Ascension Behavioral Health

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Fast Five: Racism, Oppression, Self-Care & Boundaries

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." - Audre Lorde

 

I've been meaning to post about this for some time, and not just related to the recent horror of Charlottesville, VA this past weekend. In an effort to take care of myself and remain good to those around me, I have taken much needed breaks from the information overloads, circular conversations and the reel of hate and trauma across all media. Trauma, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and fear make it difficult to remember ways to take care of yourself and to even take on additional tasks to function at your norm. Race-based trauma, especially with the graphic imagery that we've become so used to, affect us biologically, emotionally, physically & mentally, and without breaks, can lead to bouts of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and interpersonal dysfunction. Here are five things that you can do NOW to take back control of your psyche & take better care of yourself when your environment isn't taking care of you:

1. DISENGAGE. Information, images, conversations that cause you anxiety or trigger fear or despair, are absolutely ok and important to remove yourself from. You are under no obligation to know every detail of traumatic events, read nasty comments or convince others how to think or feel if their ideas are hurtful and oppressive. Take breaks from TV, news articles, social media and conversation. If you choose to not completely disengage, structure times that you will view content and try to steer clear from times close to when you wake up or go to bed. Try driving to without the radio. Start your morning without TV, podcasts or music. Sit in some silence & be still for 2-5 minutes to recenter yourself.  

2.  PRIORITIZE APPETITE, SLEEP & EXERCISE. Reset yourself from the inside out; these are the best tools of repair and fuel day to day. Have your sleep patterns changed? Nightmares, disruptions? These can be the first signs of anxiety. Loss of appetite? Are you eating 3-5 meals/daily? Appetite loss is also common when we are feeling overwhelmed, even if we can "function" at work or school. Feeling on edge, hypervigilant of your surroundings, fearful in spaces/places you normally feel ok? Access places where you feel safe, spend more time at home or in your favorite places rejuvenating. Walks, jogs, runs & trips to the gym to release physical tension can be extremely helpful in times of distress, whether or not you have specific weight loss or physical health goals. At home workouts for 10-30 minutes a day can also be useful. Exercise can also be a way to connect with your community or meet new people.

3. SET BOUNDARIES DIRECTLY, REPETITIVELY & ASSERTIVELY. If you have friends or family who can only talk about trauma and persistently send you video or content that is unnerving, ask them to stop. If you are socializing and topics come up that feel overwhelming, ask for a change in topic or excuse yourself from the conversation. Ask people to respect your emotional and mental health and not to dump their angst onto you. You do not need to be the holder, receiver, container for anyone else when you are actively holding yourself up. You can post on social media and turn off your comments and DMs. 

4. (...on the other end) CONNECT. Only to parts of your support system that can be safe, empathic, healing & encouraging. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Join support groups. But be mindful of joining ALL the groups, talking to ALL of your friends ALL of the time, and having ALL of the family meetings. Don't completely isolate for more than 24-36 hours and beforehand, and let your folks know that you're taking a break and when to check back with you.

5. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Your self-care needs and skills are your own. What works for someone else may not be what sets your clock back to the right time. Get clear on what you need and how you need to function your best and even better, amidst tragedy. It is ok to feel every single thing that you are feeling and do what works for you.

 

(and extra shameless but not really ashamed at all plug) GET HELP. Locate a therapist to help you organize your thoughts, feelings, worries and needs, short-term and long-term. Many relationships have been impacted by national and global strain, and this can also contribute to feelings of tension and distress. A therapist can help you to process what you're experiencing, develop and improve self care plans and help you build skills that will last you a lifetime. Your friends and your family are not your therapists and you are not theirs. Start your search at www.psychologytoday.com. 

Remember, you are your most useful tool to heal yourself. Be good to yourself.

Insecure S2E2 - Hella Questions

Before I get into this, I want to note that there are a lot of moving parts in any TV show so I’m not meaning for these to be recaps and won’t touch on all scenes/storylines. I essentially want to dig deeper into themes that are being explored and provide more relational/psychological context for what’s likely at play. However, if there are plots that you’d like me to explore from this same perspective, please please please comment and ask me to dig in and I’ll try to do an extra post dedicated to those!

Similar to most watchers, I came into S2E2 with a fixed "SO WHAT NOW?" screwface & popcorn, just waiting to see how the romp that ended S2E1 would unfold. And as I expected, Issa reached out to Lawrence afterwards, likely to prolong feelings of attachment and to get some information about what their tryst meant to him. Does this mean you (Lawrence): forgive me? still love me? want to get back together? want to have sex again to keep avoiding what I did? Issa (understandably) seemed to be in a bit of shock after said romp, so didn't take the opportunity to ask the very important questions then. On some level, I think Issa knows that if they confront everything, she wouldn't hear what she wanted to, and wasn't ready for that. Receiving that information means that anything that happens afterwards that doesn’t protect her heart or her body, is on her. Now Lawrence, similar to Issa, does as I expected: minimally responded to her because he's confused and knows that "Hella Questions," are on the horizon. He'd be forced to reckon with his confusion and inappropriate / incongruent reaction to Issa, and need be accountable.

Without confronting what is happening, Issa eventually begins to fill in the story how she wants to and with that's easier to digest: “Maybe he hasn't gotten back to me because he's organizing his feelings.” “Maybe he just needs some more time.” Here we see Issa relinquishing control over what happens now AND next in her life—leaving her relationship decision-making moves up the SAME man who for 4+ years was, “tryna get his shit together,”—remember HIM, Issa? What makes you think he knows how to get it together now, enough to make decisions for the both of you? He’s given you no evidence that he can do anything but leave, make rushed decisions and avoid you. But now he gets more time, space, empathy, to sort himself out after thrashing you around on the couch for 7 seconds? (I didn’t count. I long-blinked.) In Issa’s guilt, grief, confusion & loneliness, it looks like she’s willing to be game for whatever Lawrence wants from her if it means she can avoid those feelings for longer. To her, any contact is better than no contact. Issa’s best bet is to get real familiar with those feelings, get clear on why they are there and how to manage them more effectively, so that she remains in control and can remind herself of the FULL story of their history. 

If Lawrence doesn’t respond or continues to respond half-assed-ly (non-clinical, made up & sticking to it) Issa also has an answer; she just doesn't like it. This is showing that he hasn't changed much, cannot do the emotional work you've wished for years for him to be able to do. (Issa and Lawrence aren't too different from one another, that's why I'm #TeamTherapyForEveryone and #TherapyHive). Issa finally admits to Molly that she’s confused; a big and vulnerable step for her, given that she’s been trying to play these last few months off as though she has it together and Lawrence is the only one who needs to figure something out. We can work with confusion! We cannot work with denial.  

The part I’m most looking forward to in any episode now because I’m obsessed with therapy and even more obsessed with black people in therapy with black therapists: Molly made it back to Dr. Pine! And she is talking a LOT in session #2. This is how follow-up sessions can look; once a client has taken that first step and made it into therapy, shared their history and realized that the therapist has not been scared off, judged them, and remains available, they tend to feel a bit more comfortable. What can also happen is an incident during the week that prompts them to use the space more actively, and even the most reserved client can come in presenting remarkably different than the session before.

What I really loved about this session is how quick, keen & direct Dr. Pine is. As Molly is sharing examples and letting her thoughts flow freely, Dr. Pine notices a trend--a lot of “should’s” in Molly’s narrative. Where she "should" be, what she "should be doing,"--a pattern of thoughts that doesn't allow her to focus on the present and how she got where she is & what she can do about it. When we "should" ourselves, we're telling ourselves that the way that we are/think/feel is not ok, it's usually judgmental, and sending subconscious messages that we are not good enough because we aren't what/where/how we "should" be. 

"Shoulds" are dangerous waters because they are not real and don't allow us to accept things as they are. For example: 1) "I should be better at xyz" (but I'm not). 2) "I shouldn't have said that to her" (but I did). 3) "I should not feel anxious about this" (but I do). How can you help this? Sit in 1) what you want to be better at and HOW to get better 2) What triggered you to say that to her and what you CAN do about it now and 3) I AM anxious. What's making me anxious, how does my anxiety affect me and what can I do to calm myself down? When you find yourself "should'ing"---->get back to the facts by asking yourself these questions. What is the truth? What is in my control?

Also, let's also get ALL the way into black women and invisibility within relationships, work spaces and families! Apparently, Dr. Pine went a little too hard for Molly, who wasn't able to commit to another session just yet. Because I understand the individual nature to avoid what feels uncomfortable, I ask my clients to commit to 4 sessions upfront to give me a chance, but also to give themselves a chance to get used to treatment and see what they experience even if it's scary. After 4 sessions, we re-evaluate whether this still feels like a good fit. If we still work well together, we keep going. If not, I offer an opportunity to talk through what's not working or what else they are looking for, and if they are not interested in attempting to get our relationship on a better track, I refer to another therapist. Therapy is collaborative and you have every right and responsibility to find a good, safe, validating fit. 

Cut to the Lawrence & Tasha situationship. We see a distracted Lawrence yet again, and Tasha avoiding what she notices yet again. Even as she invited him to her family BBQ, she quickly says "No pressure!" Already problematic because "no pressure" disclaimers also lead to "no accountability, no agreement, no trust, no respect." No surprise there, because remember....Tasha is dating Lawrence. He's just not dating her. However, this hangout session, Lawrence is feeling responsible (i.e. guilty) enough to disclose to Tasha that he slept with Issa. Tasha is clearly heartbroken at the news but at least asked him to leave (to go mooch of of someone else, I'm sure). In that moment, Tasha is able to show him that she is hurt and will not prioritize him over her needs to be away from him and sit with what he disclosed. It's hard to think clearly when your trigger is right in front of you, but I'm interested to see how Tasha shows back up because....she will. 

And there it is. Lawrence, and his remarkably selfish self, has the NERVE to go to Tasha's house! While some may see this as an attempt to do better, I still view this as a selfish and bold move. This woman asked you to leave her alone, but because you feel so guilty because you're not that guy, you show up at her home and ask her to face you again. Similar to Issa, if Tasha forgives, Lawrence doesn't have to feel as badly about how he's been treating her. And Tasha gets the "companionship" back and gives him credit for coming back to her. And then you invite him in for a plate? Of COURSE he's gonna eat, Tasha! Bet you he would have had a different response if you invited him to talk about his intentions with you and what he's willing to work on to not be a trash person to you.

We also see an important moment for Issa. She begins utilizing her full space instead of reserving space for Lawrence to return. Very important part of her grief process is facing the reality of the loss and reintegrating herself fully into her life again. But then we see a more reactive side of Issa that we're not used to and I'm pretty sure we're moving into a more active "acting out" phase of Issa. The text message read round the Insecure world was sent and the repurcussions of Issa acting not like Issa in the face of a settled in grief, will give me SO much to talk about next episode!

Keeping my therapeutic eye on:

-Lawrence is still depressed and his friends are not here for him EVER having negative emotion. Especially Chad. He dismisses his feelings, doesn't create room to talk about what's going on internally, and jokes about his feelings being enough to need a whole 'nother room. Men, especially black men, face an ever growing stigma related to romantic feelings and grief. Though this is his battle, it's really no wonder Lawrence is so passive and confused in his life. Even when he has tried to sort his stuff out outside of himself, his people aren't there.

-Is Molly telling the truth about Lawrence? Or did she lie to Issa to try to assist in her moving on from him? Issa might only listen when she believes there is no hope for reconciliation. 

-Tiffany & Derek dealing with infidelity in silence i.e. shame?

-"We Got Y'all" running into problems with a prejudiced VP--What will Issa allow and do the rules change when ethnic minorities are biased?

-The quicksand of social media access to people's lives and the stories we make up about them based on a picture, a caption, or a 60 second video. Someone takes Issa's phone, this should NOT be encouraged!

-Molly diving headfirst into the deep end of the ol' boys club because...friends of the boss get paid more?

 

Stay tuned for S3E3! Thanks for reading!

Insecure S2E1: Hella Great

So. Season 2 of one of my favorite shows, Insecure, created by and starring Issa Rae, started back a few weeks ago and it is nothing short of all the relationship messiness that I expected and have been craving since fall 2016! There has already been so much commentary about the events of the season so far, so I know that I'm behind. (My goal is to keep on track weekly after dropping these 1st three #PsychReviews). But, I'm here now! And ready to talk about some of the things we're NOT talking enough about, from a relational psychologist's perspective. What I (and many others, given the popularity of the show, so watch it) immensely appreciate about Insecure is how culturally relevant and realistic the storylines are. Centered around three young professional black characters (Issa, Lawrence & Molly), the plots exhibit the complexities of friendship, dating and work distress in environments and a world that isn't necessarily reflective of these complexities in black people with understanding or support. Insecure takes on the nuances of black girl friendships, sex & sexuality in the black community, racism, sexism and even....THERAPY! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. 

First of all. The music. THE MUSIC! The soundtrack is unmatched, seriously. It's creative, lyrically relevant, unique and really connected to the moments and themes of the show, all throughout. The soundtrack also features artists of color that aren't mainstream but deserve play and are now in heavier rotation. 

The opening scene is (of course) Issa imagining Lawrence forgiving her for cheating on him. What's happening here is that she's fantasizing about this scenario vs. addressing the grief she's experiencing in reality. Oftentimes when we're experiencing a relationship loss (not only through death), we might have thoughts of how things could have been different; how we wish things didn't happen that way they did; what we would have/could have done differently; so that we wouldn't be feeling the way we are now. This is one of the five stages of grief: the "bargain," which momentarily allows us to skip over the negative feelings linked to loss. It looks like this season, we'll also witness Issa skipping over grief by attempting to date when she's really not ready to. We've all seen this happen or done this ourselves--find distractions from the emotional pain that we're feeling or look to feel the positive feelings we had with one person, elsewhere & through another person, to avoid loneliness, anger, regret, etc. Issue? Issa hasn't done much of anything to ACTUALLY make sense of the relationship, how she reacted, and what she needs now, which leads to more reactive behaviors, even MORE regret, and more mess. You see her face and body language on these dates? Look familiar? (side eye) She's disinterested, distracted, not engaged, and clearly passing the time. Her loneliness has gotten the best of her and without clearly planned and healthy alternative behaviors and actively sitting in her grief, welcome to this new phase of Issa. Though not malicious, Issa's attempts to get back with Lawrence are indeed selfish & grounded in wanting to feel better about herself and to absolve herself of guilt or shame if he can forgive her, which doesn't take into account his pain, his grief, his needs.

Cut to...Dr. Rhonda Pine & Molly, in her FIRST therapy session! My obvious initial reaction is "Wow, I could LIVE in her office, it's so beautiful and book-heavy." But Molly's initial reaction? Distrust, skepticism, lack of openness; giving short answers, making limited eye contact and just...awkward. Sessions like this are painful for both parties involved and it's hard to get any traction when a client doesn't give you much. However, in her silence & hesitation, Molly is very clear about not feeling ready to get unpack her life. She comes across as "having it together," and not really needing therapy because things are "cool." I gotta give it to Dr. Pine; she was trying HARD! But therapy takes time and not all clients show up and drop everything in our laps. It may take weeks, even months, of a therapeutic relationship for someone to feel safe, especially if they identify with the negative stigma surrounding mental health care or have a history of trauma. I chuckled at Molly's recap to Issa post-session: "She tryna get all deep; tryna get all in my business."....Sweetheart, just.you.wait! I have faith that Dr. Pine is just what Molly needs and just as patient as she needs. I was super warm & fuzzy seeing this relationship displayed on television, with it's accuracy and with the dialogue around it from first season to now.

For clients of color, finding a therapist who looks like them, may have shared experiences or can even understand and not question lingo, i.e. "explaining being 'woke' to Dr. Rosenberg,' are major players in getting them into the office and on the path to healing. Black women face several barriers to treatment, specifically, finding a black woman therapist who they have some sense they can trust. For Molly to even make the phone call, let alone make the appointment AND keep it, is the biggest step, so kudos to her courage. Once therapists get clients into the room (and it's actually a good fit) we can typically be who our clients need us to be for them. Which is just...there, available, nonjudgmental, curious and open to them.  

And then there's Lawrence & Tasha...come ON. The episode makes it pretty clear that Tasha is more attached to Lawrence than he feels to her. Those same behaviors mentioned above re: Issa--absolutely apply to Lawrence. What becomes messy here is that Tasha is attached to Lawrence with no rhyme or reason, and hasn't required him to be anything more than just...there. And this is only Friday through Sunday! Lawrence doesn't have to make any commitment, state any intentions, express what he feels for Tasha in order to be granted access to her affection, her body, her time & her home. She has demanded NOTHING from him so he gets to bring NOTHING to her but romantic/sexual company and attention, sorta. The levels of distraction he displays are on 10. Even his statement of, "You'll be here," to her shows his sense of entitlement to her time and affection, so that he doesn't have to sit in his pain, his confusion, his grief, his long-term depression. Lawrence KNOWS that Tasha will be there, enough to arrogantly say it to her face! He describes his "situationship," with Tasha as "fun, no pressure." Well....yeah. Even when Tasha notices him tune out at dinner, she doesn't really challenge it. I sense that she knows where he disappears to in his head, but confronting this risks ending the convenience of it all. When inconvenience rears its head (as I'm sure it will) let's see what these two are able to come up with. 

Another major plot this season will still be Molly at a predominantly white & male firm, now (knowingly) contending with the historically large wage gap between white men and black women. Shout out to Black Women's Equal Pay Day, which was just July 31st. Widely known fact, whether this country is willing to acknowledge or take responsibility, is that black women get paid only 63-67 cents to every dollar that non-hispanic white men receive. Black women experience slower wage growth, class inequality and are up against racism AND sexism ingrained into our culture. More than halfway through the year, July 31st, 2017 was the day this year that black women's pay finally caught up to white men's pay from LAST year. Unacceptable and Molly is NOT here for it. Interested to see how she handles this with coworkers and management; people with more privilege than Molly.

And finally...the sex scene SEEN 'round the Insecure world! Did NOT expect this, but again, also not surprised. Neither Issa nor Lawrence have actually dealt with what has happened, individually or together. They've avoided, misplaced anger/affection/grief, and now see each other, in their once shared together apartment, and reactively and lustfully did what they have done the past 3-4 years...AVOID their issues. Not only was the sex reactive, it was aggressive, unprotected (if this unfolds like this....) and again, unresolved. Issa's smile at the end tells me that she takes this experience as a cue of some kind of positive attachment that Lawrence still has to her but I'm pretty sure she won't be feeling this way for long.

Whew! I could say a LOT more but I'd have you folks here forever. Stay tuned to my analysis of S2E2 - Hella Questions, and S2E3 - Hella Open, before S2E4 drops Sunday at 10:30p EST! Please, like, comment & share! The conversations about Insecure have been thought provoking, insightful and even healing for many. So thanks, as always, for reading and until then-Dr A. 

 

Gypsy on Netflix

(Spoilers. It's been out for weeks, I waited!)

Naomi Watts in Gypsy

Oh, Naomi Watts. The ONLY reason I even made it through 10 episodes of difficult to watch, (clinically) but intriguing enough, television. Gypsy is a series about a psychotherapist (PhD, so not sure why she's not considered a psychologist; I digress) who crosses SEVERAL professional & personal boundaries by getting involved in the lives of people her clients discuss in therapy with her. The show is promoted as a psychological thriller, and while I give it that, it was so predictable that the "thrill," did not last for long. There are so many cringe-worthy boundary violations that my head was spinning and I actually fell asleep several times, likely due to the predictability and annoyance, but maybe because I was also very tired this week. Even though I know it's fiction, it's still hard to watch such an important role of a therapist being portrayed in such a bold and sinister way. If I knew Jean, I would report her to the board of psychologists, never refer to her AND cross the street if I saw her coming! Keep that bad JuJu all the way over there, lady. 

Dr. Jean Holloway (alias: Diane Hart) portrays an outward narrative of "the good life," i.e. long term husband who loves & desires her, fun loving child, swanky NY therapist office and wardrobe....but what we quickly see is that none of this equates to happiness or fulfillment for her, contrary to popular belief. In turn, Jean suspects that her husband's assistant wants more than a professional relationship with him, her daughter is showing gender fluidity and Jean is unsure how to navigate this, she doesn't fit in with the neighborhood "mom" group, and she also shows some tension with her colleagues (but that appears most related to her clinical reports not always adding up and not taking constructive clinical criticism well). There are also hints at a toxic relationship with her mother and boundary violations with a previous client who was recently "released." I obviously want all the tea on the mother-daughter dynamics and I am absolutely sure that her issues in relationships with others now are rooted in this relationship.

 

The three clients' lives she steps ALL the way into include:

-a young man struggling with the breakup of an intense codependent romantic relationship (I work heavily with relationship codependence in my work and recommend Melody Beattie, CoDependent no more to help; see my Resources page) 

-a young woman struggling with addiction and a codependent romantic relationship rooted in this addiction

-an older mother having a very difficult time with her adult daughter's push for independence and wanting to maintain a codependent relationship with her

 

....see a theme? Jean having boundary issues with several clients with their own boundary issues isn't lost on me (or on her, as she's seen writing this down in her notes during one of her sessions) and she makes specific moves to gather more information about these people from her clients, in order to better pluck herself into their lives. As she begins to integrate herself into their lives, she makes more mistakes, and what continues to happen is inevitable, because--people are people, and you CANNOT control them. So, she loses her anticipated control over their lives, i.e. Sidney being her reckless & wanton Sidney self, Tom showing up to therapy with Allison, & a pending mother-daughter session that could go down in history; and Jean therefore loses control of her own lies. She has influence on her clients, and when things go awry for her, she tries to get her clients to do things that will preserve her personas. You really suck, Jean. 

It's clear that something is missing enough in Jean's life for her to act out these intrusive & invasive fantasies with the people in her clients' lives, but the show doesn't really help the viewers understand this. Or, at least, doesn't want us to understand until S2. With her lies and blurred ethical/moral codes and inability to keep up with it all, she consistently puts her clients at risk, her license at risk, her group practice's reputation at risk, her marriage at risk, her daughter's emotional security at risk and her family's overall stability at risk.  

Near the end, when Jean was able to utter, "I'm in over my head. I'm scared," to her husband, I was THRILLED. Finally, some honesty. Finally some acknowledgement of lack of control and (some) mistakes made. Her life is falling apart all around her, but what brings her to this place is fear of her physical safety with a car lurking outside; interesting. I assume Tom will become more dangerous if the show continues, he did after all, threaten her. Jean was scared then, but she is now, as she should be. Also, and so importantly!! We finally see her reconnect with her therapist in the final episode, but this internal processing throughout the show would have been much better for context and to slow some of the drama down a bit.

As a psychologist, I still find myself (only slightly) confused as to whether Jean really wants to understand more about her clients in order to actually help them, living out some fantasies because she's unhappy, or whether she really is just that manipulative, terrible and seeking control/power in some area of her life. But, in remembering the last line of the season: "Those people who truly desire power are actually only trying to control one thing: themselves." Seems telling enough, right? While I would love to diagnosis Jean with a more severe mental health issue wrought with delusions and a disconnect from reality, intermittent psychosis; what blatantly comes across is Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and plain ol' karma coming for her and now she's scrambling. Jean, go away. And leave Dolly with us, I like her vibe. 

Due to stigma, it's difficult enough to get clients into therapy to address short term and long term concerns as it is, and Dr. (rolls eyes) Jean Holloway doesn't make it any easier for us to do the healing when she's on the screen! I do greatly hope that viewers are able to separate fiction from reality, but I recognize that some eyes & ears to the show may not be able to do that, and may feed into widespread myths about therapists being manipulative and potentially making their lives worse. I try my best to decrease the stigma and be an inviting resources to a special & life changing relationship individuals can have with a therapist, but there's but so much that can be done when the field of psychology is up against so many barriers.

What I would recommend happening next? Dr. (gag) Jean Holloway: Stop seeing clients IMMEDIATELY. Stay away from Melissa. Intensify your own treatment with your therapist. Quit the field entirely. Go to marriage counseling (preferably with an Emotion Focused Therapist). Once you increase your insight and decrease your acting out, do whatever you are recommended to do next by your therapist(s) and mind your business. Preferably on the other side of the street from me. Fingers crossed?

Lastly, I still have no clue why the show is called Gypsy and what that has anything to do with the plot. Maybe that will be explained in S2? (can't guarantee I'll make it, but let's see how my life is set up when Netflix drops this). Keep up with me for more #PsychReviews of shows & movies that pique my interest. Hope you enjoyed the read!

Dr. A. on Mental Health Awareness in the Black Community

It's still Minority Mental Health Awareness Month! I forgot to post this in May for Mental Health Awareness Month, but still timely now, my first podcast! I was so honored to be invited by BLKHLTH to be featured on their first podcast since they began this important journey. I first came across this amazing group of scholars on social media and immediately wanted to connect with them around all things black health related. I attended an event with two organizers of BLKHLTH that allowed space for young black women to #GirlTalk about shared experiences, pains and joys and was thrilled at the attendance, transparency and healing that I was able to witness. Check out the podcast below and please share! Though this month is dedicated specifically to raising awareness about the disparities in mental health care for racial & ethnic minorities, EVERY day/month can be devoted to increasing awareness about & access to mental health care. I hope you learn and enjoy! 

BLKHLTH podcast with Dr. A

Learn about BLKHLTH

Introducing, Ourselves Black

Pleased to share one of my friend/colleague's labors of love (outside of her awesome clinical practice, Lorio Psych Group), a website dedicated to "Empowering the black community by promoting mental health." From psychoeducation, to book reviews, to interviews, Ourselves Black brings you SO much relevant thought provoking content related to the cultural disparities that have a negative impact on the overall functioning of people of African descent. A sensitive look at what's going on in the world and ways to continue supporting the community through ideas, conversation & action. Take a gander!

Ourselves Black