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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.

Website

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

Transcript:

Melvin:

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.


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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.


Lindsey:


Of course, no problem.


Melvin:


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.


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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.”


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


Yeah.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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


Lindsey:


Yeah, just the voice app.


Melvin:


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


Lindsey:


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


Melvin:


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


Lindsey:


Exactly.


Melvin:


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.


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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


Lindsey:


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


Melvin:


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.”


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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.


Lindsey:


Yeah, I love that.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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?


Lindsey:


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.


Melvin:


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...

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About the Podcast

Selling the Couch
Impact + Income Beyond The Therapy Room
With over 1.3 million downloads, Selling the Couch is the #1 podcast for mental health private practitioners.

Psychologist Melvin Varghese interviews successful therapists about how they've built their therapy practices + diversified their income in/beyond the therapy room as well as top entrepreneurs, business/marketing, productivity, and social media experts.

You'll learn how successful business owners get referrals, make money, work through fears, and how they've stopped "trading time for income."

Melvin also shares the lessons as he grows his impact + income beyond the therapy room (podcasting, video, online courses, membership sites, group masterminds, investing, etc) and the tips, tools, and tech he uses to grow STC from a single-person business to the CEO of a 5-person 100% remote team.

What you get are bite-sized and highly actionable tips to guide your private practice and entrepreneurial journey.

The best way to get started is to check out https://sellingthecouch.com/start. =)
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About your host

Profile picture for Melvin Varghese, PhD

Melvin Varghese, PhD

Hi. I'm Melvin. I'm a Vanderbilt-trained psychologist, entrepreneur, and online creator living in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2014, I began to think about how to use the therapy skills we learn in grad school, and in our clinical work into different realms (e.g., podcasting, consulting, online course creation, etc).

This allows us to serve others on larger scales while diversifying our income beyond 1 to 1 work.

I make podcasts and videos about business, tech, productivity, and lessons I'm learning from becoming the CEO of a lean, mean 5 person 100% remote team (we're not really mean..it just rhymed =P).