Dr. Jada Philips originally wanted to be a lawyer. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, WI, she moved to New York with her then boyfriend, now husband, with the idea of going to Columbia University to become a criminal lawyer. Circumstances changed so she adjusted and used her interest in psychology and her psychology classes toward earning her Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College in NY. Dr. Philips describes this part of her journey as going with the flow.
In this podcast, Dr. Jada Philips (known as “Dr. J”) recalls her academic and professional journey leading up to her opening her own private practice in New Jersey called “Reserved For You Psychological Services.” She shares her experiences and thoughts in hopes of helping those interested in the field of psychology or wanting to become a licensed psychologist and opening their own business. She admits there were some challenges along the way but said “I have pushed beyond what people said I could do.” She shares some of the challenges associated with starting your own private practice. She also discusses how and why she earned two master’s degrees and why she decided to receive her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Walden University.
Throughout the podcast, Dr. J offers practical advice to those who are seeking a graduate degree in psychology and those wanting to become a licensed psychologist. For example, she states “definitely speak with enrollment staff about the whole licensing requirements for [your] state. Find out how many hours you need. Find out how the school assists in getting those hours or having connections to other businesses or other mental health professionals that can help get those hours.” Dr. J also recalls how many clinical hours were required to receive her New York psychologist license and how important it is to find the postdoc opportunities and those people who can sign off on your hours.
When asked if she had any additional advice for those wanting to break into the field of psychology or open their own private practice, she offered these encouraging words “if you’re willing to do it, step out on your own” and “I would say do it if you want it. If that’s where your interest is at, don’t let anything hold you back.” She also shared that she joined a group on Facebook called “Clinicians of Color [in Private Practice]” that helped her overcome some of the challenges of thinking through and starting her business. She said that there are many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) therapists in the group and many people who own their own private practice who share their information and stories which helped her and can help others wanting to open their own psychology private practice.
Near the end of our discussion, I learned one thing that is unique about Dr. J, she loves giraffes. When she was younger, she remembers everybody liking a certain animal, usually one of the common animals like a cheetah or elephant. She loves giraffes because they are so unique and different. With this in mind, I believe she would enjoy, and agree with, the following advice “Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out and reach for your goals.”
Interests and Specializations
Dr. Jada Philips has over 14 years of mental health experience and she specializes in individual therapy, testing and assessments, and private consultations. She develops individualized therapy treatments for people suffering from trauma, grief, anxiety, depression, and loss. Her treatment approach is centered on the person as a whole. She also has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate.
Bachelor of Arts (BA), Criminal Justice (2005); Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, WI.
Master of Arts (MA), Forensic Psychology (2008); John Jay College (CUNY), New York, NY.
Master of Arts (MA), Forensic Mental Health Counseling (2010); John Jay College (CUNY), New York, NY.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Clinical Psychology (2015); Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.
Post-Doctoral Psychology Respecialization Certificate, Forensic Psychology (2017); Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.
Other Sources and Links of Interest
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 welcome Dr. Jada Phillips to the show. Dr. Phillips is a mother, wife, Veteran, psychologist, and entrepreneur. She is the owner and CEO of Reserved For You Psychological Services in New Jersey. She received her BA in Criminal justice at Mount Mary University, and she received 2 master’s degrees from John Jay College (one in Forensic Psychology and the other in Forensic Mental Health Counseling). She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Walden University. Today, we will learn more about her academic and professional journey and discuss the joys and challenges of starting, and running, your own business. Dr. Phillips, welcome to our podcast.
Thank you for having me, I’m excited to be here today.
I’m excited to talk to you as well. I see that you received your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and you were a litigation paralegal at two different firms. So, tell me, what sparked your interest in psychology?
Well, I originally wanted to be a lawyer, actually. So, when I finished my bachelors at Mount Mary, I moved to New York to be with my then boyfriend, but now husband. So, when I moved the idea was to go to Columbia University and I’ll be this prestigious lawyer, criminal lawyer that, that didn’t quite pan pan out the way I planned so come, I don’t know, I think it was a year into being in New York, I wasn’t ready yet for law school, so I was looking at other options, other avenues. I found John Jay which is the School of Criminal Justice. More than thrilled to kind of go there. And originally ’cause, I wanted to be like this FBI agent, not after lawyer, but I want to be this FBI agent idea was like to do crime scenes. Like if I can’t do the lawyer, let’s do crime scenes. So, what happened was I didn’t have enough science credits to do forensic science. However, I did have psychology classes from my undergrad that I could do forensic psychology. So that’s how I kind of got more into the psychology field and then it just kind of bloomed from there. That’s kind of that journey. It’s kind of like following, just following where things, go with the flow.
Well, it sounds like it. You kind of addressed. My next question is how did you end up at John? Is it John K college?
John, John J.
OK. John Jay College and was it more for the program or was it just convenience that you were able to apply some of your psychology to that to go ahead and go toward your Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology?
Uhm, I think it was more trying to stay in this criminal justice forensic field ’cause I figured, still in my mind, at some point to be a lawyer, criminal lawyer. So, I figured, at least for now, to stay somewhere in the field and then eventually attempt for law school which I did attempt and then I went a different direction.
OK, well I’m impressed. You actually must have loved your, your first master’s degree because you decided, hey, I just finished this, I’m going to go back and get my second master’s in forensic mental health counseling. So why did you go back to earn a second master’s degree?
That’s another funny story. Uhm, so when we, I was in my last semester of the forensic psychology program where they introduced this forensic mental health counseling program. And they explained it to us ’cause, the forensic psychology does not come with a license. So, when you’re done work wise is not as easy finding employment more maybe in the academic fields teaching, but they introduced this mental counseling as something where you can get hours towards licensure and become a counselor. So, my last semester they offered for a lot of us to switch over to that program. And they’re only going to allow like a 12-credit transfer and I’m like, you’re crazy, I’m about to graduate, I’m not gonna start all over again. So, I graduated and then they offered for us to transfer all our credits. So technically I went back with only maybe I think 10 or 12 credits to do 3 classes, something like that. So really, just going like opportunity, get an additional degree, get the license to actually be a counselor. And then it’s also like, to me, it was like a free degree. Three classes and then I get another degree. So, I took a couple of friends with me. I think three or four of us went back and finished out for that second masters.
That sounds like a sweet deal, and I’m glad that you held out you that negotiation tactic worked you said, are you crazy? I’m not going to do that. And then you go ahead and get your degree and then they come back, oh, we want you back, so come on. No, that’s good. That’s a sweet deal. At what point did you know that you wanted to continue your graduate career ’cause after that you attended Walden University for your PhD in clinical psychology. So, at what point did you know during that second master’s program that, hey, I want to continue my graduate work?
Well, this will come in handy for people in their master’s program, so nobody really explicitly said they did it. Or maybe I wasn’t listening ’cause, you know, you’re young. Uhm, I had no idea how this whole hours thing works. So, once I finished and I wanted to get hours and you did about 3000 postgraduate hours, which is about two years or so of working full time, uhm getting hours towards your licensure, however, when I graduated nobody you wanted to hire me so it’s like you don’t have experience, but I need experience to get licensed. So, it was frustrating, so I was in a role, at the time, where I wasn’t doing like client hours, so I couldn’t collect hours, and that was frustrating. So that’s when I decided to take my LSAT to go to law school. But I’m not a person that likes to study, so I kind of like just took it off of a whim. I didn’t do too bad for not studying for that test, but it wasn’t enough for me to go to Colombia because, obviously, you need like a top-notch score for that school. So, the other route was, hey, what about a PhD in psychology? Kind of like what I’m learning here. And then when I get my doctorate, you cannot not hire me. You have a doctor, like, you have to hire me. And that was really honestly the thought process. Like, I’m going to get hired.
Do you remember, you brought up a good point, you know, for licensure you have to have so many hours, credits and then you have to show that you have done it in certain areas. Sometimes it’s individual, group or, or family. Do you remember how many hours, are you referring to in New York, the state of New York? OK, do you remember how many hours were required when you were going through?
Hey, it was on the state of New York. Ahh, 3000 in order to get licensed postgraduate. So, once you graduate you have to do 3000 hours in the field. Client, and it’s not all client face to face, it’s they, I don’t remember what it breaks down to, but usually like a certain percentage with supervision, a certain percentage with clients, a certain percentage with, uhm, paperwork or maybe administrative or testing. I honestly don’t remember what it breaks down to, but it’s about 2 hours 2 hours, sorry, two years’ worth of getting hours before you can actually take the test. And if you pass and then you get the license.
And a lot of guests have highlighted that it’s not a given that you’re going to find people that will sign off on those hours too. So, you have to find that opportunity or opportunities to go ahead and work on that and then have people sign off for those hours. You mentioned it a little bit, already, but how and why did you select Walden University for your PhD? Were you’re considering other schools or programs and, if so, why did you go to Walden?
Uhm, well, there my whole masters. I was working the paralegal jobs, I was working, at least in the beginning, full, full time doing paralegal but that was per diem. Eventually I did get a full-time job and for, uhm, foster care, so I was working especially like 9 to 5 jobs I was doing going to school at night. So, I, I wanna say I’m no, I don’t think I applied to a PhD program but I that was brick and mortar. But I did look at like John Jay and a couple other schools, but their acceptance rate was, I don’t, it was something low, maybe 12 to 20 students. It was something lower. I’m like, do I want to pay all these application fees and possibly not get accepted? And then I have to do school at night and work during the day, and it was literally I’d get out of work. And luckily, I worked at Rockefeller Center if people know in New York City, I was on 6th Ave and like 52nd Street. John Jay was on 59th, so all I had to do was walk up seven blocks and like shoot over like two other blocks and I can go right to school. But if I would have done other programs depending on brick and mortar it’s travel on top of work so that’s when I don’t even know how I found Walden. But the online idea was perfect. I’m like, I’m tired of going to school. I can work and do school from, you know, home, at least at the time, because Walden does have face to face as well. But it was just an ideal situation and that’s how I ended up going with them.
Ok, do you recall having kind of a priority? What was most important for you? Was it location or ease of being able to get in the grad? You know, the acceptance rate or what was really important to you when selecting that graduate psychology program?
Uhm, a little bit of both, definitely.
It was definitely a location of fact that I can go online, I don’t have to worry about traveling to a school after my workday is done because I was tired. Ah, and then the other part was I want, you know, I’m not making a lot of money living in New York City. It’s expensive. So, I’m like, do I wanna dish out $150 to $200 per application and then get denied? And I and I’m not saying Walden had a higher acceptance rate. I think it was just, I don’t know what their acceptance rate was, honestly. It was just at that point when I decided online was it then I’m like, let’s just submit everything I need to submit and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I wasn’t like I have to do this. It was more so go up the floor. I’m not even lying. It’s like, if this works, I’ll go this direction if it’s not I’ll go a different direction.
Sure, sure. Well, it sounds like you were going with the flow, and you were very flexible and, and it definitely from what I see in your journey, it definitely worked out. Any advice for those who are seeking a graduate degree in psychology? Now that you’ve gone through it, any advice for those who are seeking a graduate degree in psychology?
Yes, definitely speak with enrollment staff about the whole licensing requirements for their state. Find out how many hours you need. Find out how the school assists in getting those hours or having connections to other businesses or other mental health professionals that can help get those hours. Uhm, talk about ’cause Walden is a non-APA school. And I know they’ve been working towards being APA accredited, that’s the American Psychological Association. They’re working on getting it, but they’re not there yet so what I never understood probably till was almost like my third year in is and you have a non-APA, a PhD degree, you can’t get board certified, and you’re kind of blacklisted in certain areas. Like, I can’t. I was in the military, but I can’t work as a psychologist in military ’cause I don’t have an APA accredited degree. So those are things that I didn’t understand or know until I was already like full force in the program, and it was like you can’t switch. We don’t offer this, but you can switch and at, at that point I’m not going to switch already have all this time put in and the credits aren’t going to necessarily transfer over to the brick-and-mortar schools. So, I finished and luckily, I’m at where I’m at, but definitely think just to like really understand and ask questions about because I had no clue what I was doing at that point.
Very good point. We have talked about the difference between APA accredited schools and non-APA and the impact it has on your career. Potential and where you can actually practice after you receive your PhD. Getting back to, you know, in hindsight, now, looking at your application process, when you were kind of looking, not only applying, you already mentioned, hey, be aware that every application has a fee to it and you have to kind of stay within your own budget, uh, anything else that you could suggest for those who are going to go through that, that process of searching for graduate schools or programs? Any advice for them?
Um, at least in the process, it’s honestly just what works for you. If you have a support system where you’re at, maybe stay closer to that because it’s a lot of work being in the graduate program, so when you have support of family or friends, it makes it a lot easier to like work through that. I was more newer to New York, so I didn’t really have much at the time, but luckily, I have one friend. We paired up together and did a lot of our work and to this day, I mean, we don’t talk on that level anymore. But when she ended up leaving New York, I wrote like this whole card thanking her. Like you were literally my Angel because I don’t know how I would have like made it through that time without her. So, I would say stay where support is and if you’re going to venture out. Keep people close in that process, but yeah, it and like you said, it’s all about staying in the budget because student loans, all that good stuff that comes with is I’m paying for it now, but I’m OK, it’s fine.
The other thing when I was going through Graduate School is I, I didn’t realize at the time, and now I do afterwards, is if you, if you know you want to go to Graduate School, consider going through a master’s program or a PhD program, but more and more PhD programs offer a stipend and or tuition waiver or funding for 3-4-5, just last week on my last guest, she was fortunate enough to have six years of guaranteed funding, and I haven’t heard that in a long time. So, I guess my message to everybody is that if you’re considering going through for your PhD, instead of doing a steppingstone of a master’s program and then apply it to a PhD, apply directly to the PhD program because your likelihood of getting funding throughout that whole program is much greater than if you just do a masters only and then try to continue. Any other thoughts on that?
I mean, I didn’t even know that, so it’s something I learned today.
I also never, at least in my time, never imagined a PhD he would have asked. No way am I doing all that work. That’s ridiculous. I’m dissertation, never. So, it wasn’t even in my mind set to go that far. But now that I know you’re right, I, I have an assistant that works for me. She’s in a masters to PsyD program, so it’s like 1 shoots right into the next and I think you shave off a year of schooling as well.
Yeah, yeah, the funding is there. You might get it done sooner. And then you basically get your masters en passant or en passant, in passing, for that, and then you have all of your degrees there. Now, here’s I’m going to give you a little bit of information leading up to this next question ’cause I, I loved, before we started recording, I told you one of my fun parts of my job, preparing for these interviews is to look at everybody’s journey, and you worked as a psychological, psychology associate for your practicum at Children Service Center and you completed an internship as a pre doctoral psychology intern at Community Education Centers. Then you also worked as a behavioral specialist consultant/mobile therapist, which was interesting, at NHS Human Services. Many of our audience members often wonder how our guests find these opportunities. Can you remember how you found some of these and, and do you have any advice for those who are looking for these types of opportunities while they’re in Graduate School?
Oh, OK, so, so it’s a bit of a hustle. UM, Walden did provide a spreadsheet of possible placements for practicum and internship. I exhausted that list. I think by chance, children served, is it children, CSC, Children Service Center, uhm, at the time when I reached out, they didn’t have anything for in a practicum, so they kind of spoke with their psychology director and pulled me in kind of last minute to get that going. So hopefully I’m praying that kept continuing for other Waldon students after me, but I exhausted their list. And then when I got to Community Education Center, CEC, that was a program tied into the jail systems. It was a alternative to incarceration program they had. And that was also a last-minute opportunity. I exhausted Walden internship list, called everybody, I went on Psychology Today called all these private practices. Anybody looking for an intern that they could teach me and obviously it’s free work for them that could get done and by chance, I’m not even sure how I got. I don’t know. I called Community Education Center, and they called me back, or if it was another student that told me about the opportunity ’cause there’s a few of us that did it that year. But it was really, uh, huh. I’m not gonna lie. It could have been an easy I give up and then it just stopped there. But it was constant calling, cold calls, trying to find somebody, anybody that would pick it up. So, it’s not an easy task. I’m not even gonna lie about that, not easy at all.
So, jump on it right away and start looking for those opportunities, yeah. For now, over 9 years you have worked at Rutgers University, first as a mental health specialist related to the Vets4Warriors and then as a program director in the Veterans Total Care Initiative Program and then finally being over the, the last 4 or 4 1/2 years of your nine-year stint, you worked as a mental health clinician/licensed psychologist, and I’m going to share my screen and kind of walk us through kind of how you found those opportunities and any advice for those who are interested in looking at getting more experience doing that? So, first of all, can you see my screen? OK. And so, like I said, over 9 years at Rutgers and you mentioned at one point I mentioned the Vets4Warriors and then the Total Care Initiative and then you also, before that, worked at the Valley Youth House, and so you have a wide variety of experiences here, but as you said, the CEC is down here. And one thing that I wanted to highlight that you did talk about was the Department of Corrections here. And so, tell me a little bit more about that experience. Not a lot of people (a) would even want to but (b), you know, have that experience working with the inmates at a, at a facility, so tell me what you remember about your experience working with them.
Uhm, that was an amazing opportunity. Working for Rutgers was also, by chance, that day when I got the Vets4Warriors Job, which is a call center, so it was a peer-to-peer, uhm, calls veterans calling in to other veterans for peer support. Uhm, so I started there and that honestly, I think I got in because I was a veteran, but I was applying to anything clinician related at the time, so Rutgers probably other clinical jobs, nothing kind of picked up, but for some reason that one was a brand-new program got hired pretty much like the week after I interviewed. So that’s kind of how I got my foot in the door. So, once I was in, it was, I want to say, easier to navigate Rutgers, but it gave me the opportunity to eventually get to that last spot, which is Department of Corrections. Rutgers has a contract with the New Jersey State prisons so the mental health and medical staff were all under Rutgers and they were hiring at the time, looking for somebody in that position, for that position. And because I wasn’t licensed yet, it was a, you don’t need a license for that position, it was a great opportunity for me to go on as like a postdoc. So, I got my hours when I was there. Uhm, I got a lot of support, a lot of different, obviously, as you know, in prison scenarios a lot of different type of diagnoses, different ways to work in mental health counseling groups, testing. So, it’s like a, uh, a nice pot full of different opportunities to practice in the psychology field.
How was it different? I had one other guest that I can remember that actually worked with inmates. How is an inmate patient different than the public, uh, you know, client? Can you? Does that, does that make sense to you? I’m trying to think of maybe they’re forced to go in? I’m not sure if that was the case in in the facility that you worked, and they don’t want to be here, so that makes it challenging in and of itself. Tell me a little bit about how that is different than your current clients. Maybe that’s a better way to put it.
Uhm, not too much different. Uhm, it was a voluntary…it was just mental health services are here.
If you want, you can use them. The only ones that I want to say are more not volunteers is if you come in on a medication, then you’re required to do therapy in order to continue using medications, so they pretty much had to show up and see us because the fact that they were on meds or wanted and that I should say ’cause, some of them wanted meds and they didn’t necessarily need them ’cause, you know, you in prison, you can’t do much you some of them want just sleep their time away. So, it’s like, give me something that’s gonna make me drowsy.
But other than that, same problems or same issues…depression, anxiety, stuff, maybe more, uhm, what’s the word? Maybe a lot bigger or more present ’cause you’re forced to sit down in a prison and think about your problems. Whatever you’re escaping from, whether it be drugs or, you know you’re out busy, just anybody in normal life. I told the inmates this I’m like this is the time that you get forced to sit down with yourself. We’re so busy in our everyday lives that we don’t get that chance to like really explore ourselves and this is an opportunity for you to really get to know who you are. And by chance it happened during COVID, everybody was forced.
To sit with themselves. So, it’s really a similarity because a lot of clients that come to me now will say like during COVID I was, I noticed this about me or noticed this or this increase and I’m like, this is exactly what happens when the guys came ’cause I work with men and they came into the prisons like now they’re sitting with their, can we swear on here?
Try to avoid it, but you can say whatever you like.
Mostly ’cause I like didn’t be natural, but they have to sit with their shi* is basically what I was saying.
So that kind of happened for people during COVID. If anybody wants some type of relation when we got locked down is like you have to sit with yourself. You’re not busy ripping and running around in life. You actually sit still for a minute. And then you, like, realize that there’s other things going on you’ve been trying to avoid.
OK. Well, thank you. I wasn’t sure how it worked at your facility. It seems like it was voluntary, but a lot of people that were coming in and they were on medication were required to go through the therapy, so. And now currently you are the CEO and Owner of Reserved For You Psychological Services and this is in New Jersey I believe. And so, tell us a little bit more about, you know, first of all, when did you know that you wanted to start your own practice? Let’s start there.
Oh, during COVID. It actually, uhm, it was a, a brief discussion that a colleague and I had a couple of years before COVID we were, we wanted to do, maybe private practice ’cause, at the time I was doing evaluations as a part time job for children, so we thought about opening up something on the side to do autism evaluations ’cause it was much needed. Uh, there was like a backlog. Kids would wait six months to a year to get evaluated for autism. So initially, that’s where the idea got introduced. Nothing I ever thought of doing. Nothing schools talked about or showed us how to do that. So that’s when it got introduced during COVID, a medical doctor committed suicide in New York City because of all the losses, there was too much and, according to friends and family, he didn’t have any mental background, no issues, nothing that they knew of. So, the death was very sudden, very surprising for them. And it just made me really sad to see something like that. And I’m like, I just need to open up my own practice and the initial idea was to go in and do these trauma teams and the hospitals, help out the staff like they’re overloaded there. And I used to run trauma groups in prison, so trauma was something I was into at the time and getting more knowledge and more skill put in there. So, I wanted to have like these trauma teams. Get this private practice going, we’re going to go in, we’re going to provide all these, these therapies for nurses and doctors and that’s initially essentially how it all started. Did I answer your question?
Well, it you, you did and I’m going to share my screen again here because I wanted to highlight your services, some of the general Services that are out there as well, EMDR you also offer and then obviously a Mindfulness-Based Therapy.
You also do some Tele health and your license to do Tele health as well. And then you work with individuals as well as other people. I wanted to give you a moment to talk about you are working on a 12-Week Boundaries Group that is going to be starting up here pretty soon, the day after my birthday actually, in a couple of weeks on Wednesday. And so, tell me a little bit more about what this is about and here’s your little time to try to find more people if you’re looking for more participants.
Yes, thank you. Uhm, so I, I normally do individual therapy because couples and families are not my forte. But what I’ve spoken to with a lot of clients is or at least introduce a lot of my sessions are boundaries in general ’cause it’s a big issue that I noticed with, I want to say I, like all of my clients, every client I ever worked with so I wanted to be able to help more people ’cause I don’t have space to bring on any more individual clients, so trying to find a way to bring on and help more people on a bigger level without needing to take up much time, you know, instead of bringing on 12 people individually, they could meet for an hour and a half once a week. And to me, the boundaries group is a great steppingstone into therapy. So, somebody who’s never done it, it’s a nice way to introduce kind of the flow of therapy ’cause I’ll have a similar setup with the group and meeting, you know, we’ll come in, talk about, you know, how your week was, maybe review homework from the week before and then you know we’re going to go over a topic using exercise with each other to, uhm, understand my topic more and then obviously before people go, I’ll assign another homework assignment. So, it’s kind of got the flow of therapy and it also gives individuals time if there’s a huge backlog of, uhm, people needing therapy. I’ll get, I get calls, and I’m not saying it’s ’cause I’m popular, I just get calls because everybody is getting calls, it’s not just me, it’s the most therapist that I at least have in their therapist community saying like, they just don’t have space anymore. So, there’s a lot of people wanting and needing therapy and I just, there’s not enough therapists out there to help. So, I figured if anything, while you’re waiting to start with somebody, this could be a nice jump in as well as start working on some things. I mean boundaries are huge. So, it’ll provide some relief for you may not answer something that happened traumatic when you’re younger, or may not answer, uhm, helping with ongoing anxiety or depression, but it’ll help set boundaries in other areas of your life that may lessen some of those experiences or symptoms that you have.
OK, well, good. Uh, I know we have a few minutes left here. I wanted to get in a few other questions. Tell us some of the challenges associated with starting your business.
Uh, where to start? Literally, you don’t know where to start. There’s so many different ways to go, and I honestly, luckily joined a group called Clinicians of Color on Facebook. So, you have all BIPOC therapists, not all. By far not all, but a huge chunk like 20-25 thousand maybe in the group. And a lot of them have their own private practice. A lot of people share their info, so that’s kind of where I got a way to start and, and it really honestly was a lot of pulling from different areas. Once you kind of open that window, you can sign up for a free class here and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, everybody sending you stuff. I’m not sure how these lists are take your name, but everybody has something to offer in regards to opening a private practice. So, it was between a book I got private practice, like a checklist on Amazon, maybe $10, and then just being in that group, seeing what people kind of feed in, uhm, and ways to start. So basically, you know, have a business plan, who, who do you want to serve? How do you want to serve them? Get your, uhm, your name or your business ’cause, that’s gonna inform how you’re gonna go with everything else, and then you just kind of build off of that.
And it’s so much I couldn’t even tell you.
That’s good. You gave us a glimpse into what you what you had to go through and some advice. What do you love most about your job?
Ah, working for myself. I get to pick clients that I, I’m not saying, I don’t, I don’t push anybody away. I actually surprisingly, naturally attract people I like working with. I don’t think I’ve ever had to turn anyone down that didn’t fit for me. But it’s just being able to work with clients where like I want someone who is motivated. So, like in the prison system, sometimes you would get people because they had to get meds. They’re not necessarily motivated to do anything they just show up ’cause they have to show up. But I like the way I want to work on stuff, and it motivates me more on stuff, you know, you can only get as much as the other person is if you give 100, I’m giving 100, but I can’t do more work than you’re doing, so I get a chance to have that and my work and I get to make my own hours. Uhm, you collaborate with different clinicians around or just to get like your own peer consultation? But it’s nothing forced on you. And you’re not limited by a wall like. Obviously, people are in the mental health field and they’ll learn if they haven’t learned. Feel like you’re only allowed to make so much money. This bill is make a lot of money. That’s a lot. There’s plenty of ways to be profitable and do the work as you’re doing. I mean it, I don’t. So under, I don’t know what to say the word is, but you can do it and you could do it by yourself. You don’t need to work for a company. I would say you work with the company 1st so you can get idea of how things go and how to work with clients. Once you have that, if you’re willing to do it, step out on your own and you can build on with what your skill set is.
Especially with telehealth now available in person, brick and mortar, uh, many different options out there. Because your therapist, I always ask this question, or I try to remember to ask this question. If you were in therapy, could you describe your ideal therapist?
Probably me. Somebody who’s gonna be open and transparent. Somebody that, uhm, is going to hear and see me. I know you think that sounds cliche as a therapist for some therapists, at least from what I’ve heard, not in my own experience, clients will say like they don’t feel like they’re seen or heard, or some of them get distracted in therapy. Some of them really aren’t listening. Or there’s judgment, which is obviously the opposite of what a therapist should be, but I want somebody who’s going to be real. Tell me things that maybe are, I don’t wanna hear, push me beyond what I’m wanting to do ’cause, you know, we can avoid every day, but I want someone who’s going to call me out on it. Hey, I notice you are kind of avoiding this. Can you? What’s, what is this? Can we talk about this more? Can we go there? What do you, you know, just providing that space for them to feel safe enough to work on things that maybe they want, they want to answer or want to work on with me.
Right. No, that’s a good, that’s a good point. At the end of our conversation, usually I like asking our guests some fun questions. One of them is tell me something unique about yourself.
Uhm, I love giraffes.
You love what?
Giraffes. Really? Where do you think that came from?
Uhm, honestly, when I was younger, I think, you know, everybody likes like certain animal, a cheetah or an elephant like the common ones. So, I was like I want something that’s different ’cause that’s just me, right? So, I like their pattern. And then giraffes are so unique. I was like, I love it ’cause at the time growing up too, Jada now is more common. When I was younger, I didn’t know any Jadas, so, you know, I always felt different and I’m like, OK, I’m like a giraffe we can be the same together.
Nice, nice. What is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?
Uhm, that I use in therapy?
That you used in therapy or that you learned when you’re going through your Graduate School or even undergrad.
Uhm, this is probably where keeping the swearing at a minimum, but almost always in somewhere in a session, and I always ask clients, you know, I’ll say part of my French or I’ll you know, well almost all my clients are OK with it, but I’ll say like, that’s your shi*. When somebody gets defensive is basically comes down to it. So, it’s like if you’re in a situation, talking to somebody or something, somewhere in some sense happens and you feel like a feeling in your chest or you get defensive or you want to react as opposed to just taking a moment to think about something and then respond as what I will say it all the time, that’s your shi*. And I put it on my Instagram before too, but I’ll say, respectfully that’s your shi*.
So, it’s like to check that. What is that? Uhm, so not anything technical theory but if I were to go with like a technique, it would totally be EMDR.
OK, alright. Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of psychology or those who want to break into the field of psychology?
I would say do it if you want it. If that’s where your interest is at, don’t let anything hold you back. Being in a non-APA program, there’s a lot of limits, but I have pushed beyond what people said I could do. Like I, they said that I wouldn’t be able to get licensed, I’m licensed. Uhm, some people look at the degree as sorry. Some people look at the degree as, uhm, something like Walden, that’s not credible. I was once told like I wasn’t gonna bring you on board because you’ve got your degree online like it’s a piece of crap. So, it did stick with me for a little while. I would kind of doubt myself because of the, the degree, but I’m at where I’m at so I can prove that if anything, for myself, that I’m more than capable. So, for everybody to know if you feel limited in programs or where you want to go, that you can do it. Just don’t, don’t let the negativity hold you down because there would be a lot of that.
Good advice and then a good message. If you had the time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do? Unlimited funds, unlimited time to do a project or a trip, what would you do?
I would probably go back to that trauma team idea. Put something together literally from top to bottom if they need research on how it would work, higher up the staff I need to hire, and get them into the hospitals because even to this day doctors and nurses are burned out.
And so, their work is less effective.
That’s a good idea to go back and do that. And again, I’ll put the plug in for, again, if you’re looking for more people for that 12-week boundary group session, you have until the end of the day on September 13th, Tuesday to sign up for that online and virtual Boundaries group. Is there anything else that you would like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?
Not that I can think of, no.
Well, I appreciate your time and willingness to share your journey and your thoughts and your experiences, as well as some of your advice. I don’t think I mentioned it, but a lot of people refer to you as Dr. J, so I’ll close it out by saying Dr. J, thanks again for sharing your story with us.
Thank you for having me. That was fun.