Dr. Joy Harden Bradford (http://www.hellodrjoy.com/) is a licensed psychologist, speaker and the host of the wildly popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls (https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/). Her work focuses on making mental health topics more relevant and accessible for Black women and she delights in using pop culture to illustrate psychological concepts. She has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Bustle, MTV, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Refinery29, Teen Vogue, and Essence. Dr. Joy lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two sons. In today's conversation, we explore her experiences growing up in a small town, her pursuit of learning, teaching and academic excellence, love of pop culture, and how her awareness of inequities in the way mental health services were offered led her to start her practice and launch Therapy for Black Girls.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
My guest today, doktor joy, harden report is for the host of the wildly popular podcast therapy for black girls. She grew up in a small
and in the south. She described it as being so small that they didn't have a stop light at a flashing light, and you would give directions by counting telephone poles to her dad's photography, studio and she had, at the earliest age, a deep devotion
interested in learning and teaching which evolved into a fascination with psychology.
Mentally mental health services.
from there as she was pursuing a phd. She also became really interested in how people from different backgrounds, different races, experienced the world of mental health, mental health services and psychology and decided to make her mission to expand access and to expand.
Availability and really expand the conversation around mental health and psychology which led to her clinical practice and then eventually her bad, so excited. You die
into this conversation today. I'm Jonathan fields- and this is good life project.
How does a I even work where it is creativity come from? What's this
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ITALY's had tell you that the name of the town is pain, court view, which means short
red town councillor
currently, the years and years ago there used to be a truck that delivered bread and he would always run out before it got somebody. Little too literally translates to the rest of the french translation of red, though thankfully we can just go to the grocery store now, but that's the literal translation yeah. So there is not even a like stoplight, it's only a caution, light
you see my son, my dad is a photographer and we had a home studio where he would take pictures and so the way we would give there
and is that it is thirteen light poles down from the catholic church. So that is how people would find the studio, so very small. You gotta, like give directions in landmark, got it. I mean what I I have no sense,
I even what it would be like what I mean to me. It feels like cause. I grew up just as hard near kid had been in new york city for basically my entire adult life growing up in a place that small. What's it like, I mean what are the? What do you love about something like that? What what can starts to not be
Yes, I think the thing that I love most at least is there, like you know everybody, and everybody knows you arms. I remember when I was younger, like you used to it, would frustrate me like we could not even goes at his door without my day
stopping to talk to somebody because everybody, of course
You may want to catch a raid on, but I think the thing that I love
by that is that everybody knows you, and so they want to know my house, Google and unlike, was going on so there's cast them like checking in with you, which made, I think, be feel very like taking care of it might be,
well, really were concerned about me and my family yeah. What so, if with your dad being a photographer, sounds like you are also exposed. Certainly the idea of living the artistic life pretty early on to, I would not have, can make the bed into this moment.
yeah? But I was you know, spending time the dark room with here man, you look as he would develop the black and white pictures and who also has been time in the dark
women with them. But I wouldn't I didn't connect that isn't like an artistic being because it was always aside thing for him to answer he had
regular job working at an ammonia plant in them photographer. Who would be like night, and we guilds, though so, did you have any any bug for
only that side of things also or no who not? I don't. I never felt like it was something I would really good at number
I even really played with like the camera or anything, but I love to like model in front of that yeah. So I love when he was like testing other lights and stuff, and I got a chance to play model.
I would never really wanted to do the like taking produce myself yeah. So what was your thing as I was teaching your teeth? I was too easy. I tell me so my parents get rally value about this time. I got in big trouble because they had bought me a new bed, a new bed set, and I carved the abc s in the head boy.
I must must be made between right now, my elbow, but I will teach you must have animals alphabet and I it into the handbook yeah. So I always wanted to be a teacher. That was my thing when I was younger wow, so even if the earliest age, a kind of knew that there was something in you. That said, I I want to help people learn new. Did that short in other ways,
as he sort of moved along in the earlier portola. Probably in that I was like always like the older bossy cousin, so my mom also has six sisters and four brothers, which means I grew up in a huge family. I have lots of first cousins. We would always spend a lotta time like at my grandmother's house after school, so I was always kind of like Souter
people like you, know, given out directions about, will we're going play after school and that kind of so they get showed up in those who is too.
Yeah so siblings palaces two younger brothers, close yeah yeah. So my mother, I actually just
the story of somebody out on one of my facebook lives as me. How did I get my mean? My mom named us all very simple names so that we wouldn't have trouble like spelling? I gotta get to go out, and so my name is joy.
Others needs are tied in chad, though theirs
like a real confusion about how you know how confuse you can get in spelling. You knew that's funny,
you thought about that? Naming our diet, russia, our daughters name, is jesse, must spell the withered and most
it's been constantly she's like there's. No, I just do it
so you I'm em in itself.
I'll say you are you're pre devoted student. Yes
does that show up, I mean, was it an and unless really curious, when one s remit, somebody who, since it was really academics,
driven an early age. I'm always curious. What's underneath that wasn't the driver for that yeah? I honestly
oh, but I always like head this competitive thing with myself like. I always wanted to be the best and I think it showed up and academics, because I had no legs
its tail and, as you know, I think that we talked about. I was, I think, academics felt like it was my thing and I also had an odour cousin. I guess he is about
at least ten years older than me who like went to school, and so when we went to college in new orleans and so when he would come home for like the holidays, he would like,
yeah the stories about what was happening on campus and that kind of thing. So I think in some ways it was like connected to my older cars,
who had already gone off the college in me feeling like. Ok, that's the thing that I'm going to do and I want to be really good at it there. You also
I've heard you share a story about, I guess was coming to senior year in high school. You ve worked really hard to be developed to torreon and recalled infer a disconcerting conversation years.
Yeah, so that work actually started before senior year cause? Of course, you know to be melt. Victorian, like you, gotta get your grades in order like starting freshman year. Was that an aspiration like oh yeah? Absolutely so I dunno, if you heard this part of the story, but in louisiana, and I know they still have this all of them.
victorians got to be on a commercial at the governors house, and so they were like flash your picture in your high school, and I was like
definitely going to be an accurate shot that part of the stuff. Yes, I still have the videotape if my brother didn't like recording turtles or something over it,
so I definitely knew I wanted to be on the commercial. So I worked really hard like starting ninth grade year like to get the best grades possible cause. I didn't need to be on a commercial and so yeah. So what happened is that it was myself and then another white classmate who, like we're kind of
making make all throughout school even and I still
like just mainly competitive with myself, cosette like I just gotta, be better than I was last time, but she and I have very close gps.
And so we were in an english class together and we were called are. I was called into the english profess when that professor Amy
teacher at the time he called me into his office after class. One day
hey you know. I know that you in her mechanic inequity.
and you know I've had conversations with her parents and if she gets in a on the english
I know that I will give her any in the class and you guys will be tied for valedictorian of cross. I was heard I was, you know, devil.
waiting cause I felt like that was very unfair. You know she had clearly not worked as hard as I had, and I felt like this was like an unfair advantage. She was being given, but at the time didn't really know like
to do with them, and so my memory of that is kind of foggy like in terms of what happen afterwards. Like I'm sure I talk to my mom,
mom and dad, and I but I dont think we had like a meeting with the principal or anything like that are now turns out. She
that guinea on the final, so she did not in the being valedictorian she was alluded to orient, but still the fact that, like that was on the table for her,
in, and I think now like had the tables been turned with that same offer have been given to me at all
though, do you I mean in that moment clearly have a long time ago, but esteem
stop over reason. Do you feel it there that change
or that change your lens on the world or on on. I didn't tell me more than I think another quarter
growing up in a very small southern town like I did race was always in it,
you so even threw out like highs
Well, we always had separate dances and prom so like that would be a black kids prom and the white kids brown and so, and you just kind of felt like life as it was,
It was even though I knew something was inherently wrong about that. I think I just didn't know what to call it, because all of the
adults in our lives, seemed like it was ok to do so. I think in some ways it felt like,
This is not a big deal, but something in me new,
was again issue, though, that a candidate has been part of my
history all alone, but I think now. I can very clearly look at that as this, like the first time,
I was able to name like a white privilege, canada thing
was happening there. There I mean it's it. These conversations are really helpful for me because they said I grew up in the summer of new york city. I've lived in new york city for basically my entire life, where I had it
what's been happening in the country over the last couple of years has also just shining light on so much of so much unfairness and which privilege show much different treatment, but is its
me too, even like I have no exposure to a world where, in a small town there are separate event and separate gatherings and separate school sanctions, early palms? Well, the thing was that that white key as one would be the off site, one was an technically school thanked. Him
like parents sanctioned like they would get together and rent like a local community center, and that's like the white kids from where we were. That would be, but it was still accepted. This is just the way it is yeah. So when you head off to college what you want to Xavier and Xavier are studying psychology so Yoona from the earliest time, then that was your job yeah. Why
was, I had actually taken as psychology college like we had some kind of. I don't know what it would be called in school now, but it would like we would
orleans leg, some number and like a teacher, would be honoured. Tvs and like them tell our mouth can declare their psychology, which, with a bigger
advance were where we are again, as very small country town is so I loved it from the. Unlike you, Jesus
needing to me, and I am really fascinated by human behavior mental. When I took psychology I was like oh, this is definitely my thing,
so you're just end from the beginning. Who was there was a particular part of it that really dream.
so? I thought that I really wanted to teach psychology going by five and secure that then I learned that I would want to teach so I went to when I went to baby. I was originally is vague, major in an education minor and I've been quite no one
You gonna do with it, but I fail again might have been seeking psychology omber. Then I took my first like practical kind of education and thing
had to go to a elementary school. Like shadow, a teacher I was like, oh no, it is not my jam, although of course that would have been teaching. Psychology
would not have been elementary school, but something about it just didn't feel like a fit for me like just the the structure, I think of it like just didn't, feel like it was actually the best fit for me to be like in a classroom, but the actual
what's really diving into who we are and why we do. What we do is still the deep ass, oh yeah, absolutely and that even got more intense and I think most like majors will tell you like when you get into like you're abnormal psychology classes and that kind of thing you're trying to like diagnosis.
But everybody in your life that even made it more indians were me right is like with each chapter like our have a new thing.
And these three friends are clearly like you re to deal with this problem right now
Many students they re right so as you're going after going through college. Do you start to focus in
on the idea, then that you're you're looking at potentially a clinical practice where you want to go like how the things are clear yeah. So we had internships and things so that you could kind of get exposed to different things. So I did
somewhere. Where did a summer research programme and emerson university in atlanta, which is funny that and live in italy at the? I did that
there's thing and I would like ok, this is cool, but I dont Mozilla's ems of doing this whole time within once a mess
I did a clinical internship with someone at the wind w c, which here, like a community counselling. Can it
and so I was able to like- actually sit in on some intake sessions and felt like okay. This is definitely what I wanted to do. I want to do more of the practice side of psychology yeah, so as you're you're diving into that you're learning more about this
developing a like a deep interest in passionate skill. Sat around this thing and at the same time you ve gone from this time.
tell leads to a pretty big, substantial environment, a lot more people out of different people. How it is that experience I'm
and literally like I'm on your way out of high school. You have this one expands where just front and centre the profound unfairness. How does your experience and and her
evolve like how does how does this larger being in a larger population, studying something differently being around a completely different group of people? How does your your experience in your thought on on race on culture, an equality of our wire at Xavier, I think
I'm so, if you'd like no about like racial identity, like the formation of my rachel, I did any. There is a stage in some of the models that talks about like being completely immersed in your own culture, and I feel, like does was every day for me, so called Xavier is the only black, historically black and care,
the university which makes it unique, but we were learning about things that I had never been exposed to now. Some of it I have been exposed to because my older cousin, who I talked about earlier, had also gone to the savior, and so he would come home and tell me about, like
These things that we were learning in history that were completely false and it was just so I opening- and so when I get
savior. I learned even more about that. So it really gave me an appreciation for like african american history and culture armenia with
had not been exposed to before then I think
the language to explain like what was happening in terms of stepper problems. In this experience I have
with the valedictorian issue, so I think ahead language, the language I
up to now develop like in talk about some of those things came from saviour and then you go from there. So when you start your bashir is eventually get your masters each day,
So I mean from what I know the when you look at the profession of psychology in clinical practice. My recollection, I'm sure you know the numbers lot better than me as that there's a healthy balance, sort of between gender and tourism practitioners. But when you look at the representation,
people of color. It's it's really really really really small rain. So I'm assuming that that's also reflected in the advanced agree programme, and so you go from Xavier,
then into ser, like he like, pursuing a phd in a program which I am I'm assuming, but you can tell me that is right. It's probably largely white yeah and absolutely worth how does at pendulum
swing than play until your left yeah. So I went from Xavier to arkansas state, so it felt like I can. I like gradually ease myself
im back into like a mainstream kind of thing. Out of being out of this, you know completely black almost experience, so I actually ended up at arkansas state because I applied to clinical phd
we have run out of underground and didn't get accepted. I was I was like
Oh, what am I going to do with my life now? That also felt like a turning point for me, because I feel, like you know the academic like streak. In me, that was the first time there had been any kind of
Point me, you know them his earlier again. Exactly exactly sounds like all create. What am I gonna do now, unfortunately,
someone who had graduated from Xavier refill were was the director of the rehabilitation counselling program at arkansas, spain, and she had.
grants in need to do this to come and like fulfil the grants else like. Oh ok, why not like it
paid for a good step in and another thing about over archives are buddy. I could do every year. Many wasn't it
terrible experience. Any was a very small program, I'm so, even though it was
majority way like it's still felt very like comfortable
Well, then, you know like we were having great discussions in class and I failed again very taking here by think allowed, because the directive
program, was a savior alone. So you know, even though I was away from family, she always supported me. You know that my classmates and stuff were great. Also, I felt like a very comfortable experience, but then I leave there and go to the university of georgia for my phd experience and was completely shocked. I think I had been protected a lot from like the politics that are associated with higher education and got completely slapped in the face with that at the university of georgia house. I mean what was what was your experience of this political chain yeah, so it just felt like
people are getting all these kinds of opportunities and, like president on papers with professors, are to attain like these national conferences, and it was like patent or even find out about this.
Is there a list there somewhere there, I'm that you know privy to arm, and it was clear that it was just because certain students have certain relationship with professors who usually works.
I, and he would like you know, allow them to be like second or third author on a paper or go and present at a conference and, of course, that stuff isn't completely important. You know, especially if you want to like, be a professor or be a researcher.
Just felt like students of color did not have the same experience is so having those with some of the first time
I realize, like ok, give me a lot of politics, alot of unspoken rules. They go
one here that I really need to kind of be mindful of yeah and and at the same time it sounds like you're.
Your developing, an awareness of I mean not only the alike like the education and and the skill set of clinical practice, but also the certainly the cultural impact or the way that different cultures either reach out to or
lately dont reach out to the feel the psychology and therapy in the perception of it suits, but you are experiencing this within your academic context, but also it sounds like you're looking at the world of psychology and therapy in general and sang lake, things are not the same for everybody
and not just in the way the services deliver button in people's willingness or people's assumptions about what this.
As our isn't their willingness to interact share with others whom any near I mean you know. My dissertation was actually on black graduate students, those agents that really felt like
saving grace or me was getting involved in the black grass, soon association
on campus and I figured other people are probably having the same kinds of experiences
research was around finding other stewed
Evidently white institutions who were involved in black gratitude associations and whether that help to mediate their experiences of depression and anxiety, on which I found it was actual accurate. Do the research actually supported that
but also gave me information about like how incredibly stressed blair, grass, students or
Add predominately white institutions, I mean grad school is like incredibly stressful and anxiety, provoking for lots of people. I think I don't think anybody kind of just walks through grad school, but I think especially for black grad students and white campus,
if he feels you know in some ways, intolerable and, like you have all of these other stressors on top of just trying to get the work done? So what are some of the other
I certain have that she show up in their experience yeah. So I think some of the politics are are very surprising. For people funding is very difficult, so we kind of touched on this a little bit, but you know it takes.
at a time to get a phd, especially in clinical practice, can feel because you do underground.
Then likely you do a massive than you do for years were programme. Is an intern
Then there is usually like supervised hours even after you get
way, so you never like really independently practising for, like maybe ten plus years. You know, so you think about like people who are able to support their like there's a particular privilege that comes with being able to take time from the actual workforce or
students were in school working in doing this. You know at the same time, which of course was distress are on your studies, also finances.
Often issue also liked,
relationships. People would have with families so kind of being, like maybe you're the one who made it, and what does that mean for going back?
Well, he knows who are you still able to have some of those relationships with people who you know, knew you from your small town and where did that look like and I'm telling more about that part of it? Is it because then, or so, is what you're saying cause any potentially go back and you're you,
There are different your view differently and naturally it pushes you away from absolutely
Absolutely. I think you know a lot of that. I think was mediated for my family, because I had already had cousins who had pursued masses, degrees, arms. I think a lot of that we had been pay
for me, but a lot of people. They are the first one in their family to you like. A masses are apiece,
and sometimes the attention we owe you think, you're better than everyone
You know you was having get out until how do you still men
some of those situations with family who may not really understand what you're doing.
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and you're you're dissertation focuses on the stresses in the experience. What did you find that people of color reached out to four counselling ah m for help were both proactively looking for
open to it on the same level of other people or was a completely different that wasn't it.
The plight of many cetacean, but after I graduated in splendid working in colleagues counselling centres, that definitely was my experience that this students of color is primarily black. Students would not reach out for services
at the same rate as like other students would on campus and what he feels behind. So there is, of course, a lot of states
related to mental health. You know in black community, so people not really
you're standing liquidity is a lot of us grow up with this idea of what goes on
the house dave in your house and sell. The idea of talking to a stranger about, like very personal information, is like completely unheard of you. Just don't do it and I think, there's also in there continues to be like this tension between therapy in religion.
in faith. So you know a lot of people feel like okay, maybe you just don't have a strong enough relationship with god and that's why you're struggling with mental health so go pray about it as opposed to like okay, can I strengthen my faith relationship and also go and talk to a therapist?
Historically, there has been some tension. There then I think, has kept black people out of seeking therapy services.
Is it? Is it more like there's like there's a pecking order of things
how to help out with they. First, you just don't talk about right. Then he liked eternity either faith or whatever
well, the tradition within your household or your community, and and then, as is I'm wondering, I guess, would it then be potentially even seen as
a sign of having failed at the things that are supposed to work and even like weakness. If you now have to go to a quote therapists or psychologist, use Lee, especially for black women, I mean there's this whole stereotype will let the strong black woman right, then nothing can penetrate you that you have everything
together. We can manage your house in vague and all of those cover being so, if you have to reach out to somebody
Then you have failed in you
I you know, strong black woman is that where you come in so you're seeing this as when you're actually afterwards on the counseling center that surprise you at all- or I don't think I was surprised by it, but it was concerning
because a lot of the places where I worked, I was also either the only like black psychologists or one a few.
So it made me wonder like oh do people know this before, like is anybody else paying attention to the fact that, like the black susan,
begin at the same reads in I had been incredibly supported, like
every campus that I went like to go and do a group, and you know in the multicultural,
dinner or somewhere else, because students, in my experience, the black students, filmore com,
well like meeting where they already were congregating course. They struggle with the same path.
that everybody else is struggling with on campus. Both for these kinds of reasons were not necessarily
going away to the count links in her. So I mean it's there, so anything some chairs
aggravated, I mean it's interesting. You shared like okay, sir. Yes, I think we're almost comfortable sort of like in the place that we feel comfortable and especially, if we're going to be vulnerable,
We want to do it in a place. Tat is safe,
and and whatever the structure as one of the things that need to be in? Sometimes that is literally the physical place that we feel safe, but also parts part of safety is
the person who's leading this conversation of the person who are relying on the personal rio quote, surrendering to and trusting and are they safe right and if then part of what you're sharing is most of the councillors at the center are white.
How does that play into the feeling of safety and a feeling of willingness to actually seek help from somebody who is of a different? Yes, I'm paying for a lot of people. It felt very comfortable to have these conversations outside of the helsinki in her arm, because
you know like if you ran and grew in the housing sector like there was paper then needed to happen like you were a part of the system so to speak, but when we did groups outside it was more like a support. Can a discussion group. So there is no people work attached to it. I think in some ways people felt
it was not pathologizing. It felt like okay, we can just get together with these people who are trained professionals, and we can have these kinds of conversations that are important to us now, of course, I am also
We're helping them to understand like what kinds of things happen when you come over to the council, as I think, having a face ford in realising
like? All of these are not like. We had people owen account things like she's cool to talk too. She can probably you no help me canongate adjusted
with some one else. I mean, because the thing is, even if all like, the black students on campos wanted to see the black their prison
would not be enough of us to go around. So a part of, I think my job
also is one
bring. My non black colleagues to understand like these are some of the concerns of those students are facing or you doing your own work
so that when they come here, they are not further traumatized by having a racist, experienced in therapy and also explaining to the stew
like you? I know it would be great, maybe to talk with me, but one I don't have experience in all of the thing,
You may be struggling with an actually one of my colleagues may be a bitter fit for you, so helping to kind of dispel. Some of those fears they have about talking with someone is also a part of like the outreach that was really important to me, that that makes a lot of sense and acting as a you going there outside the clinical setting first cannon normalizes
ever since I am actually a regular personnel and have a good conversation were worded.
And an almost its it takes away this or like, while this is quote official therapy a thing I actually will. This is just like this is kind of part of what it's about you knew and setting
when you then go back to the counseling office, and you have the conversation with her
colleagues? Were they actually aware of the phenomenon
you had noticed and then and where they open to the idea of re. Examining
the nature of the way that they were and try to which I was able to most where people were munich is, I think it's a special kind of personally that is attractive to buy a car,
student mental health because is different than any other kind of practice. You know, like lots of people, will talk about arms. I, for I feel, like most people were very supportive,
and wanted to find ways but hadn't before, like black whim
were on staff had been able to kind of get into the community, because you know they were very closed off to it. You know like who are these people
You wanna come talk to us, but I think
There were more black women on staff and we were able to kind of create conversations that they can't was really need it.
So you say once more black women on staff and how does it actually happen? So I think it really. I think it would be different.
for me to go somewhere where there were no other black women on staff, because that would make me think either. This town is not attractive for black women like it, doesn't feel good to live here or something about like this culture doesn't make. You feel like black women want to be here, I'm so I would definitely be asking last questions do any place. I was interviewing they didn't get married woman, honesty of, but I think once you get one person there back in a test to like ok, this feels like a comfortable
please. I think you would like in here you know these are the kinds of things we can do on campus. Then it makes it easier for more people to go there
I think, a lot of it is in like the recruitment and like the targeting and making sure that people are applying so that you can kind of get them to come and visit campus yeah were you that first person anywhere they had where I think I was at georgia, southern right.
I think I was introduced georgia. What was that? What what made you say? Yes, given the fact that, surely you you would be the first, so that was my first job out of grad
yeah, my goal had always been to like be in atlanta, and so this was like closer to atlanta been where I was in. Where was I I think I was in wisconsin or somewhere before, so it was
Okay, I can. I can do this stuff in places or say alright. Alright, some of my really good friends are already in atlanta. It was only like three hours away, so I was like okay, I can do this and like keep looking for,
in atlanta until something opens up. Nah yeah, you also you. You brought up the phrase and I'm probably not going to get it right: vocational rehabilitation or rehabilitation counseling. What is that, so? It is related to helping people with disabilities get back into
workforce. So what kinds of accommodations and things need to be put in place so that they can do their jobs to the best of their ability, and just saying do with that experience, I'm curious what you took from that yeah, so he came in incredibly hill.
full. So after I graduated from my programme with the masters degree, I actually were for this. Data was wisconsin with their vocational rehabilitation. Counselling programme are
white men, and so I learned so much and I had a lot of college students actually on my staff- are all my case load like helping them get there
accommodations they needed in place to do well in college, so it kind of came full circle, because my last job before I started doing there be for black girls. Will time is that I was the director of the counselling and disability services centre at click atlanta universe,
so I was the person in charge of leg, making sure the accommodations were employees and looking over iraq.
than those kinds of things I'm on campus, so bad
permission in the knowledge I have from their masses, degree came in incredibly helpful and an to because it this is. This is a different population who also very often is subject to tremendous.
and to inequality into exclusion. Ma am
it's so it's sort of, like it's finishing experience for you to to have in the early days of becoming a like entering this profession. Thing haha like these are the different ways that that people are
are pushed pushed out and for various reasons enough
to do what they can control exactly
in all alone in the disabilities, were psychiatric in nature. Also, things like needing extended time on tests are, you know needing to have more frequent breaks or a more excuse absences like a lot of that came from mental health issues, and so
like, and also a very early experience with, like the kinds of ways that people are impacted in their lives related to mental health. But what makes you go from there than to say? Okay, I'm going to move out and
he'll clinical practice, and I am going to focus my energy on introducing psychology in therapy to black women is, I feel like,
I had always been doing on these campuses, so you know now. Looking back, I can see a very clear straight line so like how I
the way I am today, but was not thinking that I would be here now but like us,
it. Even as early as internship, I went to the director and say hey: this is the kind of clinical practice I'm interested in. How can I run a group for black women?
is, and so they will connect me with, like the office, a multicultural students away ever virginia
commonwealth I'd ran. The group grew with somebody who was another therapies, but she was like the assistant director of multicultural services. There
so we would stay late one afternoon and run a group for the black women on campus. That was incredibly popular.
Mr Ben. I lived there and then started doing the same thing at the university of georgia. When I was on stand there and then continued when I got to go,
when at university, which is of course another historically black college in university. So it wasn't a need for like an actual group there, but the suit and steel were very excited till I come and talk about like the kind of things and had made concerning them right. So when you start thirty, four lacquer ass witches, yet german, surely brand now one of the main challenges at that
I'm assuming you serve address head on. Is this cultural association.
what it means. A few half do have therapy or go to counselor involved with a psychologist, and now you can avoid doing around things sink or swim with north africa has a guide not under the umbrella of big institution, or something like that were there.
A captive group of people way or in service out. That's gotta, built around thing right and it's hard enough to start in hell for somebody else to start a practice ruling on their own.
You choose to serve a community of people who deeply need what you have to offer and at the same time, it's not just about being of service to them. It's about there's a whole educational burden of sort of like saying okay, so let me show you why and how this is actually okay hm. So where do you serve?
Firstly, stepping into that when you made that decision to so even working in college, counting sinners, like the college student life lends itself to lhasa flexibility, so lots of people who work and how his company centres have part time frame.
is that I had always had appointed time priorities,
even as early as being at the university of georgia. So when I moved to atlanta, having my practice on the side was something that I was already doing, what it was
In seville, so the whole origins, or wherever
Every four legged rules is that I heard I watched the black girls rock award shalom BT inches. It was
incredible experience, and I thought is there a way. I could create something like this for black women related to mental health and it it feels
it has come in a lot of ways become bad I'm. So my whole goal was to leg, make it kind of cool like how can I talk to people about these? You know very, like
ten syllable words and all these diagnoses and stuff like that. How can I talk to people about this in a way that
the relevant inaccessible to them on, because you may
an earlier like old, the idea of having two goals of araby, but I also want there to be something people want to do that, because I think it a very unique
experience. Let go somewhere by yourself for an hour
a week and just talk about yourself like, I don't think we often get built
That being so, I also wonder people's understand that there is nothing
as you wanted just think about like when is a crisis situation or if its mandated, but how could you actually be?
in your life by going sit there before last the different reasons, and it's not even that it's it's it's either, there's no shame associated with it, but actually it is effectively the way regime, as it is a form of self career
and also self care is okay, right, right and necessary. We only have one earth. How do you feel about that phrase? Self care, because it's new so much about the conversation right yeah, it's an instagram, impose it's hashtag, left and right. What's your take on
I feel like. I need a leg buying some history of like how it has been drawn up in the way that it has. Of course we were already talking myself here goes, you know it's my training re somebody feels like somewhere in the leg. Last five years,
so it has become very much a buzz word, and so you know I'm glad that people are paying more attention to it, but I think sometimes people get confused about like what kinds of things need to be classified as healthcare. So you see lots of
I like manicures and pedicures and massages, and you know all those kinds of things, and all of that is great, but I don't want people to miss the like free things. That's healthcare actually is which is kind of just
making sure that your nourishing your mind body and spirits. I bet you can kind of continue to be functional. Like all of those small decisions, you can be making to really be taken, good care of yourself yeah. The little things
I now and also I think, the idea of it not being a luxury rather have a review, define it in re. Isn't it no? This is actually
This is the way that most of us just or okay, every day you know in a world that increasingly from
and challenging and anxiety provoke. Yes, yes, if you like is much more need a fresh or tat. How has the last few years and this hidden in this sort of like cultural moment?
changed? What you do and change what you're seeing when people come to you and ask you questions or yeah, there's a lot more anxiety.
and you know anxiety is always we already like tat to be no kind of goes back of others winnings anxiety, depression in terms of like what's diagnose most but the
do definitely is a lot more anxiety, some that would meet leg diagnoses, currently clear criteria,
in some just kind of like you know normal
every day anxiety. I think that lots of people are walking around with. I think you know the rise
social media and has made it much more difficult to kind of a boy
the things that were already happening in the world- and maybe we just didn't know about, but as much as it also promotes awareness. It also makes it very difficult to kind of measurement
held because at any moment you can open twitter and by make there has been another shooting somewhere or you know some other tragedy, and so I think people are
Yes, like really being over exploited, is, I think, a lot of ways and are not kind of developing this guilt.
Man is that in this, in the ways that we need to do so
You two m: when people come to you and there they share this with you like I'm, I'm feeling overwhelm them. Anxious am I dont know what to do about it. I'm getting paralyzed nome, whereas some of the things you share with them to you. Yes, I would
helping them to develop some limits around like their engagement with technology. You know, I know it's easy, because we all have these funds in our pockets earth into their readily accessible onboard, making sure they're putting things in place a bid. The earth
healthy boundaries with it, so that may mean kind of cutting and off. You know several hours before a bit like turning notifications off. Like all the things you need to do, to protect your psyche from
some of the trauma that you may see when you open a facebook, so I think, having conversations about that has become much more a part of my work than it was like five years ago.
there. You see the way I became aware of you and your work is at your part cast and establish, and this is also an you guys have. It was by the way the really big black girl spot cast. I know the pike ass, it were focused on black women has listeners. It feels to me as I go, and a middle age white due to new york listening it. I was only taking notes you, but on two levels,
one as you just get great wisdom for any by his moving through stuff, and we all are, but also from me as somebody who is really just trying to better understand
and my role as a middle age, white guy in modern society and see
and understand the things that people of color are moving through, that I've probably been pretty blind to for most of my life. It's been interesting because when I listened to your podcast, I hear not only great advice, but I also hear cultural experiences that I just I I don't I'm not. In that conversation, I don't have the same conversation my head. It's really it's has been fascinating for me being here.
listen to it. On a regular, I think I was very shocked by how many leg many black women were listening to the bank, the podcast, of course again it is very much for for them, that is who are making the bank s war, but lots of like non black therapists.
Tell me? They listen to you in my green information, and I am glad like I feel, like that's like a happy by product of the pipe has them. Other people can also get really good information that may help them to have
less traumas having again experiences with people of color in black women, in particular in their there be offices. So if it can help in that,
yeah, I'm glad to hear that too yeah. So it's you so then you're you're sort of like quote primary listening audience, is black women, but also it sounds like it's you're really, also looking to speak to therapists, I'm not looking to speak to the marriage of giving good information. Roman!
I thought about that ahead of that. What was the I mean, what was actually the initial incentive so like? There are one hundred different ways that you can be of service and you chose to like one of the primary forms for you as media is hosting conversations and sharing ideas in the form of
I cast Mary. Why so it started out as a blogs that they are properly. Girls actually started a blog, but I was we less consistent with blogging than I am and panting, and I think I just was never able to give like the immediate
back from my readers that I get from the bank s listeners. So you know I guess listeners are very different. Breed of peace.
right here, even though lots of emotional array blogs, but I think the intimacy
media, really makes people feel that we want to turn back to you
well, you know I was just getting so much feedback very early on from the podcast that it made it easy to kind of continue, and it made it very clear that people needed this and that they like appreciated the information
I'm. So it really has cottages accidently been bed. Podcasting was the thing that connected to people, because I already hits it like. I already had blog pieces on the web,
I bet people just weren't, you know grasping in this aim ways.
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me available until July, fifteenth other than the fact that you found that other professionals and people all color were lessening? Were there aren't any other? Really big surprises. I think-
just how many people listen has been incredible to me I mean you know, I think, and I I still try to figure out like okay, what's going
We, the marketing plan, any know all of its staff, but really it has just read by people telling other people like hey used to check this out. Are you know they love?
particularly episode initiated with everybody in their cycle. You know so it has been an incredible word of mouth campaign, which of course, is right. There Beth morkan anger. I bet you can
message has been incredible. It's in tremendous one of the things that you have spoken out in very different ways. Also is we ve touched our level
is the idea of depression and oppression in the context of further cultural perception of a strong black woman and how those, too
sometimes don't play well together, taught me more the years. I think you know, for people who are have either invested consciously or so
conversely, in holding this idea of a strong workwoman, sometimes they miss the signs of depression. So they are so busy trying to take it.
The people they don't realize like how low their own motivation is or that they are not interested in doing things that they used to do.
Are you know all some of those signs? A depression are very easily missed because you're so outward focused as your napping. It
Since a kind of what's going on in your body in your mind, then you missed some of those times they could indicate like hey, I'm in trouble here you to allow me to go and talk with somebody about this. Now you also not rely
got enough, said trail him at the time of it. It was five minutes. I think it was your. U s, open mouth,
Oh you are with the help of others, which I set. My boost is as yet
it was not a normal episode. It wasn't one of your regular or deep dive do, but it was about what happened. I was at the us open, Serena Williams. Right. Tell me a little bit more about that moment
and also what you said and why you felt compelled to just basically turn on the make us either summit
I need to get out yeah so I mean so. You have listened to the episode, so you know. I'm big on pop culture, so I'm always paying attention like what are people talking about right now and if there's a slant that I can take for the podcast and they usually try to connected so I
remember that moment in you know, Serena, I'm not a huge tennis man, but I'm a huge arena fan and have followed her career in leg. Just the ways that she has concerned
suddenly been vilified in the media and like she could just never do
anything right. It feels like I'm so in this matter
when you know where she's kind of making her come back after the baby. You know all of these things I could just fell like such complete, fresh.
In a way that I think lots of black went away, was connected with leg? Did you just never can get a break armies
Oh, you know that was about a conversation ass. Our online in that was when I share this story about the belet. Etrurians beat like what was the moment in
in life, where you realize, no matter how amazing you are like nobody would give you anything, and so I shared that speech and other people were able to connect with cause. I think again, like a lot of black women. Have that
moment, like other first memory of like we and you knew
the world was not the same for you as it is for other people.
when you share something like that, do you think about the weather you putting together and the potential response?
a differently. Then one of this or more regularly scheduled like a longer more prescriptive offerings, yeah necessarily think about a more, but I do think
hi save those are some of the ones people like the most, because again, I think when I'm just like asking questions of another therapists
I'm talking about, like whatever the topic is people on necessarily get to know me as much but
on those shorter episode, when I'm connecting it to more my experience, they may get to know me more
so you know, even though they're hearing my voice every week, I'm not necessarily sharing a lot about who I am and what's going on with me, and so I think people really like those episodes where they can connect to like who is doctor joy behind the mic
it means more. Like you said you do a lot of entering of other people sharing other people's voices, and it's it's like your moment to say, like a kids is wisconsin and, as you become an increasingly public person, how does that land with you being that person and being both having a platform and a voice and large numbers of people now listening to you, but also I didn't get along with your ability to actually share. What's, on your mind, is the ability for other people to share what they think about you and what you're saying as well.
Does that? Are you ok without em I had he navigator, so there's nothing. I feel like I'm like learning to navigate. You know, because I think, because I have become more public in you, know that
I can see, is more popular. Now I did
am getting more like critiques in a way that don't feel like fair critiques or helpful critiques. Like you know, people have different opinions and that feels fine, but people will sometimes send me like nasty emails which feels very you know off putting and like
I think always causes me to take a step back like okay, what's going on here, and I think because my clinical,
training, I'm able to kind of quickly see this is likely more about them or something
going on and it is about me, but it still off pudding. We know because I think I feel like I'm trying to do.
Who really good work for people in need to be of service in use my skills and knowledge to help other people, so I think it always was like a slap in the face,
when I gave them in those emails, but again my clinical training. I think help me to take her to make sure that I'm putting that back on other people, but I dont know how that will increase
as I have become public. I would imagine it get learn, but you know bigger and bigger, as I don't
obviously no leg how I'm going to deal with it. I mean
it's an interesting thing as your audience, you know, like there'll there'll, be time where you're, probably you're, talking to ten times the number of people you're talking to now and ten times the number of people, a percentage of that will.
about the entitlement and the new to want to share with a narrow?
let europe that new. I think that such a I'm so curious, how different people dance with that.
You know and also how, how culture and and how
race and how ethnic backgrounds play into both the way you step into that role and the way that people choose to respond to you, because it's gotta be different, like they're, not they're. Probably I can't imagine somebody you know like every single person
say I'm by responding exact same where everybody, no matter what rate of course, of course here I mean. I definitely have had some attacks.
Again. My stuff is- is for black women, and so so overwhelmingly black women have been incredibly supportive of me
You know the the directory for therapists has gotten lots of press as well as
I guess so. Sometimes I will get
is from like non black people about light, will why therapy for black girls like what about white girls? I would about all of these other kinds of things and that I choose to that, even indeed with, because it feels like there's not a good use of my energy
So but again, like you're saying as the you know, popularity increases. There will be maybe ten times more of that, and am I always going to be able to ignore that? I don't know you know I mean so
it definitely has had a racial slant to it, but some of it has not been like a race kind of thing is more of like a
you know who are you
your annoying kind of being a typical internet, trolls parade
it's why I never
he gave me bad bad points? Fifteen. You know that is merely difficult for me to because a point of order
the important to me- is the major I'm very connected to my community, like it's, how I make sure I'm giving them
in that they want to hear him constantly soliciting their feedback, and so some that requires me to recommend because I'm wanting to be in community with them.
I would, of course, then, every now and then you will run again something this lake. You know now,
community nice behaviour in you know you can't help but read it. I mean
interesting, as as you're saying that which has popped into my head, was that in a in a past like the the majority of what I put into the world was as a blogger, writing books in them, but really spending years as a blogger, putting out a lot of stuff and in the early days of blogging you know we were all really excited when the early platforms came out
You actually could add comment right and it was a conversation and then you start realizing. There were more more comments and then you start realizing. Oh, I don't like some of these comments.
People are coming to my house and my front yard ray and then you have they did decision. Am I just gonna? Let it hang out there
hmm I going delete a center. I gotta respond.
Am I get that my committee will respond to it, and then there was a moment where
I saw a whole bunch of my colleagues early blunders with fairly significant followings all begin to one by
in turn off comments, one. They got to a point where the volume of pushed back, even though maybe it was still tend to
good, really bad, but still the volume of the negative became the
they just became so distracting so disconcerting that there are like in a lot. I just can't handle the sea. I just I dont want to handle eighty now, if you want, if you have something to say, that's awesome, you now
I have ten different platforms and profiles at you, one where you can let loose rate, but not in my backyard, and they just start turning it off and it's interesting because in podcasting like we don't have comment sections,
no no it's on the lesson was right in re, two people are already there. There sharing comments, but the generally doing it across all their on pollution.
the files so yeah I mean it as I think we're were were not at the point, but my sense adam you. A lot of us are exploring how how to navigate
This is really because, if you put strong a pin gentle world- and really I do, I think we all do because it's kind of not worth doing if you don't do that right in our, which means you're gonna, provoke round
being in love with so wearing, while we're still on this, because you do have this brain clinical background to and other people whether they are passer just people with here like who are active online and sharing ideas.
we're getting trolled they're getting they're getting pushback they're getting criticized, or maybe just in the personal lives. I was one of the two sort of like most effective things that you do that, maybe other people could do also to handle a level of increasing criticism without crumbling.
A higher people, though you know, because community is really important to me. I still want to have a community, but I don't want to be the one who is like the first line person so now
habits. He more community manager to leg manages to come in sex, animal based meal group and all of those things which has helped incredibly, and I
I have a virtual assistant who like manages my email, so you know by the time it gets to me. It is like either
We really really. Why should they
not at all like they will just take here before me, because you know because the content is what
most important to me when making sure people get good information. I feel like doing with that. Stuff really was focused taking away too much of my energy and focus and
I can't keep showing up in the ways that I want to for the podcast and then my weekly videos and all of those things if I'm taking too much energy and focus to deal with that other stuff. So community is important to me, but I
Will I have to be the one managing
if it anymore. So if you can find even you know if you can hire people graveyard
also violent hearing. My pack as this is really love to like wanna, be applied as something as though you were like leave and be able to find out, and he would be willing to help.
demanded a community if you needed to know, I love that we have to take a similar approach, love because I am sensitive to it. I like it I say every coming from outside my entire day, just being,
I fear that we are like swinging violet.
If I'm stupid- and I just want to be able to actually do the thing I'm here to do, which is create and put ideas into the wrong rang. You mentioned that directory, which I think is
important and interesting to talk about to support what you do. You know you have a very specific offering you have your podcast, your speaking two particular points.
at the same time, you decided at some point I need to put together a directory
What was the genesis of that and wandered about years ago? When I get they didn't
because I need to do is they re like I had to do so again, because I've been left his home like
social media kind of engaging with people I kept seeing this car.
Terry around, like all, I really like the fine like a great therapy, is like who has a good there with that kind of thing, and so in december of twenty
seventeen? I believe I put our twenty sixteen, I put out a call that say hey if you are a black woman whose had a great therapists cemetery.
masion, I will how it all into like a little database base in like we'll just put it on the website, for people to find people is so by the end of december.
I am. Ninety therapy is already most
then we're nominated in some people were like all this looks really cool. Let me am I practice too. It is a kind of fell like something
happen organically, just because I kept seeing conversations around it ray and have you found that most of the therapies are also
are either black women or women of color or people of color yeah by and large. So now they are over twelve hundred therapists allowed in the directory. So what started as ninety is now twelve hundred and most of them are overwhelmingly black women right of of the ones. That aren't is that that I am I'm curious, like a sort of tiny tiny percentage of them are not had a hand up there
just because when color black women more saying like this person- I'm I guess maybe the other question.
if our bodies nominating, do you get people? Sadly, this is my therapist their fantastic. They really understand me. My story like where I come from my unique concerns, especially women of color,
and their white near. So actually, if not a nomination thing any mother earth or now- and you can just lose your practice as a therapist arm, but a lot of therapies
who were originally nominated were not black women. So a lot of you,
and again like they're, just not enough lack, thereby to go around where everybody who would want one as a let them means less happy. War working with non black therapies and people were having fantastic experiences with people who
not other black women and they wanted to nominate their therapies, and they would even say that, like hey, this is not a black women with this first,
has been amazing and I let them I'm so, of course I would add that so be anybody has the
option to join the directory. Is his will happen in Malta,
People who are listed are black women. So when you serve legal with you ve created now, you ve got a media brand. You gotta service brand, you ve got
directory. You ve got a community which you mention germans online when you look to the future about
what you want to create and where you want to go with with this, do you have a clear sense of what that looks like or you just kind of more open to what it needs to be
very open moon. My community has been very clear and then they want more in real life events. They want an opportunity, they come together and they ve been asking for some kind of retreat or something so I feel like that will be a part of what happens like in the very near future that someday you wanted.
You're, just on a personal fulfilment yeah, I feel like I once you like, see these people in real life or moving like so incredibly supportive arm, but I feel like any defined, to find people to do that, cause like event,
Engagement in planning does not feel like a scale burmese. I feel like. I also wants a fine like there are people who can bring to live like this vision because of
I'm going to do it. I wanted to be something that really feels like a therapy for black girls blacker achievement, and I wanted
Have the feel of may go hanging around like listen to the package as a whole,
I wanted to have a certain feel that still very consistent with the brain
atlanta center and so we're sitting here in the context of this container good life project. If I offer up the phrase to live a good life, what comes out to be connected to reconnect it to others who you love? Thank you thank you.
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.