Can a therapist serve marginalized clients.. and support this administration?
The intersection of mental health, white supremacy, politics and marginalized members of society.. is deeply rooted in the mistrust of people of color and the mental health system like to hear about it here we go…
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Imagine being a person of color and fighting through all stigma and all trauma to go to see a therapist and then you find out, they are a Trump supporter. What do you do? How do you handle it? Keep listening. We’re gonna talk about it right now. Finding happy seven steps to relationships that will not steal your joy is the new book by me. Nikita Banks, a licensed psychotherapist and life strategist, leverage the knowledge you’ll receive in this book to help you with the process of obtaining absolute clarity. Through the use of Guided Self exploration. This process is necessary to help you master all your relationships in 2019 and beyond, go on amazon.com or black therapist podcast comm and grab your copy of the book guaranteed to help you redesign all your relationships based on two basic principle, health and happiness. Get your copy today. Welcome to the black therapist podcast. The black therapist podcast is a podcast where we discuss the unique issues people of color face when dealing with mental health issues and mental health diagnosis. Now if you are new to our show, I am your host, author, life strategist and psychotherapist Nikita Banks in private practice in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York. I am available for both psychotherapy and coaching sessions. And you can find more information about that on my website Nikita Banks calm you can listen to our podcasts everywhere podcasts are found Apple podcasts Google Play YouTube, SoundCloud, PIPA, Stitcher, I Heart Radio and black therapist podcast calm if you’re a mental health advocate or a therapist and you want to buy our podcast merchandise, you can do so by visiting our site. And if you want access to our free mental health tips, free online trainings, discounted selective services and resources do so by joining our mailing list by texting get happy, all one word 266866. If you love the podcast, please like comment and share. We’d love to hear from you. And if you want to send me some feedback, guest suggestions or simply to say hey, you can contact us at our website, black therapist, podcast calm, please be mindful that this episode and all the information that we provide here is just a resource and a tool to help get you started on your mental health journey. If you are feeling any mental health distress, or you are having any significant issues, please feel free to reach out to us so that we can find you a mental health provider in your area. Okay, let’s go. Hey, guys, welcome to a new episode of black therapist podcast. How are you guys feeling? We are on election Eve. Which I mean, usually wouldn’t be a thing to me usually would be like, Oh, you know, the election is tomorrow, we’re voting. And I have like so many. I have so many emotions going into this election as I think most lucid human beings do. I am hopeful cautiously optimistic that good white people will prevail and do the right thing.
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I mean, hoping
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that good white people do the right thing. I feel like that has been the black America’s strategy on race for the longest time. Right? I remember Oprah saying that her grandmother once told her that she just had to hope that she she worked for good white people. Right? So so we as black people in this country, we are always at the mercy, of, of evil, racist. And we always have to hope for the grace of good white people. And I really feel like that kind of leads me right into today’s topic. And one of the things that I want to talk about. So in one of my Facebook groups, there was a long, large discussion of a white guy. I mean, he appears white from, you know, what I was able to see when I bust open that on profile. But he asked the question, which was he is an owner of a group practice, and he wanted to know how he could weed out. Trump supporters, like he didn’t want to hire Trump supporters, which
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understood I concur. I can, I can dig it. 1,000% and so of course, there were some problematic comments in the group. Let me see, I’m gonna look to see if I can find the post because these posts in these mixed groups that I’ll be in, right when they ask these questions about,
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um, what ends up happening when there are these kinds of conversations. In mixed groups. This was a mixed group that I’m in I’m when I say mixed groups, I mean groups with white clinicians. I’m in several African American or black groups that I love to be in, we could fellowship we arguing, arguing amongst each other, what usually happens is when there are these cross cultural conversations about race, either the posts get deleted. Number one, the comments were turned off just like they were in this situation here. Number two, and there are reverse racism, white folk, who come in here and be like, Well, what about black people who are Trump supporters?
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Oh, what about, you know,
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discrimination? And it’s just kind of like, y’all go ahead. Right, so I’m gonna read the question verbatim. It says, please delete political posts, if necessary, but How are y’all asking if potential new hires are a supporter or was a support a post Presidency of Trump? I mean, I think support a post presidency is a whole nother Trump, but that’s a whole nother thing. That’s like, what like, what if the person watched? What was his show? I almost said the bachelor Lord, I hope Trump wasn’t on The Bachelor. If they watched, I’m like, I’m literally blanking on his show, whatever the show was on NBC. And thank God to me that I was actually able, I’m actually able to block it out. I actually don’t want to remember the name of the show. But you know, what if they watched his show where they went to a Trump hotel, or they went to, you know, watch home alone, which he was in, I guess, I don’t know. I mean, before President we do, I don’t think most people outside of New York knew exactly the kind of wasteland his existence is, right. But anyway, let me finish reading the question. Want to start over, please delete political posts, if necessary, however, you’re asking your potential new hire is a supporter or was a supporter, post Presidency of Trump, I’ve come to the realization, I simply cannot work with you. Any clever ideas, I just don’t want to waste any time for something I don’t think can laugh, and I’m definitely not saying I wouldn’t hire a Republican. I voted red before. This has nothing to do with party thoughts. Right. And so I love the post. Post had about 110 comments. And they were like, one, let me see maybe one, actually name them. I’m just kidding. Well, 1234 or five people who were they were angry at the posts and so on. Someone else in the group put, you know, there was a similar thread like this a few weeks ago, the consensus is you should ask about the values and have a defined mission statement. And that’s pretty much what I said, right? I don’t know where my comment eels. But I believe that that that my comment was literally like, Hey, you know what, I don’t know if I would ask, I did recently have to hire someone who I was hoping doesn’t support Trump. And she was literally like, well, Black Lives Matter, which made me feel a little bit better. Because I at least know that if even if that’s not what she believed that she knows, she better told a party line around here. Because, you know, this is this is what it is that I do. I serve as, you know, black, the black community, I work with vulnerable populations, LGBTQ, you know, across the gamut. I can’t
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be out here with with
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working with people, or having clinic, having employees who have access to my clients, who support people who put babies in cages, like that’s just something I’m not willing to do walking around and talk about the African American like, I don’t want to get into all of the atrocities that have happened over these last four years that, you know, we will probably be paying back financially for generations to come. But I got where he was coming from. And so what I put on the post was I appreciate the conversation, because it was a cross cultural conversation that I felt like needed to needed to be had. And I also think, thank goodness that because a white guy asked this question. What is that? Because the white guy asked the question It was
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it was a valuable question. And I think that it didn’t get as many racist comments as it did. So of course, there were people who were on it and they were like, well, I don’t think that you should discriminate against somebody for their beliefs. And there were a lot of white people that were like, Well, yeah, if you believe that, you know, somebody can be anti semitic and anti black and, you know, rape women or sexually violate them or talk disparagingly against them sexist and all the other things he is I think that you can actively discriminate against those people. I think it’s okay to be discriminatory against those folks. And I’m psycho. And then there was some people that were like, Okay, this one comment, a good therapist doesn’t allow politics or religion, religion to sway their responsibility to due diligence, hire a good therapist, honestly, it sounds like you might need therapy to get past this issue, and that you find so disagreeable with other people. And that’s, that’s ridiculous. And then someone else put a Trump supporting therapist cannot hold the values of the profession and simultaneously support someone without some serious cognitive dissidence, which I agree like this is bigger than Democrat and Republican. This is really about hate and right and wrong. Um, you know, there’s a lot been said recently about, like rappers who have been coming out and supporting Trump, like I understand the rapper’s infatuation with this idea of Trump, Trump for New York rappers have been like his name has he’s been in more rap songs than probably Halle Berry, right. But he was a symbol of greed from the 80s, he was a symbol of success, we didn’t know he was broke as a joke and smoke screen and a liar. Like, nobody really got to see who he really was that he was ignorant and that his father was, you know, the backer of him. Like, I don’t think people really understood that. But New York knew enough to not vote for him. And he was from here, like, we didn’t fall for that. So I think that, you know, having black men coming out and in being in support of him is really about identifying with the aggressor and having cognitive dissonance and, you know, wanting to be like Massa, and having internalized racism and having internalized oppression, make them feel as if they need to align themselves with a bully and a jackass in order to be seen and be heard. And so, you know, I thought about these reverse racism, comments, right? And
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issues of identity and how it plays itself up in sessions. And so one of the comments that I wrote because somebody was like, well, you should be as a therapist, you should be objective enough to not bring yourself to therapy, that’s bullshit. We all bring ourselves to therapy, I show up in my sessions as a black woman in my black skin with my black hair. Sometimes it’s Afro, sometimes it’s braided. Sometimes it’s,
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you know, we’re down to my behind.
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That’s how I show up, I show up with, you know, my my rings on and my jewelry and how I dress. I’m very conscious of how my how presentation matters, are very conscious of, you know, when I was in my office, what pictures I had up, like, when I worked in a school system, I had pictures of my son up in my office, and his graduations in me at my graduation, and my partner and my dog, I knew that having those things up in my office may force disclosure, you know, they would ask me all kinds of questions about like, what kinds of things when they would see the pictures, but it allowed me to let them know the things that I valued as a person, those pictures was strategically placed there, as was my degree, so lets them know that I’m educated, I’m credentialed and I care about family and education is important to me and that I was there to support them as part of the community like they were able to see those things by how I show up there are times that I am in session and I may have I love black people t shirt on or I may have, you know, one of my clients that have had a dope black woman t shirt on or I showed up in a meeting recently and this girl had dope, dope black therapist hoodie on, I wear my hood healer t shirts on when I’m especially sometimes my clients like yo possess a good heel. Yes, it does. That’s why is that’s what this is about. And they’ll laugh and they’ll smile. So we show up as ourselves in session. There are times that disclosure happens where I am actually talking about myself and my feelings and how it relates to the clients in the situation. It’s not always appropriate to do that. But when it is appropriate, I do have to show up as my authentic self with my clients. And in order to do that, sometimes we talk about religion. Sometimes we talk about spirituality, sometimes we talk about politics,
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because these are all these are all intimate
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relationships, and you’re building an intimate rapport with them. And so I cannot imagine, you know, you guys know, my therapist is white. I know,
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he feels about Trump.
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But I could not imagine having the relationship that I have with them and not having that basis or not having those conversations or not being able to be authentically myself and show up in in that environment. One of the are the arguments or the points that I made in the group was, it is my responsibility as a therapist to refer people out when I do don’t believe that what I believe is in value with them, it doesn’t mean that I’m discriminating against them, it means that I my goal, and my responsibility is to do no wrong to my clients, my goal in my responsibilities center their needs first, not that I need to make, you know, my stats for this week, or that I need to keep my caseload over a certain number, or that, you know, I just need this money, or that I’m going to put my my thoughts and my feelings aside. If I know that what I believe in, may not be in alignment with what the client is looking for, I cannot do that work. It’s not fair to me, especially when there are other therapists out there that I could make sure that I can get them into the right hands to have that conversation. There are some times that I have clients who come to me and they are they’re different from me culturally. And I know that that my level of expertise and how I relate to the world is not going to be helpful for them. I can use an example. So I lived in, I worked at this this clinic in Queens. And I had a client I probably told the story before but I had a little boy came my office cute cherub face, sweet little baby, fat, fat, little self, came my office, and he was like, beating up his mother. I couldn’t understand it, Asian family. And so did the bio, so called social bio, social social, that I said, bio, psycho social. I’m tired, y’all. But I did the bio psych. Got the family history. And I’ve recognized that the way that the mother interacted with the other family members, the little boy was just mimicking things that he had seen from this father from his
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intergenerational household, as most Asian families are. And this mother was just kind of beaten down. I’ve often worked with other Asian mothers who felt the same way. And I’m out of my depth. Like I’m a, I’m a strong black woman. So the T, I don’t understand. A woman like psychology aside, culturally, I just don’t understand not having a level of control in your household. Now, I struggle with this as well, with some black women who don’t have control over their children in their households. But it’s a different kind of thing when they’re teenagers. And there’s trauma, and there’s other things, but this is a seven
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And so, in this particular session,
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the child snatched something from his mother and I immediately snatched it back. And then I caught myself like, holy crap, I’m sorry. And I told the little boy to come to me. And I apologized to him. And I told him to apologize to his mother. Now, the fact that I responded like that, because I’m somebody’s mama and I just my mama shit just kicked in the fact that I responded like that, it startled me. Because it was just kind of like a reflex. Like he snatched like a bottle of water from his mother’s hand and like, kicked her and I just, like, just grabbed it from him. And then, like, the mother was shocked, because he stopped immediately. And he looked at me. And in that moment, the dynamics of the session shifted, where I could no longer be in a helping relationship with him, even though he behaves with me and he listened to me and he talked to me about his feelings and he had been bullied and there were a lot of things that he was going through in the house and we got him to kind of be nicer and kinder and sweeter to his mom. I referred them out. We weren’t we lived. Well, I say lived but they lived and worked in an area environment that where there were a lot of Asian therapists. There were a lot of culturally relevant groups. There were a lot of culturally relevant parenting classes. And so I referred them out and I was met with pushback from my agency, because they were like, Well, why would you refer them out and I was like, I think that they would be better served with somebody who completely understands the culture. Because while I could work with the child, this was family work. And the entire family needed to, to, to be worked on. And there was parenting issues that needed to be addressed. And while there was a language barrier, and a cultural barrier, even though I worked well with the little boy and had worked with him for a little weeks, a few weeks, it had come to the point because of the mother felt like I had more control over her child. And she did that I was a disciplinarian, and you cannot be a therapist in a disciplinary and at the same time just doesn’t work. It is the same thing. With this situation. If my therapist was a Trump supporter, I would bang him in his head every week. There’s no level of intimacy that I could possibly get to to work with them. As a New York City therapist who worked in Kings County Hospital, I’m calling it out. I remember being on the psychiatric unit. I don’t know what flow I was doing. But I was going to see a client I had to meet with the SEC, the site psychotherapist, and the soap Nam, the social worker, and the social worker there had a Trump had a Trump thing in his office.
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And I was like,
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what should what should What? What do you patients feel about that, like I didn’t ask, because at the moment, I was so disgusted, that I was there. And I understood the power dynamics. This is not like a regular therapist, where if a client goes in there, they’re going in there voluntarily. This is a therapist on a psychiatric unit or social work on a psych unit, that means that most of the people that are there are there in voluntarily, that means that as a, as a social worker, and a therapist, they are able to take people’s children and take away their freedoms and lock them in hospitals and call the police on them and get them medicated and and and stigmatize them with diagnosis, that you can’t have any kind of bias or, or displaying any kind of outward hatred towards people in order to do that work. I’ll make it exclusive. Meaning that I cultivate therapeutic experiences and environments for people of color. Families, women, like I do that,
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But my safe spaces include everybody, I see all kinds of clients in my practice. I see all kinds of clients in my concert consultation work. Even clients who don’t want black therapists, even clients who don’t want, you know, clinicians of color I’ve been told to get get out of people’s houses before I know that the people that didn’t want me there, but they there was a power dynamic that needed to be there in order to do a job, or they would go back to the hospital. And I was there to maintain my objectivity. They were there to maintain that objectivity, but not for long term, intimate therapy, there’s been plenty of times that I’ve been told that people didn’t want to work with me because I was too young. There’s been times people told me, they didn’t want to work for me, because I was black. There been times that people told me, they didn’t want to work with me, because I was a woman, there’s been times that people told me, they didn’t want to work with me because I was too old. I don’t, I’m not trying to hold nobody. I’m not trying to convince anybody that my space is the right space for the healing. I’m going to say, oh, if you want somebody else, I’m going to get you to who you want. Because I’m not responsible for their healing unless they want to heal with me. They are responsible for their healing. And they are responsible to pick environments and places that that is able to happen. At the same token as a boss. I don’t know if you guys know but we’re launching our group practice in 2021. I’m just I’m claiming it. I’m naming it now you guys are gonna hold me accountable. I’m saying that but the group practice will be launched next year, but as a boss of multiple people. I have to make sure that the people that I work with are in alignment with our mission statement and our our cultural competence. And they are in alignment with doing anti blackness work and anti discrimination work in you know, they are allies to the LGBTQ community and they are willing to come on and be cheerleaders and advocates for people who are marginalized in the community. That’s what we do. Those are the spaces that I create. Not saying that Trump supporters don’t deserve therapy, not saying that white people don’t deserve competent therapist. I’m saying that there are so many of them. And there are like 5% of me all of the spaces are created for them, these spaces have to be cultivated for
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And what I’m not going to do is trade, my interdependence or my independence and my interdependence on. And working in an environment where those two things don’t make the same thing. I’m not gonna trade my independence for interdependence, there you go. In order to just make money, just I’m hiring anybody, so that I have staff and I’m screwing up the culture. I’m screwing up the workplace environment. I’ve had interns before, who will not culturally company and I have to be in your ass. Because I understand the stigma that you have to fight through in order to be black and come to a therapist in Minnesota, in Minneapolis, in Nevada, in in, you know, wherever, and know what you have to do in order to try to find you somebody to help you heal when you live in Utah. In those people don’t feel like us in there. They’re performing therapy from a center that has nothing to do with us. From a center that gets us to that, that is it has a colonizers mentality and that idea of
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with the cold,
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within people call being a missionary, where you coming in and you’re going to convert the blacks, I listened to how Amy Coney Barrett, how she introduced her black children as resilient and in brave and tough. And how she talked about how her white children were so smart, and how they will be doctors and lawyers and great things. But the only thing that she she wanted for her black children was for them to survive. I think that black women feel like that in a different manner. But I also as a black mother of a black son of a black child of many, many black children that I have in my environment, I just want I want them to live their best life that they can. Free from white gave and free from the damage that happens when there are interlopers in the community who feel the need to make him feel inferior. And one place that should definitely be free of that it should be therapy. And so if you don’t want to hire a Trump therapist, I salute you. If you don’t want to hire a therapist, as a client who is a Trump supporter. That’s the thing like one of the guys like I wouldn’t answer the question. If, you know, I was asked that on a job application. Number one, you don’t need to be asked that on a job application, your political affiliations is public record. That’s number one. Number two, you tear your clients will ask you because my clients have asked me I had a client who was a Trump supporter. But um, he wasn’t he was he was a bit of an asshole. And he was a mandated client. So to me, I was like, okay, you could be a Trump supporter. That’s cool. As long as you understand that this little Negro girl could send you back to jail if you don’t do what you need to do. We are all good. It’s all good. But there were you know, there were other mitigating factors. And I understood the understanding him why he supported Trump and it has nothing to do as far as I was concerned with racism and had absolutely nothing to do with hearing probably a little bit of sexism and had a lot to do with his finances. The man was rich from Queens, and he probably over identified I get that, I get that. But what I don’t get his therapists thinking that they can be Trump supporters, which is against every single thing that it stands for in our code of ethics, and serve marginalized clients. Because, you know, black people already got trust issues, marginalize clients already have trust issues right now. I mean, it doesn’t facilitate the healing, if they know. Okay, um, so yes, I hope everybody’s voting.
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I haven’t been posting on social I’m gonna get back to it.
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I am going to be on TV this week. So check out my social media because as soon as they say I can promote it, I will promote it and talk about it. However, you know, please get up and go out and vote. I’m really proud that my son and his dad is going to be going to vote. I won’t be with him because he registered to vote from daddy’s house. So those two people they’re going to get up and go out in an early vote. Tomorrow. I have my absentee ballot. He has his absentee ballot, I think he’s gonna just go drop it off with that tomorrow, whatever he’s going to do, but has to make sure that he went, and he votes and that he does the right thing. And it’s a very good thing to see him, being of age and making these, you know, making his civic duty and civic responsibility, something that he takes very seriously. I want everybody to vote every single year. I say this every year, we talk about it every year, but I vote every single election. Sometimes I don’t know who the people are, that reminds me, I have my ballot, I needed to Google who the judges were to see how long we’ve been on the bench and see what they what they stand for. Because I’m gonna need to make sure that I’m voting for judges who are in alignment with what I need, we often we get upset when the police are killing our men, and we don’t serve on jury duty, we try to get out of it. But you know, a lot of times that the civic responsibility and the engagement that we have the currency that we have, as Americans, a lot of black people are not enough engaged actively. And so I want to make sure that I’m doing what I need to do. And if part of that is is electing judges in my neighborhood that will do the right thing and take care of my people and actually have, you know, grassroots support amongst organizations that I care about. The next one I want to do. If you are in New York State, and you are looking for candidates and you are a social worker, and you’re looking for candidates go on NSW, New York State and an SW NYC we have packs that also promote candidates who believe what we believe I may come back and just kind of insert some of the candidates that they are supporting in New York State and you guys can just go and look and see but you know, look at your areas, see what what, but therapists are saying see what candidates social workers are supporting because we need your support and if everybody gonna keep calling our name, every time that there is an emergency, y’all want us to come out when there’s opioid crisis, you want us to work for free, when COVID hit you want us to come and, you know, be your telehealth messiahs then y’all need to start doing things that matter to us as well. And making sure that the politicians that you guys are electing are in alignment with our our values so that we can start getting more healing happening from a grassroots level and from a policy level that matters to all of us. Okay.
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So go vote.
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Love you guys. I’m sending everybody positive vibes and positive energy. No matter what happens Tuesday, I know that we’re going to be okay. I also know that it’s probably going to get harder before it gets better. But we have to be willing and hopeful enough to weather the storm because if we wake up tomorrow, there’s another chance that things will get 1,000% better. Okay, so
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vote, vote, vote votes.
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Oh, and another thing I wanted to say my mother, my mother often tells me
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when my grandmother passed away, she died on election day. And so this year, it actually falls on her death anniversary. And the last thing that my mother my grandmother told my mother to do was to leave her so she can go and vote. And so I also feel like for me and my family is a responsibility for us to do what our ancestors could not do. And I’m very proud of the the turnout and what we are doing, but we have a chance of actually being very hopeful. And given our children hope again and allowing them to know that our boats do matter. It matters. It matters. It matters. It matters every single day. It matters all the time. And after you vote voting is just the start you have to be engaged in the community. Okay. All right.
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Everybody, go vote and be well
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thank you guys for listening to another episode of black therapist podcast once again you could follow us on all our social media sites at Black therapist podcast on Instagram and on Twitter as well as black in therapy on Facebook or you could follow your host me Miss m s ni k i think on Instagram and Twitter as well as you can find out any information about me at Nikita in ik it a bank COMM And on the show’s website lack their pets podcast calm and don’t forget if you want to send us any general feedback show suggestions, show topic for get ideas please feel free to drop us an email at Black therapists [email protected] Thank you be well
Transcribed by https://otter.ai