By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
Dating in such a small country as the Bahamas, with its limited number of potential partners, many social ills, and coming out of a pandemic on top of that, can be a real challenge.
To help singles looking for healthy future relationships, clinical psychologist Dr Tamalia Gibson recently hosted her very first Singles Summer Series. And she gained valuable insight from the experience. She learned that Bahamian singles are in desperate need of a safe space to talk, vent, be introspective and improve in areas where necessary.
The series – a three-day virtual seminar – was an opportunity for participants to connect with other singles from diverse backgrounds, understand one’s relationship patterns, give people an opportunity to heal from a broken heart, prepare them for the love they desire and quiz them on relationship matters.
The event saw unmarried, dating, engaged, widowed and divorced individuals gather in a virtual room to unburden themselves of the challenges they are experiencing navigating singledom.
Attendees were instructed to embrace and enjoy being single, to be aware of red flags in relationships, to learn key skills in developing strong relationships, to understand their relationship patterns, and to know how to prepare for marriage (if desired), and more.
The event, said Dr Gibson, exceeded her expectations and she is now ready to work with people one-on-one to offer relationship coaching.
She also plans to host more events and seminars on topics related to mental health and relationships.
“I am excited about doing individual and couples relationship coaching, and although I just recently launched, these sessions are filling up quickly,” she said.
“The event exceeded my expectations in terms of the impact that it made on persons who either attended live virtually or registered and watched the replay.
The response has been truly overwhelming and people have been asking me to have another event soon. I became tearful when one person told me thanks for bringing joy to their home. Overall, I am extremely pleased not only because the event sold out, but also because of the encouragement and hope that singles received from the Singles’ Summer Series,” she told Tribune Woman.
“Major takeaways are that there is definitely a high demand to have a safe space that singles can gather, have fun, talk about issues that affect them and learn from each other. Another major takeaway for me personally is the importance of obeying what God tells you to do. When this event was laid on my heart to do, I was initially hesitant as I already have a lot on my plate. However, once I obeyed God’s leading and did the Singles’ Summer Series, I felt so energised to share and also listen to what the attendees had to say.”
Dr Gibson also officially launched an individual and couples coaching programme.
“This is something that I had been planning on releasing for about two years, but the passion and excitement from the persons at this event encouraged me to take a step out and do something I absolutely love doing, helping people have better relationships with themselves and others,” she said.
During her “season of singleness”, Dr Gibson said she fielded many questions about her relationship status. Strangers, family and friends wanted to know to why she was not yet married and why it was “taking so long.”
Remembering the experience she had as a single woman was what inspired her to host the series.
“Although I have been married for five years, the issues I experienced when I was single are very similar to the issues that attendees expressed. The biggest difference is the impact of COVID on dating life,” she said.
Seminar participant Agatha Ferguson said she felt enriched after series.
“I believe the timing was great for me to participate and to refocus on matters of the heart pertaining to singleness. Dr Gibson has done sessions of this nature on numerous occasions without a cost. She ministers from the heart and always pours much into all of her sessions. However, somehow these three sessions were very different for me. It was as if it was especially tailor-made just for me among the group of many in attendance. To God be all the glory.
Each night the sessions were both interesting and interactive and I literally didn’t want them to end. That speaks to enjoyment and empowerment. God is so good. Well, with all that said there must be a Singles Summer Series part two on the way,” she said.
Dr Gibson said helping people in their relationships and matters of the heart is a calling for her. She anticipates more events like this series to be held in the future.