Dr. Damon A. Silas

17: Damon A. Silas, Psy.D. – Clinical Psychologist, Author, and EFT Tapping Expert who Loves Connecting, Learning, Growing…and Dancing

Dr. Damon A. Silas grew up in a military family so even though he was born in Massachusetts, he was only there for a short while before his dad received orders to move to California. Dr. Silas recalls that he grew up a lot in Oklahoma and moved back and forth between Oklahoma and Massachusetts as well as California. In this podcast interview, Dr. Silas shares what sparked his interest in psychology, his academic journey, and why he wrote “From Mourning to Knight: Overcoming Loss.” He also discusses Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or Tapping as well as the role of hypnosis in therapy. Throughout the interview, Dr. Silas provides helpful advice to those interested in starting a career in psychology and specific advice to those wanting to open their own practice.

Based on my research and interview with Dr. Damon Silas, another appropriate title of this podcast interview could be “Clinical Psychologist on the Move.” Dr. Silas has been on the move in some way, shape, and form ever since he was a little kid. One of the ways he has been on the move is physically. Dr. Silas has physically moved many times due to the fact that his father, Ernest “T” Silas, was a member of the United States Air Force (USAF) and would receive orders to move to another base or installation. He has also physically moved multiple times as a grown up and is currently in Germany serving as a Military and Family Life Counselor.

Dr. Silas is constantly moving his academic and educational experiences forward by exploring new ways and techniques to offer help to his clients and patients. He is licensed in NC, DC, and MD and has his own practice in NC “Damon Silas Psychology – Energy Psychology and Mindfulness Therapy.” He is an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Member and a National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) Member since 2016. At one point during our discussion, Dr. Silas said that his dad was “always a student” and “was always studying” so it came as no surprise to me that “Dr. D.”, as his clients know him, is also constantly learning and challenging himself. His most recent book “What’s Your Action Plan? 6 Powerful Ways to Get Unstuck in Your Life Now!” is designed to help people get back on track and get out of a “rut” in life.

Dr. Silas experienced significant events that were emotionally moving so much so that he started writing “From Mourning to Knight: Overcoming Loss” as a journal entry after his dad passed away from Alzheimer’s related complications. He learned many things from his dad including the need to document your significant emotional events, those times that really stood out to you as important parts and pieces of your evolution and your growth. He also recognized the importance of therapy for himself while he had to deal with grief and loss in his own life. Dr. D loves connecting with his patients, especially the kids. He said “they crack me up daily” and “I wear a mask so a lot of times they can’t see me crack up.” When working with his clients, he believes “we should all be learning and growing together” as he is not necessarily the expert, rather, he is a guide.

Dr. Silas discusses the freedom afforded to him with his degree in psychology as it allows him the ability to move his schedule, move his focus, and the freedom to create and be a part of real powerful movements. He is the co-founder of Black Tappers United which is “a collective of Black EFT Tapping practitioners whose goal it is to bring tapping to the black community in a safe, affordable and effective way.”

Dr. D is also on the move as a professional dancer and uses his skills as a co-developer and co-facilitator of Movement Genius where he also hosts “Daily Resets with Dr. Damon” and “Open Movement Workshops” which help people improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You can also watch him move and get his groove on by viewing his Mid Day Dance Break on TikTok.

Connect with Dr. Damon A. Silas: Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram | Website
Connect with the Show: Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

Interests and Specializations

Dr. Damon Silas has spent almost 20 years in the field of psychology and has worked with a variety of populations and issues. He specializes in anxiety and trauma as well as grief and loss. Along the way, he has discovered the benefits of hypnosis and EFT Tapping and has incorporated these therapy techniques into his practice. He is currently serving as a Military and Family Life Counselor in Germany helping children, parents, and staff members deal with the stress and anxiety associated with military service. Recently, Dr. Silas co-founded Black Tappers United and is co-developer and co-facilitator of Movement Genius.

Education

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Psychology (1997); Howard University, Washington, DC, Phi Beta Kappa.
Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), Psychology (2002), The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Other Sources and Links of Interest

Black Tappers United on Facebook
Howard University Department of Psychology
The George Washington University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Podcast Transcription

00:13 BradleyWelcome to the Master’s in Psychology podcast where psychology students can learn from psychologists, educators, and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there, and hear the advice they have for those interested in getting a graduate degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we welcome Dr. Damon Silas to the show. Dr. Silas has been a psychologist for over 15 years and is licensed in North Carolina, DC, and Maryland. He owns his own private practice in North Carolina and specializes in anxiety and trauma, as well as grief and loss. In fact, he wrote a book From Mourning to Knight: Overcoming Loss” and has a blog and many videos on various topics. Today we will learn more about his academic journey, advice for those interested in the field of psychology, emotional freedom techniques, and discuss why he is currently in Germany. Dr. Silas, welcome to our podcast.
01:11 DamonThank you so much Brad. It’s so great to be here. I’m excited to have this conversation.
01:17 BradleySo, Germany. I’ve done some research on you. I, I know that you at one point had some family in Germany. Is that why you are there now? Or, if not, tell us why.
01:26 DamonNo, it just so happens that the job that I have now coincides with also having family in in Germany, so it’s a nice fit uhm, and it’s, it’s work I’ve actually done before in the past probably 12-13 years ago. It’s been a while so it’s a return to work I’ve done before working with military families, and um, and it also is nice that I have family close, close by as well.
01:53 BradleyThat’s an added benefit. Being able to work in the same area that and travel and then see your family at the same time.
02:00 DamonAbsolutely.
02:01 BradleySo, I usually ask some questions, kind of in chronological order about hey, why did you go to this school, that school? How did you make those decisions? But the first thing I want to ask you is what originally sparked your interest in the field of psychology.
02:17 DamonUh, so this is an interesting one. First and foremost, I, I feel like I was always the person who people would come to and, and talk to about their issues, their problems, whatever was stressing them out. And that was from the time when I was in high school, if not even before and so I was always the shoulder that people leaned on when they needed, and so that was the first thing. The second thing is, I had to choose a major in college. And I was like, let’s do psychology. So, so that was kind of, there’s actually a little bit more to that story, but I can share it a little later, but that’s primarily the, the main reason is just knowing how people would come to me for help and support and figuring I might as well make a career out of it.
03:11 BradleyWell, that’s a good story. A lot of people, believe it or not, start saying the same thing. I seem to be the person who people come to, to talk and release and everything, and so it’s there’s a reoccurring theme with a, a lot of my guests and, and people that I talked to, so that’s interesting. I see that you received your Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University in Washington DC. Why did you select Howard University?
03:38 DamonThat one is really easy; they provided a full ride for me. Oh, so I kind of went where the money was. Uh no, but that is definitely a huge reason. But the other reason was, you know, for me it was important to go to a school that supported me in all ways, not only financially, but emotionally and, uhm, you know where I was in my development at that time, I grew up in. I actually went to school and I primarily a white area. So out of, excuse me, about 1600 people in the high school, there were probably 10 people of color. Three of those were myself and my siblings. So, there weren’t many, and so for me it was important to be around other people who look like me and Howard University being a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) that actually provided me with that, that, that type of education and support that I needed at that time in my life.
04:51 BradleyAnd it’s interesting that you mentioned that…I read the first part of your book and acknowledgements and everything were in there and you talked about your siblings and you talked about your dad and your mom, and we’re going to get to one of the interesting phrases that your, your dad, Ernest T. Silas, always said later on in the interview as well, but, one thing that a lot of our guests usually ask is yes, money is the issue and I’m glad that you touched on the importance of having that that supportive community and, and tools and resources available to you in the school that you’re attending not only think about the money. Sure, that’s important, but I’m glad that you mentioned that. Because I think that’s also important for prospective graduate students to take into account when they start searching for grad schools.
05:42 DamonAbsolutely yeah. And I had other, other schools that gave me and offered me some money that I was considering. And again, you know, I think to me it was, it was about the full picture, and it could they support me in everything that I needed at that time in my life and, and I also knew that I wanted to be in a major city and DC was a good fit. My sister had been in New York City, and, to me, that felt too big. Uh, I was in the Boston area and Boston I, I needed to get out of there and so DC felt like a really good fit for me.
06:20 BradleyAnd where did you grow up then? Did you have to travel far to go to your Howard University or?
06:25 DamonWell, so I did my high school years in the in Massachusetts, so the South Shore of Boston, just South of Boston about 30 minutes and kind of close to Plymouth.
06:38 BradleyOK.
06:38 DamonAnd uhm. But I didn’t grow up there my entire life, my dad was in the military and so we moved around a lot, so I’d I grew up before we moved to or back to Massachusetts. I actually grew up a lot in Oklahoma and then I was kind of back and forth between Oklahoma and Massachusetts and then lived a little bit in California. So, kind of all over.
07:03 BradleyOK, a wide variety. I guess that a lot of people like moving a lot of people don’t was that hard on you when you were growing up or did you enjoy it?
07:13 DamonIt was, it was both. Um, it was hard, and I enjoyed it so I would always severely dislike leaving family and friends behind, but I was also excited about the adventure that awaited us and being able to meet new people. So, it was kind of a combination for me of like not wanting to leave but also being open to the, the newness that that was there.
07:43 BradleySo, getting back to kind of your, your chronological movement in your academic career, Howard University in Washington DC. You didn’t have to travel far to go on and, and earn your doctorate in psychology at the George Washington University. But how can…can you remember the first time you considered going on to earn your graduate degree or did you always know that when you entered your undergrad?
08:08 DamonNo, I had no idea.
08:10 BradleyOK, so what sparked that interest.
08:11 DamonI, I was.
08:12 BradleyHow did you? When did you know that I need to continue doing this?
08:18 DamonOh, my senior year. It was actually I was. I was waiting for my advisor. I, I had to talk to my psychology advisor about something and, and while I was waiting, somebody was sitting there and they said, oh where are you going to grad school and I said, excuse me. I said what is, what is that? So, I literally had no idea. Uh, that there was this thing called grad school and that you know, in order to further myself in my career, that it would behoove me to go ahead and, and attend. So, they told me well, typically, and then I spoke to my advisor about this afterwards, but said typically you know for psychology. Once you get out with a bachelors, you can’t really do too much with it. If you want to do some, you know deep work in the field of psychology and so, at that point I was like, OK, well, let me, let me start to apply and I immediately started the application process and fortunately got into GWU. So yeah, that’s, that’s kind of because I didn’t, I never had family who went through and completed college. And so being kind of the first of my family to do so, not really knowing much, I was always, and always am, seemingly like just swimming blindly but like ready for whatever, I guess similarly to moving, ready for the next adventure and what awaits me.
09:59 BradleyWell, that’s, that’s an interesting story. It’s, it’s funny that…what? grad school? I’ve never heard that term before and so that turned you on to that idea so.
10:08 DamonI had no idea, yeah.
10:11 BradleyYou remember, you know it’s, in memoirs and stuff you, you could use that nice story and, and if you remember the person who said where are you going to grad school, you know? Brad Schumacher asked me where are you going to grad school and that opened up my eyes. You know, you could use that as kind of a story. So why? Why GWU then? You said you applied, you started immediately applying. Do you remember how many schools you applied to, roughly, and then why did you end up at GWU?
10:40 DamonYeah, I believe it was about eight schools, 6 to 8. And I, I applied to GW for a couple of reasons. (A) it was in DC and I’d, I’d love DC and I had gotten used to being there, um, I also applied to like the University of Maryland and some other local colleges. Uhm, and, and then I applied to around that time, so that was 1996 into 1997. So, it was a while back and the Psy.D. degree had recently come out. And people didn’t really know too much about it, including myself. But I did know that the difference between a Ph.D. program at that time and a Psy.D. as I was learning was Ph.D. was more research based, so if I wanted to do more research in the field of psychology, I could really focus my energy on getting into a Ph.D. program, but then the more that I heard about a Psy.D. program, I learned that it was more about the hands-on experience of being a psychologist and being in the field of psychology. And for me the importance of sitting with somebody in therapy, helping them through whatever it was that they were going through. That, to me, was more important than doing research. And also like I just don’t love working with numbers. Statistics was my least favorite.
12:08 BradleyRight, right? So, it’s interesting that you brought up the Psy.D. because that was one of my questions is how did you decide and you just answered that. I’ve spoken to many different people about hey, you know, some of them have a Psy.D. or Ph.D. and I asked them why and, and a lot of them…I’m, I’m getting the sense of when Psy.D. first came out and was offered, it wasn’t as respected as it is now. It was almost seen like here’s PhD. and here’s Psy.D. and then throughout, throughout the years it’s gained more and more in its reputation, saying, hey, it’s, it’s the equivalent of because it is…
12:37 DamonThat’s right.
12:46 Bradley…you’re earning your doctorate, but it allows you to focus down this lane instead of this lane, just like you were talking about so I, I don’t, I don’t want our audience to think that a Psy.D. is less than a Ph.D. in any way, shape, or form. It’s just a different way and path to follow.
13:04 DamonYep, yeah, and that’s and honestly, I wanted to, I could have gone a year earlier. I could have gone right after undergraduate because I was accepted, but I deferred for a year because I for me I wanted to wait until the first class went through their program or just wait for an additional year to kind of see how it played out, to see, you know. Just make sure that the, the program itself was accredited to, because, again, that it was brand new. I think I was in the third class of, um, of folks who graduated from that program. And yeah, for me I just needed to wait and, and get some space from, from school. But as you said, knowing that it’s just as legitimate and you know, worthy of a degree as, as a Ph.D. it was just newer at that time, and so there were a lot of unknowns.
13:58 BradleyYep, definitely. So, what advice after going through Graduate School, what advice would you offer those who are seeking a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology?
14:08 DamonYeah, I would. Just advise that people really weigh why you’re doing the work and what it is you want to get out of the work. And I have people asking me about this all the time and saying, you know, trying to figure out do they go in a master’s program, a doctorate program. Do they go into social work versus psychology? And it’s really kind of weighing the long term of what you want. Uhm for me, it was I, I wanted freedom to whether it was engaging assessments and, and do evaluations. Do the clinical work of sitting with somebody in a therapy room, having the potential to have freedom as my own boss, you know, in private practice potentially, and that was, you know, just kind of me thinking ahead ’cause I had worked for people for so many years after I received my degree. But I’m really just thinking about what it is that you want out of it. If you want to do research and really impact policy and impact, you know, the different programs that that are coming out or, or looking into different techniques and tools and how they impact people positively or negatively in whatever way. It’s just weighing why you want to go into the field. I also know, for me, what was helpful is I went through my own therapy while I was at Howard University, I went through their counseling program or their, their counseling center to go through my own therapy and that to me, was extremely important in my healing process and so I wanted to be able to give that gift to other people as well. So again, it’s just kind of taking your own story, taking your own, whatever it is you’re dealing with in your life, and figuring out what path it is that you desire.
16:01 BradleyVery good advice and we’re going to talk about your book a little bit later, but I, I don’t want to forget asking you this question. In hindsight, would you do anything different when searching for graduate schools and programs, and if so, please explain.
16:19 DamonHonestly, I don’t think I would. Umm, I really. I, I loved my program and, and all, all that it had to offer at that time. Obviously, it’s evolved, it’s changed since 1997-98, UM, so, you know, they’ve made some changes, but at that time that’s exactly what I needed. That’s exactly what I was looking for, and I honestly wouldn’t make any change. The only change I would make is how long I’ve been paying on my student loan debt.
16:56 BradleyRight.
16:57 DamonBut.
16:58 BradleyYeah, I and I guess what I was getting at there with that question is thinking back to I know you said that you applied to six or eight, you know, of them, the, the process that you went through for doing that. Did you find, in hindsight, is there anything that you could have done a little bit better or more efficiently or anything in that process of actually searching for a program and then applying for a program? That’s what I was kind of looking at there and I, I didn’t want to put you on the spot and say, did you like your program and then somebody, an alum sees this and said what do you mean? We had a great time at that spot. That’s not what I was after.
17:36 DamonRight. Got it. Well and to answer that question I mean part of me would say if I had more time to do some research into other programs that would have been great. However, honestly, I think not having much time to think about it, but just kind of being forced almost to, to apply and, and figure out like in a shorter amount of time that probably was better for me ’cause I don’t do well with a lot of options and choices, like sometimes it gets overwhelming. So having to, to go under the because by that point a lot of the applications were due very shortly after I found that out. So, I had to knock those out very quickly. If I gave myself more time to worry about it to think about, umm I, I don’t know if I would have done that well with it.
18:29 BradleyWell, that’s nice. That’s a nice self-assessment and, and the big thing is knowing yourself or knowing oneself and so some people need that time, others don’t. And so, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise now that you look back at it.
18:41 DamonMm-hmm, absolutely.
18:43 BradleyAnd now you have your own private practice. Damon Silas Psychology and then on your website it says Energy Psychology and Mindfulness Therapy. So, when did you know that you wanted to start your own business?
18:56 DamonSo, and I’ll just, a couple clarifying, couple points of clarification. Uh, I’m, so while I’m, like the private practice work that I’m doing is very minimal now. It’s more so because I’m in this this new role as of September of this year, which brings me to Germany. But up until that point I had been in private practice for five years and, to me, it was a natural evolution in my career. I had worked for many years for school systems and as I said for the military prior to that, as a contractor and at that point I was ready to fly, I was ready to be on my own. Ready to be my own boss. And, and do some of this exploration that I wasn’t necessarily able to do when I was working with or under other people. Uhm, it was scary, it was unknown, and it was also umm an adventure of just finding my way along as I went along. And so yeah, it was pretty much when I moved from the DC area to North Carolina is when I went into private practice. I had been in DC for over 20 years at that point and moving to North Carolina was brand new. I moved there with my husband, and we didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know anybody there. I didn’t have a license there. I didn’t have a job there, so I literally just jumped in the deep end and was like I’m just going to find my way. Uh, somehow, I’m, I’m gonna figure it out and, and I did and it was really tough and challenging. But it forced me out of my comfort zone of constantly working for somebody else.
20:54 BradleyYou, oh I’m, I’m sorry then there’s a slight delay in the zoom, but you mentioned that it was kind of scary at, at one point as well and. And so, my follow-up question would be, well, what was the most challenging aspect of starting and even running your business? Now I know I should say in all fairness you are correct. As soon as you go to your website, there is a little. I don’t know if it’s a window, it’s just an existing window that says, hey, please be aware that I’m due to changes in working. Going to Germany is what you’re referencing. No longer accepting any new clients. So, in all fairness, I wanted to point that out so I didn’t do that. But what were some of the most challenging aspects of starting and running your own private practice.
21:44 DamonWhoo, uh…Ha, Ha…
21:45 BradleyHa, ha…A lot of other…Everything Brad, everything.
21:48 DamonBut it was all great, no, no. No, really, (a) it was finding clients and, and so yeah, I took a training prior to, to going to North Carolina, which we can probably get into a little bit later, but in one of the training, trainings the, the person who trained me in this particular technique said, you know you should definitely go to the Chamber of Commerce, wherever you are, just go to the Chamber of Commerce. Let people know you exist. And so, when we moved, we actually lived right across the street from the Chamber of Commerce. I never had gone to one. I never knew what they even were or did, but I went and I started networking and from there I networked with another group and from there I networked with another group and just got in with all of these different groups so that people knew who I was. And what I did. And the more that I did that, the more people would say, oh my goodness, like I know somebody who could benefit from therapy or this or that. So, I mean, it’s just really getting my name out there and really getting being busy with putting myself out there and saying yes to a lot of stuff. Uhm, and, and so that was the first part, just getting the clients. And, and then the second part as I got the clients it was. Now how do I take care of the financial piece to this, and that includes also dealing with insurance. Dealing with being paneled. Dealing with you know, just dealing with insurance companies in general, and so eventually I hired somebody and that was thankfully part of some of the networking groups I was a part of, I said, does anybody know people who do billing and, and somebody said Yep, I do check these people out, and so it was. It was really about knowing that I was laying the foundation and planting the seeds a couple of years before I even needed those things to come to fruition. Uh, but knowing and trusting that they would come to fruition, and, and then sure enough, they did so but. Yeah, it was really. Doing those things, getting out there networking and delegating work to people who have trained to do, have been trained to do that work. I’m not, I don’t deal with insurance or numbers very well, so like if there’s somebody else out there who could do it, that’s what I needed.
24:19 BradleyYes, very, very good advice I. I noticed a theme on multiple videos that you have as well as your book as well as what you have on your about page, that you focus more on anxiety and trauma including PTSD as well as grief and loss. So, what, what made you gravitate toward these areas?
24:45 DamonYeah, so it’s and I know it’s a lot of they, they seem like pretty different areas, but I think they’re all interrelated and cousins. Umm, so grief and loss primarily was because I experienced my own grief and loss as I wrote about in my book “From Mourning to Knight” and, uhm, you may ask this later, but I’m gonna just but I actually, I had started writing that book just as a journal entry, just as a way for me to get out my emotions about loss. Uhm, I had, I started writing right after my dad passed away from Alzheimer’s related complications. But he would always tell me like, son, you need to document your, your significant emotional events and document those things, those times that really stood out to you as important parts and, and pieces of your evolution and your, your growth.
25:47 BradleyOK.
25:47 DamonAnd so, as I was writing that, I realized, oh moving from place to place were losses, right? And then I wanted to talk about my sister in this book as well, whom I lost, uhm, just before I went off to college, it was December of 1992 and she was murdered at that time and, and so I wanted to, and that’s why therapy was so helpful for me while I went to undergraduate, because I was trying to make sense of all these losses, right? Losing, leaving home, losing my sister, my best friend at that time and just trying to navigate this, all this newness. So, you know, when I look at grief and loss, knowing that I’ve been through those things was really important for me to then offer that again, that gift of healing to, to other people. And then when it comes to trauma, I had been working on a military base for several years as a contractor and I was part working as part of the PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress, um, and TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury initiative and I started seeing a lot of people with trauma which was a continuation of working in the school system in DC. Prior to that I was seeing a lot of kids with the trauma, UM, so now I’m just seeing a lot of adults with trauma and recognizing that there are other ways to deal with some of that trauma, and I kind of went on a, a search for different tools and techniques to help folks through their trauma. Or, you know, as they process some of their trauma. So that’s why the trauma. And then anxiety, I think it’s just a, a part of the, the, the continuum of depression, um, and so you know it’s, it’s about energy and it’s either a lack of, or a lot of, and learning how to help people cope with some the some of that. I mean, that’s, uh, very cursory way, by the way, to explain it, I don’t want to explain it in that way to diminish, you know those, those different diagnoses, but really just more so how I how I view them and how I’m working with, with people so.
28:23 BradleyWell, you gave a, a nice long-winded answer, and that’s not, I don’t mean that negatively. I mean positively.
28:29 DamonThat was.
28:32 BradleySo, I, I appreciate that, but that, that spawned a couple of other questions and I’m going to hopefully not forget these, but the first one you’d already mentioned about your dad, Ernest T. Silas, and at one point I read someplace that you referred to your father and Dad talking about the importance of significant emotional events and you kind of alluded to it in that answer as well. What’s, what’s the difference between a significant event and a significant emotional event? That’s just my own personal question, ’cause I’ve heard other people say yes, that’s a significant event…marriage, divorce, you know that, a loss of a child, a loss of a loved one, but why? Why add that word emotional event in there as well, so does that make sense? Am I making sense?
29:23 DamonIt does, it does. I’ve never been. I’ve never been asked that one, so that’s yeah, I appreciate you asking that. And I, I think part of it is with any of those events, they are they, there’s a lot of emotion attached, right? So, whether it’s marriage or having a child or moving, there are a lot of emotions that go along with that. And so, I think, you know, for him he was, my dad was always a, a student. So, he was always learning, so after he retired from the military of 20 years, uhm, he was always studying, you know because, for him research and knowledge was power and, umm, being able to pass along that information and, and the importance of education was always important for him to do for us and, and my guess is he probably read about that somewhere in one of his psychology books as he was taking courses, uhm, he was taking classes at the on. I’m sorry, not online. There were no online courses back then. But at the, the local Community College he would take courses. Uhm, yeah, I think they’re, they’re both interchangeable, significant emotional and significant events.
30:45 BradleyOK, and, and we kept talking about emotional and so I’m going to share my screen because I know that you are a Universe Member of Emotional Freedom Techniques. Tell us more about that while I bring up the website and, and I don’t want our guests to get confused with another acronym, EFT, out there, but I’ll get to that in one second, so tell me how did you find, you know, Emotional Freedom Techniques, and then why did you become a member? And I don’t want to give away my next question here, but I’ll start with that. So, tell us a little bit more about EFT.
31:19 DamonOK, and hopefully I don’t answer your next question.
31:22 BradleyDoesn’t, doesn’t matter if you do, yep.
31:26 DamonBut so, I came across EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques or Tapping, as some people may or may not have heard it referred to, when I was working on that military base as a contractor and literally Googled ways, therapeutic techniques to work with trauma. Because I was trained at GWU, it was a very psychodynamic background, psychoanalytic background and so it was very Freudian in nature. Uhm talking about defenses and the Id and the ego and the superego. And all those things which are amazing, they’re great. And what I started to realize as I was talking to some of those service members who were coming in after being deployed through Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom, some of them multiple times, I know there was one guy who had been deployed at that 5 or 6 times, uhm, I saw that having them talk about their stuff that they had seen, witnessed had to do. It, it was bringing up a lot for them physically like I could see them clench up. I could see them that, you know, the, the blood rush to their face. They were. They became very uncomfortable and here I was trying to force them to talk and that didn’t feel right to me. That didn’t feel OK or ethical to me. And so, as I went on a search for other ways to deal with trauma, EFT was one of the things that came up. And so, I just kind of went on a journey and, and, and then went through my first training with Dawson Church and fell in love ever since. I was just, I’d, I’d noticed the immediate benefits just from practicing it. And then when I brought it back to the Base where I was and it was a, a naval slash and a lot of marines on that base, but when I brought it back to the base you know I was like alright y’all, so I had like this really weird looking technique. Are you game to try it? And everybody was like look, I, let’s do it, I’m open to anything you know if it’s if it’s not taking a pill that I don’t really want to take, let’s try it. And so, I loved that they were all open to, to trying such a different technique.
33:59 BradleyYeah, and, and I’m sharing the screen again. You have many different topics and, and techniques on YouTube you have plenty of videos and as you can see on the screen you even talk about EFT tapping and then even down below you have different techniques and then you have I, I found some of these day one, day two, day five, you know, check-ins are really helpful and, and funny in, in a lot of cases as well. So, but it goes all the way through all of the different ways that you can apply EFT tapping for different phenomenon and different diagnoses to help alleviate some of those. And then earlier on you, you, you talked about some faith and religion and, and the different ways you can apply techniques and, and to, to that and then, of course you, you talked about your book when it came out back then as well. So very helpful videos and very interesting variety of topics on there. I wanted to point out, I know that I, I mentioned earlier, EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique and there’s another acronym. And so, on our website we talk about some of these, and I just wanted to highlight just don’t get it confused with another EFT therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, which is a little different, but a lot of people use EFT as the acronym, so unless you ask a little bit more about, well tell me more about that. You have to clarify which one they’re talking about, so I’m, I’m glad that you brought that up.
35:32 DamonYes, yeah, and thank you for…
35:34 BradleyYep…
35:35 DamonPointing that out.
35:37 Bradley…and, and you mentioned, and you and you mentioned in your in Germany now are you tell us some of your work if you can. If you can’t, I understand, but tell us a little bit more about your work that you’re doing in Germany right now.
35:48 DamonSure, so as I said, this is actually work that I did several years ago umm and it’s the title is a Military Family Life Counselor or Military and Family Life Counselor and so essentially what I’m doing is I am working back with kids with children. So, and that was my major. My major was Child and Adolescent Psychology, and so hence why I was working in the school system for many years after receiving my degree. But I’m working with the children of service members and helping them adjust and adapt to just life as, as military children as children who are constantly leaving or parents are constantly deploying or going on what they call TDY, Temporary Duty. So that might be that maybe they’re not deploying to a war zone, but they’re leaving for a month at a time and so that can be really challenging for some of these kids. So, I’m working not only with the children, but also the staff members who are working with them and helping them learn different ways of being with these children and helping the families too, because it’s stressful for the families, especially if you know the kids are having difficulties in the classroom. I mean, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and so if you have a service member who’s walking in after a long day and they’re getting these accident reports or behavioral incident reports, it’s a lot and so really trying to work with all the different parties. And umm, and what it’s like in military life. Um, and then I’m also working with the older children, the teens as well. And so, it’s a nice mix of working with the younger and the older kids. And yeah, just it’s more, this, this position is actually more short-term behavioral support, so it’s less clinical in nature than what I was doing and what private practice entails, which is a nice, for me, it was a nice change, especially after COVID and going into 2020 and 2021. Those were really great. How do I say this wasn’t great? I was. I was very busy during those, you know, from the moment that COVID hit in my private practice because then we had the, the racism being highlighted too, and so that was calling a lot of my attention in energy as well. Umm, so I was doing a lot of work in this area in that area. And so actually doing more short-term behavioral support now is a better fit for me mentally and emotionally than, um, than staying in that private practice world for now.
38:42 BradleyYou alluded to something that my mom had talked about earlier in her career as a psychologist is burnout. A lot of people don’t really take that into account. You’re the one who’s going to a therapist or psychologist psychiatrist to talk about things, but. They’re doing that time and time again, and so. Switch the role for a second and it’s probably a good thing that you made that change, so it gives you kind of a different, almost, almost a respite and, and a different way to focus on things. So, I’m glad that you brought that up. Many of our guests on the program talk about different types of therapy. We already talked about EFT, both types a little bit and referred to that other one. I also noticed that you are a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, so tell us more about that and how you might have used or continue to use hypnotism with your patients.
39:41 DamonYeah, and that was another thing that when I was working on that military base, I came across because what I was noticing is as people were talking about some of their traumas that they were trying to rationalize their way out of an issue that was emotionally based, um, and/or subconsciously based right? So, when we experience things, we lock it into our subconscious so to conscious and conscious thought process is probably 5% to 8% of our entire thinking, whereas, unconscious, subconscious thought processes are a majority of how we show up every day. And so, to, to sit with people and try to rationalize and, and consciously help them work through this also just didn’t feel as right to me as seeing if I could take a back door approach. And, to me, hypnosis was that back door approach. And then I met somebody who worked on the base at that time who he was a firefighter, but he had actually taken this this course with this specific trainer in the Northern Virginia DC area. And he, he came in my office talking about it. And uhm, and he did a little demo on me, and I was like, I’m sold, like I want to go now. And so, I went for the training shortly after that, and, and uhm, became certified and started using that in my therapy sessions as well.
41:24 BradleyAnd the one thing that I find interesting when I do a lot of research on my guests and other people that I talk to outside of the podcast is all these different techniques and how we in America are slowly but surely bringing in these techniques that have been around for ages in other countries…
41:43 DamonThat’s right.
41:44 Bradley…and now we’re finally accepting some of these techniques and, and if, if you talk to somebody who doesn’t really know anything about hypnosis, what’s the first thing they’re going to think about? They’re going to think about Las Vegas and somebody on stage putting somebody you know in in that hypnotic state. Well, that’s not what happens. I’m not licensed or anything. But I imagine that’s, that’s a different type of entertainment use of hypnosis. If we and I won’t go down that road, but, uh. That’s not what’s happening in in the, you know, client-patient, uh, room when you’re doing that.
42:19 DamonNo, it, it really. It’s we all are walking around hypnotized, right, it’s just being able to use it to our advantage.
42:27 BradleyRight? The one thing that I, I, my last guest you brought up people trying to consciously recall information. My last guest talked about memory and recall and, and the role it plays in psychology as well. So, to me it’s fascinating to talk about how all of these are intertwined and. And on this continuum, and it, it’s definitely interesting for me, just as an aside. What do you love most about your current job? What you’re doing in Germany?
43:00 DamonI, you know, I love just connecting, connecting with the kids. Hey like they crack me up daily. Like and I wear a mask so a lot of times they can’t see me crack up. Which sometimes is a good thing, no, but yeah, just like connecting with their innocence and, and also like their wisdom.
43:16 BradleyRight?
43:23 DamonThat to me, is just the stuff that they say is like so deep and profound, and they don’t even know. Uhm, so like being able to learn those lessons from them, but I also love that just in general about my job is when I’m working with people, whether it’s on a, in a, in a session, or you know when I’m in the school setting. Being able to learn from each other. It’s a two-way street. And we should all be learning and growing together. It’s not I am the expert, and you are the, you know, the person who doesn’t know anything. It’s no we should, because this is a relationship, we should all be learning from each other and granted I can, I can guide you in certain ways and simultaneously I shouldn’t be learning, so I just love always being able to learn from clients and the ability to travel, by the way, while I’m here is not a bad part of the deal either.
44:18 BradleyAre you picking up? I’m part German and part Icelandic, but I don’t speak any German. Are you picking up some of the language?
44:26 DamonNein.
44:27 BradleyThere you go, you picked up one at least.
44:32 Damon(Ich) Spreche kein Deutsch (I do not speak German). Yeah no, I have a, you know my, my cousins and my uncle and aunt like when I’m around they, they try to teach me and I, I told them by the end of the year I’ll get it but.
44:53 BradleySo, I have some fun questions that I usually ask our guests at the end of the interview and discussion. The first one is what is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?
45:10 DamonHonestly, like when I think about this, I just think about like the mind body connection and that energy is uhm, or I’m sorry, emotions are energy and motion, right? And so, if we look at emotions as energy and motion they have to go somewhere, and so it’s important to just learn these different tools and techniques to, to figure out how to deal with them. I love how Bessel van der Kolk talks about the body keeping the score. He says, “The Body Keeps The Score”, that’s his book, and uhm really learning that there’s a connection between the mind and the body. And I love that there is more of an awareness, a growing awareness between those two. But before it was just like from the shoulders up or the shoulders down and just the, the whole theory of that, we’re all interconnected not only just socially, but, but our minds and bodies are also interconnected as well.
46:06 BradleyYou actually answered my next question. What something new that you’ve learned recently, you actually referred to that. But if you wanted to come up with something, something else, something that you’ve learned that’s new recently.
46:21 DamonWell so. I guess there are a couple things but just learning about myself learning importance of balance, I’ll say that. And letting go of certain things, but what I’m also learning is, actually the same thing as the importance of letting go. I’m actually going through a spiritual course through my mentor Dawson Church and we’re talking in this in this course about letting go of all the things we tend to hold onto. And uhm, how hard that can be, but also how liberating that can be. So that’s, that’s what I’m learning.
47:01 BradleyWell, it sounds like there’s a good exploration aspect to your learning as well. Self intro and as well as outside of that, and I’m sure your, your patients, whether they’re small, medium or large, young or old, probably appreciate your transparency and, and the experiences you’re going through and bring to the table too, so I applaud you for that. Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of psychology or those who want to open their own practice? Any other advice?
47:33 DamonYeah, I, I would say, uhm, if the, if the spirit is calling you to do it, do it, you know. And you’re not going to know everything and that’s OK, right? You you’ve already accomplished a lot and/or the fact that you’re even thinking about going into this field just speaks volumes about you, and so it’s OK if you don’t know. Find that support. Find the community. Find the people who you can delegate certain tasks, whether it’s the task of being your therapist, the task of being your coach, your billing manager. Whomever it may be, but delegate and, and you you’ll find your way together. But keep learning. Keep finding out what information is out there. There’s, uh, so much information out there, so don’t, don’t do too much like don’t get overwhelmed but find the information that is out there that can support you in whatever journey and whatever path you want to take.
48:32 BradleyGreat advice. If you had any time, if you had the time and money to do one trip or complete one project, what would you do?
48:48 DamonThat’s a good question. I guess two things I would take a sabbatical. Because I haven’t…like I’ve been doing this work for over like 22 years now? Twenty, twenty years and never have taken like a significant amount of time. So, I, I, I would love to be able to just take at least a month to just be. And then I’d also take some time and money to complete my third book that I started writing over a year ago.
49:24 BradleyCan you give us a teaser on that book?
49:27 DamonThat one is, is about trauma and ways that we can effectively treat trauma.
49:34 BradleyOK. Is there anything else that you’d like to bring up in this podcast?
49:41 DamonUhm, just I wanna just briefly talk about, you know, going back to the freedom that, that I feel that I’ve been able to have, been afforded with this degree, but also being able to create, you know, and I think wherever we see, and wherever the listener sees a lack, you can then create, right. And so being a part of really powerful movements. Especially from 2020 on, I, I was able to be a part of, and create, a group called Black Tappers United where it’s a collective of, of black EFT tappers helping the black Community deal with racial anxiety and stress and trauma, but also part of a platform called Movement Genius where we’ve been able to create community and support for underserved and underrepresented populations, or people who may not otherwise be able to afford mental health assistance and help. So really, it’s always keeping your eyes and ears open for those opportunities, because where there’s a lack, there’s an opportunity and I’m just so grateful for those opportunities.
50:53 BradleyWell, I, I appreciate you bringing that up as well. I, I had that on my possible list of topics to bring up, but I’ll, I’ll definitely add those links on this interview on our website for you.
Damon, I appreciate your time and willingness to share your thoughts and experiences. Thanks again for sharing your story and advice with us.
51:14 DamonThank you, Brad.
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