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Clear Minds, Better Lives

BFC’s Women Empowered program helps women in Southeast DC learn coping skills and stress reduction techniques in a lot of different ways: from more traditional case management and counseling to music, art, and entrepreneurship. An example of one activity that Women Empowered and other BFC clients clients can participate in is “Clear Minds, Better Lives”, led by Petrea Simpson. Based in psychology, this class teaches women how to recognize and clear negative thoughts and patterns from their lives. Read on to learn more about this innovative course and how it helps!


My name is Petrea Simpson and I am a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC) and a  Wellness Coordinator for the Women Empowered program at BFC’s SE Center. A couple months ago, I began teaching a psycho-educational class, “Clear Minds, Better Lives”.  The class topics cover issues such as positive coping skills, anxiety, and stress. The purpose of the class is to educate individuals on various ways of thinking that affect one’s mental health. For example, in the last series we discussed cognitive distortions, which are pervasive ways of negative thinking that can lead to sadness, depression, anxiety, etc. This series allowed the participants to learn how their negative thinking developed and how to counteract that thinking. Many participants found that their negative self-talk stemmed from childhood beliefs, fallacies, and unrealistic expectations. The participants were reminded that just as these beliefs did not form overnight; it would take time to reverse.

The participants were also educated on how to combat their thinking once they were able to identify the negative thought processes. Once people are able to recognize their negative thinking patterns they can find ways to change and reframe their thinking.  The participants are consistently encouraged to seek therapy outside of the classes to gain individual insight into their particular issues of concern.  Having support outside of the psycho-educational class also helps to ensure that the topics they are learning are reinforced.

The class is currently on hold due to Petrea’s parental leave, but she looks forward to resuming classes when she returns! Petrea’s work is made possible via support from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Jack R. Anderson Foundation, and supporters like you. 


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