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Meet Stephanie Anyakwo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Anyakwo.

Stephanie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Inglewood, CA. Both of my parents are Nigerian and immigrated to the United States in the early 80s. Being first-generation Nigerian American, my parents never fell short in showing me how hard work and dedication can yield positive results. Honestly, I owe everything I am today to them. Not once did I ever think that I had to be a product of my environment, but they supported me every step of the way and made me feel like I could do anything in the world that I put my mind to-and they were right.

After graduating from high school, I received the Bill Gates Millennium scholarship which was rewarded to individuals who excelled scholastically, but most importantly who exhibited leadership in their community and school. I was thrilled to receive this scholarship because at that time, I had no idea how I was going to afford college as my parents were already trying their best to assist my two older brothers at their universities. The Bill Gates Scholarship paid for my entire 4-year college experience at Loyola Marymount University and that is where I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Individual and Family and a Minor in African American Studies.

During my senior year in college, I knew that my goal was to help people…to make an impact. So I figured that my next steps out of college would be to transition to Law School and become a lawyer. That was until I realized that being a lawyer was a value that was of my parents, not mine. I then started brainstorming other ways that I can still help and make an impact, but that would be more true to my value system and not anyone else.

I continued in the field of psychology and became a Behavioral Interventionist in 2009 at a Behavioral Agency that worked with children with special needs (i.e., Autism, Emotional Disorders, Communicative Disorders, etc.). After working in the field for some time, I realized that there was a missing component with the work that I was doing. I was providing a great service to the child and seeing results! However, I saw countless families break down in the process whether it was divorce, child/parent issues, siblings suffering from isolation and depression due to not having attention, and the list goes on and on. It then occurred to me that the missing link is just as important as the child directly receiving these services, so this caused me to go back to school and receive my Masters in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012. Shortly after, I went back to school and also became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2015.

Throughout my time in school, in the field, and collaborating with mentors and colleagues, my focus was always to perfect my craft and learn as much as I could. I always knew that I had a special gift within in me that would not be able to fully manifest under the rules of an agency or another person. It was important for me to start a private practice and provide care in a unique way to help individuals, children, and families, to access change they want in a comfortable yet systematic way. As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, this is exactly what I do each day. Also, community will always be important to me. So starting a private practice is not only solely for me, but it is also to break the stigma of mental health in my community and culture. Allowing everyone to see that there is no shame in seeking help…in my opinion, asking for help proactively or reactively is the strongest thing anyone can ever do.

Has it been a smooth road?
A smooth road? I really don’t think there is a such thing as a smooth road. I have had my fair share of ups downs and people who told me that I would never make it. One of my fondest memories of this is when I was leaving a company years ago to start the private practice journey, and one of the higher-ups told me, “You’ll be back.” I wonder if she’s still waiting for that call…

Success does not come without failures. It is just that simple. I think society fosters a notion now of instant gratification and wanting success at an alarming quick rate without putting in the hard work and learning from your mistakes. Failing at something does not mean that you are a failure. My advice to anyone who is thinking of starting a new idea, taking a risk, or following their passion, is that success does not happen overnight and nothing comes fast but a mistake.

Take your time, journal your lessons, and enjoy the ride!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
During COVID, all my services are provided through telehealth (Online). I work collaboratively with all clients to set goals, provide evidenced-based and mindful strategies to help achieve these goals, and engage in positive reinforcement throughout the journey.

I specialize in working Individuals, Children, and Families across issues such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem/confidence issues, life transitions, Family Systems /Parenting, Relationship Issues, Autism/ADHD, Behavioral Issues and Identity Issues.

I think what separates me apart from other therapists is that I have a unique approach to therapy due to my diverse training and experiences. I use skills and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness to create a unique treatment plan specialized for each client.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Absolutely. One of the main reasons why I love South Bay is because it’s centrally located. However, COVID has impacted this but the nice thing is that virtually you can see more clients you may have not had access to before due to not necessarily needing a formal office set up now. I have received great feedback from clients who say they enjoy the virtual experience better because it is more convenient for their schedules.

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