What does anti-racism work mean? How can you create a truly inclusive space in your group practice by doing anti-racism work? Why is it important to keep these conversations going?
In this podcast takoever, Whitney Owens speaks with fellow private practice consultant, LaToya Smith about how you can start doing the work to have an anti-racist practice.
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Meet LaToya Smith
LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome.
She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.
In This Podcast
- What does it mean to create an anti-racist practice?
- How you can battle blind spots
- Anti-racist work in the practice
What does it mean to create an anti-racist practice?
In a modern world that is still heavily tainted by racism, it is not enough to simply say that you are not racist because, in order to create positive, real change people need to be actively anti-racist.
[It is about] what a practice is actively doing; to be inclusive, to be diverse and to not harm somebody because of race, to not harm somebody because of life choices or decisions … we can fold it all in there together [so it] becomes a part of the mission and the vision [of the practice] and that is how the practice will move. (LaToya Smith)
Another reason why group practice owners should be active members in making their practice anti-racist is that often people have blind spots that they are not aware of, even if they are truly kind and aware people at heart.
Therefore, having accountability and active anti-racist work at the core of the practice will help to ensure that those blind spots are all examined and that a truly inclusive space is created.
How you can battle blind spots
That is the automatic reaction [and] we’ve all done it because it’s almost the best defense in the moment. We defend ourselves because it’s hard to hear … it puts us in a different light to what we think we’re giving off. I think it’s important that when somebody identifies that blind spot, that we do take some time to sit with it. (LaToya Smith)
It is important to sit with it and mull it over, to allow the possibility to yourself that you can improve as a person, instead of becoming defensive, shutting off and thus not allowing yourself to grow and understand more of the situation, or how you can help it.
However, this does not mean that you take on these names, although you can be open to the possibility that at that moment, you had or have something more to learn.
A lot of the times you will find [if] you have a blind spot or not is by engaging in conversations with different people. It’s about watching certain programs or putting yourself in different places with different cultures where you can see life different – but you are going to have a hard time seeing blind spots if you are constantly surrounded by people who look, think and act like you do. (LaToya Smith)
Anti-racist work in the practice
The practice culture will follow on from the actions of the group practice owner.
Therefore, it is vital for the group practice owner to encourage these conversations, bring in seminar leaders, encourage their clinicians to check themselves, and provide resources for the practice to learn from so that a truly inclusive space is created, because the group practice culture follows on from the actions of the CEO.
It is important to keep these conversations going throughout the years, and to have anti-racism work not only exist as a fad but to encourage it to become a part of the group practice’s mission.
One of the other great things that came from the training that I’ve seen on my end is just more conversations, more openness and getting [clinicians] to think more about their bias views about their clients … it really challenged us to rethink how we work with our clients, the way we talk about them and the way we meet their needs. (Whitney Owens)
Creating this culture will also encourage clinicians to call one another out on their blind spots, not in aggression, but in upholding the culture of awareness and openness and having a willingness to learn more about yourself and what you can do to bring more sensitivity to this space.
Books mentioned in this episode:
- Live Consulting with Stephanie Korpal: How Do I Manage My Group Practice From Another State? | PoP 563
- Group Practice Boss
- Group Practice Launch
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Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
Thanks For Listening!
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[WHITNEY OWENS] And we’re here to tell you about Group Practice Boss. If you have a growing group practice and are looking for ongoing business support, we have a new membership community, especially for you.
[ALISON] Every Month, we’ll be taking a deep dive into topics like group practice owners need to know like how to manage people, how to manage your money and marketing and branding.
[WHITNEY] For more information, go over to practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss.
[WHITNEY] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast, episode 564.
Hello, this is Whitney Owens and we are doing a podcast takeover today on the Practice of the Practice podcast. Let me tell you a little bit about me in case we haven’t met. I am one of the consultants with Practice of the Practice. I specialize in helping practice owners build faith-based practices as well as start group practices and market with a niche of cash pay practices. I also host my own podcast called the Faith in Practice podcast. And so in our Practice of the Practice community, with all the podcasts shows that we have going on, sometimes we interchange the episodes that we think are really great. And so after a conversation with Joe, we decided to air this episode on the Practice of the Practice podcast, where I’m interviewing LaToya Smith, who is also a consultant with Practice of the Practice. LaToya came to my group practice here in Savannah, Georgia via Zoom and did a training on how to have an anti-racist practice.
She came for four different sessions back in the winter of 2021. We did a lot of exploring about our own biases, our own prejudices. She gave us tips on how to change some of our attitudes and thoughts and made us more aware of ourselves. We also talked about how to change our community to be a more anti-racist community and how we as a practice can work together on that. So she came to the practice and did this training, and I decided to have her on the show because she is doing such good work. If you are a group practice owner or a solo practice owner, wherever the case may be, I want you to consider having someone come in and do some training for your team. It’s so important that we don’t just let this time pass by and not do anything about it. And so I’m really happy about taking this episode and putting it on the Practice of the Practice podcast so that you can have this information moving forward. So I’m looking forward to sharing this episode with you. So without further ado, here we go.
[WHITNEY] Well, over the past few months, really past year or so has been crazy for a lot of us. And specifically for me, I’ve been doing a lot of my own work and soul searching. And if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, I actually did an episode a couple of months ago about being an anti-racist counselor and how we can put that into practice. So I’ve been doing my own work reading not only books and articles and just surveying myself in my area and how I do not only as a counselor, but also as a group practice owner. I’m excited to say that a few weeks ago, I guess it was the beginning of 2021, I brought in a consultant to work with my group practice on becoming an anti-racist practice and it had such positive results in conversations that occurred that I wanted to take it to another level and bring a consultant on the podcast to talk about that experience.
So I’m looking forward to interviewing LaToya today to talk more about that. Actually she is my first guest, that is a double guest. So the first time I’ve had someone a second time on the podcast, and now I feel like I’m in the big town with podcasting, but I feel like this is such an important topic I had to bring her back to talk about it. So we’re going to jump right into the episode on how to become an entire racist practice.
[WHITNEY] Today on the faith and practice I’ve got LaToya Smith, she’s the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency, a group practice in Fortworth, Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or at the place where they became wounded. She encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome. She launched Strong Witness, which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal through the power of storytelling. She serves as a consultant with Practice of the Practice and helps therapists build inclusive and anti-racist practices as well as develop their speaking and presentation skills through the power of storytelling. LaToya, thanks for coming on the show today.
[LATOYA SMITH] Hey, thank you. I’m glad to be back for a second time, so feels so good.
[WHITNEY] Yes, when I was thinking about when I interviewed you before, it was like on the cusp of you joining Practice of the Practice. So I find it exciting now that we’re kind of on the team together in a different kind of way, doing the good work.
[LATOYA] It’s a good thing. Thank you.
[WHITNEY] Yes. Yes. Well, I know we’ve kind of talked before more about the group practice and the storytelling, but today I want to focus a lot more on your work on helping people create anti-racist practices. So could you kind of share a little bit of, for someone who’s listening that maybe doesn’t really understand what that term means or what that would mean for your practice, can you share a little bit about that?
[LATOYA] Yes, I think, well one to do the larger work of what it means, just understanding that, you know we’ve heard it a lot over this past year. It’s enough to just to say, “Oh, I’m not racist,” but you have to be anti-racist, like do the work against racism. So it’s a fight to come against it. So just to say, “Oh, that’s not me.” Okay, well, what are you actively doing to show and improve? What did you actively doing to combat those issues? So what is the practice actively doing to be inclusive and to be diverse and to not harm somebody because of race, to not harm somebody because of life choices or decisions, all that stuff. So it’s really the act of work in it. And I would think from doing this work with all the practices that we could fold it all in there together, and it would just be part of the mission and the vision and that’s how a practice will move. But a lot of times, because of various blind spots that we all have, it doesn’t operate that way.
[WHITNEY] Oh yes. Yes, let’s talk a little bit about that. You kind of said doing the work and having blind spots and people probably say, yes, that’s not me. And I even experienced that same thing when I start talking to people about it as well. They say, “Oh, that’s not my practice, or I don’t think that way.” And so how can people know that they are thinking that way or what are kind of ways to battle those blind spots?
[LATOYA] Yes, I think is important. just like in life in general, would you say that? I just start smiling to myself. Like even in life, over the years when the people closest to us told us about ourselves, normally our first reaction was, “No, I’m not, or no, I don’t.” Like even for like a little kid, if you go to a playground or recess and hear well, I don’t know if they’re having recess now, but you know, like having to discuss it a lot of it is, “No I don’t.” Like that’s the automatic reaction, but we’ve all done it because it’s almost like the best defense in that moment where we have to defend ourselves. No. Because it’s hard to hear. It’s hard to hear something that we don’t want to be, or we don’t think that we are or puts us in a different image than what we think, a different light, what we think we’re given.
So I think it’s important that when somebody identifies that blind spot that we do say take some time to sit with it. It doesn’t mean that they can call you names and be like, “Okay. Am I a jerk?” Not like that. Like, you know what I mean? Like, so you’re not taking on these names or when somebody says, “Listen, what you said in that moment wasn’t appropriate.” Take some time to sit with it instead of automatically cancel it out, that person’s ridiculous. Okay, what did I say? Could it have been offensive? Could it have bothered somebody? And then a lot of times too, you’ll find okay. Do I have a blind spot or not? It’s by engaging in conversations with different people. It’s about watching certain programs or putting yourself in different places with different cultures where you can see life different. But you’re going to have a hard time seeing blind spots if you’re constantly surrounded by people who look, think, and act like you do, because chances are, if you’re always around somebody who looks, thinks and acts like you do, like you may ask them on the blind spots anyway.
[WHITNEY] Yes. I heard, I can’t remember where I heard this, but you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.
[LATOYA] Right, exactly. It’s kind of like, I’m not saying you got to get a whole new tribe or a whole new group of friends, but a lot of times you got to realize it’s good to take on different opinions and different personalities and to see what’s up, you know?
[WHITNEY] Definitely. Well, and you know me. I grew up in South Georgia, which is a great place, but also a horrific place with racism and just that people don’t get it. Like that implicit built in culture thought process that even as a child looking back, like I had no idea that I was acting racist in my thoughts or behaviors, words that probably at some point, but just didn’t even get it because that’s just what life was like. I didn’t know any better, which is embarrassing to say, but I want to admit it because I think it’s important that we talk about it and that we confront it and that we make change. And that’s that part of making change. But I even shared this on the other episode that I did was like, we basically had a segregated prom in high school and I can’t even believe that that’s what I’m saying, like in the nineties.
Like that’s insane. But it’s confronting that and saying, “This is not okay.” It’s like, and understanding that blind spot and then kind of what you’re sharing, like the sum of the people you’re around. I’m always having to like confront my family about it because my family just doesn’t get it. Or my husband was a big influencer in me understanding those blind spots that I was having, especially when the pandemic started and back in the summer. He really helped me with that. So being able to be in those authentic relationships and then being able to confront people kind of as well.
[LATOYA] Yes. Yes. I think those are important. Often, I think you said it authentic relationships, the ones where we can really engage, the ones that we can really hear their words, that will take words and stick with it. You know, and we respect what they’re saying too, you know what I mean? So if we don’t get in those spaces around the people that allow us to see every, you know people with different worldviews, I think it’s important to get around. And that’s how we can break out of these or get away from some of these blind spots that we have, because let me say it again, we all have them, you know what I mean? It’s just about, okay, do I want to heal from this or do I want to remain in really what comes down to this space of ignorance with it?
[WHITNEY] Yes. So could you talk a little bit about the difference between, I’m probably not going to get my terminology perfect here, but like over racism, but then also like you’re going to get the term better than me, like covert or like hidden racism? Because I think a lot of people don’t understand that concept.
[LATOYA] Yes. Yes. I think, this is just me and how I would describe it. Like the blatant in your face racism when we think of like KKK, when we think about marches that, and then the leaders that just spit this hate speech. Or saying things like, “You’re not welcome here.” You know man, there’s a lot of incidents where people just, we can even look back 2020. We’ve seen things that in your face you cannot deny and then there’s things that are more covered up and it’s more subtle and it’s more hidden. And it could be not giving somebody an interview for a job because you can look at the name and tell that they’re from a different culture than your own. It could be when it comes time for trying to get housing or mortgage or a lender and all of a sudden this red line, and then you’re not allowed in certain neighborhoods.
I’ve read articles recently that talks about when people of color try to sell their houses and their houses get undervalued. But this specific couple had changed their place around, changed the photos and had a white friend come in and their house was valued higher. You know, so all these things which are very subtle, it could be trying to get into a program, a university, you know not being able to make it in different stories of, even when I was younger, I remember like, I played sports all throughout my years, but I remember even in middle school and college, having coaches that you could just tell, they didn’t care for people of color. And it affects playing time. It affects, all of a sudden you got an attitude all the time and you are getting in trouble and you know what I mean?
For me, I remember that. I’ll think about stuff that took the love away from the game, but it’s so. And then when you tell your peers, like, and then they’re, “No, no they don’t.” “No, they do. Like, and this is my experience and I need you to hear me.” So there’s different times it’s like in your face and then it’s the subtle. But a lot of times they’re both very, very hurtful, but a lot of times the biggest arguments are trying to get people to see the subtle movements or there’s the subtle things that are just like, can be so easily dismissed if you’re not watching, if you don’t see, you know? So I think for me, that’s the difference that I would see.
[WHITNEY] Well, that’s super helpful. And I’m even thinking about with our clients. We all have biased opinions about our clients and that could be because of their skin color, it could be because of the clothes they wear, it could be their accent. Like it can be so many things so when they come in, we immediately have a thought about them before we even start the interview and that’s wrong in the same way. So why don’t we go into some tips here, like, so how can we create anti-racist thoughts, ideas, practice in our community?
I want to back up to what you just said too, because I was having a discussion with somebody else about, you know a lot of times when we start out in this field, we do a lot of agency work. We do a lot of like on the ground. I know I did so much intensive in-home work to the point I’ll have everyone do it again because I did that for years. Ooh, that was a lot. But when you work with certain populations, with some of those agencies it’s exactly designed to do that. But I think sometimes people get a taste of various cultures or races and all of a sudden we label everybody under that umbrella and that’s not the case. So every client that comes in that is on some type of Medicaid plan does not mean they could be boxed up and labeled it. Then we put them in a certain place, like all of you think like this. And I think sometimes we get caught up on that. You know, sometimes we get caught up on “Listen, I’m here to help you. And then I’m the authority. You listen to me or this is how it goes,” and that’s not fair. That’s not fair to the client that is on Medicaid that we’re helping during the in-home work. So I think sometimes we kind of like label and then we go in looking like the knowledgeable authority from college practicum students. And then 20 years later, some of us are still in that space.
[WHITNEY] Yes, and we’ve all heard stories about therapists that judge people and tell them [crosstalk] and it really takes away from the therapeutic experience.
[LATOYA] You know what I remember too? And I don’t know, hopefully this ties in, because now it’s in my head. So I remember when I was doing, I was in seminary and I was doing, I can’t remember what it was. I don’t know. But it was a school in South Jersey in the Camden area and it was like a ministry attached to it. And I remember there was a team of another church that came and did like service oriented work but it was like they were coming to do ministry and that’s what they were doing. But I remember them never talking to any of the kids. I watched them, the school was made up of black and Latino kids, the whole school. There may have been a little, a few white kids here and there and they never came to talk, but they came and they put up doors, they painted and they fixed it.
And that’s what I’m talking about; is kind of like you have to engage. It’s not enough to say, “I’m not racist.” Not to say, “Okay, I’m here to do administrative work. I put the door up.” Like, is that what ministry is or was it more of showing love? Or we do these anti-racist work. You’ve got to actually actively do it. And so I think there’s more action that needs to be put into things. And that’s the part that we miss. So how am I doing it? Does it mean that it was personable? Does it mean that I’m engaging and showing love and building community or am I just putting up the sign in front of my building saying, “Everybody’s welcome here,” but we still got hate speech going on in the kitchen, which, that does happen. Or am I putting up, am I writing a letter back in the summer of 2020 saying that, “I stand with the black community,” but I’ve done nothing to stand with the black community except drafting that letter in the summer of 2020.
Am I showing that I’m providing ministry to this environment, but you know, I came and I painted a wall. So I think a lot of times we do, but that’s not it. It’s like, there’s no connection there, but in our minds, man, I just killed that. I painted that wall. Man, I’m here. I put that sign up. And it’s like, and that’s where the upward comes from, because this is so much deeper than a sign or words on your company letterhead. This is so much deeper than saying, “Oh, that’s horrible,” and then you move in on with your life the next day. I think that’s the part that people miss, like doing the work in it.
[WHITNEY] It’s heartbreaking. I mean, I think about these little kids. What did they just learn about ministry and about God —
[LATOYA] I remember watching, I remember being like, “Man, this is odd, but okay.”
[WHITNEY] Yes, I was thinking about how you were talking about, we kind of put people in a box. And even us, we don’t want to be put in a box. I’m a white woman with two little kids living in this small Southern town. Like I don’t want to be seen as that lady. You know what I mean? Like we all, no matter what we look like, or we all don’t want to be put in a box and so we need to have the respect to not do the same for our clients and just our other relationships.
[LATOYA] Yes. And then looking at, I’m glad that you said that too. And then looking at why is it easier for us to boss people up? Sometimes it’s safer when I’m dealing with my own stuff and my insecurities to put you in a box of, “Oh, that person doesn’t like me because boom.” Now I’m safe because I gave it a definition and I could back out of it. So it is kind of a two-way street. Because if I met you and automatically assumed you live in that Southern town, your accent, that’s wrong. Man, you’ve got to be racist. Now I put my guard up and now I feel safer being in this space. So it’s also, it’s a two-way street where there is work to be done.
[WHITNEY] Yes. Well, we’re hitting a lot of these tips just as we talk. I mean hearing, you know being okay with being uncomfortable. This is something I tell my clients all the time, but yes, we put people in a box because we don’t want to deal with our own guilt about it.
[LATOYA] Yes, exactly. We don’t want to get uncomfortable at all. We don’t want to deal with the stuff, ask the questions, face our own stuff. We don’t want to hear the answer. Like all that stuff. We want to stay in our comfort zone because if you take the blinders off, if I move over a little bit, now what? Like who will I be? What would the world be?
[WHITNEY] Yes, and then the other thing we had talked about was you know, being able to talk to people that do have more diverse views or open to conversations and not so narrow minded. Like that part’s pretty important. And I think as we build our group practices, having clinicians that we can work with that also have those more open-minded conversations.
[LATOYA] Yes. I think that’s important as we build especially group practices, of course, that you’re bringing on people. They don’t have to think exactly like you, but you want somebody who understands like the anti-racist work or willing to do the work. I think that’s very important. So how we build and grow. Like right now, we’re just constantly trying to hire. Everybody in this area is hiring. So it’s really hard to find some people, but at the same time, I was just telling my friend over the weekend, “Listen, I need to find some more therapist, but I don’t want to hire wrong. I don’t want to grow, I don’t want to grow wrong.” And I said that over the past week, a few times to different people. So even looking at that, as we build our practices, we want to grow in a healthy way with the right people in mind.
[WHITNEY] Yes. Well, let’s say somebody is listening and they’re thinking, “Oh, I want to do some of my own work, but how do I actually do that.” Do you have any kind of books or resources that you would recommend to therapists?
[LATOYA] Mmh. The, I think like Caste and I’ve started reading, I haven’t finished reading it. I have a client that’s reading it and she is actually over a very popular education program. She loves it, like for the staff, for herself and she is just in it. They do like small book clubs, they do talk and break it down and she’ll be honest and say, “Everybody doesn’t love it, but that’s part of the discussion. Where books that really face and take root and go back to like years of like depression and dealing with things, so not just the fluffy stuff now, but really facing things in history. And in the past, a very good training that I would recommend for anybody is a therapist out of Baltimore, Shawna Murray-Browne, Decolonizing Therapy. So she just talks about in general, like breaking it down and actually helping people of color get back to those spaces where they can heal. And so if it, so a lot of the verbiage addressing a lot of the larger issues. I love her a lot because she’s very unapologetic in how she talks. Like she’s going to like hit it, she’s funny, and it’s so real and she’s doing such great work in Baltimore and then with therapists all over. So I would just, even start with those, but even looking up Shawna Murray-Browne, she’s on social media and has different trainings on her website and everything.
[WHITNEY] Great resources. So I want LaToya to talk for a few minutes about, she came and did an anti-racism training with my group staff here. I have a staff of 11, there’s eight therapists, three admin staff, and we did them a four-part series during our staff meetings, every other week over on Zoom and she walked us through just this anti-racism training. So LaToya, could you kind of talk about what that was like and what do you do in these trainings with group practices?
[LATOYA] Yes, I really I enjoyed it. I enjoyed you know, in the past I’ve done trainings with different therapists that came from different practices, agencies, nd what have you. I do enjoy that group practice flow where it is this team or this family and we’re working on the common issue, wanting to grow the practice, but also to grow the therapists and addressing these things. I think you have a great team and I think a lot of people on your team do get it and they want to have these conversations. They can think bigger and maybe not understanding the how to go about it, but knowing that this needs to happen, like having their, they’re not closed off to it. I think that was great. You know, you had a few that were like, “Yes.” And then they had one or two that, “Okay. I just don’t know how.” So just the willingness to come to the table, that’s important, the willingness to have the conversations, that’s important, and the willingness to say, “I don’t have all the answers.”
And I think a big part of that Whitney, and I hope I said this to you before. I think I did, was that you were willing to bring me and to have discussion. I think that’s huge, to say, “Listen, this is something that we need to do because the practice or any company takes on the culture of the leader.” And so for you to say, “This is something that we want to change,” that’s big. And I think a lot of practice owners need to get to that space of saying, “I need to check. This is a part of company culture. Like what are we doing to change things?”
[WHITNEY] Oh yes. And even one of my clinicians back in the summer came to me and said, “What are we going to do about this?” Like when George Ford incident occurred and it was like, “Oh, what are we going to do about this? We need to do something about this.” And so I love that. I even had someone approach me as I was kind of dealing with my own stuff and thoughts, feelings about it and then she’s saying, “We need to do something as a group about this, not just us dealing with it and being quiet.” So she brought it to my attention and then it worked out very well to have you come in and do that. And you know, one of the other things you did in the training that was super helpful was looking at what is the statistics with different ethnicities, races in my area. And it challenged me in how are we reaching the community? I can’t remember what the numbers were, but it was definitely over 50% of the population, right, in Savannah, are black?
[WHITNEY] Yes, and that made me think, “Gosh, well, how many black clients are we serving and are we really reaching out to that community?” And LaToya was able to offer some suggestions and things that we could do that we’re working on with either marketing materials or places to reach out to. That was super helpful for us.
[LATOYA] Yes. I like that. That’s not, I’ve never been to Savannah, Georgia. You know, I was like, “Oh, okay,” and just understand, I think it’s important to understand the area, the numbers, the resources, the different community groups, and then expand that way. You know, I think there’s so much room for connection, but the problem is too, is that sometimes, I mean, even here people stay in their bubble because this is what you’re used to. So you communicate with, but there are various resources there. And it sounded like your team, especially your person over marketing was like, “Okay, like we can make things happen. We can start moving a certain way,” and started making connections.
[WHITNEY] Yes. And you know, one of the other great things that came from the training that I’ve seen on my end, it’s just more conversations, more openness and getting them to think more about their biased views about their clients. Like we said, we all have them. So it really challenged us to rethink the way that we work with our clients, like to talk about them and kind of the way we meet their needs. And so that was really helpful. And then just bringing to the table that, “Hey, as therapists, if we hear someone saying something or doing something, that’s wrong. Like we can call each other out on it and now we’re giving ourselves permission to do that as opposed to everyone kind of doing their own work and being silent about it.”
[LATOYA] Yes. Yes. You know those continuous, you know and calling out it doesn’t have to be like an aggressive thing. Just be like, “Hey, I know this,” or it could be like bringing it to the meeting, like having these conversations continue to come up in your Zoom meetings throughout the whole year, like, “Where are we at with this? Or have you feel about this or here’s a topic that’s having the news right now. Let’s talk about it. Or here’s something I learned. Let’s chat about it.” I think that’s important. That continues the conversation.
[WHITNEY] Definitely. So can you talk some about the work that you do with Practice of the Practice and how you can help practice owners have an anti-racist practice?
[LATOYA] Sure. I do some one-on-one consulting for people who, I just started doing that, that want to build group practices as well, but also I’m available to, you know support practices that want to be more inclusive and really want to be active in doing this work, anti-racist work. And you know, some people find that they do have therapists on staff that just aren’t ready to change, that don’t think they need any help whatsoever, and they got this thing down. And I would say the people that are so adamant and so bold to say, “Hey, I’m good there. Don’t come over here. I’m fine.” Those are probably the ones that really need it the most. And so it’s really, man for the people listening, I really hope I’m reaching the practice owners because you know better than anybody who’s who on that team and who needs some more support, who needs to have more conversations around certain issues.
So I really would love to come in and have those conversations, I think ideally the ones that would probably work the best and people that realize that I want to do some changes, I just don’t know how. So of course people need to start things to look at for themselves, really start confronting. And I’ve been saying this, like the heart issue, your heart issues, like what’s going on with you? Do you see that you do have some behaviors that aren’t healthy? Are there things you say that are really more racist than not? You know are there issues that you haven’t forgiven others for in regards to race? Do you have certain stereotypes or are there only certain people that you’d like to see and then you do have people on your list that you don’t even like to see because of race issues or that you are uncomfortable with?
So start confronting what’s going on in your heart. Like we all have certain privileges in life. Some people have more than not. So addressing those things as well, I think it’s important for any therapist and practice owner when it comes to doing this anti-racist work, when it comes to combating stereotypes or behaviors that aren’t healthy. You know, you want to go back to the beginning and always remember your why of doing this work. And I was having this conversation the other day. Our why’s change over time. My why for counseling, when I entered into grad or when I started looking at programs, I’m certain that, no I know that’s different than my why today, as why I get up and work and build this new practice that I have. Now there’s a little bit, I would say I care about people, but you know, things have shifted, but when I’m working with people, one-to-one throughout the day, what’s my why? If I say I like helping children, if I say I love helping professional business women or CEOs, what is it that drives them, or their passion, or was the childlike, I really want to heal that heart and that wound.
Okay, now does that child, do we see that child with color? Or is it every child with that hurt heart? So we really need to begin to ask ourselves that question. My why was never this specific race. My why was that pain point. And so understanding that brings back that ability to empathize with other people, okay, which is another point. We can’t lose that. We can’t go to school and, that was like day one we walked in, unconditional positive regard and being able to empathize and all of a sudden, somewhere along the way we lose that because our political views and our own agenda and our own issues on race get in the way. Like let’s not move that ability to empathize. The same even as we have and we were like just starting out and empathize with everybody and everything melted our hearts.
You know, you have to think a little bit different now, but my point is that we can’t lose that space of empathizing with the other without a label of, “Oh, well, they’re black,” and they think that we’re old and Latino when they think that way. That’s not fair. If a heart is aching, that heart is aching and I know how to help. I know how to best support, and I want to lead that heart to heal it. So remembering the why, understanding and being empathetic, being able to confront the heart issues. And I think it’s also important in doing this work. Also asking the client in conversation as you’re developing that rapport, you know checking into to see, “Okay, tell me what you need in these sessions.”
You know those are the things I ask sometimes to people, because sometimes we do get flowing and we do talk it. “Okay, did you, how’s this helping you? Did this help you? Tell me what you need. What do you need more of?” And I think the more we ask people, “How can I best help you? What do you need added to this?” You know, at first people were, some people maybe be uncomfortable like, “Oh, nothing. This is good.” Because they don’t know that they can say something, but once they realize, “Okay, I can give my opinion. These are more about me. This is the help me. You know, what I don’t like when you say this, or I want to do more of this, or this is what I need and really hearing their voice.” I think that’s also important and it opens the door to say, “This space is healthy for me. Now I could communicate how I want, or I can ask questions that are safe. Or I didn’t like that you said that to me last week. Let me just clarify this.” But I think those things start to help when we’re actively doing the work and engaging our clients for who they are and not labeling them by culture, race, social, economic class, any of that.
[WHITNEY] Yes. I love how you just laid that out for us. I was sitting here, soaking it up on it. So LaToya, if somebody wants to get in touch with you, what’s the best thing for them to do?
[LATOYA] You can reach me at email at email@example.com. Go there and just send me an email and just reach out. And even if you want to chat about either anti-racist work or you’re not sure, whether it be like individual or group, especially, let’s talk about it. Let’s set up a call and we can chat about it.
[WHITNEY] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today. And I think people really benefit from their work with you. So if you’re a group practice owner and you are kind of trying to figure out how to incorporate this into your business, send LaToya an email, let her get on a call with you and talk about what’s going on. That’s exactly what I did. I just was very honest and yes, it was a little uncomfortable to say, “Hey, these are the things I’m worried about in my practice. Be a straight shooter and also empathetic and understanding, and you can really get some good work done in your business. LaToya thanks for coming on the show.
[LATOYA] Thank you for having me back again. I appreciate it.