Baylor social work alumna starts private online counseling practice
Garland School of Social Work alumna and adjunct professor Bianca Smith opened her own private practice for counseling and consulting online, called iKultivate, in 2022. While pursuing her master’s degree in social work, Smith said she knew she wanted to pursue private practice.
“It was a somewhat intimidating process that isn’t taught in a two-year MSW program. I worked with a consultant and mentor for about four months,” Smith said. “The easy parts were articulating my ‘why’. The fun parts were conducting research on color psychology to identify the best colors and designs for my website. The difficult parts included just doing so many things, trial and error, because I didn’t have the budget to hire someone else.”
According to the iKultivate website, Smith specializes in anxiety, depression, trauma-related disorders, substance-related and addictive disorders, as well as working with teenagers. Smith said her goals and aspirations for iKultivate include collaborating with providers from other disciplines and serving clients in different states.
“I’m really looking forward to the approval of the Social Work Interstate Licensure Compact so I can provide opportunities for employment and partnerships with other clinicians, and provide psychotherapy to clients in multiple states,” Smith said. “I’ve noticed that my clients are interested in alternative approaches to healing but still encounter major barriers to accessing quality care. I am also interested in providing consulting on social welfare and social justice issues.”
Now, I’ve been about 4’11 in height since 6th grade and had also experienced racism, colorism, and other ‘isms’. But abuse, neglect, vulnerability, injustice and oppression have always disrupted my comfort. I can’t just look away or carry on; I am not desensitized.
Smith said that she has always helped people, even before she knew what social work was. She recalled that she advocated for a fellow classmate who was being bullied in high school.
“Now, I’ve been about 4’11 in height since 6th grade and had also experienced racism, colorism, and other ‘isms’. But abuse, neglect, vulnerability, injustice and oppression have always disrupted my comfort. I can’t just look away or carry on; I am not desensitized,” she said. “My brother was murdered in 2017. I remember needing assistance from the court, Victim Services, law enforcement, the church, a mental health clinician, family, and friends. In essence, I help people because I know what it’s like to need help.”
Smith earned her Master of Social Work at the GSSW and said her favorite part of pursuing her degree was her cohort who she said became an extended family to her.
“I attended a public school for my undergraduate education and struggled to connect with professors and peers alike due to class sizes and classroom layout,” she said. “At the Garland School, I loved how diverse my colleagues were! We were intentional about getting to know each other as people and professionals. I was voted MSW Representative of my class, and it was an absolute honor! I’ve learned so much from each of them, and I hope to maintain those relationships for the rest of my life.”
With regard to the future, Smith said she wants to pursue a PhD at the GSSW as well as continue teaching in the Master of Social Work program there. She also wants to teach for a historically Black college or university’s social work program.
“Additionally, I would like to create a culturally sensitive, trauma-informed manual to guide public schools in providing substance use education at primary and secondary levels,” she said. “I also aspire to do more international social work and mission trips. Nairobi, Kenya has been my favorite to date! The relationships I have there were all established during a Baylor mission trip in 2019 and through Baylor alumna.”