LaTonya Summers, PhD | Know Pain, Know Gain

As a species, we’ve become adept at avoiding pain. We repress it with medications, dull it with alcohol, food, shopping and other crutches, and even deny that it’s a lived reality for others. We used to know pain as a great teacher, but somewhere along the way we internalized that it was not OK to hurt. Dr. LaTonya Summers, a mental health therapist, argues that acknowledging pain is not only necessary, but also the conduit to greatness. We must relearn how to hurt if we want to live our best lives.

Dr. LaTonya Summers

Dr. LaTonya Summers is an award-winning assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Jacksonville University. There, she brings 26 years of clinical mental health and addictions counseling experience, and conducts research on multicultural issues in counseling and supervision. She has examined the impact of power, race, and gender on cross-racial interactions; natural hair bias and upward mobility in the workplace; clinical mental health needs of Black clients; and culturally specific professional development and service delivery to Black clients. Her work is featured in scholarly journals and at international and national professional conferences. She is the author of Multicultural Counseling: Responding with Cultural Humility, Empathy, and Advocacy, a textbook that will be released in 2022.

Summers founded the national annual Black Mental Health Symposium, a conference aimed to equip mental health professionals with culturally-specific skills to improve mental wellness in Black communities. She serves as the Immediate Past President of the Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development. She serves the American Counseling Association as an appointee to its Black Male Experience Task Force, and the Research and Knowledge Task Force. Dr. Summers has been featured in O Magazine on the subject of authenticity in the workplace.