Justin Douglas “Doug” McDonald, Ph.D., L.P.

7: Justin Douglas “Doug” McDonald, Ph.D., L.P. – UND Professor & Program Caters to Native American Students Interested in Clinical Psychology

In this podcast interview, Dr. Doug McDonald provides insight into why he stayed at the University of South Dakota for most of his academic career then explains how, and why, he selected clinical psychology as his field of study. He then shares how luck and hard work enabled him to serve as past regional president of the APA’s Division 45 and end up at the University of North Dakota, where he has been for almost 29 years.

Dr. McDonald is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology at UND and Director of the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) program which falls under the Indian Health Service (IHS) American Indians Into Psychology (INPSYC) program. UND has produced more Native American/First Nations Ph.D. clinical psychologists than any other APA-accredited program. Dr. McDonald provides insightful advice to anyone interested in entering the psychology field then, later in the interview, he shares specific advice for Native Americans interested in a career in psychology.

UND offers a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. The department also offers two doctorate programs including one in Clinical Psychology (which is fully accredited by the APA) and another in General-Experimental Psychology. You can find additional information on each of those UND psychology graduate programs on our North Dakota page. Dr. McDonald has been involved in the INPSYC program for a long time. In fact, he was founder of the national Indians Into Psychology curriculum that was written into the federal Indian Health Care Improvement Act. UND is one of three Universities who are Grantees (2019-2023) of the American Indians Into Psychology (INPSYC) Program…the other two are Oklahoma State University and the University of Montana.

There are only about 150-250 Native psychologists nationwide. Given that there are almost 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives eligible for health care from IHS, this group is vastly underrepresented in psychology. Dr. McDonald shares his thoughts on how to increase the number of Native psychologists in the field and in Native American communities.

I enjoyed talking with Doug because his passion for helping all students interested in furthering their academic careers in psychology is palpable and evident in this interview as is his devotion to his Native American heritage as a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota. I found him easy to talk to, relatable, and knowledgeable. Moreover, he truly is an advocate for increasing the ethnic minority presence in the field of psychology. When you talk with him about these topics, you are drawn into his cause and can’t help but wonder, “how can I help?”

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Connect with Dr. Doug McDonald: LinkedIn | UND Faculty Page | Website
Connect with the Show: Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

Interests and Specializations

Dr. McDonald is interested in clinical psychology, Native American assessment and treatment issues, and further developing and growing the Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) program at the University of North Dakota. He is intent on recruiting and supporting Native, and non-Native, students for undergraduate and graduate study in psychology. Dr. McDonald is a licensed psychologist and uses CBT and Ecotherapy with his clients.

Education

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Clinical Psychology (1988); University of South Dakota.

Master of Arts (M.A.), Clinical Psychology (1990); University of South Dakota.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Clinical Psychology (1992); University of South Dakota.  

Additional Sources and Links of Interest

Inside INPSYDE, UND’s Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education program – UND Today
UND Indian Related Programs – Explore academic opportunities for American Indian Students at UND.
The American Indian and Alaska Native Society of Indian Psychologists – Organization for Native American indigenous people.
APA Minority Fellowship Program – MFP is committed to increasing the number of ethnic minority professionals in psychology.
The Cobell Scholarship – Native American Scholarship

Podcast Transcription

Podcast Questions and Highlights:
Bradley (00:00:14)Welcome 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 master’s degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we welcome Dr. Doug McDonald to the show. Dr. McDonald is a Professor of Psychology at the University of North Dakota and a licensed psychologist.
The Department of Psychology awards either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. The Department also offers two doctorate programs: one in Clinical Psychology (which is fully accredited by the APA) and another in General-Experimental Psychology.

Dr. McDonald is the Director for Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) program as well as the American Indians Into Psychology (INPSYC) program. His areas of focus include Native American assessment and treatment issues within psychology, research, and graduate training. Dr. McDonald welcome to our podcast.
Doug (00:01:18)Thank you for having me Brad. Aƞpétu wašté Aloh – It’s a good day.
Bradley (00:01:23)That is great I, I tried to go out and find some words that I could speak but, honestly, some of them are hard to pronounce and I’m glad, I had a, I had a feeling that you were going to open up with something like that because on our emails going back and forth it was nice to see some of that in the emails as well. So, I appreciate you opening up that way.

I see that you’re busy, and as we were talking…the reason that I reached out to you, for our audience, is I started to look at some programs and resources that are available for American Indians, Native Americans and even Alaskans. And I came across the IHS website, which is the Indian Health Service website, and then, of course, I came into, and learned more about, the American Indians Into Psychology (INPSYC) Program so we’re going to talk about that and then we’re going to also talk about that second program that you also are in charge of at UND. But before we do that, for our audience, just tell us a little bit more about yourself.

(00:01:23) Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

Doug (00:02:23)Well, I’m the product of mixed race and heritage in that my father, Art McDonald, is from Pine Ridge, SD Oglala Lakota tribe, my mom being pure German immigrant usurpers of Bennett County, South Dokota that they kind of took over. Somehow that happens star-crossed lovers and so grew up in, kind of both worlds with the white side of my family and the Lakota side of my family and grew up in, actually on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana, southeastern part of Montana, and I’ve been a Professor here at UND for going on 30 years. I’m an avid hunter, fisherman, veteran, and live on a small ranch northwest of Grand Forks with my beautiful wife, Cher, and 11 cats, two horses, and a dog.
Bradley (00:03:33)That’s a lot to take care of, ah, one thing that I did notice when I was researching you is, you know we’re going to…what I like to do during these interviews is kind of go chronologically, you know, your experiences and education, how you got into psychology, and then what led you to where you are right now. So, with that in mind, tell us a little bit more about your undergraduate experiences and at what point did you get into, or became interested, or become interested in psychology?

(00:03:33) Tell us more about your undergraduate experiences and when did you become interested in psychology?

Doug (00:04:03)Well, I became interested in psychology…well, first of all, I went to USD, University of South Dakota, on a track and field scholarship. I had been on the Navy track team and USD offered me a scholarship and plus my father was doing some kind of temporary work in the Psychology Department there at USD at the time, and so I had, I had a place to crash also so but…so my father, having a background obviously in psychology but, but even more so than that, I, I was lucky to find something that a lot of people don’t, unfortunately, and that is an incredible mentor, Dr. Tom Jackson, who was there at the time who really…you know, I was kind of a rough-edged veteran coming out of the submarine force from the Cold War, and he really took me under his wing and he, he was just such a cool dude that I, it was really that simple as far as what got me to USD and then what got me into the field is, is he showed me what, what is possible in the field of clinical psychology and when I married that backwards to a lot of the problems and difficulties that I saw growing up on the reservation, things just started to click.
Bradley (00:05:32)And I did notice, and I have a few friends that are in different nations, ah, I’m up in Minnesota, for those of you who may not know that, and so we have a bunch of different nations that my friends are into and it’s, it’s interesting to me, Doug, that even the different nations have their different dialect and language as well, and so I, I was going to ask you about this a little bit later on, but when I looked at the, I’m going to mispronounce this, so forgive me Oglala Lakota Nation is that right?
Doug (00:06:07)That’s pretty good.
Bradley (00:06:08)OK, all right. So, I, I looked at that and I looked at the history and it’s one of the longest running nations, one of the original in that area, and they went through a lot of turmoil, a lot of change, things have settled down. And then during my research when I was looking into how many American Indians are in the psychology field, I found that we’re really under-represented and I have a feeling that that’s part of your focus with the programs and so tell us a little bit more about, you know, you talked about your undergraduate studies, how you got into psychology, now tell us a little bit more about what turned you on about looking at more of the American Indians and Native Americans within psychology?

(00:06:08) Tell us more about your focus of American Indians and Native Americans within psychology?

Doug (00:06:57)Well, I can, I can easily look back and, and recall, as all of my friends and an relatives growing up on the reservation, seeing, sighting a psychologist on most of our reservations in the 70s, 60s and 70s, would have been about as rare as seeing maybe Amelia Earhart and Bigfoot riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster going down the road, it was, it was something that you just didn’t see and, and at the same time, the 60s and 70s were a time of great, certainly national and even local upheaval in our country, certainly similar that we’re going through now, and a lot of our reservations during that time were in the throes of some kind of evolutions, as well, if you look what happened in Pine Ridge in the 70s and stuff and but, but beyond that, there was there, the psychopathology and the mental health issues and problems and substance abuse and domestic violence were, were being untreated because of the fact that there were no mental health professionals. A few social workers here and there, perhaps, a psychiatrist that might come around once a month for the more seriously afflicted mental illnesses that required medication but, short of that, there was no assessment, there was no therapy going on in our world growing up and so, clearly and obviously, the need was there, and the need is still there.
Bradley (00:08:42)Thank you for that. That gives me even more…I, I do, I have three screens in front of me, so I’m looking around and looking at all of the research that I did in preparation for this, and you covered some of the stuff that I was actually going to ask. So, thank you for covering that. Most of the time when our audience members listen to our podcasts or watch our podcast, they’re looking for some advice from our guests and so, at this point I want to ask you, what advice would you give to those who are in their undergraduate or even in their Master’s, and seeking to continue their education in a graduate, you know, program as well, receiving their doctorate. What kind of general advice would you give to those who are interested in getting into the psychology field.

(00:08:42) What general advice would you give to those interested in getting into the psychology field?

Doug (00:09:28)Sure, and this cuts across all ethnic classes and, and categories by all means, so it’s just as true for Native students as it is for African American majority culture, and that is, as early as possible, now certainly when you’re a freshman undergraduate, you’re finding your feet, you’re learning where all the buildings are and getting acclimated, but as soon as you kind of start to feel settled in and, as soon as you are if, if you really do believe that your future is in professional psychology, and I’ll speak specifically to clinical psychology or counseling psychology, you need to get serious about it and I mean by your sophomore year you need to get serious about it. What does that mean? You need to be looking at putting together a curriculum portfolio, if you will, that’s going to lend itself to being a professional psychologist, which might, which might include a little bit more biology, a little bit more, a little bit further down the line, neuro, neurobiology and chemistry and certainly all of the psychology courses that are available. So, you want to take the kinds of classes that are going to make you be competitive to graduate programs when they look at it because, as I’m sure you mention a lot, Brad in this podcast, getting into an APA-accredited clinical training program is exceedingly difficult.

We’re in the process right now, we have in the Frozen North Country of North Dakota, we have well over 100 applicants for about 6 or 7 spots. So, always gotta have that in mind, it’s not, it doesn’t matter if it’s what you want to do, it’s you need to build it and you need to make it, you need, you need to start early. So, put together the, the coursework that, that is going to get you there. But even more importantly than, than that, and that’s vitally important, you need to get involved in research. You need to find a mentor that is very active in doing research that you can be a part of their team. You can learn the research process and get your name on publications and presentations, that, that is academic coin if you will. It’s certainly true for brand new assistant professors in this pub…in the publish, publish or perish kind of world of academia.

But it’s also true for undergrads to get on a good research team that’s very productive, and hopefully doing something that you’re interested in, and that’s the kind of portfolio that is going to make you very, very competitive when it comes time to apply to grad school. And I think a big part of that is what I mentioned earlier, find a mentor and don’t settle on the first person that you walk into their office and say “hey, I’d really like to work with you. Will you take me? Will you take me?” Maybe they take you but they’re not the right person, you want to find somebody that’s a real fit, that can be productive, that can help you, that can advise you and can get you where you, you really want to go so. And that’s on you, that’s not on the system, that’s not on the world or anybody else, that’s on you to, to find a good advisor and a good mentor. And so, one of the good questions to ask is maybe things like “so, how many folks have you mentored that have gone on to, you know a Ph.D. program?” and if they don’t have hard numbers for you, then maybe you might need to look elsewhere.
Bradley (00:13:16)Very good advice, thank you. I know that on my previous two interviews each of them talked about finding that fit that you referred to as well. And it’s important to find that fit because if you’re interested in certain area of psychology, especially clinical and then a certain sub area, find somebody that can help you understand that, and then guide you so, I know that a lot of students have not only an advisor, just a general advisor to help with that curriculum building and, and development, but also an advisor in their specific area that they’re interested in as well. So, surround yourself with people that are (a) well-known in the field and (b) that are more willing to, to help you. And very good advice on asking them well “how many have you advised and gone on to, you know, their doctorate or received their doctorate or, or gone into private practice” or, you know, those type of questions so very, very good advice, I appreciate that. You mentioned about…a couple areas, one is your graduate program, obviously you, you went to USD. How did you decide on going to USD? Was it that one person that you eventually talked to and, and really bonded with? Or what were some of the preliminary requirements in your own mind for, hey, I can go to any one of these schools, how did you actually decide on going to USD?

(00:13:16) How did you decide on University of South Dakota for psychology and did you connect with a mentor?

Doug (00:14:43)Probably, six or one and half a dozen of the other combination of I was already there, maybe? And didn’t really see the need to move. If they would take me, and they took me, they made me an offer and it gave me the chance to work with, like I say, Dr. Jackson, my mentor and I didn’t really want to go anywhere else, so I mean that’s not always the best answer to your question as far as what to look for in a graduate program, but you know the other thing, Brad, is that was 35 years ago, and things have changed a lot since then. You know, back in those days it…we obviously, obviously didn’t have the internet weren’t, didn’t have as many resources and, and opportunities as there are now to, to really kind of look around, shop around, and, and I was there. And Dr. Jackson was there, and he said, come on aboard and I said, OK?
Bradley (00:15:42)There you go. Simple answer. Everybody’s experience is different, so I appreciate you sharing that. Earlier you mentioned about the APA and how difficult it is, and I did notice when I was looking at your program that the Clinical Psychology received accreditation under the new revised standards of APA, and, actually, it was one of the first to receive the APA stamp of approval for the next 10 years under those new standards. Can you speak a little bit more about that process and what that means to you, UND, and the program?

(00:15:42) Can you speak more about the clinical psychology APA accreditation standards for UND’s programs?

Doug (00:16:14)Oh sure, well it, APA accreditation when it comes to professional psychology training in clinical and counseling psych is, is everything. Umm, it will, and let me start it kind of the very important terminus and work backwards, if you think about what it takes to, to enter the Guild and become a psychologist in this country, in most cases, in all states you need to get licensed, right, in order in your state to become a quote-unquote psychologist. Well, most states are not going to even consider you for licensure if you did not go to an APA-accredited training program and internship. I know it’s possible, there’s equivalency here and there, but less and less and less as time moves on. So that’s important if you really want to be, ultimately, at the end of it all, a psychologist. Well, at the beginning, then you need to go to an APA-accredited program so that, that’s the most important aspect of a training program. It certainly, the training model if it fits with you, is…here, at UND, we espouse a scientist practitioner, kind of typical Boulder Model and, but first, it doesn’t really matter what your model is, if you’re not accredited. I don’t know what you’re training people to do, it, but you hear sob stories, horror stories all the time about people that went through a non-accredited program only to find that, similar to Trump University, they spent a hell of a lot of money and got promised a lot of different things and, in the end, they’re not able to get licensed and that money is gone, and that time and those years are gone.

So, kind of like I said with finding a mentor, you need to find a program that you’re absolutely sure is accredited and not just accredited now, but accredited for, it has a good track record of being accredited, which will speak to their ability to stay accredited. But yeah, we were, we were, I’m not going to say lucky, we certainly deserved it. We were in the first cohort of programs that, that were granted 10 years and APA has a big job. I was on the Board of Educational Affairs that, that oversees the Committee on Accreditation or the Council on Accreditation and they, they have a big job and when it comes to accrediting, on-sight visiting and providing that kind of oversight for training programs. It’s, it’s what controls the quality of folks that move through and get trained, and then ultimately wind up in our field. Big responsibility on their part.
Bradley (00:19:15)Yep, Yep and I also noticed some of your background, you mentioned APA. You were past Regional President of the APA Division 45 and those of you who don’t know what Division 45 is, it’s the Society for the Psychological Study Of Culture, Ethnicity and Race. So, tell us a little bit more about how you got involved in that division and share some experiences while you were serving there. And while you’re doing that, I’m going to share the screen so everybody can kind of see what that division is about. So, tell us a little bit more about how you got involved and, and your experiences.

(00:19:15) Tell us about how you got involved with APA Division 45 and share some experiences you had while you were serving there?

Doug (00:19:50)You bet, well, most folks know there’s, I think we’re approaching 60 different divisions within APA now and I got involved with Division 45, luckily, as sort of a byproduct of my being president of the Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP) and I would encourage everyone to go to the website for the Society of Indian Psychologists and kind of see what we’re all about. SIP has been around for many years, since the late 60s when all four of the ethnic minority psych associations were developed. And so, I was honored to be president of SIP early in my career and what, one thing APA did at the time, which was really cool was they would bring together the presidents of the four ethnic minority psych associations. So, there’s SIP, ABPsi – Association of Black Psychologists, Asian American (AAPA), and Latino (NLPA), the four different societies, they would bring together the four Presidents as well as the President of Division 45 to DC, we meet twice a year and once in DC when APA was having their Council of Representatives meeting. And then once we would meet once during the APA convention and I just happened to luck into becoming friends, and again, I’m the luckiest person in the world Brad I’ve been taken under the wing of some of the most influential and incredible people in diversity psychology. Dick Suinn, at the time, was running for APA President, and he sat in on some of these Council meetings. Got to know Dick and, umm, ahh started getting associated with Division 45, met the president of Division 45 at the time. Did some ceremonies for them to open their, their meetings at the APA convention, which was a great honor, even opened, I opened the APA convention twice, as a matter of fact, and then ran for President. I, I was Secretary of Division 45 and then ran and was President of Division 45, which is one of the a great honors of my life and, and I, I would also put in a plug for Division 45. Anybody that’s interested in race, culture, and ethnicity, as far as that aspect of diversity, you should check out Division 45 ’cause that’s what we’re all about.
Bradley (00:22:37)A lot of resources on there when I was looking into it and a lot of updated news, they update their website a lot.
Doug (00:22:39)Yeah.
Bradley (00:22:43)Sometimes the divisions in other categories aren’t updated as frequently, but this one definitely…I saw some current stuff even from January of this year as well so, yeah. Congratulations, that must have been a great experience in that, kind of lends itself toward, and reflects, your current passion if I, if I can say that, speaking for you, looking at the INPSYDE and the other programs. Before I get into that, though, I did want to note, looking at your history and your past, it seems like you’re somewhat following the footsteps of your father, Arthur McDonald, who was also one of the first Native Americans to receive a doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology. Tell us a little bit more about your father and how he became passionate in, in that area as well.

(00:22:43) Tell us more about your father, Aurthur McDonald, and how he became one of the first Native Americans to receive a doctorate degree in Experimental Psychology?

Doug (00:23:35)You know it’s funny Brad. I never really thought of it this way until you kind of phrased the, the situation that way, but my dad kind of fell into the same boat in the sense that he was a veteran of the Korean War, he was a combat vet in Korea, started college on a football scholarship and met up with his mentor, a mentor in the Psychology Department who really just took him under his wing and, in Experimental Psychology and, that’s what hooked my dad into getting his Ph.D.. He was the first Native American to get a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at USD and then, obviously, I was the first parent-child combination when I got mine in Clinical Psychology, so I, it, to some extent, I’ve followed in his footsteps it, but in others, it was really Dr. Jackson who was my mentor in Clinical Psychology, but certainly, in the larger picture of it, it was definitely my dad. I was, how strange and odd and special and unique for me to grow up on the reservation. My dad took us to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation because he had a grant, back in the day it was NIH, Sampson then came along later, but to train, he had a grant for a program to train paraprofessional on the reservation through Montana State University, where he was Chair of Psychology for a couple of years there, we moved back to the Rez and that’s how we got to Northern Cheyenne. And so, I had, I had that role model for sure. Someone that had even just gone to college. Someone that, that had a doctorate, he was Dr. McDonald and that’s something certainly none of my friends, and he was the first person in our family on my dad’s side, obviously, first person in my family to get a doctorate in anything, and so I was really lucky to have him as a role model for being able to achieve the ultimate, you know in academic success. So, you know, I kind of had the two. I was very, very lucky to have the two, one of them being my father and then Dr. Jackson.
Bradley (00:26:06)I’m seeing a theme here. You are a lucky person, and your family is lucky. Definitely, but not only that…
Doug (00:26:12)Well, they would, they might dispute that when it comes to me, but.
Bradley (00:26:16)But not only that, you know you’ve had a lot of hard work going into developing the program at UND, and that’s a good transition to talk about. Hey, you’ve been at UND for about 29 years. What brought you to UND?

(00:26:16) What brought you to the University of North Dakota?

Doug (00:26:32)Ha, ha, ha. Well, it, it wasn’t the first plan. It wasn’t plan A. Let’s put it that way. I, I kind of had it in my sights that I always wanted to go to the University of Montana. South Dakota, Montana boy, through and through, I never thought I’d go to North Dakota. We, we, we made fun of North Dakotans and South Dakota and Montana. They wouldn’t really tell ethnic jokes growing up. It was, you know, North Dakotans, there’s, did you hear about the North Dakotan and, you know, and all that. So that certainly wasn’t the plan. But the truth of the matter is as, when I was on my internship, I was interviewing, I interviewed at the University of Montana and they offered me about $1000 less than I was really kind of hoping for and I had been getting offers from these other places to go interview including UND and my first effort at really trying to, to run some leverage, I said well, you know there, I think they offered me 32 and I was hoping for 33, that that tells you how long ago it was, and I said “well, I guess maybe I’ll just have to go up to UND and interview up there” and the Chair of the Department at the time said “well, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, Doug.” So, I said, oh **** he just called my bluff. And so, there I was off, came up here and, and well, as soon as I got here to UND and thankfully to, my dear friend Jeff Home who was in the clinical program at the time and Mark Raby, who was chair at the time were, were instrumental in getting me up to interview and helping to start the INPSYDE program. And as soon as I got on campus, and everybody’s heard of INMED – the Indians into Medicine program here at UND and there’s a few others as well, but there, I got to UND and realized there were already Indians into something programs, there were 22 different Indian related programs here at UND and there still are, most of them, and a few new ones, and I realized because I was all about starting the INPSYDE program. I had it in my in my bag, you know, and so wherever I was gonna go, I made that clear that I’m, if you take me this is what I’m going to do and UND said that’s what we want you to do. And I realized, well, OK, not only do I have a welcome environment and contacts, but I don’t have to reinvent a bunch of wheels. If I went to anyplace else, I’d be blazing a trail, and I’m not necessarily having to do that at UND because, again, we have so many American Indian related programs, so I never looked back. Like I said, never planned to, to become a North Dakotan, but I certainly am glad that I did.
Bradley (00:29:28)Yes, and I, I did notice I’m gonna share the screen for everybody as well again, and this is actually focusing, there was a nice, back in December of 2019, there was a nice article talking about the program and, and your role and if you can see this, this was nice, gave a lot of information on it and will provide this afterwards as well but it talked about “Inside INPSYDE, UND’s Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education program.” And some good pictures here. Here’s you with one of your…
Doug (00:30:01)Hey, I was wearing the same shirt.
Bradley (00:30:03)Yeah, I was just gonna say it looks, looks very similar.
Doug (00:30:06)I have more than one folks, but.
Bradley (00:30:09)And then you have a Ph.D. student there and then it gets into how you started the program, what the goals of the program are, and then it actually gets into a little bit more of some of the numbers of how many Indians are, you know, in the country versus the percentage who are actually in psychology, let alone receive their Ph.D., or gone into clinical psychology as well. So, that kind of brings me up to the next area that I wanted to talk about was. Again, I mentioned you’re passionate about it, but based on my research there are only about 150 to 250 Native Psychologist nationwide. Parts of me want to say, well, how does it feel to be such in, you know, in an elite group, however, you know, I don’t want to focus on that, I want to focus on look at how many there are, and, and few there are compared to the total number of psychologists that are out there. I, I found given that there are almost 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives eligible for healthcare from Indian Health Services, it appears, like I mentioned earlier, that this group is under, under-represented. What are your thoughts and is that kind of part of the driving force behind these two programs that you’re in charge of?

(00:30:09) What are you thoughts on Native Americans being under-represented compared to the total number of psychologists and is that the driving force behind the two programs you are in charge of?

Doug (00:31:31)Oh absolutely. That’s, that’s how it all started. Actually, the, the seed of the INPSYDE program, as it is today, started with me in about my second year of graduate school and, like most APA-accredited clinical and counseling programs, by the time you get past your first year into your second, 3rd and on, you usually spend a couple days a week in a clinical practicum or a placement somewhere in the community or, in our case, because we’re so rural out here, some of our clinical placements is down at USD and, certainly true here at UND, are miles away. You know, sometimes 100 – 150 miles away to find the kind of experience that you might be interested in. And taking a look at what was available for these placements, I realized there was nothing that I was really interested in and so with…my father, at the time, was president of Chief Dull Knife Memorial College in Lame Deer, Montana, where we grew up and still have our quarter horse ranch back there. He was the president at the time and so we worked together to develop a placement, a semester long placement, for senior clinical students. I was the first one to do that and so it all kind of started back then. To, not just a placement, not just even an internship, how about a whole program? That from has a, it’s a pipeline, you know, it’s from start to finish, works with undergraduates, shoot, works with Native high school students that are interested, and then moves them through the pipeline all the way to their Ph.D..

And so, it, that’s really how all of this got started back then. And so, throughout the rest of the course of my time in grad school, it was just a matter of, of thinking through what would that look like? What would it take? What are the resources, what, what, what are the potential downfalls? ’cause there were a lot of programs in the, in the 60s and early part of the 70s when there was a lot more money, federal money, back in those days, and universities were much richer than too for developing soft money, grant funded programs of different various training interests. And there was a whole slew of Indian related training programs that were soft money funded. Ah, 5-year programs, say, for example, that they bring in, bring in an Indian to run the program and then after five years the program is gone and because the University did not, you know, pick it up and carry it after the, the funding was over with. A lot of that, so obviously, it’s got to be hard-wired into your clinical program and into your psychology department. And, luckily UND believed that, they offered me a tenure track position. I mean so, from the very get go I, I would, I had the same expectations on me as an Assistant Professor as everybody else did to get promotion and tenure. And at the same time running the INPSYDE program. So, it was a lot of heavy lifting, especially in the early days, but it was certainly well were, well-worth it.
Bradley (00:35:00)Yeah, I did see that in that article as well that you, from the get-go, were telling them this needs to be hard-coded in our program, not just this, you know, three- or five-year episode or shot at trying to help this, these groups. So, I did see that and I, I should let the audience know, I read that UND has produced more Native American First Nations Ph.D. clinical psychologists than any other APA-accredited program. Congratulations, that just shows you all the hard work has come to fruition, and it’s continuing to do that now that you got refunded. I will go ahead and share my screen again, because for those of you who don’t know much about the American Indians into Psychology (INPSYC) Program and I should specify before I do that, you’re in charge of two programs. One is the, you’re the director for the Indians Into Psychology Doctoral Education which is INPSYDE. And then the other one is this INPSYC Program which is actually through the Indian Health Service. And so, I’m gonna share my screen and, for me and for the audience, let me know what your thoughts are on how are they, they are similar, but they’re also different. Can you tell me, kind of, the similarities or differences between the INPSYDE and INPSYC Program?

(00:35:00) What are the differences between the INPSYDE and INPSYC Program at UND?

Doug (00:36:22)Sure Brad, the INPSYC Program, Section 217 of, originally was the American Indian Health Care Reform Act, is, is the larger umbrella program that includes three INPSYDE programs. There’s the University of North Dakota is the flagship program that’s actually written into the establishing legislation of 1992. The Indian Health Care Reform Act, which was also then carried over with the Affordable Care Act, excuse me, and so the, the INPSYC Program is actually run in, and within, Indian Health Service and our good friends and relatives at IHS, we work with them to place graduates of our programs, Oh, it at Oklahoma State University, and also at the University of Montana are the other two programs. And so, in, in my role as the Director of the first, like I say, the flagship program here at UND, is to, to maintain the funding and all of the aspects of the program as specified through the grant, which was, again, originally funded in 1995 through Indian Health Service, so we certainly owe it all to IHS for their support and their continued support, there’s been some lean years and, I gotta say, just like APA Council on Accreditation, IHS they’re chronically underfunded, they never get anywhere near the funding that they need, and they have so much that they’re responsible for out in Indian country as far as direct health care and services, and there’s been a lot of lean years, there’s been government shutdowns and our leadership which is carried over, of course, across all these years is has been solid and they’ve supported us, and so we’re very thankful to them.
Bradley (00:38:42)Yeah, the other thing that I wanted to mention, would it be fair for me to say and kind of summarize, the difference between the two programs is INPSYDE actually is focused more on the doctoral education, whereas the other one is any graduate education including master’s? Is that a fair assumption based on what I’ve read?
Doug (00:39:02)No, well if we’re talking about the same thing the, the INPSYC Program is, like I say, the larger section 217 program, of which, the three INPSYDE programs are a component.
Bradley (00:39:16)OK, alright thank you.
Doug (00:39:17)They’re all three focused, it’s entirely focused on doctoral clinical psychology training.
Bradley (00:39:24)Thank you for that clarification…
Doug (00:39:25)Sure.
Bradley (00:39:27)…because I couldn’t tell the difference between and I didn’t know that one was an umbrella of the other, so right then, thank you for sharing that. I’m just sharing, for those who are just listening UND’s College of Arts and Sciences, and they actually have a, a page for the INPSYDE program and it talks about their primary goals, what problem areas they address, and then some of the services that are available if you decide to try to take advantage of that program. How many people do you usually accept into the program and tell us a little bit more about how that works and that selection process?

(00:39:27) How many people do you usually accept into the program and what is the selection process?

Doug (00:40:00)That’s been, let me preface my, my answer by saying there’s no way that you could, that you could have a program like this, or that a program like this could flourish, and certainly to the extent that we have, without having the support every level up the chain of the clinical program: the Psychology Department, College of Arts and Sciences, University, Board of Regents, all the way up to the very top and we’ve had nothing but great support ever since ‘92 when I first got here and we first got the program established. That’s one thing and, to illustrate that point, ever since I got here, the Clinical Program and the Department has allotted two slots per year in every clinical cohort that are dedicated to the INPSYDE Program. One that I tried to fund with program funds from the grant and the other, the Department picks up as a GTA. So, our target every year is 2 per year and that varies. There was one year that we took 4, we might take 1, we might take 3 some years. We don’t take any if we don’t have, the clinical program and our other graduate programs all have criteria for consideration and inclusion like, like all graduate programs do, and you have some lean years here and there where nobody meets those cut offs and meets those criteria. Or you have, even more heartbreaking you, you have several folks that do meet the criteria, but they’re stars, and they wind up going off somewhere else and you lose them, and you wind up getting nothing. So that’s, that happens, and, but what’s great is, the Department and the Clinical Program, and all of their support, have always been there to, to say basically, what do you need? You know, what do we need to do to bring in another? And can we get another? And can we get another? And as long as they’re good solid students, and by that, I mean not just Native it, that’s, that’s great, it’s a qualification, but we want students that are interested, first and foremost, and primarily in getting their Ph.D. and going back to help American Indian people. Maybe their own tribe, maybe, but if not, some other tribe that they go back into those communities and they’re able to, those communities will reap the benefits of their academic journey here, and hopefully we’ve trained them right and good, and you can’t do that without all that kind of support.
Bradley (00:42:51)I did notice, if you go to the UND site and, that’s almost everywhere we see it coming up about this program, INPSYDE Program as well, and so it’s not, that tells me, honestly, that it’s not only you that’s pushing the program, it is on up throughout the University academic program as well. And so, I, I’m pleased to see that, and you mentioned earlier that there were two others, and I should mention Oklahoma State University also received that Grant and then University of Montana which you mentioned a couple of times as well. Three great programs. I researched all of them and then reached out to you first because, honestly, I finished my undergraduate degree at UND. I’m not sure if you knew that, but I, I finished out there.
Doug (00:43:37)No.
Bradley (00:43:38)Yeah, so I know, I know about the tundra and I know about everything out there. I wasn’t out there during the flood, but I did talk to some friends out there that happened…were you guys impacted by that flood and if so, how?

(00:43:38) Were you impacted by the 1997 flood in Grand Forks and if so, how?

Doug (00:43:52)Oh, every, certainly everybody was, it was, it was terrible, it was absolutely catastrophic and terrible. And, like I say, I live northwest of town away from the River, so I was unaffected. My place was fine and so I came into, well, down to Grand Forks. By then, they had moved absolutely everybody out. If you can imagine a town, city of 60 + thousand people, everybody was gone because everything was flooded and most everybody just kind of scattered across the country. But for about a week and a half we had people out at the Grand Forks Air Force Base in a huge hangar out there. And we started out and so I volunteered because I have done quite a bit of disaster, mental health response, not by choice, I just happened to be at the right place. Flight 232 went down in Sioux City while I was in grad school, and so we were the only who, we were 30 miles away, we took a team down and responded to that and been a number of things that have happened. And so, I volunteered and got designated as the Director of the Disaster Mental Health Response here after the flood. And so, we had 15,000 people the first night, and 8,000 and then it dwindled down. Finally, to kind of more homeless folks or less advantage folks after about a week and a half, but, and that I was one of the first people that, that got in when the, the national, the State National Guard opened up the barriers and went in it’s all around this town to dead silence. It was April, you know, so we didn’t have all the birds back and everything yet up here, but you never realize how loud a town, or a city is until it’s totally quiet. And I had a gas pump and I pumped out a lot of the Psych Department, colleagues had to crawl in a couple windows with this big pump and pumped out their basements for them before they got back. But yeah, it was, and the stench was, was unbelievable, it was, but, you know, there’s a great lady that was working with me from the Red Cross at the time that said, “you know what Doug, as bad as this is”, we’re kind of touring around, she said “everything is going to come back better.” I said, “what are you talking about…better…look at this” and she said, “I know, I know.” She was this wonderful old lady that had been on many of these over the years and she said FEMA is going to come through, insurance and all these, and this community is going to be better than it ever was. And you know what? She was right. As awful, horrible, terrible of a time as that was, this community, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, pulled together and the downtown area was totally rejuvenated and it did, it came back, and that’s a lesson for all communities that go through these kinds of things. You can come back stronger than ever before. I wouldn’t have thought it at the time, I thought she was, I thought she needed some psychological help, but, but she was absolutely right. It’s a tribute to your town too, to Grand Forks and its leaders.
Bradley (00:47:12)No, I’m glad to hear that. I heard the same kind of stories up and down the main, the drag, we call it on, on the, on the campus so. It’s interesting to always hear different people’s perspective on how they experienced that flood as well so, thank you for sharing. Earlier I talked about, and referred to, the disproportionate number of Native psychologists in the field. I haven’t asked you yet, but why do you think there is such a disproportionate and, and what needs to be done? In addition to these programs and other colleges and universities that are focused on this, why do you think there is such a disproportionate number and what are some other things that we can do to help increase these numbers?

(00:47:12) Why is there such a disproportionate number of Native American psychologists in the field?

Doug (00:47:57)That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it Brad? But the reality is, there’s an answer. I didn’t get $1,000,000 for answering it all these years, but I think our track record proves that it’s true and that is that the institutional racism that has existed in academia and in the field of psychology, frankly, and narrow it down to clinical psychology. When I say institutional racism, I mean, oftentimes unintended. You can be a victim of your own success as a training program, in that you, you, you select, and train and graduate outstanding students and you make yourself very competitive to get into then right. You know ’cause you only have so many faculty and so many faculty can…there’s a finite number of faculty that can work with a finite number of grad students. You know you gotta be on thesis committees and dissertation committees and mentor and advise and all of that, so it limits the number of students that you can take. Well, how do you do that? Well, historically, academia has increased the standards, right, increase the quantitative standards for getting into training. You gotta have a higher GPA, you gotta have higher GRE scores to even get a sniff at getting into a program like this. Well, look at who that disadvantages…people of color, disabilities, maybe older students, non-traditional students, so it’s, it’s not rocket science why, and it’s not just American Indians, but it’s certainly been disproportionately more American Indians that have not been matriculated into the, into the field of psychology. Um, it’s lots of folks in under, under-represented and underprivileged, marginalized, groups. American Indians up in our part of the country, in Indian Country as we call it, well, that’s us. And we talk about North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming. Our region, that’s Indian country and I know my friends Southwest it, don’t all Navajos and Apaches don’t, don’t get…Pueblos…don’t get mad at me it’s, it’s all Indian country, we realize that.

But for our region of Indian our, our big part of Indian country and until a cultural shift in Departments and in training programs occurs. What do I mean by that? A cultural shift…cultures value everything differentially, you know, one culture may value this more than another, one culture may discard what is extremely valuable in another culture. Well, the culture of academia then has historically suggested that a “good student” or in other words, one that is capable of getting into our program has these characteristics: high GPA, high GREs. And if that’s your culture of value and acceptance, what do you get? You get white, middle to upper class, young people that have come from privileged schools and school systems that have had, have had mentors, have had folks along the way that totally support them. And are they the cream of the crop? Absolutely, they are, but that cultural change now allows, to folks to come in and reconsider that and, and there’s this notion of what is it? Well, maybe a, a good graduate student doesn’t have to be. Because there ain’t that much difference between somebody that can, can manage a 3.2 GPA and a 3.8. There, there’s, you’re talking about smart people, you know, come on. But if your cutoff is 3.5, you’re never going to see those 3.2’s that might be native, you know. So how about what they could bring to a program? Be a good student might mean that they bring a different worldview to your program, that they see things differently, that they can stir the pot a little bit in keeping things fresh or helping build allies which we need. We need allies, you know. You know our INPSYDE programs we’ve realized from the very beginning, if we graduated all of those, you know, two Indian Ph.D.’s a year, every year, every year, every year. In 100 years, we’d still never have enough Native psychologists for American Indians in this country. We still wouldn’t have enough.

So, what do we need? We need allies. We need non-Native people that have cross cultural competence and care enough to be an ally. Just like you are an ally for LGBTQ folks, just like elderly, disabled, be an ally. And if you can do that, and you can, you can value that culturally in a training program that it’s good if you’re…a good student is one that makes us think and makes us take a look at everything we do: curriculum, admissions, research, all of that. Rethink everything that we do. That’s, that’s, that’s what we think a good student is. It doesn’t have to just be the high quant criteria. That’s the cultural change that if training programs really do, not just lip service BS to maintain accreditation from APA, which I told you is the lifeblood, it’s everything and so we, we brought in a medicine man or we had a workshop. No, take a look at what is bringing in people with a different worldview that can stimulate and maintain a different way to run your academic railroad. That’s what it takes.
Bradley (00:54:15)Yeah, very good points. I agree with you…an ally. Even when I reached out to you, I said we are looking to be an ally and I, I showed some of my ignorance when I…my eyes were opened when I started looking at all of these different programs that were available. I didn’t even think about the need for those programs and unfortunately it would be nice to get to the point where everybody just treated everybody the same and they looked at that, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The other thing…two things that I’d like to add, Doug, is that (1) in order to help alleviate that disproportionate number, you also have to get the information to those people, letting them know that these programs are available. Some of them aren’t even aware that some of these things are available, so that’s number 1; (2) you can provide more interest into the psychology field by talking more about the psychology field with people. If they’ve never talked about it, or talk to an advisor, or talk to anybody else in the field, how are they even supposed to know (a) that it exists and (b) how are they supposed to know, hey, this is really interesting. Or they figure out, I find it really interesting, so I, I think those are fair, you know, another two things to, to think about. So, if you’re in the field, I would urge you talk about it with your friends and family, with colleagues, because you might eventually reach somebody who, oh my gosh, I never thought about going that direction. And then they might, you might bring in more people and improve the interest in the field as well, wouldn’t you think?

(00:54:15) What are some ideas about improving the interest in the field of psychology for Native American students?

Doug (00:55:51)Absolutely and, and to kind of flesh that out Brad, if you if you’re hearing this and you think that wherever you may live, I don’t care, if you’re downtown Minneapolis, New York City, or, or anywhere in the United States of America, and lots of other parts of the country, of the world, but if you are anywhere standing on Mother Earth, Grandmother Earth and you look down and there’s dirt under your feet at all, you are standing on Native land. In, in that, maybe in the last 100-150 years the Native people have been driven out of there. But for, whatever you want to believe, 10,000, 15-20,000 years and a lot of our tribes believe that we’ve always been here, but even if you just want to go by the science and the archaeological record, for as long as potentially 20,000 years, every bit of dirt that you’re standing on in this country is Indian land, or it was Indian land and Native land and all of those thousands of years of spirits, and the animal spirits, and all of those ancestors tied to that land are still there. And so, you are on, you are standing on, and you live on and you eat, and you love, and you work on Indian land. So, I’m not, I don’t say that to make anybody feel guilty at all, that’s not my point. My point is, once people internalize that and realize that it’s kind of cool. Because they realize, oh well, I didn’t realize that in the middle of New York City, Des Moine, Iowa. Well, what does that mean then? What’s the history of that? Don’t just take it from Doug McDonald. What tribes were here before? What did they do? Who were they? What did they do? What did they build? What did, what kinds of legacies did they leave us, not just the visitor center in a State Park somewhere, you know, that’s cool, that’s always…but, but the deeper spiritual meaning and respect the fact that there are thousands of years of ancestors, of Native people on every, every square foot of American dirt that you stand on, so it is relevant to you. Even if that’s all it is. It’s kind of cool.
Bradley (00:58:33)It is actually, I mean, I’m just listening to you and I’m thinking about that…I haven’t thought about it that way as well. I’ve traveled a lot within the United States and outside of the United States, and it makes me even wonder outside of this country, Native lands and how they have changed hands and how they have evolved throughout the years as well. So even outside of the United States. Earlier, earlier I asked you a question about, hey, advice that you have for those, anybody, interested in becoming a psychologist or getting into the psychology field, I’m going to challenge you a little bit more by saying OK, what advice would you give to Native Americans who are interested in the field of psychology or becoming a psychologist, so everything that you said earlier also applies, but what else would you also provide for advice for the Native Americans?

(00:58:33) What advice would you give to Native Americans interested in getting into the field of psychology or becoming a psychologist?

Doug (00:59:24)Indianize it, sure, and that, that that’s really the heart of the matter, isn’t it?…when it comes down to it. To those students out there, at whatever level, whether, even if you’re still in grade school or high school or undergrad…if you don’t seek out mentors, just like you have in your tribe, and you know what I’m talking about, people in your tribe, the medicine, people of the medicine community, the elders, the societies, the clans, the tioṡpaye, the family groups. You know, you know who I’m talking about in your community, if you don’t find in the academic community. So, so, a psychology Department or a training program, if there’s no, if that’s where you want to…first of all, you need to take that into account, that if there’s nobody there that can support that, either is an ally, or let alone an American Indian faculty member, which they’re few and far between, but they, many times they are there. Find them in the University, seek them out. Every University and college has a, you know, an Indian Club or an American Indian Student Association. Find out about that, find your support, your spiritual support, your cultural support and find your place of welcomeness within an academic community, at every level, the University, the Department, the training program that you’re thinking about going to, right. Find your source of support. That source of support may be like it was for me, a mentor that got it, that knew how to foster an American Indian graduate student. Find that source of support, otherwise and, and even if that source of support is not there locally, that’s still not the not the end of the world, by any means. You’re going to feel very alone, but you’re not.

There are larger organizations like I mentioned earlier, SIP – the Society of Indian Psychologists, we, we have a mentorship program that you can check into if you go to the, the, the SIP website. We have a mentorship program where mentors like me, and so many other outstanding American Indian psychologists out there, that we’ve been through it. We know what you’re going to see, we know what you’re going to deal with and we’re there to help you and advise you, even if we never even meet you personally. This cool Zoom thing helps a lot, you know, when it comes to mentoring, I’ve definitely found that out. But get in touch, SIP is there for you and that’s just one example. On a national setting of what the resources are there, that are available to…but you gotta reach out and find them. Don’t just plop yourself down at University X, Y, or Z and expect that there’s going to be those resources there. They may very well be, but you gotta find them. My suggestion is, find them before so you know that you’re going to a place, hint, hint like UND (shameless plug, recruitment plug) where, where we do have a safe place to be and we do have programs, let alone, Student Associations, but make sure that where you are going, there are sources of support, and even if there aren’t, look around you, even at the national level, we all seem to leave live in the Internet or, or on these damn things [holding up a cell phone], you can find we’re there, find us. You don’t have to be my student to get in touch with me. You know, I’m here to help as many interested students that I possibly can. And we can network, and we can help you, and support you. Take it from me, going in alone, like I did 35 years ago, sucks and there’s a lot of excuses that come up to make you want to quit. Luckily, I found the Society of Indian Psychologists and lots of other native graduate students that went on to become family, absolute family. So, we’re there. There’s folks out there that will support you and help you. But you got to find us. We can’t find you.
Bradley (01:03:47)Very good advice. I like that and I, I get the sense, even before this interview, that if somebody reached out to you. If, if this reached, you know, a handful of people that were interested and they didn’t know where to start, I have a feeling that if they reached out to, sent you an email, you’d be all over that so.

(01:03:47) Can students reach out to you for advice and mentoring in the field of psychology?

Doug (01:04:04)That’s, that’s what I’m here for…absolutely. That dream that started when I was in grad school of what could be…Brad, I don’t, I don’t even feel like I have a job. I tell this to my students all the time. This is my life, you know, it’s my way of life. And everybody that knows me, knows that that’s the case, and I…sure you don’t have the kind of success that you do without that kind of, that in that level of commitment, I think about my brother John, Dr. John Chaney down at Oklahoma State, and our, our sister Geeta Swainey at the University of Montana who’s passed on, had that same drive and we’ve been there since the beginning and that’s what we’re here for.
Bradley (01:04:45)Well, I, I must say I appreciate that, and I like hearing that…I wish all faculty, staff had that drive and that motivation. I’m not saying that some don’t, I’m just saying it would, what a wonderful world it would be if 100% of people had that drive. I might add one other thing you were talking about support you were talking about, yeah, emotional, institutional, academic support, I’d also say proactively search for some of the financial support that could be out there, any grants, any internships, anything like that…any other thoughts regarding that?

(01:04:45) What are your thoughts on additional financial support, grants or internships that are available to psychology students?

Doug (01:05:23)That, yeah Brad wow, that that has exploded so much with, with the advent of the, of the Internet. Back in the day, you know everything was paper and telephone and you’d hear about some scholarship from a foundation or a University or something like that somewhere, or a company, the Ford Fellowship you’d hear about them, every once in a while, you might get a flyer in the mail in the Department. And you could follow up on it…now, it’s all at our fingertips, right? [holding up a computer keyboard]. We can research, we can Google, use the Google and find all of that stuff, and there’s never been more financial support for the American Indian students as there is now. There’s the Cobell Scholarship there, just, there’s more foundations and groups out there that provide grant, grants and scholarships for every level of academic training, including Graduate School, which is awesome. I’ve got one of my grad students that has been extremely aggressive about going out, and she hasn’t had to take out any loans in grad school because she found so much support. I’m glad that she’s going off on internship ’cause I’m kind of getting tired of writing letters of recommendation for her, but.
Bradley (01:06:39)Ha, ha, ha…
Doug (01:06:41)But, but no that. I tease her about that all the time, but and most of it is scholarship. You don’t have to pay back scholarships. Grants usually or fellowships you might, but uh, APA has a Minority Fellowship Program. I was, I was in MFP and some of the most absolutely outstanding ethnic minority psychologists in the country, or former MFPs – the Minority Fellowship Program. So, definitely hit up APA at apa.org and go to the MFP program is a great source. Your own tribes, now it, it shocks me when I find Native students that don’t even know that oftentimes their own tribes offer scholarships, and so that’s another resource as well…
Bradley (01:07:30)Great advice, great advice. I’m going to pivot a little bit…
Doug (01:07:32)…Leave no stone unturned.
Bradley (01:07:34)Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. I’m gonna pivot real quick here and I can tell that you’re all about helping others and more focused on the Native Americans and any of the programs and any resources that you can bring to the forefront to help them. I’m going to pivot again and, kind of, I did notice that you have own therapy and consulting business as well. So, you’re a, you’re a licensed psychologist, as I mentioned before, and you have a private practice in North Dakota. Tell us a little bit more about Hawkvision and how that started and what your goal is there, and I’m going to bring that up and share that on the screen while you do that.

(01:07:34) Tell us more about your Hawkvision private practice in North Dakota?

Doug (01:08:10)Sure, when I came back from my military experience, my adopted Northern Cheyenne parents gave me my adult name and my veteran name of Spotted Hawk. Spotted Hawk was the Northern Cheyenne warrior that fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn and I’ve always been very proud of that name Spotted Hawk. And then, back in, back in 1988 or, I’m sorry, ‘98 was kind of going through a tough time in my life and went on an EP, or Vision Quest, to Bear Butte, South Dakota and I uh, the, the big result of that vision was to continue to help people through the vision of the Hawk. And so, this name of Hawkvision came to me in that vision, and so I named my company Hawkvision and there’s a couple of different aspects. There’s the Equine Assisted aspect that the horse has always been very important to Plains tribes for sure for hundreds and hundreds of years as not only a partner in, especially the nomadic tribes moving across the country, but also as a spiritual relative. Uh, taṡuƞka, the spirit dog, as the Lakota call it, and so we’ve always revered horses and it’s not just native people but EAGALA and other HIPPA kinds of therapeutic programs around the world and across the country have recognized it, that horses heal. Horses…one, one cool thing research has found that if you come up to a horse or horse comes up to you, that horse can sense your heartbeat and it can match its heartbeat to your heartbeat. And that that’s empirically demonstrated. So, I do Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with folks, offer kind of a native aspect if they wish, or traditional CBT is fine. And then recently, since the pandemic, I’ve started a new aspect of that of the business, the Native Clinical Associates’ aspect of my Hawkvision business, where I’m bringing in former graduates of our program to do part time telehealth and teletherapy because yeah, many in the field, myself included, prior to the pandemic kind of pooh-poohed teletherapy and telehealth because, well, it, it’s not real therapy, you know, you’re not in a clinic, you’re not in an office and, you know, what are you going to do…on your phone? Yeah, you could. They’re not just phones anymore, in case nobody noticed, they’re pretty powerful and so and then, with the pandemic there started getting, getting reimbursements, not only reimbursements but the full rate oftentimes Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance for teletherapy, and allowing folks to do it in their own home. So, we’ve started offering that service as well to tribes and to tribal entities of doing telehealth around, around the country to different tribes and organizations as well. So that’s been, you know, again, if there’s can be any positive byproducts of this horrible pandemic, maybe a cultural change for psychology to, to understand that, especially in rural America, you know I’ve, I’ve, Brad, I’ve killed 4 vehicles in trying to do private practice and consulting around, well, I’ve worked with over 22 different tribes around the United States. Brand new, brand new vehicles ran them to death. Their, Lord knows where they are, driving and driving and driving and driving. And now, we don’t have to do that. We can do this and so that’s been that’s been really challenging ’cause it’s a whole new, bold new adventure in field and aspect of our field…telehealth and teletherapy but, but we’re learning more as we go, and so we offer that too.
Bradley (01:12:45)Well, thank you for that summary.
Doug (01:12:45)That, that’s the next chapter that’s, you know, ’cause I’m not going to be here at UND forever, but I want to kind of slowly transition to doing that for the next chapter.
Bradley (01:12:57)Right, well I’m sure you’re going to do well at that. It’s my understanding that you mentioned the Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) falls under the main umbrella of Ecotherapy is that, is that correct?

(01:12:57) Does Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) fall under the main umbrella of Ecotherapy?

Doug (01:13:08)Right, it and ecotherapy is very expanding area in our field that includes, well it, first of all, it recognizes the outdoors as being therapeutic, and you know any of us that that are outdoors people know that. If you live, I you know, one thing that I know is really cool about Minneapolis is all the parks and around the lakes and stuff that sometimes you wouldn’t even realize you’re in the middle of a major US city in, in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area there, how good you feel just walking your dog or being out or, or running a 5K or just hiking? How good that feels. It helps…we call it therapeutic, don’t we? You know it’s horticulture, it’s growing plants, it’s even hunting and fishing and conservation. Being in the outdoors, being on a boat on the water with good people is therapeutic. So how do you take that and harness that? And maybe for folks that aren’t used to that or haven’t recognized how therapeutic that can be? How about people who have never seen a horse never touched a horse and I can take them and say this is Dr. Dolly or Dr. Thunder or our horses that do it and they can touch a horse and feel that connection. It feels good and they feel better, so Ecotherapy, that is the umbrella term for all of that hiking and horticulture, all equine assisted therapy, all of that…dogs and cats for crying out loud, look at, you can’t go into a store nowadays without an emotional support animal. I don’t know what I really think about all that, but at the root is that those animals help decrease anxiety, help people feel more able and capable in their lives, and so for that aspect of it, I, I’m, I think resonates to Ecotherapy as well.
Bradley (01:15:15)Oh good, also…
Doug (01:15:15)I did it…
Bradley (01:15:16)Oh, go ahead.
Doug (01:15:17)I did a, my wife and I did a, every Friday here at UND in the afternoon we, we run a program for all of the clinical students. And we talked about different kinds of therapy and different things in the field and our clinical training director asked me to come in and talk about Ecotherapy. And so, I came in and had it all staged of course, and started talking about Ecotherapy and my wife was over at the door watching and I kind of gave her the “Hi” sign, she brings in two kittens, or kind of older kittens, all of those students that are kind of sitting there going oh yeah, yeah, this is really interesting…all of a sudden, just by having two kittens in the room, it changed everything. You know, so animals are powerful in the outdoors, is powerful too, and you don’t have to go to an Ecotherapist to realize that…get outside!
Bradley (01:16:13)Right, I was gonna add that there, I know there are a number of people out there that not only believe in the ecotherapy, but they also believe that it, it is a different experience if you can take off your shoes and socks and actually feel the earth. And there’s a lot of studies out there that, yeah, some people actually respond to the Earth and change their heartbeat, blood pressure, all of that stuff. And so I found that very interesting when I read that.

(01:16:13) Additional thoughts on Ecotherapy and how people respond to it.

Doug (01:16:41)It sure can. Uh, we, we use the term in Lakota Uƞci Maka – Grandmother Earth and so do, so many, and not just, not just the Lakota people and tribes but so many, you know, we always say here Mother Earth, Grandmother Earth. Well, there’s a reason that we use that, we, we don’t say the Earth, my pal, or the buddy. We refer to the Earth as our Mother and as our Grandmother and when you get that kind of a vibe and that kind of a feeling, you know why.
Bradley (01:17:13)Uh, huh. Here’s a challenging question, and it’s going to be difficult based on our discussion. You’re a Professor, Licensed Psychologist, INPSYDE Director and all this passion that you have for helping students and anybody, for that matter, getting into the field and, and academics in general, as well…what do you love most about any of your jobs?

(01:17:13) What do you love most about your different jobs in psychology?

Doug (01:17:39)Oh, that’s actually pretty easy, um, ahh…my students. My students. Yeah, there, there there’s no question that they, you know I’m going to be 60 years old here, like I said, in another month and I realize I’m coming to, to the end of my journey in doing all of this. But I’ve been thinking that way for about 10 years, you know. And right about the time I get to thinking, well, maybe it’s time to head back to Montana. We get another cohort of grad students, and that just completely revitalizes me and brings me back to why I started doing all this in the first place. And that’s in the here and now. But my former students that are now psychologists, their, their program directors, they’re, they’re out there and they’re doing their everything and more that we hoped and dreamed that they would. There’s no better feeling in the world than knowing that you were a small part of that, so it’s definitely my students. They they, they keep me as young as I can possibly feel.
Bradley (01:18:44)I agree with you. When I was teaching, I loved seeing the change in my students and what even motivated me more was seeing those students years after and then they recall, you know, I took your class, Brad, and one thing that really stood out to me was whatever and I, I utilize that.
Doug (01:19:05)Right.
Bradley (01:19:07)So, I, I see that passion in you and I, I can empathize with that passion as well. What are, other than the, you’re licensed in psychology and using your license in your private practice, what are some other plans and goals for you in the future?

(01:19:07) What are some other plans and goals you have in the future?

Doug (01:19:27)I, like I said, I’m a very passionate hunter and I, I always hesitate when I tell people that because there’s so many negative stereo…stereotypes about hunters. A lot of folks don’t understand that hunters are predominantly, for the most part, conservationists, and without hunters you don’t have conservation because our fees for hunting and fishing licenses are what fund, you like your, you know your state parks, your county parks and a lot of that comes from the hunter- and fisherperson dollars. But, but that aspect of it I, I greatly enjoy. For example, I was lucky enough to draw in North Dakota here, North Dakota offers elk, moose, and bighorn sheep tag that you can apply for…you only get one in your whole life…and lucky, I was lucky enough to get a moose tag last year and got my moose. Well, I got an elk tag this year, didn’t get my elk. But you know what? Went out to, around Medora, and if you haven’t, folks haven’t been there, go to Medora, it’s fantastic. I got to go out into the Badlands of North Dakota. From the, after Labor Day all the way to the 31st of December to hunt my elk, I saw a new country, you know, that I hadn’t really seen. I didn’t have an appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt Park like I do now. I went out there about 8 times. My 86-year-old father, got to spend time with him, looking around trying to find an elk. We saw a few elk, but we saw so much more. And it’s the, the beauty and the awe of being in Nuuk beautiful country. We saw a lot of eagles and couple badgers and every other kind of animal except an elk or, or a cow elk that wasn’t in the park anyway. But what a fantastic experience that was and I’ve had to give up a lot of that over the years, quite honestly. Um, being free on the weekends to go fishing or hunting doesn’t always work out. You know you always hear “you should have been here yesterday.” Well, yesterday was Friday and I had to work, you know we have stuff to do on Friday so I couldn’t be here. Get there Saturday and it’s a mess. So, I look forward to being able to just see more of the world, meet more people that even my APA experience in governance of APA, of SIP – the Society of Indian Psychologists. I’ve met tons and tons of incredible people, but there’s still so many fantastic people out there to meet. I look forward to that, I want to see some new country and I’ll always keep my hand in doing this and, you know, my private practice ultimately, helping people and finding new ways to help people, and not just Native people but anybody. So that’s what I see, sort of two, the 2.0 or 1B being for me next.
Bradley (01:22:40)Sounds like great options. I, I agree with all of that as well that that would be a wonderful next stage, next phase of your life. If you’ve seen some of the podcasts, or heard some of the podcasts, you know that I usually end up the podcast with a few, kind of, fun questions. And so, I always ask this and I kind of accumulate everybody’s perspective on these questions. So, I have a few left for you. What is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?

(01:22:40) What is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?

Doug (01:23:15)Probably, one of the foundations, old sayings become old sayings and they persist for good reason, because they’re usually true or have wisdom in them that were developed by the elders, they get passed on and passed on and one old saying that there’s really been the foundation of that. I’ve tried to live my life by two of them really, one is, of course, the Golden rule, treat people like you want to be treated. You know that’s, that’s, but also a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. You know it if you got big cast iron links, but you only have one link in there. That’s not, it’s just you know, 10-gauge wire. You don’t have a chain. It’s going to rip apart, and that’s true of every aspect of our lives. It’s true of relationships, isn’t it? You know that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And if you internalize that and live your life, always trying to strengthen your weakest links, then dang it, you got some pretty strong chains.
Bradley (01:24:26)I like it. I like it. What is something new that you have learned recently?

(01:24:26) What is something new that you have learned recently?

Doug (01:24:36)Oh, matter fact, I just learned this, this morning. I was on Facebook and one of my colleagues posted on there, of course, if it’s on Facebook and if it’s on the Internet, it’s true, right? So, so, this is clearly true, folks. Instead of throwing out, if you cook with lard or vegetable oil, don’t just throw out your grease. Put rolled oats or oats in there and mix that all up and put that outside for the birds or for the squirrels ’cause they eat it. Apparently, you don’t want to use bacon ’cause of the animal fat, but if it’s plant-based or, or lard for some reason works out OK. I think it’s how much they clean it. There’s no fleshy particles in it but roll some oats in there and put it out for the birds and, and especially during the wintertime and then they can have something to eat. And then you’re not just clogging up your, your sink pipes or throwing it outside like we do.
Bradley (01:25:40)Right…no, that’s interesting. That’s good advice. That’s a good suggestion.
Doug (01:25:43)That’s the best I got Brad.
Bradley (01:25:47)I have two more questions. If you had time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?

(01:25:47) If you had time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?

Doug (01:25:58)I’ve always thought if I, if I really ever hit the lottery, you know, and what would I, what would I do if I could and it’s always been to build a brick-and-mortar place, kind of centrally located, that I could bring together all of the, the best people I’ve ever worked with…my former students and, and others across all the different tribes that I’ve consulted and am a part of and we would have a huge Behavioral Health Center and have a foundation, you know, and we could just help Natives and non-Natives and have it, have a substance abuse aspect, parenting, training, mental health, all of that, and everybody would, there would be enough money that everybody was comfortable so they were motivated to, to work and work hard and we could just help as many people as possible. That’s, that’s always been my dream. I’m hoping that I can kind of touch on that with the telehealth thing moving forward so we don’t have to have brick and mortar and we don’t have to burn up gas driving around, but that’s, that’s what I would do if I could do that.

What trip would I make? Boy, I’m lucky in that in my military experience I got to see a lot of the world, but it was all Hawaii and different aspects of different countries of Asia. I’ve never been to Europe. And. I’d love to go back, I’m Irish, McDonald obviously, and then again, the German side of my mom’s family, I’d love to go, maybe, visit those countries in Europe and maybe identify and find some relatives you know and. Uh, see what their life has been like since their family came over and established my family and love to go to Europe. It seems like everybody else but me has.
Bradley (01:28:00)Good yeah, good, good plans I, I like both of them, actually. Europe I, I’ve been there a few times. Love it…I, I believe you’d love it as well. Is there anything else that you would like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?

(01:28:00) Is there anything else that you would like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?

Doug (01:28:13)Honestly, for students out there, Native and non-Native, but certainly for the Native students, if you really want to do this, first of all, it’s amazing because, like you said Brad, there are so few American Indian psychologists, it is a pretty exclusive society to be a part of it’s humbling and honored to be a part of. You can do it. You can do it. If this knucklehead can do it, you can do it also. I didn’t even have math in, the only math I had in high school, I sat across from my cousin and we, the teacher had us, for our homework, exchange papers with the person across from me. We cheated for each other. I had no, I had no idea how to do algebra by the time I got to college. OK, that’s not, that’s…if you were better off than that, at least in terms of math, and we had no science, give me a break, you can do it. But it has to come from your heart, it has to come from your spirit, and you gotta believe in yourself. And you can do it, it’s a huge commitment. It’s the biggest commitment that you can ever make in your life next to your kids and your spouse, perhaps. If you have that dream. And you know you do, you hear even hearing my words, you know you do. You can do it, you can. So, get after it and get it done…join us!
Bradley (01:29:56)Great message to end off this podcast. Doug, I really appreciate your time and willingness to share your thoughts and experiences. I enjoyed hearing about your stories. And will definitely give some kudos to you, and UND, and the program on our website and, and after this podcast goes live, again, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule on Friday here, I love, I mentioned here before we started I, I love the background, I love seeing everything, even the shirt…
Doug (01:30:25)Ha, Ha…
Bradley (01:30:26)…even though you might have worn it on that other interview as well or that article I, I really appreciate you. You have a good aura about you, and I firmly believe that you’re all in it for, for the students and anybody else who is interested, as we are on our website, so I appreciate that that was a good fit for us. I want you to have a good rest of the day and I wish you luck, we’ll keep in touch in the future.
Doug (01:30:50)Philámayalo – thank you Brad.
Bradley (01:30:53)Thank you bye-bye for now.
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