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Meet Folake Ike, LCSW of A Crooked Crown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Folake Ike.

Hi Folake, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I hadn’t imagined myself as becoming a Mental Health Practitioner and Advocate. In my early adulthood, I began my college journey as a Nursing major, a career choice influenced by my mother, who is a Psychiatric Registered Nurse. I quickly found that elements of the Nursing program did not align with my deeper interests. Well what did interest me? At the time, I had no clue! It came time for me to switch majors and as I skimmed through all the majors that my small upstate New York university offered, I came across the Social Work/Human Services Major. I read the description and thought “this I what I want to do!” The mission of the program connected with the part of me I struggled to put into words. Of course some members of my family questioned my career choice. “You’ll never make any money” they said, a common stigma about those individuals who pursue a career in social work, but I didn’t care! I was happy that I would be spending my time engaged with clients who all had a unique story to tell. I graduated from Mount Saint Mary College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and subsequently enrolled at the University of Southern California where I received my Master of Social Work degree.

After graduation, I spent several years working in child welfare agencies with at risk youth, foster youth, and adopted youth and later obtained my Clinical License in Social Work. For many individuals, studying for this National licensing exam is a nightmare. I, on the other hand, felt energized! I spent time with my head in the aspects of this field that I felt most passionate about, mental illness. I had a new outlook on the Lifetime movies and Psychological Thrillers that I spent watching as self-care! (lol) After obtaining my licensure, opportunities opened for me to gain knowledge about mental illness firsthand. I started working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital with individuals with acute mental illness. I later began my career as an individual therapist, a position I am currently employed as.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My journey has been far from smooth, along with the natural stressors of the field, I had to cope with my own personal life stressors. Stressors that led me to question my ability to be an effective therapist. I often asked myself, “how can I support clients in managing life stressors when I can’t get my own sh*t together.” I realized the self-limiting beliefs that were holding me back in my career and started to take the advice I often gave to my clients. Being raised in an African household, at least mine, crying, even as a female, was a sign of weakness. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean you’re literally crying, tears coming down and all. “Crying”, even figuratively, can mean emotionally vomiting! But sometimes, we need those moments and we need people around us to help clean up what we spewed out, as nasty and disgusting as it may appear. “Vomit” shows all the things that our stomachs had a hard time processing. In comparison, emotional vomit is often the thing we struggle to process in our hearts and minds. I sometimes wonder if I chose the career field I did because helping others work through their emotions, in a sense, has helped me worked through my own suppressed emotions. I have learned through the years that: It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to say “NO,” It’s OK to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about A Crooked Crown?
I currently practice as an individual therapist for a private agency, however, I started A Crooked Crown blog to address mental health challenges Women of Color face. For decades, Women of Color have been addressed as “Queens” to signify honor and esteem. Despite its empowering impact, the word “Queen” comes with much weight. I created this blog for Women of Color who bear the weight of their crowns. My blog is dedicated to the women who have embodied and embraced the “Queen” persona, thus, developing the “strong black woman syndrome.” In today’s society, we as Women of Color, have an expectation to live up to our “Queen” identities. This identity, although characterized by strength, perseverance, and resilience, sometimes fails to acknowledge the internal challenges that we as Women of Color face as we strive to uphold the qualifications of this identity.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Hmmm. The question is, what don’t they know! I’m pretty transparent as evidenced by the content on my blog as well as my Instagram stories. I guess behind this transparency is someone who freaks out before posting as I really am super shy! I’m working towards more live content to engage with readers on a more personal level, I just have to get over the sounds of my voice! Haha!


  • At this time, access to my blog is FREE.99. In the future I will offer individual therapy services at my own private practice as well as clinical supervision for those wishing to obtain their LCSW.

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