Facing Change

The session in which we (Cindy and Julie) move to remote podcast recording as we adapt to current obstacles and needs. We discussed the many ways we’ve been adjusting to changes we now face day to day. As we moved to shelter-in-place, we experienced many different emotions and numerous situational challenges.  We’ve also been working with people from many walks of life, all of us learning to adjust to new ways of being that none of us have chosen. 

Self-Care

In this Shrinks After Hours session, we chat with Allison Gibbs, LCSW of Therapy Concierge, LLC and Holly Sawyer, PhD, of Life First Therapy, LLC about the importance of taking time for self-care. It was pre-recorded before we were all sheltering-in-place so not all of it may apply to today though much of it can still be helpful. We’ll be doing an update to talk about what self care looks like during a pandemic, but in the meantime, this session might offer some insights. 

We explored our personal definitions of self-care, what keeps people from taking care of themselves, and what happens when they don’t. Listen in when you can – Maybe you’ll get some good ideas for your own self-care. We hope you do. 

Black Mothering for White Spaces

The session in which we chat with LaChan V Hannon about mothering her two children and helping them learn to navigate white spaces, such as school and the classroom.

LaChan is the School of Education Certification Officer at The College of New Jersey and Executive Director of Greater Expectations Teaching and Advocacy Center.  She is a PhD candidate in teacher education and teacher development at Montclair State University. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersectionality of race, disability and parent involvement.  Her TEDx Talk entitled Young, Gifted & Black with Autism was released in 2016.

PostScript: We held our podcast interview with LaChan before the coronavirus took hold here this Spring. Recently, we asked her for an update regarding some of her thoughts at this time. She told us this: 

“Just as there is nothing predictable about what is happening right now in society, there is nothing predictable about Black mothering during a quarantine. My daughter loves online instruction and my son, with Autism, misses his friends and being at school. We are all creating a NEW normal both for schooling as well as daily life co-habitating. Daily check-ins are absolutely necessary to get a pulse on what we are all all experiencing. Now more than ever, it is important for us to hold fast to our family beliefs which are (1) we are in community with one another and have an obligation to each other, (2) we honor our word and do what we said we would do, and (3) we all make mistakes and can ask for forgiveness” 

Intergenerational Justice

The session in which we had a spontaneous chat with Joyce E. Russell, RN, the mother of Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice. Assata’s mom accompanied her to our planned podcast session and sat in the waiting room while we talked to Assata about the social activism and justice work she is passionate about (you can hear the convo on our Prison Services and Reentry podcast). Afterward, we thought it would be nice to have Mom in the interview to talk for a few minutes about her daughter. Once we turned on the mic, we found out that Joyce has her own stories of social justice work having spent years as a nurse in a prison. She spoke about how the work changed her, and her ever-growing deep pride in her family which now has yet another generation of social justice warriors coming up.

Prison Services and Reentry

The session in which we chat with Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice, about the work she does to promote the Institute’s mission of supporting people and communities impacted by mass incarceration. Assata is a strong advocate in the fight for “a world free from mass incarceration where communities have equitable access to health, safety, justice, and the opportunity to design their freedom.”

Life without Parole

The session in which we met with Emily Abendroth and Layne Mullett, two collaborators in the LifeLines Project. Other collaborators on this long-term media project include 8 people serving sentences of Life without Parole, or in other words, the ‘other’ death penalty: Death by Incarceration.

Emily and Layne make it clear that they are not the most important voices in the project; if you want to hear what the other collaborators have to say, start at lifelines-project.org.

For a general understanding of the impact and immorality of Life without Parole and the LifeLines Project, this podcast session is a great start.  

Body Politics

The session in which we talk to Melissa Fabello, Ph.D. about beauty, body politics, and eating disorders. Dr. Fabello is a social justice activist and feminist wellness educator.  She also currently works as a freelance digital content strategist. Melissa offers a clear and authentic perspective that we think you’ll appreciate.  

MelissaFabello.com 

Psychology and Social Justice – Really?!

We were surprised when telling people we were starting a psychology and social justice podcast met with negative reactions such as ‘Really? Those two just don’t go together’. It didn’t take long before we understood that the health and medical professions, including psychology, have negative reputations in marginalized communities. In one of our early interviews Cheryll Rothery, PsyD, ABPP, referred to this as ‘a healthy mistrust of the profession’, and with increased understanding we quickly came to agree (http://shrinksonthird.com/a-healthy-mistrust-of-the-profession).

It seems self-evident that all members of society should have equal rights including equal access to opportunities so they can exercise them. But, we mental health professionals have not done a good job advocating for the people we profess to serve. Sure, there have always been activist mental health workers, even psychoanalysts had their activists among them. But no, we cannot say ‘not all psychologists’.  True advocacy really never became the norm; even activist clinicians and researchers have mischaracterized and/or left women and minorities out of research and practice. And what have we all done to change that?

Of course, once you begin to see the deep systemic nature of oppressions everywhere such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, and ableism, you can also begin to change your role in it at every opportunity. As the Shrinks on Third, as psychologists, as women and privileged white people, we pledge to do better. Psychologists have been taught to remain value-free and non-judgmental. If advocating for human rights and social justice goes against that norm (and we know some colleagues would say it does) we must still take that step and we vow to do so. The patriarchy’s creed of systemic injustice must be dismantled to end all violations of human rights including mental health access and discriminatory practices of all kinds. This is the place where psychology and social justice meet. 

Double Meaning

For many of the people we interview, the good works they do are meaningful in two ways. They get to help other people and often see the positive outcomes of their efforts. This alone is extremely rewarding. In addition, we’ve noticed that many people end up doing the important, transformational work that they do because they have been through a difficult, possibly even traumatic experience themselves. It makes sense that they’d want to help others who have had similar experiences. One of the best ways to move past trauma is to become active, to use it (the understanding of the situation, the learning that occurred, the experience of recovery, etc. ) to do good. It’s easy to get stuck as the passive recipient of a negative experience. For those who can turn their own struggle into a way to help others, it can be extremely meaningful and rewarding.