Member Spotlight: Stephanie Brooks

By Membership

In honor of Women’s History Month, AAMFT had the privilege of sitting down and speaking to 28-year member, Dr. Stephanie Brooks. Dr. Brooks not only exemplifies a woman of strength, but she is a perfect example of where membership with the association can help lead. Dr. Brooks’ academic background and achievement along with her passion for life and marriage and family therapy can be seen throughout her life’s journey.

When Dr. Brooks was a student, she decided early on that her interest fell in the realm of psychology, but she was “displeased [when she was] one of the only Black people in [her] classes.” Despite her diverse community, this did not translate when she was in the classroom and “if Black or Brown people were mentioned at all, it would only be in the abnormal psychology classes.” This made Dr. Brooks take familial advice to work prior to going to graduate school for psychology a bit more seriously. Despite being accepted into graduate level psychology programs, she chose to take time off and worked at a youth development clinic in Newark.

Once working as an outreach worker, Dr. Brooks was introduced to conjoint family therapy and “fell in love with the multi-layer and systemic approach.” As she helped those around her, Dr. Brooks felt a sense of joy and understanding that she once felt was lacking in her experimental psychology program. Now, as she continues to make major strides in the field of marriage and family therapy, she notes that the evolution of MFT is also encouraging to see, saying, “it is nice to see an evolving healthy respect for the role of diagnosis, the role of pharmacology and more evidence informed practice in marriage and family therapy. As a clinician, I don’t believe that you can hang your hat on one or two things; you need to be well versed in multiple ways of working with clients.”

Speaking of being well versed in different ways, Dr. Brooks has been a differentiating leader from the start of her time with AAMFT. She not only is a motivational MFP volunteer who pushes her students to get their “hands dirty in the field,” but she served as a site visitor for AAMFT’s accreditation body, COAMFTE. “One of the things that I found the most useful is the ability to be able, even early on in membership, to really get involved with the association and COAMFTE. Working as a site worker with the association allowed me to develop relationships and travel from Saturday to Wednesday, with folks that were very different from me; I was often the only woman.” Dr. Brooks continued to say, “membership gave me an opportunity to connect with people and work on various initiatives that I otherwise would not have.”
AAMFT is also proud to announce that Dr. Brooks, along with several other talented MFTs, are collaborating on a new ethics textbook. Dr. Brooks expressed immense excitement about the new and contemporary approach the authors have taken: “it is very different than your typical, normal ethics book and we have made it so that it is really engaging and contemporary! It is also very inclusive. With the pandemic, there have been a lot of new concerns and we are considering adding this as a topic.”

Stay tuned to eNews and AAMFT for more details regarding the ethics textbook and to find the new questions practitioners, academics and students alike are facing in our ever-changing world!

Spotlight: A Member’s Journey is a feature that showcases AAMFT members and their unique stories that shape them as people and as therapists. This profile appeared in the March 12, 2021 edition of AAMFT’s Family Therap-eNews. 

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