Tag Archives: Violence

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All “Featured or Verified Providers” have had their credentials verified. All other listed providers have attested that the information they show here is true. You may check your state licensing agency to see if providers who have “self-listed” are shown as licensed in your state. While we attempt to be sure only licensed and credentialed providers are shown on the site, a provider’s status may change at any time and we cannot be responsible for their actions or representations.
Please read the following disclaimer:  For site visitors: AfricanAmericanTherapists.com is an informational website only. All featured or verified providers listed here were licensed by their states at the time of initial listing. This website takes no responsibility for ongoing accuracy of licensing or credentialing information. In addition, this website cannot be responsible for the treatment, advice or information provided by any of the providers listed here. As this is an informational website, the information given here does not supercede or replace the advice of your medical provider and is not to be considered medical advice. The resources listed here are responsible for their own services and AfricanAmericanTherapists.com is not able to assure the accuracy or efficacy of their services. The best means of obtaining adequate services for mental health needs is direct consultation with a licensed professional mental health provider. Please seek immediate assistance from your local emergency room or mental health crisis center or hotline if you are experiencing any of the following:
1) A feeling of needing to harm yourself or someone else
2) A feeling of allowing harm to come to yourself or someone else
3) If you are abusing substances
4) If you feel in grave danger or feel you are unable to maintain consciousness: Call 911 immediately!

Why We Seek Black Providers

Dr. Veronique Thompson, is a California  psychologist. In an interview published in the ebook, “Cultural Diversity,  A Primer for the Human Services”, she does a more than adequate job of articulating the cumulative and historical forces that accompany clients into the therapy space. In that space, the launching of a successful therapy relationship requires trust, the expectation of acceptance and protection, understanding, and the opportunity to be heard without judgment. That is counter to the everyday experiences for most of us with whites, that is, with our interpretation of our experiences with whites.

We carry our histories into therapy

There are many parties to our interactions in therapy: our assumed acceptance of each other, our personal histories ( or let’s just call it “our baggage”), our body language (a big part of how we blacks communicate), our slang, the topics that are brought up  along with those that are avoided, and that delicate dance we do around sensitivity to the other’s perceived differences. With people who are more like us, there are fewer differences to be dealt with.

The movie, 12 Years a Slave, has made the severity of this history clear. When feelings of discrimination are ignored, they fester and erupt later in the therapy , disguised as some other issue. It is trust and understanding  that comes from knowing that our therapist has travelled the same road we’re on that accelerates the formation of a bond between therapists & clients.

When the therapist doesn’t recognize racism

 How people react to subtle racism is a good example of this. For many whites, it’s not there. It’s been reduced to a meaningless quip in popular media. They (the black who has suffered an invisible  slight) are “playing the race card”.  In a therapy session it is one of a thousand little cuts that needs to be recognized, vented and grieved over. It can make black folks start to feel a little crazy all on its own but with a black therapist, these underlying wounds get treated.

So baring your soul to a stranger is hard enough, and leaves you very vulnerable – to rejection – while baring your soul to a therapist is even harder, because they have the capacity to reject your sanity if they can’t recognize the validity of your underlying pain. Many white therapists, and some blacks, don’t understand that there’s an historical component to this pain. It is that history, if not the genetic impact of racism, that increases the sensitivity to everyday racism. Dr. Thompson addresses the historical aspect of this pain.

How our history may affect diagnosis and understanding

In the interview, Dr. Thompson, a Spelman graduate, states, “If you understood what the process of enslavement did to turn rage directed toward the self – directed toward one’s community as violence – it would give you a different way of understanding. How can one deal with that rage without pathologizing the person, and making their anger the only issue to be addressed? ” This is an important way to decipher the anger that is so often present in black life.  As providers, parents, teachers, police officers, we are shortsighted if we try to approach anger as if it has no roots. It is as ineffective as killing weeds by cutting off the leaves of the plants.

Dr. Thompson goes on to a deeper analysis of some of the emotions with which blacks are unequally burdened. She says rage turns into outrage. She notes that, “When a person is outraged, they’re outraged for a reason and the reason is injustice. So the period of enslavement is important because it shows us where the anger came from and there are a lot of residuals from our history having to do with anger, trust, and suspicion which really should be renamed healthy paranoia.”

Veronique Thompson, PhD. is a listed provider on this site.

Cultural Diversity: A Primer for the Human  Services, Jerry Diller. Cengage Learning, February 9, 2010. A Google eBook.

Can we help save the next Hadiya?

Today, Hadiya Pendleton, the 15 year old teen from Chicago’s south side who was shot in a neighborhood park while trying to avoid the rain, was laid to rest. Having performed at the Inauguration of President Obama, just a few days before her death, her picture has appeared in the news all over the world. Her smile, her academic accomplishments and her hearty goals stand in contrast to the assumptions Americans have about the face of victims of gang violence.

Whether it’s Chicago or New Orleans or Philly or L.A. or Memphis or the South Bronx or Newark, it doesn’t matter. Urban violence is staggering. Every death involves someone’s son or daughter and takes away someone’s chance for a good life. As mental health providers, we may not be especially trained to deal with gang violence but we do understand the escalation of depression and desperation that leads to suicide and homicide. We do know what behavioral signs to look for, signs that indicate that a person needs help. So, on the community level, along with teachers and the church we can have a powerful role in disseminating ideas that help change the rising suicide of our children. Gang violence is suicide. Gang participation grows in the absence of concerned and available parents, in the absence of school success, and in the absence of jobs. Gun violence cannot occur without guns, guns that are stored in the homes of parents every night.

In the last year or two, many parents have come into therapy parroting a belief that we find puzzling. After listing the many offenses of their child, they say “You can’t stop kids from getting into trouble. They have to have their fun.” This leaves me wondering what planet I was brought up on. Most of us were stopped from having dangerous “fun”. Most of us were stopped from “getting into trouble” before we could even get started. Why were our parents so successful? Because they did not have that belief. Because there was usually an adult at home or nearby who made sure we didn’t get into trouble. Because we were not exposed to all the trouble that could be gotten into. Our parents intended for us to do what we were told. Current parents lack time and support. More than anything they lack the conviction that they are in charge and that they are supposed to not only set the rules, but enforce them.

Of course, it isn’t just about discipline, supervision and participation in our children’s lives. It’s also about an acceptance that children have feelings, needs that they can’t express or defend and need to have some say so in the requirements that we place on them. If they don’t know where or what college is, why would they work blindly to get there? If we seem unhappy and overburdened in our jobs, why would they want one? Children need for school to be interesting and to have a purpose and a plan that fits their personalities and interests. We can help that happen by helping to expose kids to positive experiences and whenever we have a chance, pointing out to them their special strengths.

What do you think?