Fort Worth counselor looks to provide mental health services through a cultural lens
Lachelle Goodrich never thought she would have a career in mental health services.
But, while working as a middle school history teacher for Fort Worth ISD, she was introduced to school counseling and instantly felt drawn to it. Although she worked directly with students, she wanted to find better ways to connect with the communities she served.
Counseling presented her an opportunity to give students and their families the tools to navigate generational traumas and address the root of their problems.
“I wanted to be able to have my own private practice and look at the root causes of why people do what they do and how they respond,” she said. “Being able to talk about feelings and how it impacts us is the only way we learn not to repeat those same behaviors, so that we can break those cycles.”
After receiving her Master of Arts in counseling psychology from Amberton University, everything else fell into place.
Goodrich officially became a licensed professional counselor and launched iLegacy Consulting and Counseling in 2016. The private practice offers virtual telehealth therapy and counseling services to adults and trauma-informed care to children and teens. She currently sees 20 clients in Fort Worth.
As a counselor, Goodrich strives to be culturally competent so that she can understand and respect the values and beliefs of clients from different backgrounds. Having that competency affects the end results from sessions, she said.
“We don’t have to look alike, but I have to have some foundation and be open,” she said. “We need to be able to make some type of genuine connection. We are more alike than different.”
It’s not always easy working as a counselor. A lot of people still don’t acknowledge or take mental health seriously, said Goodrich.
“People still have skepticism to reach out for therapy, or they believe, ‘There’s nothing wrong with me,’” she said. “The biggest challenge is continuing to eliminate the stigma around mental health counseling.”
As a leader in all her roles, Goodrich strives to be a servant and make room for mentorship with those on her teams. She believes it is important to build the next generation of leaders.
“Nobody wants to feel like their time is up, especially if they made an impact,” she said. “Well, the truth of the matter is somebody will have to take your role eventually. So why not better prepare yourself by inspiring those that follow you to be better and brighter. Somebody helped me; I’m going to do that tenfold.”
Angela Rainey, ambassador with BRAVE/R Together, said Goodrich leads with intentionality by making sure the people she serves receive the best outcomes.
“She is a connector wanting to ensure that she is doing everything she can to advocate and help people to further heights,” said Rainey. “It never changes with her.”
Through her advocacy, Goodrich has been able to achieve her biggest accomplishment: offering free counseling services to underserved communities.
At the end of 2019, Goodrich founded the nonprofit CHAMP Tarrant County, also known as the Community Health and Mental Health Project, as a result of the killing of Fort Worth resident Atatiana Jefferson. The organization provides free, short-term counseling for teens in the 76104 or 76105 ZIP codes who have experienced gun violence or abuse.
Exposure to gun violence can increase the risk of negative health outcomes, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, according to the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
“What she has done for these middle schoolers, providing those services to them and helping them with stress and anger management, has been huge,” said Rainey. “It’s about leading community conversations and that can be difficult, but they’re ones that have to be had.”
Looking forward, Goodrich hopes to launch a business where she trains other therapists to also be culturally competent.
She believes her work is about fulfilling what she was put here to do.
“I truly believe that God has given me the grace to carry this path,” Goodrich said. “At any given time, I am prepared to do what I love to do, and that is serving the community and that is serving people. Whether that’s economic development or providing mental health services. I believe that I am graced with the gift of conveying information and creating a safe space for everybody.”
Lachelle Goodrich bio:
Hometown: Born and raised in Fort Worth
Education: Master of Arts in counseling psychology, Amberton University; Bachelor of Business Administration in project management, American InterContinental University
Work experience: Owner, iLegacy Consulting and Counseling (2016-present); founder, CHAMP Tarrant County (2019-present); founding ambassador, BRAVE/R Together (2021-present); Choice Neighborhood Initiative director, Fort Worth Housing Solutions (2012-present); history teacher, Fort Worth Independent School District (2009-2012)
First job: “My grandmother used to clean restrooms in downtown Fort Worth. She would pay my brother and I $10 a day for pulling the trash and cleaning the restroom. She told me, ‘This is why you need to get a school education, so you don’t have to clean after folks.’”
First inspiration: “Barbara Jordan. In the seventh grade, we had to do a research paper and I was drawn to her because she was the first Black woman elected to the Texas Senate since 1883. I may not be the first in a lot of things, but her passion to serve people and make change drew me to her. I ask questions that people don’t want to say out loud, and I challenge systems that have been set for years.”
Advice for someone learning to be a leader: “Listen more, but don’t be afraid to speak. When it’s your time … shine.”
Best advice you’ve ever received: “Stop being afraid and just do it. Imposter syndrome still stays in, but don’t listen to it.”
David Moreno is the health reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @davidmreports on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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