Dr. Turner, a first-generation college student, is a Louisiana native (born and raised in Baton Rouge) who discovered his interest in psychology later in his undergraduate career while attending Louisiana State University (LSU). He originally had plans to become a pediatrician and go to medical school but after taking a child psychology course, he knew this was the right fit for him as he wanted to help children and families. In this podcast, Dr. Turner shares how this drive and passion helped guide him during his academic career as he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Texas A&M University. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Baltimore, MD through the Kennedy Krieger Institute which is a children’s hospital affiliated with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Turner is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University where he teaches courses on multicultural psychology, research methodology, and child psychopathology. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist. In the clinical setting, he is known as “Dr. Earl” and he incorporated this into the title of his mental health podcast “The Breakdown with Dr. Earl” which focuses on issues related to Black men and boys. He also addresses the stigma in the Black community by changing the way people view seeking therapy or mental health. Dr. Earl increases awareness of, and treatment for, different types of mental health issues and highlights Black professionals and therapists on the show.
Dr. “Earl” Turner is a mental health advocate and writes a blog “The Race to Good Health” and is Founder and Executive Director of Therapy for Black Kids (T4BK). He explains that the idea for T4BK came to him during the pandemic, but the content and website wasn’t released until earlier this year in February. He recognized that as a result of the “subtle racial reckoning this last summer” most of the conversations were focused on adults and not so much on kids, specifically Black kids. Therefore, he created Therapy for Black Kids to provide information and resources to “help parents deal with the challenges of racial injustice and foster resilience to promote healthy development.”
During the podcast interview, Dr. Turner’s drive and passion shines through and he admits that his favorite approach is using cognitive theories in his research as it shapes our life and our interactions. When I asked him what the most important thing he has learned in life, he responded “continue fighting for whatever is important to you.”
Interests and Specializations
Over the last 10-15 years, Dr. Turner has served in leadership positions within the American Psychological Association (APA), published research, served on editorial boards, and provided therapy services for children, adolescents, and adults with behavioral and emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress management. He also specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disruptive behavior disorders such as Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and developmental disorders (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Psychology; Louisiana State University.
Master of Science (M.S.), Clinical Psychology; Texas A&M University.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Clinical Psychology; Texas A&M University.
Other Sources and Links of Interest
|00:00:05 Bradley||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 graduate degree in Psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we are privileged to welcome Dr. Earl Turner. Dr. Earl is an award-winning psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. He received his B.S. in psychology from Louisiana State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Turner writes a blog “The Race to Good Health” and is host of a mental health podcast called “The Breakdown with Dr. Earl.” Dr. Turner is also the founder and executive director of Therapy for Black Kids (T4BK) which was created during the pandemic. Dr. Turner, welcome to our podcast.|
|00:01:06 Earl||Thank you for having me.|
|00:01:08 Bradley||I appreciate you getting on the show, and I apologize I, I went back and forth between your names. I wasn’t sure if, if I should call you doctor Earl or Doctor Turner, I’ll go ahead and call you Dr. Turner unless you tell me otherwise…so I appreciate you taking the time.|
|00:01:20 Earl||No worries.|
|00:01:22 Bradley||Just to start off, tell us a little bit about yourself so we get into knowing a little bit more about you before we start talking about some of your academic journey.|
|00:01:32 Earl||Absolutely. So, you read my bio so that gives you a little bit of information about who I am. I am currently teaching primarily here in Los Angeles. However, I am still licensed as a psychologist and so I’ve maintained that uhm license for about 8 years now since I got my license after finishing my postdoc however many years ago. But I really do enjoy teaching and so as we probably will get into the discussion, I started my journey out after postdoc doing clinical work uhm full time, and then made that transition because I wanted to, to get back into being able to do research and working in a clinical setting where you’re seeing patients and clients all day makes it very difficult to do so, and so I’ve sort of shifted my work over that time to, to do more teaching and also provide me with more opportunities to be able to provide some mentorship to students as well. And so that’s why I have enjoyed that transition to be able to, to be more involved in that aspect of it. And then, as you sort of mentioned, I do a lot of work with the media and for me part of that is really centered around, centered around um focusing on mental health awareness and really sort of letting individuals know that therapy is useful for everyone and that you don’t have to necessarily have a diagnosis, and particularly trying to break down some of the barriers around mental health youth within communities of color.|
|00:03:13 Bradley||Well, thank you for that summary you, you saved me some time later on, but what we usually do on the on the podcast is really understand, you know, which schools you went to, how you decided to go into those schools and specific programs. So, we usually go in chronological order, tell us a little bit more about your undergraduate experiences at Louisiana State…for example, how and why did you choose LSU for your BS?|
|00:03:37 Earl||Yeah, so I am a Louisiana native. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, which is where LSU is located and so I made that decision to go to that school primarily ’cause I wanted to stay close to home. And so, they have a really strong psychology program there for both the undergrad as well as the doctoral program. And so, it felt like the best fit for me, at that time, to get my, my training, as well as being able to, to get some additional experience from experts within the field. I will say that as many people sort of do, I made a shift from focusing in on psychology later in my undergraduate career. And so, I actually started off majoring in microbiology with plans to be a pediatrician and go to medical school, and I took, um, I took a child psychology course, I think, my second year of undergrad and it just felt like that was, that fit better with who I was and sort of what I wanted to do in terms of helping children and families.|
And so, I changed my major to psychology and then began to, to do more work with some other professors there at LSU where I had some opportunities to, to learn more about clinical research and, and, and had a chance to work with one professor there who was working at a, um, hospital and they had a outpatient clinic focused on ADHD. And so, I had an opportunity to assist with some research in that area, as well as just sort of supervise what some behavioral consultation looked like with, within a integrated sort of behavioral health setting, and so, that sort of again validated my interest in, in being able to do that work in and, and my desire to, to specialize in child psychology as I continue throughout my career.
|00:05:36 Bradley||Well, thank you for that summary ’cause my next question would have been when did you know you were going to focus on psychology, and you already answered that. And after you attended LSU you actually went to Texas A&M for your master’s and your Ph.D., and you decided to focus more on clinical psychology. So why Texas A&M and tell us a little bit about your thought process there.|
|00:06:00 Earl||Yeah, so I, I applied to several schools I, I think for me it, I didn’t have like a long list of, of 10-15 schools, I think I had about 5 to 7 schools that I applied to at the time. And, for me, as I sort of made some decisions about that I’m really trying to find a place where there was faculty that, you know, had some experience in the areas that I wanted to focus on, and particularly thinking about child psychology. So, the programs that I considered looked at those particular areas and I ended up deciding on Texas A&M because of a faculty person there that was doing, um, some work and had specialization in clinical child psychology. And I also got a diversity fellowship to attend the university as well, so obviously like that swayed my decision a little bit. Being a first-generation college student having that sort of financial support was really helpful for me throughout my graduate training. As we know, graduate degrees are not cheap and so that really that did help sort of take some of that that load up of debt that can be, that can result from attending graduate programs.|
|00:07:19 Bradley||Was it an easy transition for you going from one state to Texas like that or were there some difficulties in in getting used to the culture? Talk about that for a second.|
|00:07:32 Earl||Yeah, I mean, I think you know Texas is not that far from Louisiana and so it, it, that helped a little bit. Being able to come to visit, you know often. Uhm, and so being able to, you know, make a drive home to see family was definitely something that was helpful for me in terms of, of being in graduate school and, uhm, and I think adjusting to some other culture. So, I mean a lot has changed at A&M over the years, in terms of diversity, it’s still a small college town, and so I think there is some similarities in, in that aspect for me in terms of going to LSU where it’s a very, it’s a, it’s a college town so the surrounding area that was sort of similar at A&M to what I had experienced at LSU, and so it wasn’t that big of a difference in, in jump, but I will say that being able to like be a little bit closer to home so I didn’t have to worry about like booking a flight, you know, to travel made it easier for me to sort of be able to, to go home and visit, you know, during holidays.|
|00:08:49 Bradley||Yeah, you’re not alone. A lot of people do go a little closer to home when they go off to school, and then after that maybe they are a little bit more brave and more confident going to a school farther away from their home or where they grew up. You had mentioned, yes, it was nice because a faculty member was doing the same kind of research that you were very interested in, ah, the financial backing and the, and the help there and then being close to home are some of the main reasons. In hindsight, when you look back to both your master’s, doctorate, and even your undergrad, were there other factors that came into play and, if so, what were those and, and what kind of advice would you give our audience? Your, you have one experience and, and you chose schools for certain reasons, but in hindsight, now that you’ve been through this and a professor for a while and on tenure track, what kind of advice would you give to students who are looking to go to a Graduate School in psychology?|
|00:09:52 Earl||Yeah, I mean, I think you know definitely doing your research to figure out, uhm, sort of, what their graduates are doing and so, for me, in terms of factoring into my decision, that was one of the questions that I looked at is you know where are, where, where are their graduates currently working? At the time, a lot of the graduates from the university were doing clinical work and so for me that was something that I had a strong interest in doing. Being able to sort of have those tools to be able to provide treatment intervention was important to me because I recognized that there, there are not as many, you know, black psychologists. They are busy in the profession and so being able to address some of that need was important to me and so that factored into my decisions to sort of look at programs that had graduates that were doing clinical work and that had been able to, you know, get licensed and, and I don’t know if we’ll get into sort of, you know, some of the challenges around that, but having that knowledge was really important for me.|
And, and the other piece of that was knowing that having a graduate degree also provided some opportunities to potentially teach as well, and so I wanted to be able to have that balance, and I feel like for me that decision to go to A&M provided opportunities for me to sort of get the strong clinical foundation and background that I wanted to, to be able to go out into the profession and, and become licensed, but also to get some experience to, to be able to teach as well. And so, I think as, as students sort of evaluate their decisions, thinking about, you know where graduates, asking questions about the faculty support. I know that in my current role, students that I’ve interviewed that’s a big question and, and valid question that you know I’ve had students ask about how much support they get in the program. Uhm, and so, I think that you know that’s a really important question for students to ask as well so that you can be successful. It’s, it’s a lot of hard work, and so you do want to make sure that you have the support that you need and the resources as well.
|00:12:07 Bradley||Very good advice. Uhm, you mentioned one thing that I was going to ask a little later on, but I’ll ask it now because it’s a good transition. You had mentioned that there aren’t many black psychology faculty, let alone black psychologists, in the United States and based on my research, I found that the, the vast majority are white between 70% and 88%. Why do you think? And I know that some of your work is focused on trying to debunk the myth and, and overcome this challenge of people of color being afraid or, or almost not knowing how to get started into this field. So why do you think there is such a disproportionate number of culturally diverse psychology professors in the academic field?|
|00:12:55 Earl||I mean, I think one of it is sort of the, the stigma that comes along with it and so obviously I think if, if a community is reluctant to use therapy or mental health services then it may make some individuals also reluctant to like go into that profession because of how they may be perceived as individuals working within those systems. I think the other challenge that comes up and this is something that I have really been trying to advocate for and, and, and to support in many different ways, is that for some individuals they don’t have the support to like learn about how to get into those programs, and so what does that process look like and, and how do you prepare yourself to be potentially competitive to get in, to get into those programs? And then the costs? I mean, I think I, I, I published a article a couple of years ago and it really focused on looking at for, for black males specifically on what are some of the reasons why they don’t decide to go to graduate programs? And obviously we can have a, a lengthier conversation about some of the challenges around that but, from that survey data that I had collected, some of the things that that sort of stood out were some of the financial obligations. There’s a huge time commitment to go into a graduate program that sometimes doesn’t make it easy for you to, uhm, to work and go to school, and so that you know, you know, prevent some people from, from focusing in on their education piece because they do have to provide, you know for themselves or for their families. And so, I think that’s another factor because of some of the systemic issues within academic universities that make, make it difficult to diversify the profession as well and we can. I mean again, talk about some of the bias within application process and those after things that also prevent getting more individuals from diverse backgrounds into the profession as well.|
|00:15:06 Bradley||Yeah, you mentioned a couple things that I have found in my research as well. The stigma that goes along with it sometimes in in different areas, financial and then just not knowing where to start or who to reach out to and, and contacts and support and then the, the fear or concern of having, uhm, support if, and when, you do get admitted, is this a good school that will, will help support me and my background and my way of thinking and how I want to approach this. And so, I think those are very valid reasons and that leads us to the question, well, how can we help increase these numbers? You already mentioned a few ways. Obviously helping overcome the stigma, your work within the field as well within your communities is helping, and we’re going to talk about Therapy for Black Kids a little later on and, and other things that you have done. Well, let’s finish talking about your academic journey a little bit. What did you do immediately after finishing your doctorate?|
|00:16:08 Earl||Yeah, so uhm. As a uh, clinical psychology graduate, we have to, to do internship and then we have to also get those additional hours to be licensed. And so, once I finished my degree, I did a two-year clinical postdoc fellowship in Baltimore, MD through the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which is a Children’s Hospital that’s affiliated with, with Johns Hopkins University. And so, I did a two-year postdoc there working in a behavior management clinic focusing on a variety of issues with children from things like ADHD, to, to sleeping and toileting issues, to more disruptive disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder. And so that allowed me one opportunity to get some more clinical experience, but also to, to get those hours that I needed to be able to get licenses. So that’s what I did immediately after graduate school and then, once I got my hours, I got licensed in the state of Maryland and then I accepted a, uh, a clinical faculty position in, in Richmond, VA to Virginia Commonwealth University. And so there, I worked at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children for a couple of years, providing primarily outpatient services to children and families but also did some work with inpatient services as well as providing some supervision through there APA accredited internship site. And so, we, we had interns that also worked there, and so I did some supervision of trainees there for a little bit of time while I was working there so that was sort of my transition from graduate school directly into the profession.|
|00:18:02 Bradley||Well, thank you for confirming that. I didn’t see the dates of your graduation. I knew when you started going into your postdoc and then after that you went to VCU School of Medicine as well. I think in 2012 and 13 and then I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, after that you had the opportunity to go to the University of Houston Downtown in 2014 as an assistant professor of psychology, so you basically moved from, I believe, Virginia to Texas. So, you’ve been all over. Tell us how you decided to go to UHD.|
|00:18:36 Earl||Yes, so part of that decision was really uhm, getting back into doing some, some teaching and research and so after working in a space where I was doing clinical work full time, you know working, you know 60 plus hours and not really having some dedicated time to, to write, I wanted to sort of make a transition to be able to, to have time to do more writing and do some more research. And so, I made that decision to, to look for faculty jobs and landed at UHD and taking me back to Texas, which was again, a great opportunity to be a little bit closer to home to family in Louisiana. And so, I accepted that position primarily teaching undergraduate students. So UHD is a undergraduate campus, primarily Hispanic-serving institution and so being able to sort of provide some mentorship to students of color was something that I really enjoyed about that particular university, and that I was also able to, to get back into to writing and doing some research and, and really getting back to publishing because there was a, a break of time when I was a postdoc where I didn’t get a chance to, to get, you know, continue my publishing and so I, I, I think if I recall the timeline correct, I had published some part of my dissertation during postdoc and then when I started my first position at VCU there was a, a gap in terms of me being able to submit anything for publication because I didn’t have time to do that and so I submitted a second, uhm, second part of my dissertation data. I think when I was at UHD, so that sort of spearheaded me being able to get back into my writing.|
|00:20:48 Bradley||Well, hopefully you saw I shared the screen and here’s a nice earlier picture of you at UHD as well. Nice smile and, and gave some good background on what you’re doing. It even talked about your courses that you taught for the undergrad, and then you know some of your qualifications and, and more information that you had here as well so it was kind of nice doing that. That’s the fun part of doing all this research is finding all this stuff, and your academic journey. And then now you’re at Pepperdine University. And when did you start at Pepperdine? I know that you were at UHD for a one or two or three years, and then you, you went to Pepperdine, tell us a little bit more about that.|
|00:21:27 Earl||Yeah, I was at, I was at UHD for I wanna say about four years actually. So, I transitioned to Pepperdine, ironically, six months before the pandemic.|
|00:21:34 Bradley||Oh, wow.|
|00:21:40 Earl||It’s, it’s been an interesting transition and, and I haven’t been here as you know, going on, I guess, going on two years now that I’ve been here on, on faculty and tenure track position as an assistant professor. And so, it’s been great so far. Obviously transitions, you know, take some time, and the pandemic has not helped with adjustment, but so far, I’ve enjoyed being able to continue doing some teaching and some other work that I’ve been able to do with, with media and, and other things that I have going on related to media psychology.|
|00:22:16 Bradley||Well, good and for the audience, I wanted to kind of remind everybody that Pepperdine is a private Christian research university. It was actually founded by entrepreneur George Pepperdine in South Los Angeles about 1937. They expanded to Malibu in ‘72 and now you have multiple locations in, in various areas as well. And so, how did you decide, you gave us the background on how you ended up at UHD, how did you decide to apply for, and eventually accept going and working at Pepperdine?|
|00:22:50 Earl||Yeah, I, I think you know leaving UHD was a difficult decision because it was me leaving, being closer to home in Louisiana, but at the same time I’ve always wanted to have more opportunities to mentor students and particularly students that are interested in going into the profession as therapists, and counselors, and psychologists, and so after being at UHD for some time and not being able to do that because I was working with undergrads I, I went on the on the, the job market and landed at, at Pepperdine. And so, as you sort of mentioned, Pepperdine has several different graduate programs. Right now, I’m teaching uh, in a mixture between the master’s program that we have and, they have several different master’s programs and also the Psy.D. programs, so Doctor of Psychology program here, and so that decision for me to, to start at Pepperdine was really focused in on being able to provide some more mentorship to, to graduate students and, and to teach in the graduate program. And so, I have enjoyed that so far. It’s great to have some, a little bit more connection to sort of the clinical area, since I’m not actually doing therapy right now and so I can sort of share my clinical experiences with students that are interested in, in going into the fields that they can sort of learn a little bit more outside of just what, what’s in the textbooks that they may be reading.|
|00:24:35 Bradley||Yeah, so that’s a nice summary of, of Pepperdine, and you mentioned that you are on the tenure-track, and I don’t want me to dive into this too much, but I know that different universities and different colleges and schools and programs have different criteria depending on if they’re research one, two, or three institutions. So, Pepperdine, kind of give us a high-level view of, you know, what is it going to take you to get tenure and what are they looking at.|
|00:25:02 Earl||Yeah, well, I mean there’s a lot of similarities, and as you sort of mentioned, it does differ across universities, but in terms of the areas of focus that they’re looking at, you know teaching, scholarship, as well as service or some of those same areas that, that are, are going to be looked at. Here, in terms of mounting a process, I think that the additional area that is focused on given as you sort of mentioned a second ago related to the connection with sort of Christianity and, and, and spirituality is sort of that commitment to, uhm, to, to Christianity and so that’s another area in terms of like my own involvement in, in sort of my own identity related to, to religion, and so I, I do consider myself to be a religious person, and that was also something that I sort of considered when I applied for this position and, uhm, and gave me a different opportunity to be able to sort of connect my own sort of faith to the work that I do, and in some other areas specifically connected to my research, I’m looking at African Americans or the black community and sort of understanding how religion and spirituality are helpful parts of resilience, but also, uhm, looking at what’s that connection between therapy use as well and so there has been historically some research that really has looked at, you know, for individuals that may have a strong sort of spiritual religious connection, that that could potentially also serve as a barrier for them in terms of seeking services. Because they may have preferences for seeking out religious or spiritual coping practices, or, or pastoral types of counseling as well. And so that has been a consideration for me in terms of this particular position of being able to sort of continue that area of my research, which really also is connected to some of the focuses within the university.|
|00:27:12 Bradley||A lot of community-based research and, and direction and looking at all of your vita and your current research as well. You had mentioned earlier that one of the reasons why you attended the university was the faculty, and then obviously some monetary backing and a fellowship and, and that sort of stuff, I usually ask this of all my guests because our guests are usually asking, well, any advice for us regarding funding or other alternatives. Anything that comes to mind for you, your experience and then other advice that you give students in terms of hey, I can’t afford it so what other alternative funding are available out there?|
|00:27:56 Earl||Yeah, I think you know one of the things that I oftentimes talked a lot about with some of my undergraduate students is really considering like what is your timeline? So, if you have a family or you are working full time, are you flexible with the idea of, of doing a part time on a graduate program, which is going to take longer, but you can still sort of accomplish your particular goal. And so really sort of thinking about that and, and really identifying, like your own timeline about this career process, because I think that just the way that the systems are set up. It’s like you go to undergrad. You might take a break off between undergrad and grad, and a graduate program, but for most people it’s undergrad, graduate program, where that’s master’s then straight into a doctoral program. And then you know, entering into the profession and so really start re-envisioning, sort of what that can look like for you, and being able to sort of find the path that’s going to work best, and that may be, you know, going to a part-time program and maybe going to a master’s program first, which is going to be less and then going into a doctoral program. And then I think you know, really looking for opportunities for different types of scholarships. And so sometimes they’re not always advertised, and so just sort of again, doing your research at the universities to see what is offered, either not just within the department but at the university level, because some universities offer university scholarships that are not just sort of offered through like the department or, or, or advertised through the department. And so, I think those are things that, that students have to sort of consider and look into as well.|
|00:29:35 Bradley||No, very good suggestions and different ways of looking at it and considering hey, this isn’t for me, maybe part time is going to be better for me and it might work out, but at least providing that support and different avenues. I’m going to go ahead and share my screen. Your main website here and while I do that, I should I, I want to congratulate you because I did find out when I was doing the research that you were, recently, you were the first Black male to serve as president of the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, which is the APA Division 37, and I believe that was in 2020. So now you’re, now you’re outgoing and somebody else has replaced you but congratulations, that’s a first. And, and I know that you’re also involved with other areas of APA, also, a member of ABPsi. For those students who want to get more involved in those type of organizations and associations, any advice for them and, and how did you get involved? Kind of answer that while I bring up your website.|
|00:30:37 Earl||Yeah, well first, thanks for the congratulations on, on that role. I as, as you mentioned, have been involved in, in leadership for a long time and so I started my leadership experiences as a graduate student, so I served on a committee for graduate students through the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, which is a student organization within the APA. And so, I started there where I was on a committee for two years, and then I was elected as a student member to serve on the APACs committee as their member-at-large practice focus. And so, I’ve been doing leadership work for about 15 years or so through my graduate career. And so, I usually encourage students that if you want to, one, get some more mentorship or to get more connected to the profession, that student organizations are great ways to do that, and so many associations that professional organizations have student memberships and so join those memberships if you can afford them. Some organizations offer free memberships for students, and so again, you may just have to do a little bit of research and work. For APA there, there’s APACs that you can get involved in each division within the American Psychological Association also, has, you know, student committees oftentimes are ways to sort of get involved. Association of Black Psychologists (or ABPsi) also has a student circle and, and, and they often have many chapters of student circles within different states, which is another way to sort of get connected and, and particularly when you’re in graduate school, you know to, to connect with other students from your own background, and identity can be really helpful and important. And so, look into those opportunities, go to that website, reach out to the student reps for those organizations and find out how you can get connected.|
I, I also recently, I think two years ago now, founded a Leadership Institute for APA division 53 which is Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. And so, we just had our second leadership institute this month and that is really focused on providing some mentorship opportunities as well as leadership development for students from diverse ethnic racial backgrounds as well as thinking about those that may be from other marginalized communities. Suggest within LGBT communities or those with disabilities as well, so just a range of diversity and so that leadership institute was really founded to sort of build the leadership pipeline. And so, I’m, I’m really excited about that and, and to have the support from APA Division 53 to fund that initiative and continue to sort of support students in terms of their own development.
|00:33:51 Bradley||Wow, that was a lot of information. I appreciate you going through that and while you were talking, I was showing your website and then I did show for the audience those two different societies and, and APA divisions…APA Division 37 and 53. And, uhm, you’ve just been so busy and you’re continuing to stay busy even last night, I believe, unless it was cancelled. In fact, you had an event yesterday at Walden University, the “Talks for Good” panel. How did that go?|
|00:34:20 Earl||It went well. So yeah, yesterday was a busy day. Speaking of leadership, I started my day with the, uhm 7:00 o’clock meeting here in California with some API staff and, and some legislatures on, on Capitol Hill understanding concerns around sort of police brutality and police reform. And then, ah, that’s a busy day and, and sort of ended my day with this panel discussion with Walden and then I did a, I’ve been doing an Instagram live series for Men’s Health Week on Mental health and so that was after that panel discussion. So definitely, a lot of things going on, but really, I’m excited that about the panel discussion yesterday, particularly talking about sort of the impact of COVID on children and families, and what are some ways that families and schools and communities can help children as we sort of transition back post pandemic.|
|00:35:19 Bradley||Well, I’m glad to hear that you made it through. I applaud, you know, I, I, I’m, I applaud you for getting up early and then starting your day again today and then getting on our podcast. A couple other items, I know that you have to leave here pretty quick and so I wanted to cover these items as well. Tell us a little bit more about your mental health podcast “The Breakdown with Dr. Earl”… when did it get started? How did you come up with the idea? That sort of stuff and I’ll go ahead and bring up that website while you’re talking about it.|
|00:35:47 Earl||Yes, so uhm, I started the podcast in 2019 I think about two years ago, so I just I’m, I’m about to wrap up the 4th season of the podcast and so there are a lot of mental health podcasts that exist and so I was a little bit reluctant to like get into this, the podcast world, at that time, and I had several friends and colleagues that also had podcast, and so after some like continuous encouragement and also me just sort of really thinking about like what am I adding to podcasts. I decided to, to focus on issues related to black boys and men. And so again, for me, the idea about sort of stigma in the black community and really bringing some awareness to different types of mental health issues, but also highlighting, you know, black professionals and therapists and, and individuals that are that are advocates for mental health in the black community to have those conversations. And really adding in the lens of psychology and psychological science to that discussion. So, we’re not just sort of talking about mental health, but also adding that sort of expertise in there as well. And so, it’s been great doing the podcast I’ve. I’ve been really humbled by the guest that I’ve had on it and, and what I’ve learned from them as well throughout this time period. And just being able to sort of share, I think you know it’s often challenging or difficult to have conversations around mental health with, with men. And so, I think the, the podcast has really been helpful to sort of spark some of those conversations and to increase our awareness about, you know, men can also be able to experience traumas and difficulties and be able to sort of navigate those things and that it’s OK to express a range of our emotions.|
|00:37:49 Bradley||Well, I’m glad that you shared that because that leads us into the final topic before I have some fun questions at the end here for you. I, I mentioned Therapy for Black Kids (T4BK). Tell us a little bit more about this…how and when did that get started? and I’ll go ahead and share the website.|
|00:38:06 Earl||Yes, so I started Therapy for Black Kids, uhm, the idea came to me actually during the pandemic, but it wasn’t until earlier this year in February of 2021 that the, the content and the website was released. And really the focus of being able to make sure that we addressed the need of black youth, and so I recognized that in the midst of the subtle racial reckoning this last summer that a lot of conversations were focused in on, on adults and not so much on kids and specifically black kids. And so, I wanted to provide some resources, information for parents as ways to help kids sort of cope and navigate these challenges around dealing with racism and racial injustice, but also the idea of just focusing on, on, on healthy emotional development. And so, I think that’s a part of the development that’s oftentimes left out, particularly, we talk about schools in house schools, don’t really spend a lot of time on sort of about emotionally wearing awareness, and so I really wanted to sort of do this as a way to give parents some tools to do that, and so Therapy for Black Kids we try to host events about once a month, focus on a variety of topics and so at this point, uhm, and, and people can go to the website and get to the social media pages and the Facebook page, but we’ve had events around autism awareness and talking about autism in the black community. We’ve talked about again coping with racism and enforcement, some, some, support for that. We’ve also talked about other ways to engage in some sort of resiliency and racial ethnic socialization through talking about sort of career paths. And sort of career exploration with kids and sort of what that means to, to talk with them about other options that they have in terms of going into careers in science and math or even psychology for example.|
|00:40:15 Bradley||Two last questions before we let you go. Do you have any specific advice for, for black students or particularly black students are interested in attending graduate school for psychology or just in general? Any advice for specifically designed for black students who are interested in furthering their academic career?|
|00:40:39 Earl||Yeah, I mean I would definitely say you know, mentorship is really important and so there may not be opportunities to at your, let’s say, undergrad university to, to have a black faculty person that you can sort of get connected with and so definitely consider going to conferences as an undergrad, that those are really great opportunities to do some networking. And you know, give people business cards or, or find out about their websites and reach out to them and set up a email to maybe ask that same questions. Think about mentoring as not that it always has to be like this ongoing relationship. That’s helpful and that’s great, but sometimes you can, you know, pick someone brain or chat with them for 30 minutes or an hour and get some really helpful information about the graduate school process. And so, I’ve had students reach out to me before and I think last year, sometime, I had like a conversation with, with the student who was interested in going into applying for a, uh, a doctoral program in psychology. And so, you know, giving, giving him some advice about that and, and then talked with him with I, I thought was helpful, and he sort of expressed that to me. So, I would say, you know, reach out to people. Most faculty are pretty open type permitting to sort of communicate and so don’t be afraid to like send an email to say I’m impressed by your work, or I have a interest in a similar topic. Would you have some time to maybe answer some questions about, about getting into a career as a psychologist?|
|00:42:08 Bradley||Very good suggestions. I’d also add that some of our audience have asked a little bit more detail on HBCUs as well, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and we’re, in response to that, we’re working on including a comprehensive list on our website for that, so that’s another way to help out. Some of the fun questions. I know you have to leave in like a minute here. We always ask our guests a couple of fun questions. One is what is your favorite term, principle, or theory, and why?|
|00:42:40 Earl||I, I mean I think for me probably my favorite approach is going to be like looking at cognitive theories, and so I think the way that we sort of think about life and approach life is important and it does shape our interactions and so you know, for me, particularly during the pandemic, I’ve been talking a lot about like giving ourselves grace and like you know, we have to really shift the way that we think about life at this point and even moving forward. And so, I think that would probably be the thing that sticks the most for me.|
|00:43:15 Bradley||OK, and along the same lines, and this is going to be a little tougher for you. What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned in your life?|
|00:43:24 Earl||Uhm, I would probably say like the, the most important thing is to like continue, continue fighting for whatever is important to you. And so, I, I think like for me, understanding like this whole graduate journey being a first-generation college student. I had aspirations to go to the graduate school or get an advanced degree, I didn’t really know what that looked like at the time, and so just sort of continuing to learn and to explore and to get information, and that has really helped me to sort of continue my career and, and sort of continue to advance and grow throughout this profession.|
|00:44:05 Bradley||Dr. Turner, I know you have to get going. I appreciate your time and willingness to share your thoughts and experiences and especially the advice with our listeners. Thanks again for your time. Let’s keep in touch and I will definitely share a little bit more about your work and, and your websites on our website when we actually post this so is there anything else that you’d like to bring up or discuss on this podcast?|
|00:44:31 Earl||That’s it, I think. Again, you can visit my website drerlangerturner.com or connect with me on social media at Dr Earl Turner. And find out more about my work or any sort of events that are going to be coming up.|
|00:44:43 Bradley||I appreciate the time. Have a great rest of the day.|
|00:44:46 Earl||Thanks for having me.|