Black Therapist Podcast episode

Minding Your Mentals

On this episode we discuss the pathway to mastering your mind. by creating mental health routines that work. Our host Nikita Banks, LCSW is at a panel discussion about mental health and wellness and how to find your own best life through passion, freedom and autonomy! 

Create a mental wellness routine

Hey guys welcome to the show, okay so this weekend I had the pleasure of attending an event called millennials and mimosas. 

And let me set the scene so I have been asked to do this event weeks ago. And I don’t know what I was thinking, honestly to agree to do it. 

because I have so much going on in my life right now with like family stuff. 

And everything that I’m trying to do.  That I have admitted on the show the last few episodes I’m burnt out.

And I’m really burning the candles at both ends.  and so with the end of the school year. my son is graduating from school. my interns, leaving. so all of my paperwork is 

needs to be turned in. 

 The first of the month bills bills bills right. 

So I have like all these things going on. 

And I’m not the kind of person that goes to an event and the like don’t really show up.  like I try to keep myself manicured I keep my hands, done my toes done, my hair done. I was over it the night before the event. 

so I was literally running on like prayers and coffee. 

I had like maybe three hours sleep the night before. so I was glad that I made it. 

I was so pleased by what I watched. I came in while the panel was going on.

and I really wished I had an opportunity to be there for the whole entire thing. usually when I come to do an event. I like to come early. I like this set up the room. 

I like to see what’s going on right, you know I’m I was like two seconds away from canceling. 

Because I’m like I’m super overwhelmed but I’m really really glad that I made it. 

So I was invited to come to this event I think I said the name but it’s called 

Millennial and Mimosas

Molina with him almost 

and it was in Long Island by someone name I Aiesha. And Aiesha  knows me from I guess social media and the show and so I was really really glad to go and like meet her and do the event. 

And so this week is the panel discussion on the the question and answer section… this was a more discussion between me and a moderator 

Because I was like I can’t possibly talk for thirty minutes about what, it is that I do. 

I think its probably best we do a question and answer session or have somebody kind of moderate and ask some questions so that it all makes sense.

 So my brain was half working throughout the whole show. And like I listen back and I’m like laughing at myself.  

You guys know, I tell you I don’t often listen to the shows. But I listened back to the show. 

While I was doing my edits and I was laughing the whole way through because as she was asking me questions I swear to god I was like half answering them because I my brain was everywhere. That said you’re in for a good show.

You’re in for a treat I don’t sound too too discombobulated even though I was very damn near delirious working off of that little bit of sleep. 

 I will never ever do that again. I hate being sleep deprived. I promise to take much better care of myself this week. 

 All of my paperwork is in.  All of my prep work for next week is done I’m shutting down my office early this week. 

So that I can do it I need to do to focus on celebrating my son’s college graduation. 

He’s the first grand son in my family to get his college degree.  he is my My baby boy and I’m super excited to have him meet this milestone in his life, to carry on the tradition of being a college graduate just like his two parents. 

So I’m really excited about that and now I have to focus on attending this graduation hitting this finish line and practicing some self care.

I do have some vacation time coming up in my near future and I’m super excited about that.

I have a dope what is the what is it called retreat that I’m going to in early June and I plan to travel as much as I possibly can is this summer.

So once again I want to thank Aiesha Shabu the  curator of the goddess tip and Ms Tiana Heath of Miss Tea talk who helped moderate my segment.

I got in and I saw her moderate a panel. And I was like you know what? 

Can we get her to kind of help me out. So that I’m just not up here kind of up here rattling on for thirty minutes and she really really truly ask me some really good questions and she was able to kinda help me stay on topic, and stay on task.

And kept mind a little bit sharp, because I was really…. ya’ll I was struggling. I’m not gonna lie I was really struggling. 

But you guys aren’t going to notice the show was really really good for the listeners and yeah that’s it.

Hey guys if you have not yet signed up for our free course healthy relationship tips for boss chicks learn relationship cheat codes in twenty minutes a day or less you can do so by texting gethappy to 66866. also if you are looking for our A free mental health course that tells you how to get low and free mental health support.  

You can also text gethappy to 66866, or slide up into my DM’s  @black therapist podcasts on Instagram and asked me to send you the link to the either course healthy relationship for boss chicks or the mental health course.

Okay and we will get it for you ASAP 

Tiana: We are here with Ms Banks.  Everybody give a round of applause for Ms Banks. How are you doing today. 

Nikita: I’m great how are you?

Tiana: Great I’m glad that you made it today, I’m so glad to have you here today to discuss what you do, and how you do it.. successfully. 

Nikita: (joking) She’s not all that familiar. 

Tiana: No no, no

Nikita: (Joking) we like literally just met.

Tiana: we did but I did look you up that’s funny I did I I thought that actually… thought that you would be on the panel so when I when I looked you up. I’m like oh like I don’t know. Okay so explain to the people who are not familiar. 

So My name is Nikita Banks, I’m a licensed psychotherapist,  I have a podcast called black therapist podcast. 

As somebody who really struggle with mental health issues myself I was diagnosed with depression, in the two thousand something.

  after just kind of deal with general sadness all my life but not in the knowing why and not really being able to put words to my feelings. I was like there has to be a better way to live than this. 

So I decided that I was gonna go to seek additional help like a lot of you guys. I went to my friends and I was like Hey something’s really off. This is not my real life, was kind of my like  my theme, or something I used to say.

But when my real life this comes oh this and that. then it kind of dawned on me you only get one.

 Audience: yeah   

Nikita: So I went to my doctor’s office and I was like yeah I’m really not happy I’m crying all day , I’m like sad, what’s really going on and you know it’s like. 

I think I need to go to a therapist and I was like but black people don’t do that.

 and my doctor said well isn’t it good that you’re progressive and so she prescribed me medication because when your your your doctor of 20 years that you’ve known somebody for a long time and they’re crying sometimes you just want to make the crying stop. 

So she gave me medication and I took it for a little while,  and my friends were like no don’t take that because…and I’m like it’s not crack.  You know its medication.

but I was like let me go to talk therapy first and see if that was medication was the right route, Because although I love my doctor she’s not that kind and I felt like I needed to at least consult with the professional before going to somebody who just really wanted to make me stop crying.

And I went to a therapist and the rest is history 

Tiana: How was that experience going to a therapist. 

Nikita: my therapist is hood and like my therapist is an old Jewish guy who grew up in the projects.

Tiana: interesting 

Nikita:  exactly.  And when I first, when I was like you know what I want to go to a therapist I didn’t want to go to a therapist that was black.

Tiana:  okay 

Nikita: And we’ll talk about that in a minute.  I had already tried therapy previously I had with the therapy once when I was pregnant with my son I was a victim of a crime with a therapy that time and so the was the first time was when I was a victim of crime and now that I’m in the field I realize that the person who probably with my therapist was is maybe an intern.

because I was telling her some of the things that have gone on in my life some of my history or whatever and she started crying. 

They gotta stay strong. 

Tiana: Well she was a little white girl and I was like wait a minute is this Bish, saying something is wrong with me. 

So I never went back because I was like I don’t you know I’m telling all these things that you know as black people we learned to internalize our trauma just rattle them off like they’re nothing so it was the first time I got to see all of the things that I had I had endured through somebody else’s eyes in it I think it scared me at the time but also be now that I’m in the field she probably didn’t know what she was doing.

Because I would never you know in my position cry at someone’s story. I felt like she was… I felt ashamed by what her by her reaction to what I was saying.

 To me was just normal life because it was just stuff that I had gone through.  And then the second time I went….I went for the first time. I went when I was pregnant with my son. And that was very helpful for me, I just had somebody that could help to talk to about my feelings.

I was going to a lot of stressors with his dad so it did help so I was like well why not try it a third time. 

So when I decided that I wanted to go to a therapist and I didn’t want to go to a black one, I wanted to go to somebody could teach me to think completely different.  Than culturally we are taught in society.

 I think Chris rock has a joke that white people the sky is the limit and for black people the limit is the sky. 

So I wanted somebody who was entitled to get what he wanted.  I wanted somebody it’s kind of teach me to go after my dreams in a way that culturally I didn’t see from my friends or my family. 

My mother from older the generations I just want somebody different.  but I like the fact that he was culturally competent. I don’t have this explain poverty to him, I don’t have to explain you know, black people stuff to him culturally. Because he grew up in a black environment.

Tiana: Yeah that’s that’s important.

it is the 

You were  very very lucky that you found (him) because it’s not that much out there like, that who are you know educated into something like that. And knowing what it was, what we’ve been through.. years years years years ago so now and it’s still happening now.

so for you to be you don’t have that… to be blessed. I don’t want to say luck. sometimes  I don’t want to say luck because we are all blessed so to be blessed to have him help you through your hardships. 

Has been amazing how have you been after therapy or do you still go?

Nikita: I still go, now.  now I don’t have I don’t have the symptoms of the diagnosis so I didn’t have the type of depression were you can’t get our of bed. 

You know like the way they show the depression on TV like it’s not that kind of thing. I wasn’t suicidal or anything it was just general unhappiness and dissatisfaction with my life.

 And a lot of us have it. A lot of my friends had it. I was like I’m sad this is not know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life and my friends were like yeah join the club.

So speaking to my friends I didn’t get any sympathy number one because everybody felt what I was feeling and I didn’t find a resolution to this can’t be it.

So I had to go outside of myself and I was willing to do something I had never done before to get something that I didn’t have before. 

 so for me going to therapy as part of my maintenance. I go to him because my friend still don’t know what they doing.

I love them but they still don’t know what they’re doing, and a lot of them are in therapy, which is a good thing. But I know that I can’t rely on them lot to get me to where I need to get in life I need somebody who is none judgemental.

who is non-biased who doesn’t know me when I was Nikita doing whatever I was doing twenty years ago. 

 I need somebody who is willing to stand with me now you see me for who I am and not just from my circumstances and sometimes we have history with people and that history clouds everything else is that that comes with the situation like even with my family me being a professional, you know got my grad degree graduate degree from NYU,  took a 2 year program in a year and a half I’ve done post graduate at Columbia.  they’re still like yeah I’m not listening to you. 

 know what I’m saying so sometimes you the change your environment and change the room.  A lot of us are preaching to the wrong choir. 

A lot of us are  trying to do things I know the panel before was talking about entrepenuership a lot of are talking to people who we think is the audience they not it. 

you know what I’m saying…our responsibility is just do the work and allow you know the universe, or allow god, or allow whatever it is that you believe in so help us find our audience. 

Tiana: exactly you cannot put yourself in an uncomfortable place.

Nikita: A lot of us are comfortable in our discomfort. And it allows us to stay where we stand with nobody else my friend group was  willing to do what I was doing and then when I was going to therapy every week my friends were like well what your dr.  say about  such and such;

 And I’m like go and get your own therapist. you can get a therapist with Medicaid you can get a free the low cost my finances should not be the barriers to get the help that you say that you want and black women are suffering in silence.

needlessly and I did it for a lot, a lot, of years only because I didn’t have the proper support and I didn’t have the proper information. That’s not a good enough excuse.

Exactly give a round of applause for that…. so now you do your podcast 

Yeah so I talk about a lot of my journey on the podcast. From being depressed, I talk about from being patience practitioner, and for me I kind of didn’t want to be somebody who just talk down to my clients. 

A lot of my clients are black like me that’s what I wanted to do when I went to therapy, I went to  therapy for a few years and then one session I was like I think I want to do what you do. 

as for me I think a lot of courage to kinda admit that I was good enough to do that, because a lot of us struggle in our situation and then when we come out of it we can kind of see that sunshine. 

We’re like well who am I to go and tell somebody what I’ve been through, being that I been through it and I’m still going through it. I mean I still struggle with my old stinking thinking every single day. 

I still struggle with a lot of that trauma and the hurt and the things that you know Ive gone through in life. 

 But I know that makes me a good good clinician I know that that’s the connection, that allows me and my clients to… you know I have a good therapeutic alliance.

And a lot of us you know we feel so ashamed because of our stories that we don’t want to tell it.  And so for me I was like in order for me to have a practice of black people. I have a lot of black women in my practice. 

Mostly but I have Black man I have to Jamaican men who are clients. If y’all are west Indian then you know, it’s like what? 

(Audience laughs)

Old Jamaican’s, Trini’s those are the kind of clients in my practice as well as others.

 But because I’m a private practice I wanted to reserve some spots for us. 

 There are not a lot of black clinicians out there and if they are the are some barriers to you getting one, and so I wanted to make sure that if I was going to build my practice it was going to be about us.

 and part of that was going to be changing the narrative in order to do that I had to tell my story to be transparent.

 Because it was really difficult in the beginning to build a private practice based upon only  black people because I got to convince y’all that you ll need me. And that was a challenge.

When I first told my mother that I was depressed she told me to pray. And I was like I  grew up in church my whole life, you think I didn’t try that. 

But my bible because I read it, says faith without works is dead.

 so I had to do the work in order to get where I needed to get I couldn’t just pray in a way that’s not how this works.

Tiana: That’s important. What you did say 

earlier is a lot of black people don’t go to therapy and a lot of black women suffering in silence that is definitely true I see that a lot, and going back to social media.

How do you feel about people going to social media about their issues. 

 is a lot of people definitely do that. 

Nikita:  I’m not of that generation. 

I am on social media for my business but you  don’t see my personal stuff on there, and social  media is to older people what a photo album was. so a lot of time looking at people social media feeds and all we see is happy times. Or there are those emotional people who talk about all the bad things. I mean if you are depressed to the point that you really really need help is the people that’s reached out to me some social media who were like suicidal, then yeah.

I think it’s just kind of reach out anybody that you need to,  to tell them what you’re going through. 

 but I’m not you know I’m from the generation that what happens in the house stays in the house, so yeah I don’t really subscribe to all of that. But also that mentality was something that I had to battle when I was telling my therapist all of the things that out that out with because you know, 

 My aunt always says you’re as sick as your secrets. 

I don’t care what anybody else does social media but in terms of like your business, in terms of like your branding, in terms of like your employment you might want to just watch what you do. 

Tianna: let’s talk more about your your podcast when did this start  

Nikita:  So we are in the third season of Black therapist podcast. It used to be called Black in therapy but then I learned about business, I learned about branding, and realize that at first it was just me you know telling my story and getting it out there. 

And what I loved about podcasting, was that I didn’t have to look at anybody I didn’t have the hear any feedback, I put it up in the universe, and go on with my life.

And that was until you know I got some emails and I was like holy crap people are listening.

 Once that happened I was like alright, not to be a little bit more consistent and take it seriously. 

But then I realize that Hey this is a part of my marketing from my private practice And so once I launched my private practice I was like you know what I have to change the name.

kinds of like really start to think in terms of search engine optimization, digital marketing make sure somebody’s looking for a Black Therapist in Brooklyn New York, that I come up.

So I changed the name and that’s how that all happened.

So how was the the transitioning from season one, to season three. How has that been going on for you because you was in therapy, not as much as season one correct?

Nikita:  I wasn’t in therapy in during season one, I wasn’t in therapy during season two my father passed away last year don’t be sorry…I don’t mean it like that but I’m just saying… 

you know, I talk about it on the show. 

My view of grief and how I view grief is a little bit different than anybody else. My father was narcissistic he had a lot of not a problems, doesn’t mean I didn’t  love him. Doesn’t mean he didn’t love Me.

But when he passed away I had to kind of deal with my emotions around that, and so I started to go back to therapy. 

Me and my therapist kind of have a drop in relationship. And I have that with my clients like now that I  have a lot going on in my life. because My life is really good and sometimes we pray for things that we ask god to give us things and then we are like… wait, wait, wait. 

SO I’m overwhelmed at times with a lot of things that I’m doing so I just go to check in but it’s not like you know it’s not like that have a diagnosis and I need to be there. It’s just like he stops me from like flipping out on people on the train. 

I’m from Bedstuy Brooklyn, so it is what it is. I go to therapy for your sanity. 

Tiana: That’s interesting how you turned your story into  helping others I mean that’s a monumental. I love that you are now doing that and are gonna keep doing it as well as for the last three seasons you keep going.

what is the best part about helping somebody in this situation?

Seeing that breakthrough. Seeing them actually… so I have a coaching business.

Where I kind of guide people and tell you what do to. but that’s not’s not what therapy is.

Therapy is me actually holding a safe space to allow people to explore their own feelings and emotions guided by me.   SO I recently wrote 

A book it’s called finding Happy seven steps to relationships that will not steal your joy; its a work book. So it’s guided it has questions you know just like therapy I ask questions but you fill in the blanks.

 So that’s what I love about therapy is just kind of happened watching somebody kind of make that transition so the realize this is what my problem is. 

And I’m like well I figured this out like you know your first session. But getting them to the  point where they’re, being introspective.

Introspection is really hard for us to do. 

To look outside of ourselves and to see the responsibility and the roles that we play in some of our misery. 

A lot of us are signing up for voluntary suffering. And so to see people you know come to that conclusion like I’m not taking this anymore. I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not putting up with this anymore. I’m not short changing me anymore putting me first. 

Like that the best thing.   I

 can imagine the peace you have when people are finding their their breakthrough.

Nikita: It aint every day. 

Tiana: But how do you do with that during those difficult times. On the border of suicide. I know that you haven’t thought that but what is it like  dealing with that 

Nikita: So part of my work I also do consulting work so I do  discharge planning and you know after care for people who aren’t have you know severe mental illness; schizophrenic; you know suicidality; homicidality, and those kind of situations.

Wow, yeah that’s one yeah I’ve never heard that before.

Oh people that want to kill you? Obviously you’ve never ridden the train. I might want to kill a few people a day If I didn’t drive, but no (seriously) getting to the point where you like, I’m really gonna do this and the person takes you seriously.

The work is really rewarding. I don’t take it home, children are hard, children are really really hard. I had a homicidal child who was like five. He was like doing little stuff so little brother could be left alone like that kind of thing is really my hard for me.

 But you know I don’t take it personal number one I know that this is not my life number two I know that every single one of us has a right to self determination and we get to choose how we show up in life and if today you are sad and you are thinking about doing something bad to yourself then I know that there’s nothing that I’m going to be able to do about that.

I just don’t take it personally I know that my role is to assist and to be supportive, my role is not to save.

I’m not anybody’s savior. So I think when you take yourself too seriously. 

Like I’m going to come in and I’m gonna fix people like Iyanla Fix My life.  she’s not really right.

SO when you when you come in with that mentality you’re gonna go home with a lot of a lot of baggage. 

Give it up for Nikita Banks. So where we can we find your podcast. 

Nikita: Our podcasts are everywhere were podcasts are found. 

And you do some facebook live stories as well. 

 So on thursdays I was doing it a thing called    real relationship rap sessions and so every Thursday at 3 pm. I was really talking about just kind of some of the elements that are in the book.   I have the the book that’s out on Amazon but I also have coaching course and like I said I like coaching because I can tell you what to do. 

Is that your favorite part? 

I’m  a little bossy, so yeah but not everybody is receptive some people sign up for coaching and they will pay for it…it’s rewarding in different ways sometimes you have to you can teach somebody how to fish sometimes somebody got to be real hungry enough to just jump in the ocean and so it depends on like you’re readiness and your willingness to actually listen and implement the strategies that I tell you. And  actually take the support and not be defensive. Like a lot of us can’t step outside of ourselves we’re not really all that introspective especially when somebody is trying to tell us something about ourselves. 

We can get defensive  and so I like coaching but    I mean I like both aspects. 

I love to see passion of everybody I spoke to the specially this is this is such a serious matter, so if there is someone who deals with a mental illness, or anything like that please come see her after this discussion.

Nikita:  But you don’t have to come see me if you have mental illnesses.

 So they are people who have mental illness which means you have a diagnosis. Or you have enough symptoms to establish, a criteria for a  diagnosis.  Or you have mental issues and I promise you every single one of us in this room has something on their mind or something that they’re dealing with a life change or circumstances that is going to be beyond your your ability to cope, your current skill set, and your ability to adapt navigate and changed and thrive to do that.

 So you need a professional to help you kind of it help you sort through all that muck of your mind  and we are all black in the room and let’s just be honest.

 There’s nobody on the planet, who has not been affected mentally by the things we’ve had   affect us. So for me it’s about mastering your mind and your thoughts your feelings and your emotions because those drive your behaviors.

and that contributes to life as whole so you’ve got it you’ve gotta master your mind. 

what advice would you give to an individual…okay as let me think about this now this is like when the flag yeah yes yes I was I was I was thinking as I was out    

what advice given to an individual now now now I don’t know now that you think do you have a little bit because the question I was the very broad to be specific I lost my train of thought 

But besides doing a podcast is there any other works in the future besides doing this right now. 

Yeah I have  a lot I have a lot of stuff on my plate, so part of what I would I do we have a tee shirt line. Yes this is one of mine yes therapy for the culture not just T. shirts, hoodies, and bags and mugs. 

And so the site is launching, you know as we speak somebody is building it now. 

I’m in the process of starting a black therapist directory.  So That people can find black therapists.  I mean that there are some that are out there that are good.  I don’t compete because nobody is my competition but I just want to expand the field so that we have what places that we go look for therapist. continue to grow my coaching business and continue to be a resource.

I want to write books, grow my practice.  

And not go crazy doing all of it because you know you can be really really overwhelmed. Self care is really really important.

And to answer your other question because I’m going to make it very specific what advice. 

I would give somebody if you’re dealing with the mental health issue is to ask for help. Admit if there’s a problem.

 Just know that there is a solution ask for help you may go to a therapist but he may not be or she may not be culturally competent.

 it is your responsibility to get the help that you need so go find somebody else. Don’t stop until you get what you what you need on the situation. And just investing your mental health we will buy bundles yeah we will buy bags but we won’t invest in our mental state. 

 your mind is what drives everything else so cute on outside and be screwed up on the inside. I’ve been there but you know we got a flip that inside out. 

 And if you are dealing with a family member with mental health issues seek help for yourself because you have a family member that is that a sick the whole system is sick.

 that will infect every single body else in the chain. because that’s what we are as family as blacks culturally we are all intertwined. SO if you’re dealing with somebody in your house may be funny in my household make funny or ” you know how she/he is,” there might be a little bit more than just get on your nerves going on in their lives.

Tiana: Thank you so 

Nikita I’ll wait wait the question that you asked earlier though what’s the one thing.

 Tiana:  what is the one word describe living your best life 

I mean I have two words but I’m gonna go with one word because it will define the other which is freedom. 

Like a lot of us are looking for for freedom the the the chance to live authentically and have autonomy which means that you can make choices that impact your health and your wellness and your happiness and a lot of us are not operating from the space will be can create a space of freedom that we have you have the freedom of choice of to be    involved in whatever we want to be engaged in,  and say no not today, or not not doing that right now so a lot of us you know we are sacrificing our happiness  and our mentality for us being enslaved to ideas that are not really in our best interests so I say freedom. 

once again I want to shout out to millennials mimosas for having me. 

 I use a shovel curator of the goddess tip for inviting me and miss Tiana he of misty talk for moderate in the panel I completely had a blast I was blown away by the event and I cannot wait to see what they do next and once again thank you guys for listening be well

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