Dr. Shana D. Lewis is an award winning licensed professional counselor, motivational speaker, and author originally from Memphis, TN. Dr. Lewis discovered her passion for helping others while taking an introductory psychology course in her undergraduate curriculum. Initially majoring in business, Dr. Lewis quickly changed her major to psychology after enrolling and in the undergraduate course. After taking that course she quickly knew that she wanted to begin a career in counseling others post college. Dr. Lewis wanted to be able to help those who need therapy, but will not seek it due to the stigma, lack of insurance, finances, or lack of awareness. As a result, Dr. Lewis brings the message to people through a variety of platforms including radio, TV, books, workshops, and social media. This way Dr. Lewis can ensure individuals who need help can easily receive it.
After aiding others and practicing psychology for over a decade, Dr. Lewis is the Clinical Director of a Bellaire, TX based private counseling agency. Her practice is called Living Well Professional Counseling Services, PLLC. She is also the founder of Her Voice a 501c3 organization which empowers domestic violence survivors with mentorship. Dr. Lewis is the author of Get Your Life! The Blueprint; this book encourages others to achieve their goals and pairs extremely well with Get Your Life! The 90-Day Journal. When she is not at her agency, Dr. Lewis is speaking to masses about the importance of mental health, women empowerment, and life after domestic violence.
Amps: Were you born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee?
Dr. Lewis: I was born in Memphis and when I was in the fourth grade we moved to Dallas, Texas. I lived in Dallas until I graduated high school; after graduation I moved to Houston to start my college career.
Amps: Did you play any kind of sports in school, and if so what position did you play?
Dr. Lewis: That is a funny question (laughing). Well, I am 5’1 and some change so I am not that tall, but I did play basketball in middle school as a point guard. I won one award and that was academic MVP. I was also the manager over the drill team in high school, and those were all the sports that I participated in during my time in school.
Amps: Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and life after graduating high school?
Dr. Lewis: Well, I grew up in a single parent home where my mother was my primary care giver. My mother was a teacher and she was looking for greater opportunities. She found a teaching job in Dallas, and that is how we ended up there. I have an older brother that I was raised up with and since my mother was an educator education was extremely important in her eyes. Education was not an option because you were going to get one and you were going to act and do right in class. After graduation, I actually got several full scholarships so I had a choice of where I would land. After weighing my options and thinking it over I decided to choose the University of Houston. My first undergrad choice of academic pursuit was business because I said that I wanted to be rich. I soon realized along the way that I really have a passion for helping people so I changed my major to psychology so I could be in a position to help people. Upon graduation from college I decided to go on and pursue my master’s degree. I choose to go after a master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama. I graduated in 2001 and by the time I got my Master’s I was married, and my husband was in the Air Force and stationed in New Mexico. I worked for twelve years in the field of counseling in so many different ways; I worked in hospitals, schools, community mental health, churches, and shelters. In 2011, I opened my own private practice by myself. In 2013, I returned to school to get my PHD and I graduated in 2017 with a specialization in domestic violence to better help women who were suffering in that way.
Amps: What motivated and pushed you into wanting to help others?
Dr. Lewis: Well, I was that friend that all of my friends came to with all of their problems. Since I grew up in a single parent home I was with my mom all the time so I guess you could say I had an old soul. Even though I was the same age as my peers my mindset was always a little bit ahead of theirs. I was more mature because I was exposed to different conversations than they had been. When I went to college I had the idea that I wanted to be rich so I had already decided I was going to go into business. But I took a psychology 101 class during my first semester of college and it was then that I understood what was going on with some people and they needed help. I had a passion for helping people, and I always have. My mom actually went to school to be a counselor and was a school counselor when I was in high school. I just have a passion to help people, especially women, and I know just how important that is and it gives me more cause to want to help women.
Amps: What advice would you give someone who is going through a rough time in their life and suffering from depression?
Dr. Lewis: First know that you are not alone, and a lot of times when we begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed out that becomes a big part of the problem. When you are overwhelmed and stressed out you feel like you are alone and you feel like no one will understand what you are going through. We have a syndrome where we think that we have to take care of everything ourselves. Sometimes we are ashamed, and do not want to ask for help because we feel like we just have to do these things on our own. Maybe you were verbally abused and someone told you that you were nothing and you are nobody. After hearing those statements you start believing those things to be true and that definitely contributes as well. There is no shame in reaching out and asking for help. You have to recognize and understand that you have a problem; because if you don’t you cannot do anything about it. Therefore, we need to identify what it feels like to be overwhelmed. We do not always recognize being overwhelmed because it is normal to us to just do things even though we are sad. We force ourselves to get out of bed because we have to, but you need to take care of yourself. One of the greater things that we miss is lessons in self-care because no one ever taught us that. My mother worked three jobs to take care of my brother and me, and I never saw her take care of herself because she just did not have time to. May is mental health awareness month, and women need to be clear that we are more at risk for depression than men are. So if you are not in the capacity to ask for help you will be in big trouble. This causes your children and families to suffer, because when we go down the whole ship goes down.
Amps: What was it that made you want to own your own business?
Dr. Lewis: As a young mother I did not become an entrepreneur until I had my second child. I realized that my capacity to be present for my children would be slim if I was not my own boss. I just could not allow someone else to decide how I spend my time with my family and my children so I had to be someone who had flexibility and freedom, and the only way to do that is to have my own business.
Amps: You have two books out right now can you tell us a little bit about them?
Dr. Lewis: One is called Get Your Life! The Blueprint which is a book designed to help women create transformation in life from the inside out. One of the things that I say is that my job is to help people make the shift in their life. A shift from where they are currently to where they are destined to be. What we do not understand, is that we sit places that we have been because we are used to those places. Whatever form of normal Avignon that has not been quite productive we usually stay there. We face the things that we are willing to face which is our pain and fears; because those things become old habits and we stay stuck because of them. The book also looks at how to define what your passion is, how to sit down to read with people in your world, and how to create goals and actually work them out. A compliment to that book is my journal, Get Your Life! The 90-Day Journal and in it you are able to track your progress over a ninety day period about the goals that you have set for yourself. It walks you through how to create actual goals. Every day for ninety days there is a quote at the top of the page and you are able to reflect upon your specific goals in the writing of the journal piece, and those two can work well hand in hand. I also have a couple of online courses on my website where people are able to transform their lives. One is called “The day I decide: learning how to make decisions” and this course helps move you forward from your current situation and works on helping you get removed from the current rut you’re stuck in. The other one is “New year, New you” this course helps people to create goals and walk them out on a daily basis. Each of these are a separated web base courses that works well with or without the books. I also have a non-profit organization called Her Voice which is dedicated to the survivors of domestic violence through mentorship and education. Her Voice is kind of like big brothers and big sisters but with women who have survived violence who are able to mentor other women who have also survived but recently come out of it. We train women survivors on how to help other women survivors walk out and continue to stay out the cycle of violence. This is a passion from my heart that came out of my work with my clients who were suffering in that way. This is why I became Dr. Shana Lewis is so that I can properly and appropriately assist women who are suffering from domestic violence. Research shows that at least fifty percent of women are suffering from psychological abuse so some believe that it is not that big of an issue but it really is a major epidemic that just doesn’t get talked about enough.
Amps: What is your main objective when working with your clients?
Dr. Lewis: My objective is to educate, empower, and motivate people in any situation. Although I work with many different types of people. Counseling and helping women really holds a special place in my heart. Anything for women I am all about and that is a great passion of mine.
Amps: Where can our readers find you online and follow you on social media platforms?
Dr. Lewis: I have my own website and it is www.shanadlewis.com. I also have an Instagram account and a Facebook page and both of those can be found at www.instagram.com/drshanad.lewis www.facebook.com/drshanadlewis