Kente Circle: a model for mental wellness

OpenEyessquareAs we gear up for another year, we must not be remiss in dealing with our mental and emotional health. As we set forth our resolutions, we must conduct a self-check and ask, “Is my head right?”

The year 2014 has been an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish for the Black community. Racism and anti-Blackness has been in the forefront of most news stories from the beginning of the year until the past few days. Many people have become hopeless, frustrated, depressed and angry over the past few months.

It’s been a huge toll on our emotional health, and it seems like there is not an end in sight. One place to seek refuge may be Kente Circle.

History 

Kente Circle is a mental health agency specializing in providing individual, couples, family, group, and in-home therapy to people living in Minneapolis-St. Paul and surrounding communities. Larry G. Tucker, LMFT, and J. Phillip Rosier, LMFT founded Kente in 2004. Tucker leads a clinically diverse staff with professional training in marriage and family therapy, psychology and social work.

 J. Phillip Rosier, left, and Larry G. Tucker Photo by Brandon Jones
J. Phillip Rosier, left, and Larry G. Tucker Photo by Brandon Jones

The concept behind Kente Circle was twofold. Firstly, to provide people of color a place of healing and wellness. Secondly, to be intentional in starting a business that can be successful being owned by Black males.

Tucker states, “We wanted to model that Black people can own successful businesses.” Kente Circle has served as a model for mental health treatment now for 10 years.

Tucker attributes Kente Circle’s success to an essential partnership with the community. He states, “We could have not be successful over the last 10 years had it not been for the people who have entrusted their lives, struggles, hopes and dreams with us and to us. It’s been a amazing experience.” Developing fruitful connections to the community has been essential to the growth of Kente.

The mission of Kente Circle is “Helping our communities grow through the recognition and affirmation of communal faith, genius and health.” This mission is displayed in the work they produce.

Kente Circle’s therapists are known for their work with children experiencing emotional and behavioral problems. Their clientele include individuals, couples and families from various social, economic, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual backgrounds.

 

What makes Kente different?

The word “Kente” comes from West Africa’s Kente cloth. Kente cloth is a very colorful fabric that is hand woven. According to the tradition of how Kente cloth is created, the meaning of each piece is different depending on what part of West Africa (country of origin) it was made in.

Similar to the concept of the cloth, the therapists work in groups to conduct therapy. This relational model, designed to provide wraparound learning experiences for the clients and therapists. This type of model is set up to also provide examples of how to build effective relationships with others.

This unique and strong approach to therapy has lead to Kente Circle being one of the most sought-after places for individuals to intern. Kente Circle has been able to develop partnerships with most of the major colleges in the state of Minnesota and even a few schools in Wisconsin to provide experiential training for future therapists.

This is a testimony to the high-quality work Kente Circle is producing. In the past 10 years, Kente Circle has successfully graduated nearly 100 interns.

What’s next for Kente?

On January 14, 2015 there will be an open house for families and community members to learn more about their mission and the services. There will be light refreshments and a tour of the facilities. Also, the first 30 guests will receive a gift box.

For more information about Kente Circle, call 612-243-1600 or visit their website at www.kentecircle.com. 

Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to openeyesopenmind@ymail.com or follow him on twitter @Univer salJones.