Shirreka Mackay currently attends Fielding Graduate University where she is pursuing a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. She received her MA in Counseling Psychology in 2010 from Bowie State University, and subsequently worked towards obtaining licensure via providing mental health services to active duty service members. In the process of working towards this goal, she worked as a substance abuse counselor followed by several years of working as a psychology technician within an Embedded Behavioral Health Clinic and an Intensive Outpatient Program. While in these roles, she provided various mental health services, including individual therapy, group counseling, psychoeducation, and family outreach. Shirreka has also been affiliated with the military community for more than 20 years as a military spouse.
Since returning to school, Shirreka has had the opportunity to work in other clinical settings apart from military environments, including an inpatient treatment facility and in the most recently, a college counseling center. Collectively appreciating these opportunities, she has developed a special interest in working with individuals who have been diagnosed and/or present with concerns related to severe mental illness, combat trauma, and depression. Additionally, as Shirreka continues to pursue her doctoral studies, she desires to expand her clinical training to other areas of interest including sexual assault trauma, eating disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder. She also has a vested interest in addressing the racial and socioeconomic disparities in the educational achievement gaps of children, adolescents, and young adults.
With respect to her therapy style, Shirreka embraces contemporary psychodynamic practices with an emphasis on co-creating a therapeutic space that promotes healing. As such, she prioritizes the therapeutic relationship and also values the importance of working collaboratively with clients to meet their goals. Likewise, understanding that one does not exist within a vacuum, she recognizes the importance of understanding clients’ lived experiences, particularly as it relates to their development (e.g., personality, identity) and the social and/or cultural contexts which influence the former. With a therapeutic goal of becoming empathetically attuned with clients, Shirreka aims to assist clients in addressing their needs while fostering a sense of empowerment and authenticity as they move toward their goals. Recognizing that this process is idiosyncratic to each client, she has also learned to take on fluid approach to patient care when necessary—one that requires a strategic integrative approach to provide holistic treatment and care.