A big shout out to Dr. Willie Winston III for his co-authored article in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Black Psychology!
Note that Dr. Winston lists his affiliation as Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists. Congrats, Willie!
Pearl Barner II
Currently, we are in the process of starting a local Student Circle Chapter with the help of Ms. Rashida Fisher and several students at the Adler Graduate School. If you, too, are interested, please contact:
Rashida Fisher, MS, LPCC, LADC
Faculty/ Internship Placement Coordinator
1550 East 78th Street
Richfield, MN 55423
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) held its annual meeting this week in Minneapolis. On the agenda was a collaboration between NABJ and the National Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) to address the health effects of repeated exposure to traumatic event news among journalists. The workshop was coordinated by Muriel Evans-Buck of NABJ and moderated by Carolyn Drees of Reuters. The panel consisted of two national members of ABPsi who operate clinical practices in the Twin Cities, Dr. Pearl Barner II and Dr. Willie Garrettt. Barner recently retired from heading the mental health clinic at the University of Minnesota’s Boynton health services. Dr. Garrett, also in private practice, is the president of the local chapter of ABPsi. They were joined by Dr. Dierdre Golden, Behavioral Health Director at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Centre and Resmaa Menakem, a clinical social worker and internationally known expert on trauma therapy, and author of Rock the Boat: How to use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationships.
The panelist talked about how journalists, because of their work, can be exposed repeatedly to primary stressors while at the same time
feeling forced to ignore the physiological indicators of stress on their bodies. Black journalists, in particular, may be even more susceptible due to the impact of what the psychologists referred to as “historical trauma” a form of intergenerational stress thought to be suffered by African Americans. In addition, many Black journalists find themselves in situations where they lack a ready support system.
The panelists also alerted the audience to how secondary stressors may be affecting people in the trade who are not on the front lines, but who never-the-less suffer repeated exposure to stressful events because they are forced to follow Twitter feeds or spend time in the editing room viewing disturbing content that the rest of the public never sees. Moreover, their children and families may be subjected to secondary stress through their associations with the journalist.
Audience members shared very personal stories of how many of them have been traumatized by the work that they do and how they found themselves without any guidance on where to turn for help. The panelists pointed out that some journalism schools are beginning to include courses on how to cope with the impact of trauma on the job, that Black journalists may need to look into forming their own support group of “trusted” colleagues, but perhaps away from the newsroom at first. They also suggested using organisational ties like those within NABJ as a source of support. As well, they reminded the audience that most employers do have some type of employee assistance program that could be a good place to start.
For the most part, however, these mental health professionals were suggesting that all of us need to learn ways to inoculate ourselves against stress, and that we need to include in our daily routines ways to disconnect from the continuous onslaught of
media input that we experience every day. We need to eat the right foods, get regular exercise, and develop a sleep hygiene that ensures that we are able to decompress before bedtime, and allow sufficient time to sleep, giving our nervous system a chance to reset itself.
Most in the room agreed that it might be a good idea for organizations like NABJ and the Association of Black Psychologists to look into how both can collaborate going forward.
MnABPsi Officers Dr. Willie Garrett, and Dr. Willie Winston both attended the National ABPsi convention recently in Las Vegas Nevada. Also in attendance were Dr. Pearl Barner, our MnABPsi National Liaison and Co-Chair of the ABPsi Ethics Committee, and Dr. Harvey Linder, who also recently joined the Ethics Committee. A prospective new member, Mr. Kenneth King, also attended.
One of the foci of this convention was a training for all Chapter leaders on moving toward establishing each chapter as a 501c(3) organization, a process that the Mn Chapter has already been pursuing. There was also a training on how to conduct Emotional Emancipation Circles, a collaborative venture between ABPsi and the Community Healing Network aimed at creating a cadre of facilitators who can lead community dialogues that lead to a much needed re-building of personal, family and community relational ties to effect a stronger and healthier community. The long term aim is to have Emotional Emancipation Circles in every state and community across the country, beginning with each ABPsi chapter. If you think you might have an interest in receiving this training, finding out more, or becoming a facilitator contact Harvey Linder or the ABPsi National Office for more detail.
Attending an ABPsi National Convention is a special experience and, if you
haven’t done so, I would strongly recommend that you plans to make it a part of your future agenda. Particularly moving is the Enstoolment Ceremony when new officers are installed and the torch is passed to a new generation. Its not like any swearing in ceremony you have ever attending.
This year, the passing on of responsibility was doubly important and even more appropriately symbolic in that both the National Board and the Student Circle leadership were installed in one ceremony.
You can read more about past national conventions (and this year’s eventually) in the ABPsi newsletter, Psych Discourse, now available online (psychdiscourse.com)
This years Minnesota Psychological Association conference included a number of both familiar and new African American faces. Since her stint as both MnABPsi and MPA President, Dr. Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya has continued to urge not only greater involvement from women psychologists and psychologists of color, but also increased attention to diversity on the part of the state organization. She continues to serve on the MPA Governing Council. Dr. B, as we like to call her, was eventually followed in the MPA presidency by two of her distinguished fellows, Dr. Harriet Haynes and later Dr. Tabitha Grier-Reid. Dr. Haynes now chairs the Convention Committee.
Current MnABPsi president, Dr. Willie Garrett heads up the Rural & Greater Minnesota Division, and did a fascinating presentation this year on his work with the Hmong community. Dr. Pearl Barner serves as the MPA Treasurer and liaison to the Board of Psychology. Dr. Bibi Neumann co-chairs the New Psychologist Network. Dr. Beryl Wingate is active in the Women’s Division as well as the Multicultural Division.
Dr. Rose Stark-Rose did a poster presentation on her cross cultural study of how eating disorder symptoms are perceived among Somali and Hmong women. Several students were on hand as well to present their work at poster sessions. Donala Jordan, a 3rd year doctoral student at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University was on hand to discuss his continuing work on finding predictors of Type II Diabetes in African American Adolescents.
Ms Hana Jama, a Senior at Metro State presented an interesting impact analysis of how organizations such as MPA might use tele-presence to expand the availability of continuing education offerings.
The student presence was a reminder of why MnAbPsi needs to do more to bring together its efforts to identify and support the students in our local midst. Several of you are already doing this in isolation. Perhaps we should give more thought to at least co-ordinating some of those efforts.
At least three other African American student faces were seen at this years MPA conference. The Itasca Community College apparently has a “Psychology Club”, and brought a group of students to the
conference, including freshmen Malik Baker and Albert McGlocton. Another Metro State student, Dante Williams, helped out at the registration table.
The future looks promising.
The conference provides an opportunity for meaningful community engagement and access to national and local educators, and community practitioners to discuss and introduce practical culturally sensitive trauma informed, outcome driven methods and services. The overall goal is to improve the health and wellness of African American men and their families, resulting in the larger community becoming healthier and safer.
Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Campus
700 East Seventh Street, St. Paul MN 55106
(click below for more details)
MnABPsi members and friends: If you would be interested in supporting this worthy organization, you can contact me: Dr. Harvey Linder (612-615-3932) for tickets. I serve as a Board Advisor. Psychologists Rekhet Si-Asar and MinKaRa Tezet (formerly Harry Ford) are both active members of the organization, and would have tickets as well.
Resmaa Menakem MSW, LICSW, noted both locally and nationally as a trauma therapist as
well as family and relationship expert, held a party last week to release his new book: “Rock the Boat: How to Use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationship” (Hazelden Publishing).
Many of you know Resmaa from his work at either African American Family Services or at the Tubman Family Alliance, particularly after his success at revamping Tubman’s intervention model brought them to the attention of one Oprah Winfrey (see his website here) and also Dr. Phil. But he has also maintained a a private practice, Unbound Resources, where he and like-minded colleagues, have worked to help couples and families heal.
His new book is a culmination of all that work, as well as his own life journey. In it he asserts that conflict is an inevitable component of every relationship.
We cannot avoid it. We can ether learn to address it courageously, or we will invariably fall back on tendencies that are both unhealthy and destructive. Instead, his book offers tools for helping each individual in the relationship find a path to grow personally. While it doesn’t guarantee that every relationship will survive, it does offer that those that survive will be deeper and more rewarding.
Dr. Bryana French, moved up from the University of Missouri, Columbia last year to join the faculty at St. Thomas’ Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She had done her doctoral work at the University of Illinois and then interned at U Maryland. But she is from South Minneapolis. She attended the Clara Barton Open School and graduated from DeLaSalle High School. Now she’s come full circle and is excited about returning home and working in her own community.
Dr. French has been an active leader on the national level in both APA and ABPsi and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Black Psychology. She currently teaches MA and PsyD level courses in Diversity issues at UST. Her research and publication interests have centered around issues of sexual coercion and dating violence prevention among others.