look across the room and see someone that can relate to their story and understand their point of view.
I am also a self-published author of two 90-Day Inspirational Devotionals that are available on Amazon. The 3rd installment will be released soon:
Aspire to Inspire: An Inspirational Devotional for a Joyful Life.
Aspire to Inspire: An Inspirational Devotional for a Purposeful Life.
Both of my books encourage personal growth and awareness through a Christian lens. They offer daily motivational encouragement with reference scriptures and a space to journal your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Both journals can be used to increase mental wellness, personal awareness, and healing.
My mission is to demystify the myths surrounding therapy while providing a judgement-free outlet of safety and acceptance. With the help and support from my community, we can work together to change the narrative that surrounds Black Mental Health and create room for voices to be heard, feelings to be expressed, and healing to take place. It is time for our growth and understanding within our group, and it begins with us.
What do you like and dislike about the city?
I love that Los Angeles is multi-faceted and diverse. There is so much to see and do, with many activities that cultivate knowledge and celebrate my culture. It’s my home, LA born and raised, it’s all I know!
When I frequent locations from my childhood, I notice many changes, like everything seems smaller. Los Angeles attracts dreamers so, while the city size remains the same, the population has increased drastically! The overcrowding sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy all that LA has to offer.
- Individual Sessions begin at $145 per hour
- Couples Therapy begins at $245 per hour
- Website: www.kjoneslmft.com
- Instagram: @dr_kayjaylmft
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Kenji-Jones-LMFT-100162415573194