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Meet De-Andrea Blaylock-Solar of Sankofa Sex Therapy, LLCS

Today we’d like to introduce you to De-Andrea Blaylock-Solar.

Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
Since my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to be in counseling. However, I wasn’t connecting with the professors or the material. I started as a psychology major at Saint Louis University. As a psych major, Intro to Social Work was a required course. Learning about that field felt like coming home, and I quickly changed my major. After completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work (minor in theology), I earned a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and began a career working in mental health, first as a hospital social worker, then moving into school social work. However, since undergrad, I felt that desire to provide counseling from a Christian perspective, not just any type of counseling, but sex therapy.

After connecting with leaders in the field of sexuality, I began my certification process and became active with professional sexuality organizations. I’m currently the Mid-Continent Regional Representative to the Membership Committee for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Additionally, I serve on the Leadership Collective of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network. I’ve practiced as a sex therapist for 11 years now and own Sankofa Sex Therapy, LLC, where I work with individuals and those in all types of relationships. I also provide workshops and seminars and train other professionals.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been smooth?
I am the first Black AASECT-Certified sex therapist in the State of Missouri. Although it’s an honorable distinction, it speaks to the challenges of gaining this credential. The process can be costly and time-consuming. However, AASECT is working to make certification more accessible than it has been in the past. The road has been rocky! Personal struggles included significant life changes and losing friends and family. I am grateful for those who extended grace and urged me to keep going in adverse circumstances.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Sankofa Sex Therapy, LLC came to be in July 2015. Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol from the Akan people of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which means “go back to the past to build for the future.” In using the spirit of Sankofa as the basis of therapeutic intervention, I understand the importance of valuing each client’s unique personal history and examine how it can influence concepts of self-identity and visions for the future. Although I don’t encourage clients to remain in the past, in the Sankofa Approach, I seek to learn from the past and “go back and fetch” what we need to move forward and create the present and future we desire.

In my practice, I provide sex therapy, a specialized type of psychotherapy where the topic of conversation is related to sex or sexuality. I also offer some coaching services and conduct workshops on intimacy and sensuality, often presenting from a Christian perspective if requested. One of the things I’m most proud of is the publication of a book chapter I wrote. In “Holy Sex: Using Narrative Therapy and Mindfulness to Address Church Hurt and Embrace the Erotic,” I explore Audre Lorde’s teachings of the erotic and how, by tapping into it as a source of power, Black Christians can reclaim a sensuality and sexuality that is uniquely their own.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you, and are any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
I learned from the pandemic the importance of social support and technology. So many folks felt lonely because we were so isolated at times. Although people had zoom fatigue, I greatly appreciate how technology provided (and still provides) a way for us to remain connected. In 2020, our family could still eat Thanksgiving together using Google Meet. I still had a great 40th birthday party in February 2021 by hosting a Zoom roast. And I continued to provide quality mental health services to my clients via other online platforms.

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Image Credits
Photos by Nakita Anthony

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