Published on:

21st Jan 2021

263: How to Show up as a Genuine And Authentic Clinician in Multicultural Identities

Today’s topic is a relevant one for any clinician interested in diversity and multiculturalism. It can be fulfilling and empowering to show up in authentic ways for your clients, especially with today’s increased awareness of diversity and social justice. I hope you’ll join us to learn more.

Our Featured Guest

Dr. Lindsey Brooks

Dr. Lindsey Brooks is a licensed psychologist. In these times of racial injustice, many of us wonder how to be a clinician in private practice who shows up in multicultural identities. Lindsey is here to share what she’s learned along the way in her niche of underrepresented achievers. We’ll talk about how Lindsey came upon that niche and how she gathers ideas to speak to that population on her website. She has helpful tips for taking and transcribing voice notes. Lindsey shares what a multicultural practice looks like for her and common mistakes she sees other clinicians make.


Sexual Empowerment School

You'll Learn:

●     How Lindsey determined to present herself as authentic and genuine with her clients

●     How Lindsey connects with those whom she serves

●     How Lindsey goes “old school” and transcribes voice memos as if she’s having a conversation with a client

●     How Lindsey decided to work with underrepresented achievers

●     How to determine which parts of yourself to hold back in private practice and how much personal detail to share

●     Why Lindsey is intentional about serving a multicultural and diverse community in her practice

●     A practical first step toward a multicultural practice is to have a small group community (For Lindsey, it’s a book club) to learn and grow regarding social justice issues

●     Common mistakes that clinicians make in developing a multicultural practice:

○     Not doing the ongoing work required

○     Not “talking the talk” when opportunities arise to use your voice

●     Lindsey’s sexual empowerment groups for women



Hello, hello, welcome to session 262 of Selling the Couch. I hope you are doing well having a good start to the New Year. I'm actually recording this in late December, two days before Christmas. And yeah, I am doing well given everything I know that vaccines have started to roll out and I'm hoping by the time this episode starts, it becomes live that more of us will be able to get the vaccine; if you would like to get the vaccine, of course. And yeah, just more than anything, just wanted to encourage you to continue to lean on your loved ones, your social support, lean on our side of the couch community as we navigate all of this.

Today's podcast session is with Dr. Lindsey Brooks. Lindsey is a licensed psychologist; her website is at drlindseytherapy.com. And we're talking all about developing a multi-cultural niche in private practice. I know that especially given everything that has happened in our country, particularly this year, and definitely in years past, but I think really has been magnified with racial injustice, the continued murders of black men and women and all of those different things.

I know that many of us are thinking about what it looks like to be a clinician in private practice, and how do we show up in our multicultural identities, I guess is what I'm trying to say. And so Lindsey is here to share some of the things that she has learned along the way.

Her niche is underrepresented achievers. We're going to be talking about how Lindsey came upon that niche, how she gathers ideas, to be able to speak to that population, on her website, and all of those different things, including some really cool tips for like taking voice notes, and all of those different things. And even some of the things that I started doing just to make that process a lot easier to be able to get a good copy content versus sticking to more academic language, which I know a lot of us struggle with.

We are going to then transition to talking about what a multicultural practice looks like for Lindsey and then a common mistake that Lindsey sees when clinicians do try to develop multicultural practices. So we'll get right to today's podcast session. Here's my conversation with Dr. Lindsey Brooks from drlindseytherapy.com.

Hey, Lindsey, welcome to Selling the Couch.


Hey Melvin, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. I've listened for so long, so I can't believe I'm talking to you live.


Well, I'm really grateful for your time. I know you're out in California, and you're a trooper for being willing to record this at 7am and yeah, so thank you on my end as well.


Of course, no problem.


You have been busy in private practice doing like so many interesting things and before we get into our conversation, I just wanted to tell you like just looking through your website, I felt like there was just a real sense, I got to know you and I feel like that's something that a lot of clinicians struggle with. So I just wanted to give you like props on that because you did that so well.


That means a lot. Yeah, I put a lot of thought and effort into it and want it to really be genuine. So that means a lot.


I know and maybe we can actually just kind of start there. You said you did put a lot of like work and thought into that. I guess what did that look like? Was it like brainstorming? What does that even look like at a practical level?


Yeah, well, I spent a lot of time really just thinking about my niche and thinking about who I wanted to serve, and then wanting to make sure, okay, I'm really speaking to that, I'm speaking to the people I want to speak to and I'm speaking from a place of service. So just having that mindset was a big piece of it to switch from like, let me present my CV and all the things I've done. Just kind of get away from that academic mindset and think about I'm speaking to a real person and make sure I'm speaking to them and to give myself permission to be more real and not a blank slate. So I think it was a lot of mindset work was the main thing.


Yeah, I feel like this is even so many of us struggle with, I struggle with as well right? Because we go through undergrad, grad school, apply for jobs, all these sorts of things and it's always our achievements or what's told should be emphasized. But especially in developing a private practice, particularly one that's more niche there's a lot of wisdom I think in showing up in the way that makes the most sense for you.

How did you even again, just sort of at a practical level, we all grew up with this training like you got to highlight your CV, you got to do all of this. How did you hold that sort of fear or anxiety or even power, but then say, “You know what, I have to show up on my website, in a way that connects with those who I've met serve.”


Yeah, I think building community that shared a different story. It really helped. I found a community of folks who were also starting private practice and trying to kind of undo that learning. So surrounding myself with those people and talking with them really helped. And then also something I did that I just this idea came to me, I don't know where it came from, but instead of like sitting down and writing, I did like voice memos into my phone. Like, I just started talking to my phone, almost as if I was talking to a person and that generated a lot of ideas. And then I just actually, like, just started transcribing that and took that as my starting point and I think that just helped kind of break out of the old patterns.


That's so awesome. Okay, the nerded me is going to totally try to dissect all of this. So you transcribed voice memos, and I imagine like you're going on a walk, you're taking a hike, maybe you're at the grocery store, I don't know, like random cooking, right? What are you transcribing? Just random thoughts or things that you could say, take us a little inside that?


Yeah, sometimes just random thoughts like, oh, make sure you include this or make sure you include that. But I think what was most helpful was talking as if I was actually talking to the client like, “Oh, you're going through this or that.” My niche is working with underrepresented achievers. So a big part of that as often like, struggling with believing you're enough. So I say things like, “Oh, so you're dealing with that feeling that you're not enough.” That feeling comes up again, like talking almost as if it was a real conversation, which sounds a little kooky as I say it out loud. But I think that helps me get into more of that conversational style and come up with some of those more genuine words and language that I can translate over to the website.


Yeah and I don't think it's kooky at all because I think one of the things is, it's helping you to break out of that academic mindset and into almost like human language, right?




I do something like very similar with voice dictation and one thing I've recently been doing is, I have a friend who's actually also in California, he's a YouTuber, he's an online creator and so entrepreneurs are sort of MySpace and so obviously, he's not a client, but he's like my perfect client. And so one of the things we do is like a mastermind, and we discovered recently that you can use zoom, and there's a software program called otter.ai, which is like artificial intelligence transcription, like real time transcription.

Essentially, what we'll do is we'll get on zoom, and I'll ask him stuff, like, “What are your biggest fears as an entrepreneur? Or what are your biggest hopes?” And this thing will transcribe our conversation in the background, so that at the end of it, we have this nice transcription. And then I can go through and highlight key things he said which to incorporate into a website. I don't even think what you're doing is like crazy at all. I think it's smart because, for example, in clinician speak, we might be like seems your self-esteem really is at a certain place and that's maybe not what underrepresented achievers are necessarily saying, right?


Exactly! Yeah, I don't think I've had anyone say, “Oh, I'm struggling with self-esteem.” You have to think about one of the world’s real people use not just us in our jargon.


What are you using to just dictate; the voice thing on your iPhone or what?


Yeah, just the voice app.


And then how are you transcribing it, what do you usually use?


I'm old school, I listen to it, and then I type.


Nice, back to our grad school; transcribing our practical videos.




I joke about that, but I actually think that would be really kind of empowering because it would allow you to hone in on certain phrases and things like that.


Yeah, exactly. I found it useful for my process, just to be really engaged with it and that it was many iterations and tweaking, and I will still continue to tweak it, but it's going to have my hands in it more, I think helped me.


Are these recordings more spontaneous? Or do you like set aside time to almost brainstorm or think through things?


It’s spontaneous. Yeah, I usually get the most creative ideas, when I just let them come spontaneously.


Really random questions; I feel like many of us have really great ideas and we have those ideas that spontaneously come. At least for me, there's a moment where I have an idea and then I'm like, “Oh, that's a dumb idea.” Versus like, “Oh, I should probably write that down or record it.” How do you take that step to actually record it? Versus being like, “Oh, Lindsey, that's a dumb idea.”


Yeah, I just think I really practice that self-compassion, and just really give myself permission to just say whatever is coming to your mind, it doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to be perfect, and just put it out there. And I'm going to hone it and make sure I like it before I put it out there into the world; but when I'm just with myself brainstorming, just really trying to quiet any of those voices of judgment.


I have this image of like, working with clay on a potter's wheel, when you first have that piece of clay, just a lump of clay and the most important step you take is to put that clay on the wheel and slowly over time it molds. I just had that image as you were talking, because I think that's right. Like the most important step is to put it on there, get that idea out there and then you can tweak and refine and all those things.


Yeah, I love that.


So on your website, you share that underrepresented achievers are my people, which by the way, I love that phrasing. Tell us more about how you found this space?


Sure, yeah. Well, that was a phrase that came to me in a brainstorming and talking out loud session and I found it really fit. But how I came to that and thought that's what I want my specialty to be and my focus as with everything. I think commonly starts back with our family. And when I look back out my story, and I think back to my mom, and growing up with her as she was an awesome badass first generation college student and she was going to college when I was growing up. So she grew up in a time in the 50s, and 60s, in a more conservative area where there wasn't an expectation or resources for her to go to college, and that woman particularly would go to college.

And so I grew up in a situation where she was going to college, working, and taking care of two kids and seeing her deal with the barrier she was dealing with just to get her college education. I'm sure I could not articulate it at the time as a kid. But now looking back, I can see how that planted a seed of empathy for anyone struggling with these systemic barriers that get in the way of something as simple as wanting to get education.

And then as I got to know myself more and have my own experiences, understand my own identities, having my own experiences with that, both as a woman, as a queer, bisexual person, I've had experience of being the only one of those identities in the room, or the one a very few have experienced that pressure of oh, I've got to represent my group. I want to make sure I'm advocating for my group and speaking up for my group and also everyone is looking at me as the representative and the pressure that's there and so I've had my own moments of struggles with those feelings as well.

But then over time learning, okay, I also have privilege that has helped me navigate those barriers for myself as a white person, a white therapist, thinking about how all those things weaved together began to form an ally identity. So it was kind of my journey over college and graduate school, and so then once the time came to start a private practice, it just felt really natural that I wanted to bring all those pieces of my experience together that I really wanted to serve people who have similar experiences to me and support them, as well as different experiences to me that face different systemic barriers, and be an ally and be of service. So just felt like a really natural outgrowth that. Of course, I want to serve the communities I'm most passionate about supporting.


Yeah, I think we just articulated that so well. I feel like some of the best private practitioners are the ones, who private practice is not just a means of income, but it's rooted in their own story and how they've been able to weave their own stories and narratives into their private practice. How do you figure out for you because this is honestly a struggle for me, how do you figure out what parts of your story or identity show up in private practice and what parts you kind of hold back? Just because like privacy, or any of those kind of things?


Sure. Yeah in general, I think I take a pretty feminist perspective, which is that we're all real people with real experiences, and we can't pretend that we can totally keep those at the door. So, to a degree, I think I bring all of those things into the room. As I say that, though, I don't disclose a lot, which is interesting. But I think it's just in the way I embody it and the way people seek me out knowing oh, okay, she holds a social justice perspective, they see that on my website, I think they see that in how I interact with them and the questions I ask them. So it comes through, but also without me sharing a lot of detail.

So I think where the line is, for me, I don't share a lot of detail about, “Well, this is the personal struggle I had, here's the emotions I had, and here's the thing I had to get over.” I don't share that. But it may make statements as like, “Oh, as marginalized people, we sometimes go through blah, blah, blah.” So I might join with them to help them feel seen and understood. But making sure of course, the space is about them, and them getting support is not showing a lot of detail about my experience.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So it's almost like you focus on the overarching value and the overarching experience, as opposed to going into the details, at least in session. Now for things like a website, or even like when a client calls like, I guess what does that line for you too? Do you self-disclose more on your website? And if so, what's that? And again, I know, this isn't so black and white. But just kind of curious, because I've always been curious about how clinicians make that determination with regard to like, disclosure and self-disclosure.

Dr. Lindsey:

Sure. Well, for me, I think it's really important for people of all underrepresented identities, to know that you are safe to open up to and to be around. And so that's what helps me guide the decision. I'm like, “Okay, I think it would help people feel safe to know that I consider myself a white ally.” For some queer people, it's really important to know, my therapist has that shared experience, so, okay, I'm going to share that identity. I think that is what helps to guide it?


Yeah, I think even as you're talking, I think one thing I keep coming back to is, does me sharing this piece of information, does it empower people? And does it give people a sense of the space that I'm creating for them? And if that doesn't, then maybe I should think about if I want to share it, and if it does, then maybe it's okay to share and then I have to kind of make that determination of how I want to share it in a way that's empowering.

Dr. Lindsey:

That's a great way to think about it.


Yeah, it's a balance for sure. I wanted to shift a little bit, you have this unique sort of niche, and for you, what does a multicultural practice look like?

Dr. Lindsey:

Yeah. So for me, it really means setting the intention that I wanted to serve a diverse community in my practice, and being very intentional about that within myself and intentional about that in my marketing, in the way I work. That was really infused in everything. And so it's not just like, “Okay, I took a multicultural class in grad school and I'm good. So I can have a multi-cultural practice.” But really, stating, “Okay, that is my specialty. That's why I want to serve and I'm going to make sure I'm, I'm doing the ongoing work to grow and continue to increase my awareness,” because it's an ongoing, lifelong process.


Yeah, you just said it so well. It's not one grad school, it's a process. So I guess practically, what does that look like? I mean, ongoing trainings, like setting aside time every week or every month.  I'm just kind of curious.

Dr. Lindsey:

Yeah. Well, a few things, I got a lot of thoughts on that. So I think it's really important to do ongoing work, not just in like, “Okay, I took a CE on this particular topic,” but to do kind of the deeper work of looking within yourself and understanding your own identities, your own unconscious biases space, they might be playing out. And so for me, I find doing that within the context of a group community of people is the most helpful, and I really recommend that. 

I do that right now, and in my life is I have, we call it a book club, but it's really more of a, I would say, it's more of a consciousness raising group, but it's a social justice book club, about six or seven of us, and we choose a social justice themed book, and read it together. But we don't just read it and discuss it academically, we read it and talk about in depth, like, how does this apply to my life, what are my blind spots I'm still working on? We challenge each other and push each other. 

Having that kind of space to keep actively growing, and that's a group of people with all different identities. So we all have different perspectives, and can really learn and grow from each other. So I find that super helpful and really powerful. And so I would encourage people to create a version of something like fat that works for them. There's already existing groups, for example, SURJ is an organization that's, I believe, nationwide stands for Standing Up for Racial Justice. So that's a great organization that has many pre formed groups where you can explore and understand your privilege, and then also has many Catholic activism, things you can get involved with, as well. 

Even just finding a pre formed group that you can join, if that's hard to find, just naturally in your community, where you can continue to have those conversations on a regular basis. And it's not just “Okay, every year, every two years, I go to a training and I check the box.”


Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. So much of this is doing our own work and the courage to do our own work. And I guess almost holding positions loosely and assumptions loosely. Maybe that's the more accurate phrase. When you guys started this group, how did you decide, “Hey, we're going to talk about social justice books?” And these are important, spontaneous; I'm very curious how you guys even started this?

Dr. Lindsey:

Yeah. I mean, it was just a group of friends that we all have this personal commitment. I mean, that's part of just what I think just brought us together as friends. And I can't even remember who had the idea, but they're like, “Oh, let's get together regularly. Make sure we're actively doing this.” We would just naturally have those conversations when we're together anyway, socially. So somehow, yeah, just spontaneously came out of the group. And it's been really, really lovely. 

And as grown over time, we've added people and we've changed how we do it. It used to be in person, now it's online; obviously, we change the frequency depending on what's going on with people's lives. So it's really flexible. And I find that that helps us maintain it. It's like, okay, we can make this be what we all need it to be depending on the season of our life and the moment that we're in.


No, absolutely. Are these all clinicians are out folks that aren't clinicians and non-clinicians?

Dr. Lindsey:

Yeah, it's a mix, clinicians, non-clinicians. And that's, I think, really important too, to like talk about these issues with not psychologists to get another perspective, because sometimes we can get in our bubble. It's like, “Oh, this is how we talk about this stuff.” And then to be like, “Oh, wait a minute, this terminology doesn't make sense outside of our bubble, or here's a whole different way that I never thought about it because I don't talk about this stuff in this kind of casual atmosphere as often.” So that's really useful.


Yeah. I don't know if this has happened, but I would imagine that this group also, it's like, they get to know you, they get to know your perspective. And I would imagine, like, these members of inevitably, like, would refer clients and things to you, like, would tell a friend or any of those things because they're getting to know you at a real level?

Dr. Lindsey:

Absolutely, I hadn't even thought about that aspect of it consciously, but for sure, yeah. If people get to know you well, and see, “Oh, you're invested in doing this ongoing self-reflection,” of course, people are going to connect with that. And I think it'd be a one to refer to you.


Yeah. And one of the things I've often struggled with is like, that word, like marketing, I think, terrifies me. I feel like, I don't market. Like, I just want to show up and maybe that is what it is. A group like this, it's the beautiful thing is like you get to have genuine connection and conversations. And in showing up as you are, that itself is like a form of marketing, if you want to sort of talk in the private practice space, right.

Dr. Lindsey:

Sure. Totally. 


I wanted to ask a final question, which is, what do you think is a common mistake that clinicians make when they are trying to develop a sort of a multicultural niche?

Dr. Lindsey:

A few things come to mind, I think I kind of see people struggle with two ends of the continuum. So I think there are folks who kind of feel like, okay, I took the multicultural classes in grad school, I take Cs every once in a while, and I'm good. I'm good, I'm an expert. And see them not doing that ongoing work, like we were talking about. So for those folks, I would really encourage them to find a way to be more actively involved and to look within on a more regular basis. 

And then I see the other end of the continuum, where I see people who like, personally, I know, in their daily lives, they're committed to these issues, they're working on them, they're very aware of them, they want to serve a diverse community of clients. But then I don't see them translating that into their websites, or how they talk to people. Or I see them, I think, getting a little more stuck in the, “I have to be a blank slate; I can't disclose those kinds of things.” And so they're not as open about that when I feel like wow, they have so much to offer. I wish they could let other people see that a little bit more. So it's almost like they're already walking the walk. But I want them to talk the talk more. 

And particularly, I think that was always important, but particularly in this moment that we're in right now, in our country, I think it's really important to be transparent about it, especially for white therapists who hold an anti-racist stance, which I hope they all do. But I think that's particularly important to be transparent about like, how will clients of color know that you're safe person, and you're safe to talk about these issues with them that they could even begin to try to trust you if you're not open and transparent about that.


Absolutely. And I just wanted, like tell you like also like the courage it takes to do that because there's inevitably going to be pushed back. I think if people don't know that what you stand for and who you are, how will people know, especially when you have or are in a position of privilege?

Dr. Lindsey:

Yeah. And I think it's our responsibility to use our privilege in ways to serve. And that requires taking a little bit of risk that might feel uncomfortable. But I think that's really important. That's the real work right there. Like even just you saying, “Oh, it's a risk.” In my mind, I'm like, “Well, that's a risk we need to take, that's an important risk.”


Absolutely. Lindsay, our time flew by, you've got a lot of things going on. And among them is, you're starting a sexual empowerment groups for women. Tell us more about that and where we can learn more?

Dr. Lindsey:

Sure, absolutely. I think one of the things that is really important to me with having a multicultural practice is really like staying culturally humble and listening to my clients and hearing what they need, and continuing to grow and my training what I offer them. So this has been an area that kind of grew out of that idea, where I noticed the theme across the women in my caseload, from diverse cultural backgrounds, diverse sexual orientations, that they were really needing and wanting more information on sex, and kind of the fill in this gap in sex education that they've had in their lives. 

So I went and saw more training sex therapy, which I really enjoy. And then I'm also in the process of developing some sexual empowerment workshops for women. And so I'm really excited to build that community and offer that to help kind of fill that gap that I saw as a systemic need for women. So I'm really excited about that. If people want to learn more about that, we got a little Instagram community. And they can find that at sexual empowerment school, on Instagram.


Perfect and I'll link to it on the show notes page as well. Lindsey, thank you so much again, for this time. Again, I can't believe the time flew by. But I am just so grateful for you. I'm grateful for allies, like you that show up in the world with humility and grace. I just wanted to say thank you.

Dr. Lindsey:

Oh, thank you. That means a lot.


Have a great rest of your day.

Dr. Lindsey:

Thank you. You too.


Bye. Hey there, hope you enjoyed my conversation with Lindsey. And especially if you have been struggling with either website copy or thinking through how you can show up in all of your very multicultural identities, I hope that today's podcast session, more than anything has given you a sense of empowerment. Lindsay mentioned a number of different things in a different number of different tips. And you can find all of that on the show notes page for today's episode, which you can find over at sellingthecouch.com/session. And then number 262. 

As I was thinking about this session, one of the main things that I just took away was how empowering it is to show up in the way that we are meant to show up and just how empowering it is for us as private practitioners, as business owners and how empowering it is for others who may come across our services. The other thing that I really took away and actually I'm going to be creating a future podcast episode on note taking and sort of how to capture ideas, but that was really helpful for me to hear from Lindsey that some times when she has an idea for her private practice or a blog post or some sort of marketing related item, that she just tries to write down the idea, knowing that it may not be the final product, but that process of writing it down just opens up her mind to the creative process to be able to tweak and refine it. 

Again, Lindsay's website is over at drlindsaytherapy.com and you can also follow the Instagram channel which is over at sexual.empowerment.school. Have a great rest of your day and I will see you next time. Bye. 

Thanks for listening to the Selling The Couch Podcast, for more great content and to stay up to date, visit www.sellingthecouch.com


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