LaToya Smith Podcast Takeover “I Don’t Fit In Your Boxes” with Susan Melendez Doak | PoP 510

LaToya Smith Podcast Takeover "I Don't Fit In Your Boxes" with Susan Melendez Doak | PoP 510

How can you practice being an empathetic therapist? What can therapists do to care for themselves when experiencing ‘parallel trauma’? How can you as a therapist be an authentic listener, to your clients and to other therapists as well?

In this podcast episode takeover, LaToya Smith speaks with Susan Melendez Doak about not fitting into any boxes.

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Meet Susan Melendez Doak

Susan M. Doak is a licensed professional counselor and the owner of Newberg Counseling & Wellness, a group private practice in beautiful Newberg, Oregon. She has a passion for empowering and inspiring people to reach their full potential in their personal and professional lives. When she is not with clients, she enjoys dancing with her kids, hiking the sites in Oregon, gardening, and going on walks with her Springer Spaniel.

Visit Susan’s website and connect with her on LinkedInFacebook, and Pinterest.

Get in touch via email susan@newbergcounselingandwellness.com

In This Podcast

Summary

  • I don’t fit in your boxes
  • Have patience for other people’s stories
  • Susan’s advice to biracial therapists

I don’t fit in your boxes

It made me think ‘I don’t want to check your boxes’. I don’t fit in any of your boxes and however you want to count me or whatever. I felt uncomfortable because I felt if I choose Hispanic, am I denying my white ancestry and heritage? Or the opposite? That wasn’t okay with me, even as a child I could perceive that. (Susan Melendez Doak)

Not fitting in boxes is more common than we realize. Some people do not fit in them, and that is a fact to be proud of instead of feeling ashamed. People try to box others up with their preconceived ideas, instead of going up to a person and meeting them for who they are.

Have patience for other people’s stories

Therapists are trained to listen; however, the average person might need to practice how to properly listen to someone’s story with the right intentions and with the right ear.

If you can have the patience to listen to someone’s story through their eyes, through their perspective, it’s always going to open your mind. If you do it long enough, you develop an open-minded muscle – an empathy muscle that is ready to make space, to make a hospitable space for people to be themselves. (Susan Melendez Doak)

By doing this, therapists can make space for people to explore their racial identity, and making space for people to practice their advocacy.

Susan’s advice to biracial therapists

As much as you can, know your own personal history, who you are, where you come from, and be proud of that. You do not need to be the best fit for every client.

As a white therapist who wants to be an ally, do the work and research and also be willing to listen to your clients and find ways in which you can be there for them.

Model respect, consent, and true acceptance and you are on the right path.

Useful Links:

Meet LaToya Smith

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. She 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.

Visit LaToya’s website.

Connect with her on FacebookInstagramStrong Witness Instagram, and Twitter.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[JOE]:
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[LATOYA]:
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast takeover episode with LaToya Smith, session number 510. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast takeover with LaToya Smith, we are still discussing the importance of pushing the conversation forward and really diving more so into diversity, inclusion and anti-racism and practice. Today’s guest I have with me is Susan Melendez Doak. So Susan, thank you so much for joining us today.

[SUSAN]:
Thank you, LaToya. I am just thrilled to be with you and be a part of this conversation.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, I’m thrilled too. But tell us a little bit about you and your practice where you’re located.

[SUSAN]:
Yes. So I own a group private practice. And we are located in Newberg, Oregon. So that’s about 25 miles or so west of Portland, out in wine country. And so I have actually been a therapist for 15 years and started a private practice about three years ago and scaled up to group practice. And, you know, pandemic or not it’s going okay.

[LATOYA]:
That’s good news. Yeah, yeah, that’s good news and wine country, I bet, so it gets pretty busy, where you’re at. A lot of traffic.

[SUSAN]:
You know, it gets busy in the season, right? When people come out, and then otherwise it stays pretty quiet, which I think we like most of the time here.

[LATOYA]:
Okay. All right. Sounds good. Sounds pretty though.

[SUSAN]:
It’s beautiful.

[LATOYA]:
Yes. Well, Susan, tell us a little bit about well, who’s the population that you mostly serve within your practice?

[SUSAN]:
Our practice is interesting, part of our practice is that we’re kind of like multi-specialty. So I know a lot of practices kind of have a niche. And so we’re in a small town in a more rural community. And so we have many clinicians that have different specialties, but I’ve always worked with teenagers, and, and young adults kind of work through those emerging issues of adulthood. And then I also work with a lot of women, especially women who are postpartum, or women who are kind of returning to the work sphere after being away. So those are kind of my areas that I usually work in. And it’s a pleasure just to wake up every day and do something that I love.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, yes. A good feeling. I was talking to somebody earlier about that. Just the joy of being an entrepreneur.

[SUSAN]:
Oh, yeah, not everybody gets to do what they love.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah.

[SUSAN]:
Not everybody can do that, can just say like, okay, I’m actually doing the thing I was, I was like, meant to do.

[LATOYA]:
Exactly.

[SUSAN]:
Not everybody can say that. That’s, that’s definitely a privilege and a blessing to be able to say that.

[LATOYA]:
Definitely a blessing. And then Susan, tell us, you know, I know, like I said a moment ago, what we’re really focusing on in these episodes is really just diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, just feeling, hearing diverse voices and stories and things like that. But when we chatted before, you know, before the podcast and earlier, we did talk about you being biracial. So, you know, tell the listeners a little bit about, you know, where you’re from, you know, being biracial, you know, things like that, that you may have experienced?

[SUSAN]:
Yeah, of course. Sure. So, a little bit about my background. So I, first of all, I guess I grew up in the military. So my entire childhood took place, you know, my father was active duty military, he was a chaplain in the military. And my, my, my dad actually grew up in New York City. He was born in Puerto Rico, but grew up in New York City, he’s what they call a New Yorican, right? And he, and then my mom is actually from Oklahoma. So my mom is white. She’s from Oklahoma, the youngest of 12 children. And, and so they both grew up in I would say pretty extreme poverty, my dad in this urban poverty, of you know, living in Spanish Harlem, and then my mom in this rural poverty in Oklahoma, you know, up in the northeastern corner, you know, just farm people who just really didn’t have much and so, so they, you know, it’s actually a long story, which I won’t tell but it’s very interesting.

But they basically came together through a ministry that’s called Teen Challenge. My father was actually a drug addict. He would tell you this story, too. And he has told it many times, he was a drug addict. He was a gang member on the streets in New York City involved in violence, and gang activity, lots of drug addiction over many years. And, and he actually, you know, came out of addiction through this really wonderful program called Teen Challenge, this is in the early days when it was located in Brooklyn. My mom was this, this girl from, you know, Oklahoma who heard about this ministry and went and said, I’m going to leave my home in Oklahoma, all my family, and I’m going to go out and work for them, because I believe in what they’re doing.

[LATOYA]:
Wow.

[SUSAN]:
So she, I think she’s the one who took the huge leap. And she said, I’m moving to the big city. And she did, she moved right into Brooklyn, and she was a part of the, she was a part of doing a lot of the clerical work for the ministry, you know, everybody’s got paperwork, clinicians know about that. And so that’s what she did. That was her way of, like, supporting and supporting, at that time it was only young men that they were working with, these men who were, who were getting off the drugs, and also who were coming out of, like, coming out of gang life, basically, in New York City. So, they have a super interesting story, but then, you know, so I have these kind of very, these very different cultural, and, you know, and racial identities sort of mixing with the two of them. And, and they, you know, they came together, they formed a family. And, you know, and I think were able to kind of pass along some really important values to me, and some really important values to, to my siblings. And so, it’s an interesting kind of, I don’t know, anyone who has a story like my parents’ story.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, that is a very [unclear] story. And I’ve heard of Teen Towns. Yeah, that’s a great story. We talk about cultural and racial mix and cultural racial values that were passed on to you. Let’s talk about that for a little bit. Because you have two cultures in the home, you know, again, two races in the home, but what kind of values did you learn and pick up when you were coming up?

[SUSAN]:
Yeah, you know, I mean, I think the values that I picked up and on and this actually had to do with military life, too, is that you know, as military people, a military family, we were, we were never in our we’re never home, you know, you’re always at a temporary place, you know, and so there’s a big value that’s actually placed on, on making friends. So like making friends quickly, and not being like, you know, not excluding people with varying… it’s actually where I grew up my siblings would say the same thing. And even friends now that I know, as an adult, we were as military kids, we would always knock on people’s doors and say, a few are new here. We’d knock on their door and say, hey, you want to come out to play? Didn’t matter as kids, it just didn’t matter where people were from, what they look like, what race they were, it’s like, hey, you’re new here. We want to hang out. We want to talk to you, we want to get to know you.

[LATOYA]:
And I think that part, too, I think that comes with being a military family. I know. You know, when I was born the youngest of five, and I was born into you know, my father was in the army, he retired from there, but so you have a different take on it too. Because you’ve had to adjust to different cultures, different spaces, it seems like all your life being a military child, but in doing so, you know, you had different cultures in your own home and then having to fit in, in different spaces. I mean, what’s that, like now being a professional? Do you find it easy, or is it difficult?

[SUSAN]:
It’s always fun to figure out how to do that. And, and I think, you know, in my own home, I remember, you know, I would come down the, down the stairs, it’s like Saturday morning, and my dad has, my dad would always have music blasting early in the morning, and he was playing the conga drums in my living room. He has huge conga drums, and he had on like, Tito Puente, and I’d be like, Dad, I am tired. I just want to sleep in, I’m like, a teenager, you know? And he’s like, no, no, don’t sleep in, you know, you’re gonna play, I want you to play with me. So he wanted to get another instrument so we could play together. So I had this, like the, you know, this, like influence of like, his Puerto Rican culture and the influencing of my mom’s, my mom’s culture from Oklahoma, people who are like amazing cooks, you know, and really, they taught me how to, you know, I learned how to make pies and learned how to make certain kinds of food from them.

And you know, and then, you know, all these other layers of, you know, military and also living overseas. So we lived, you know, we lived in Europe for several different tours in Europe. My family lived in Germany and traveled kind of all over Europe. And so, then coming back to the US, it kind of gives you this whole new perspective of like, okay, what’s going on with this, like American, you know, racial and ethnic, you know, identities like, and cultural identities. And so like yeah, and you know, kind of fast fast-forwarding to now, that kind of dropping down into Oregon which is, you know, I would say like, I would say there’s probably a pretty large white population here, I’d say white, and then some smaller Hispanic population here. And because of just definitely because of the agriculture, and so, but just coming down here, I kind of look like I sort of might blend in. Or I could, I could kind of pull off blending in culturally to almost truthfully many spaces. But it doesn’t mean that I’ve always felt like I belong. It doesn’t mean that I’ve always been welcome, either.

[LATOYA]:
Okay.

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[JOE]:
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[LATOYA]:
Let’s talk about that right there, feeling like you belong, and then feeling welcome. Like, what has been the difficult part there?

[SUSAN]:
You know, what has been the difficult part of feeling like, like, I belong, I guess, you know, I think I think that we are more likely to feel that we belong when people who are you know, they’re from that place, wherever we are, they welcome us into that space. You know, and when people are open-minded and open-hearted towards us, I think we’re more likely to feel like we belong. I mean, I can. But you know, I think the opposite is true is that for me, if I feel like someone is seeing me as other or someone is seeing me, as you know, that I’m not at their status, somehow, whatever that might be, then, then I definitely don’t feel like I belong. I mean, I can think of a time when that I mean, even last year, that you know, I was going out with a friend, just going out to, you know, up, like literally two miles from my house to wine taste at an event and I, you know, they refused to serve me, they just flat out refused to serve maybe. And it was because of my race. And I think it was because they thought I should be working in the field and I shouldn’t be in the tasting room. And they, like, in their eyes, like I didn’t deserve to be there.

And so I mean, the ironic thing to me is that I think, versa, it’s, you know, sometimes when those things happen, you don’t quite know what’s happening when it’s happening. You’re trying to put the pieces together. But the ironic thing was that, as a practice owner, my practice was like, just starting to do very, very well and even very well financially. And I think something that, you know, other people might relate to is that, you know, you’re starting to have success as an entrepreneur. And as a business person, I think I am someone who’s respected in my town. And I think I’m someone who’s known, you know, like, has a good reputation for my clinical work. And I think it was just really it kind of took me by surprise, I just like I had, like, just gone and like bought a, like actually just bought a new car because my business is actually doing well and I needed to stop driving my Toyota Corolla. I was like, feeling good. I had driven that Corolla for, you know, for 18 years and I was finally at a place where, you know, I was, I was doing better, right and, and, but then I was in that scenario where I was basically told, well, you don’t belong here. You should actually, you should be somewhere else. Your body should be doing the work for us in the field. But you know, you’re not allowed to enjoy the fruits here and someone else’s labor, you know.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, and that’s such a hard situation. Any situation like that is hard to deal with, but like what did you do with that moment, like, you know, there even addressing that person and then even after that, the fact of you know, coping with it and learning from it?

[SUSAN]:
It’s so interesting, you know, I think I kind of, I don’t know if anyone else can identify with this who’s listening. I didn’t know what to do. I kind of froze up. And it was actually my friend, my friend who was with me, my friend who’s white, Leah. And Leah said, Leah is the one who really brought it up. Like, she just brought it out in the open. And she just said, like, are you going to serve my friend?

[LATOYA]:
Oh, wow.

[SUSAN]:
And the person laughed. And it was like, oh, I didn’t even see you there. Well, they did see me there. They gave me the evil eye. I know they saw me there. You know, like, and, and you know, but it was like, it was actually, it was Leah. It was my friend who was able to say like, look, that’s, that’s not okay. That’s not okay with me. And I’m not going to allow you to treat my friend that way.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, thank you. Thank God for Leah, because that’s pretty awesome and I think that’s important, you know, because anytime we deal with racism we want to know that the people around us also support us, will hear our voice and also will fight for us too.

[SUSAN]:
Absolutely. And it was only really through conversations with her that I kind of realized, like, we both realized what was happening. And you know, and she, she was the one who was like, Susan, I think this is what was going on. And I was like, what? And I was like, oh, that’s what was happening? You know, and so yeah, thank God for Leah. Absolutely.

[LATOYA]:
Our spaces like that, or situations, because, you know, I know, when we were chatting too, you know, you being biracial, you said, your mom is white, your dad is Puerto Rican. And you know, when we look at you, some people may not be able to tell that you’re biracial. I think it kind of depends, you know, maybe what experiences [unclear] people have when they look at you. They may, is that correct? Like, some people may see a white woman, some people may say, you know what, I’m not sure.

[SUSAN]:
Exactly, it is sort of like this reader response, right? You know, you have, like, whoever is looking at you, they’re trying to decide, or maybe they’re automatically deciding what you are, just based on who they are, right they’re looking through their own lens. And like, you know, as we know, like race is kind of this construct too, right, like, where we don’t fit in these, these boxes. I remember, like being, you know, even just growing up, whenever you took a standardized test, when I took standardized tests, which was like, I don’t know why they made me do them twice or three times, you know, in a year, when, because you’re in the military, they just make you take all the tests, when you’re growing up in the military, every time you move, you got to take their test. So I would always have to check with, you know, what’s your race, right? They gave me like, four options. Four or five options, was like, you know, are you white? Are you black? Are you Hispanic? Are you Asian? Or, you know, or are you other, you know, they give me other, and, and I remember always looking at what they were saying and the options, and sometimes they didn’t even give me an other and, and just thinking like, I don’t want to check your boxes, you know, like, I actually don’t fit in any of your boxes, and however you want to count me or whatever, like, but I felt uncomfortable because I felt by choosing, if I choose Hispanic, am I denying like, my, my white ancestry and heritage? Or the opposite, like what you know, like, that’s not that kind of wasn’t okay with me, even as a child, I could perceive that, right. Like, even as a kid, I knew, I don’t want to be put in a box. Because as a person, like, I don’t actually fit your boxes, you know?

[LATOYA]:
Yeah.

[SUSAN]:
And now as I think growing up as an adult, like, it’s made me a little bit more aware of others that don’t fit in those tidy, neat boxes. And actually, that that’s a more common thing that we think than we think it is, you know, whether it be in the race boxes, or the ethnicity boxes, or, you know, or, or, you know, whatever boxes, the gender boxes, you know, it’s like, you know, some of us don’t fit in those. And actually, you know, we’re like, I know, now I’m at a point, I’m actually okay with that. I like that about myself. But it’s, you know, it’s weird. It can be weird for other people, they want to, they want to identify you as something right away.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah. That’s a good point. I’m glad that you bring that up. Because a lot of times, that’s, I think, that’s just the way you know, people will try to box us up, basically, okay, you’re this and you’re that and it’s gonna help me when I know what you are, because now I know how to approach you, as opposed to just approaching Susan [unclear].

[SUSAN]:
Exactly. I’m bringing on my preconceived notion. So whatever your category is, and it’s like, actually, you know, like, I would rather people just, you know, just talk to me. They can talk to me, they can get to know me. They can know where I’m from, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell like, you know, if you have a lot, a lot of time and patience, you know, I’ll tell you my long story, you know, but I think it’s opened my eyes to even also, like, also culturally, you know, like, you know, immigrants from different countries or when you have, you know, you know, first-generation kids who, you know, who are coming into the United States, and, you know, all these different, their parents came as immigrants, and they’re kind of like, you know, they’re first generation growing up in the US, you have all these different cultural identities and racial identities kind of playing together. And I’ve always like, I’ve always kind of loved that. So like, I haven’t seen it, like, I’ve seen it as something that like, you know, this diversity as being something that it actually is fun for me, like, it brings me a lot of joy to be around different kinds of people.

[LATOYA]:
And you know, what, with that being said, okay, cultural and racial, you know, identities playing together, right. And even when you were talking, I immediately flashback to like, Brooklyn [unclear] where I’m sure your father grew up in. But even with the [unclear] military bases, right, where you were traveling, but for you now, like, professionally, do you find that there’s an option for different cultures and races to, quote-unquote, play together to come together to discuss or do you think it’s, it’s kind of hard to find that space?

[SUSAN]:
You know, I’m glad you asked that. Because I actually think that therapists you know, and, you know, mental health professionals, you know, I think we have a space, a unique space to offer, like, in that conversation, you know, in in that like, I think, at least I hope that our training is going to help us to actually, you know, come to some of these conversations with more of a non-judgmental mindset. That’s at least my aspiration, you know, to say, like, hey, I’m just here, like, I just want to listen, like, I think as therapists, like, we’re kind of, I always say, like, of myself, like, I’m a keeper of stories, you know, and so like, I think, you know, if you can, if you can have the patience to listen to someone’s story through their eyes, through their perspective, it’s always going to open your mind, you know, and if you do that long enough, you develop a muscle, an open-minded muscle, right? An empathy muscle that is kind of ready, ready to make a space, like make a hospitable space for people to be themselves and to explore. And I think, I think that also means that, you know, that you know, that we’re making space for people to explore their racial identity, or we’re making space for, you know, those who are kind of becoming involved in advocacy. We’re coming alongside of them as therapists, and teaching them hey, like, this is, yes, I want you to do your advocacy, and this is how you take care of yourself while you do that, you know, like, I think there are things that as mental health professionals, we can really contribute. But we also need to, like do our own work.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, yeah. What do you think that looks like for everybody? Do you think it’s a blanket statement for everybody, regardless of race? Or do you think that like, what, what does that look like to do work where you’re at?

[SUSAN]:
Yeah, well, what a question. It’s a good one. I think, what does it mean to do your work? I mean, I think I think it is really, for people of any race, you know, also of any like socio-economic background or any, any, any backgrounds like, we, we do need to have an understanding of like, you know, who we are, like, why we think what we think like, what are ways in which we are, we have been privileged, what what are ways that we’ve experienced adversity, or trauma? What are ways in which we have like, how do we, how have we healed? Like, I think, I think we need to, you know, how do we deal with anger? How do we deal with forgiveness? Like all those things, that, you know, we, we teach our clients about.

I mean, I think one of the challenges of the pandemic is just that we’re going through a lot of, not just the pandemic, actually, but also the, the racial reckoning of our country, is that many therapists are kind of going through the traumas that are happening there, or the or the losses, at the same time their clients are. So I could actually call that, I have a word for it, it’s called parallel trauma. That’s what I call it. I don’t know why, I made it up. But there’s, but there’s kind of a way in which we’re going through the same thing at the same time as our clients have, and that’s new for some of us, right, like that, you know, sometimes we think, oh, as a therapist, I’m going to do my own work. And then I’m going to come back to my clients, and I’m going to be, I’m going to be all ready, but things got kind of raw kind of fast.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah.

[SUSAN]:
I don’t know, I don’t know, if you saw that, like in even just, you know, in the events after the killing of George Floyd, and just like that, that as a therapist, like it was a more raw place to be, especially for therapists of color.

[LATOYA]:
Oh, definitely. Definitely. I like your term, actually, parallel trauma, I actually like that. Because, you know, sometimes it is hard. And I see different posts, even when it comes to, you know, black therapists, specifically, we’re talking about, listen, basically, we’re hurting, and we have to hold space for others who are hurting or people of color, black therapists, specifically saying I need to, you know, I need to clear my schedule, because I can’t do this tomorrow, because it’s too heavy for me right now. But I think you bring, you know, you do bring up some good points, but understanding that, it’s what I hear you saying, that, you know, we’re all kind of aching, and then what to do with these feelings.

[SUSAN]:
And pausing, like, I think, like what you’re saying, like, like, with some of your colleagues, it’s like, it sometimes makes sense to say, I gotta pause here, like I need, I need to, I need some space to process something that, like, to process this right now because I can’t do it simultaneously, all the time with my clients, and people have had to scale back. I know, I know, even, you know, clinicians that work with me, like some of them have had to scale back to just be able to process some of the things that are going on at the same time. Yeah. And you know, and I think that’s, that’s what as therapists, we also need to support one another and say, like, because we are in this unique place where people are coming to us constantly, right? Just constantly unloading those things. And so I think we like, especially therapists of color, being able to talk to each other and say, like, how are you doing? Hey, let’s just chat a little bit, you know, over the phone, or, you know, if you need to vent to somebody you can vent to me, like, it doesn’t, you know, like, just having those personal conversations, where you just know that, hey, like, someone else is here with me. I don’t feel alone.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, that’s, that’s a great space to be in. I mean, just knowing that you can talk to somebody like that, that you’re not alone. Even in the moments where things get so heavy, and it feels like you’re isolated, just keeping the conversation going. And I love it. And that’s what these podcasts are about. We’re just, we’re pushing forward. We’re keeping the conversation going. Um, just a couple more questions I have for you, one of them we talked about, but I love that line, you said, you know, I don’t fit in your boxes, right? What type of advice, words of wisdom, would you give to another therapist that is biracial, from different cultures and just how to like, okay, how do I move forward? Who do I reach? Who do I touch? Knowing that people want to box us up and put us in certain categories?

[SUSAN]:
You know, I think that, you know, I think just like, knowing your, you know, as much as you can, like, knowing your own personal history, like, the history of your family, and, and who you are, and like, being okay with that, you know, being, you know, being proud of who you are and solid with that is, is just like very important. And also, like, you know, there may be there may be, you know, people that like, you know, you’re not the best fit for them. So what, as they say, in the therapy world, like, well, you’re not the best fit for me, that’s okay, you don’t have to be the best fit for every client, or be able to support every client. But I do, I do think that like, I know, I have had, and I even put this on my, my profile, my, you know, my website and other places, where if people are looking for a therapist, who understands biracial issues, that’s something that I’ve cared about, you know, I’ve tried to learn about from my experience, and, and also, you know, just by reading and I think that often it’s hard for clients, especially clients who are biracial to find a therapist who can work with them, or who might understand some of those issues.

I think also, just as we, you know, I think has probably even come up on the podcast before, it’s just like, as an industry, like, counseling is kind of white, right? Like, there’s not as many therapists of color, that’s really changing. And I think, I think that can sometimes be the challenge that some of our clients are facing when they’re just looking for someone to process with. I think, you know, that being said, you know, I think that therapists who are, you know, they’re just like, you know, if you’re listening and you’re like, hey, I’m a therapist, and I’m white, and I just want to know how I can be helpful, is just, you know, doing your best to like to just do some reading about, you know, diversity and racial justice issues, but also to just like be, you know, there to listen to your clients and listen to their story, to reflect back to them, and to try to understand where they’re coming from. And you might be surprised that there’s a lot of places that you actually can connect with them. So, you know, so I guess that those are the kind of words of advice and I think as therapists, the other thing that we can always do, that goes a really long way is model respect, you know, model consent, you know, model listening and, you know, true acceptance. I think when we’re doing that, like, then you’re on the right path, you’re on the right path.

[LATOYA]:
I think so. Yeah. Thank you so much, Susan. And, right before we wrap up, I just want to, tell the listeners how they can find you if they want to get in touch with you or connect with you.

[SUSAN]:
Absolutely. So you can find me at my website. It is newbergcounselingandwellness.com. Or you can actually send me an email, I’m great by email, that’s susan@newbergcounselingandwellness.com. I would be happy to keep that conversation going with you.

[LATOYA]:
Yes, I like that. Keep the conversation going. That’s my stuff. I like that. But Susan, thank you so much for allowing us to hear your voice in this. Again. I love it. I don’t fit in your boxes. So thank you so much for your time.

[SUSAN]:
I appreciate it, LaToya. Thank you so much.

________________________________________

[JOE]:
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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