We at CFS want to honor Black History Month this year by not only paying tribute to all generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity, but also by honoring some specific Trailblazers of Equality in The Area of Mental Health. Throughout this month, we will be posting tributes to some individuals who spoke to our hearts and inspired us, and whose stories we want to re-share with you.
Today’s tribute is to Dr. Harry J. Aponte, MSW, LCSW, LMFT
Dr. Harry Aponte has made significant contributions in the area of Family Therapy. An Afro-Caribbean male, Dr. Aponte’s work has been crucial in building better systems of care for those considered “underprivileged.” As a trailblazer in the mental health field, Dr. Aponte fought to change the narrative around African American and Hispanic American families from the stigmatizing term “disorganized” to that of resourceful.
While working in the “inner city” of Philadelphia, Dr. Aponte pioneered the idea of eco-structural therapy. This move shifted the stigmatization of early mental health practices for those who identified as BIPOC, and influenced a form of therapy that accounted for the many socioeconomic and racial factors that influenced these families. This shift helped to coordinate efforts to build collaborative practices across multiple disciplines in hopes of providing the best services for at risk families. Dr. Aponte has continued to influence the field of family therapy and mental health, especially for those who identify as BIPOC, through his many articles, books, talks, and teaching of therapists across five decades.
Center for Family Services has been providing mental health services and education to children, adults and families since 1961. Our clients are some of the most vulnerable in the community due to their age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Donations are a crucial means to their mental well-being. On their behalf, thank you for your support.