Darnita Samuels

Dorjae' McClammey | March 22nd, 2021
Darnita Samuels (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Darnita Samuels (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Introducing Darnita D. Samuels. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, she relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2008 to begin her journey of becoming the amazing therapist she is. Now, she even has her own practice to match.

Officially known as Darnita D. Samuels, MSA, MA, LMFT, she’s established her private practice on a foundation that specializes in marriage and family therapy. This also includes individual, couples, pre-marital, marriage, and family therapy servicing ages from 18 and up. Darnita holds many degrees including a Bachelor of Art in Public Relations, Masters of Science in General Administration, and a Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Now what got her into this field is quite an interesting story.

Darnita shares that while out grocery shopping back home in Detroit, she was looking for her favorite cereal, which is Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Of course, she asked a gentleman for help but instead of helping her, he quickly turned the conversation around describing his problems and what he was currently going through in life. When he asked what he should do she replied, “you should find someone to talk to” which he then replied, “well aren’t you someone?” This caused her to stop and think. This was the first time this has happened to her, and it continued to happen many times after. Darnita herself had benefited from the services of a therapist, which gave her a realistic idea of what a therapist does. I learned that it wasn’t someone giving you all the answers and telling you what to do. It involves someone helping you find what’s best for you and helping you to come to an understanding that you can handle and manage,” she says. After this grocery store encounter, Darnita began to realize her true calling, and eventually she would take steps that would make this a reality for her.

Now, one thing I learned from my conversation with Darnita is that she is not one to give up, ever. When trying to enroll in the counseling program at Central Michigan, she always seemed to hit a roadblock. Not to be discouraged, she kept pressing. She found the MMFT program at Pfeiffer University, and there she received her masters.

While at Pfeiffer, Darnita realized two things, she wanted to own her own clinic, and own an ice cream shop. Yes, you read that right, an ice cream shop. One reason would be the shop would work as an incentive for new clients. First-time clients would get a free scoop of course. The second and more important reason is to help the community, mainly students from public schools. She told us when she attended Cass Techinical High School, she had to do a co-op, meaning she had to work while in school. As a student, she had to gain 200 hours of work experience to graduate. While this was hard, it also helped students learn about the work environment, work ethics, and how to manage a work-life balance. With the shop, she hopes to show students what it’s like to build and own their own business, the good and the bad. “Not just the luxuries of it all, but the blood, sweat, and tears that come with it,” she said. “Working at the shop will show students how to manage, budget, and most of all, the art of customer service, which I feel will help them excel better in school and after they graduate.” Darnita would also use this to adopt students who are struggling.
“Those kids get to come in and create their own scoop of the month, resell that scoop and whatever profits are generated, goes back into the school, which in turns inspires that student to continue to work harder during the school year and even after they graduate,” she says. The shop can also be used as a place for teachers, faculty, and the PTA to work or consult outside of their school.

With everything she has planned you may wonder what keeps her motivated to continue this journey, the answer, her family and her clients. Darnita states when it comes to the change, she helps others make in their lives, she never takes full credit for, “I just ask the right questions and pose good scenarios, my clients actually have to put in the work,” she says. “It is a privilege to see my clients grow and change, and not only themselves, but for their families as well.”

Speaking of family, Darnita also dedicates all her hard work and motivation to her family back home in Detroit, especially her grandparents, and also her parents. “They have come through a lot and this is done in honor of them because without them there is no me. They were the ones who instilled in me a strong work ethic, continuing my education, and making sure my dreams became a reality, so for that, I make sure everything I do along this journey honors them,” she says.

In the past, therapy has been perceived as sort of a taboo in the Black community and Darnita recognizes that. So, to help advocate for therapy, she works to make new and existing clients feel as comfortable as possible. She doesn’t use the big terms that everyone may not understand, “I want to make it so relatable. That is why my slogan is let’s just start with a conversation, let’s just talk,” she shares. She also wants to break down the wall clients may have up, so they do not feel judged or diagnosed. She does this by making her sessions as easy and painless as possible while still highlighting the important things learned. Additionally, she makes sure the environment is stress-free and allows her clients to have a little bit of free reign with the tools she provides such as blankets, pillows, and stress balls. If a client wants to lay down or sit on the floor, they can do that, as long as they don’t fall asleep. She made it very clear she will wake you right back up. Another thing she does is not tell people she is a therapist when she’s out in public. She sort of lets them figure it out on their own. “People will come to me and strike up a conversation and as it’s going, I will mention that maybe they should go talk to someone. Yet, before they put up a fight, I make sure they understand their feelings are valid and more importantly they’re not crazy,” she says. At the conclusion of these conversations, she often shares that she is a therapist, allowing them to see for themselves that going to therapy is easier than it may seem.

Darnita wants to make one thing clear. “Though going to therapy is currently ‘the thing to do’, it is very much real and that you need to make sure you know what you are going for. You can get amazing results if you put the work in and don’t play the game, so please don’t just play the game because you’re taking an appointment away from someone who wants to be there.”

Darnita is pleased with the path she has taken in life and the accomplishments that have come. However, let her tell it, her proudest accomplishments are having a successful business, and being able to honor her family while doing so.

Regarding what is in future for Darnita, you can expect to see her practice spread across the nation including more therapists of different specialties such as acupuncturists. They will more than likely be accompanied with an ice cream shop of hers right next door, once she learns how to make some ice cream that is.

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