Dr. Lisa Strohman is a licensed psychologist, attorney, author, and speaker. She is known for her work, advocacy, and education around mental wellness as it relates to our digital lives and is an international expert on the intersection of mental health and technology use. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She later earned a PhD and JD by completing a joint integrated program in Law and Psychology at Villanova and Drexel University. Dr. Strohman is the founder/CEO of the Digital Citizen Academy (DCA) and the president of the DCA Foundation. In this podcast, we review her academic and professional journey, learn more about the DC Academy and its Foundation, and discuss her new book Phone Alone.
Dr. Strohman grew up as a country girl who loved being outside with the animals. She originally wanted to go into medicine but realized that it wasn’t for her after her experience dissecting live animals in a lab. She had a psychology professor that she “absolutely adored” and found that psychology “felt natural” and easy for her so she shifted her focus to the field of psychology as she loved studying how the brain works and how individuals interact with each other and the world around them. In addition to her academic studies in clinical psychology and law, she worked as a visiting scholar with the profiling unit at the FBI, worked with law enforcement internet crimes units, and completed her dissertation in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the FBI.
As a result of these experiences, she became passionate about helping prevent and educate students, parents, and educators on issues related to technology use and overuse. She states “DCA was really created out of a social need for what I saw as a clinical psychologist.” Dr. Strohman also has her own private practice but wanted to do more. She shares “I can only do and help one person at a time in an office. But DCA was really built out of my passion for families and kids that were struggling with self-harm and bullying, and the things that were happening online.” She discusses the DC Academy and the DCA Foundation and its goals.
Dr. Strohman shares her advice with those interested in the field of psychology. She shares “if you have that calling in yourself, clinical psychology is really focusing on ‘I want to deal with individuals and help them through therapeutic measures.’” She also believes that it is important to be very empathetic as a therapist and shares her thoughts on the future of mental health and technology.
Dr. Strohman has authored multiple books including Unplug: Raising Kids In a Technology Addicted World (2015), Digital Distress: Growing Up Online (2021), and Phone Alone (2022). She discusses her most recent book and shares how she stays up to date with the latest research and developments in the field of psychology and technology including following Jean Twenge and setting herself up to receive alerts on social media, addiction technology, and problematic internet use.
Near the end of our discussion, Dr. Strohman states, “To me, it’s such a gift to be in this field and I think it’s an honorable field to be in and understand the magnitude of the power that you have in that and use that wisely and use it for good and with a full heart. Because I think that if you can do that, you will change the world in many ways over in this field.”
Interests and Specializations
Dr. Lisa Strohman specializes in developing curriculum to provide education and programs that address challenges children are facing daily through technology. She is known for her education and advocacy around mental health and technology wellness. She focuses on helping teens and college-age students struggling with issues including anxiety, depression, addiction, and technology overuse.
Bachelor of Arts (BA), Psychology (1994); University of California – Davis, Davis, CA.
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), Law (2000); Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova, PA.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Clinical Psychology (2002); Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
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. Lisa Strohman to the show. Dr. Stroman is a licensed psychologist, attorney, author, and speaker. She is a nationally recognized expert on the intersection of mental health and technology use and has been featured in numerous media outlets, including CNN, NBC News, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Stroman is also the Founder and CEO of Digital Citizen Academy. Today, we will learn more about her academic and professional journey, learn more about the DC Academy and discuss her recent book Phone Alone. Dr. Stroman, welcome to our podcast.
So excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Well, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to be with us. I wanted to tell you before we started recording, I told you one of the fun things for me is to do all the research on my guests and you’ve been very busy ever since you went through grad school. So, I’m excited to kind of go through your journey. If you’ve seen some of our podcasts, we go through some of the academic and professional journey then talk about some of what you’re currently working on. And so, to start off though, tell me what really motivated you to pursue a career in psychology?
Well, it’s actually an interesting one. I started out thinking I was going to go into medicine and I had a lab and we had a professor who had live animals that that we were dissecting, and I proceeded to throw up in front of everyone in the class and I thought I, I absolutely this is not my calling. And I had a psychology professor that I just absolutely adored, and it was just felt easy, and it felt natural to me and so I shifted immediately at that point and decided that that was probably better suited for me.
Yeah, you didn’t want to continue throwing up every time that you were exposed to that. So that’s probably a good choice.
So, you, you received your bachelor’s degree from UC Davis. At what point did you kind of know, hey, I wanted to go to UC Davis or other ones. I mean you and I both know California is a big state for psychology and colleges and courses programs. So, what made you decide to go to UC Davis?
Sure. So, I actually I ended up having to pay for my own college. My childhood was kind of tumultuous and so I went to junior college, and we had the ability to have a transfer agreement within California from this junior college and that is when I, I had two offers. I had an offer to go to UC Davis full ride and I had offered to go to UCLA and at the time I was dating my high school boyfriend and I said if you’re not gonna marry me, I’m gonna go to UCLA. But if you, if we’re gonna get married, I’ll stay local. And so, we ended up getting engaged and that’s how UC Davis got chosen over UCLA.
Wow, so a lot of behind-the-scenes decision making.
Now when I did the research, I found your bachelor. I found your JD and your PhD, but I didn’t see if you received a BS or a BA in psychology.
I received a BA in psychology, not BS, and I did a, two minors, one in human development, and then I also did one in memory and aging that which is like a special subspecialty at the time that they had there because I worked in Alzheimer’s work at the time as a lab student had various jobs there.
OK, now one thing that I did notice when I was doing your research on your academic journey, you started work on your JD and your PhD in the same year. Working on a doctorate is challenging enough, but working on two must be, must have been very difficult. So, tell us why in the world did you decide to go ahead and start two doctorates at the same time?
Well, so I was at UC Davis. I was working with a family that had four autistic children, and I was their lead therapist. And and I had worked as in policy and helping them like really navigate through the system for this family. And I had a professor, Dr. Jacqueline Horn and Dr. Dean Simonton, which they were both really instrumental and both of them said that there was programs out there that were combined programs. So, the JD PhD program, at the time that I applied there were three in the country, one was in Florida, one was in Nebraska, and one was in Philadelphia. The one in Philadelphia was the only one that had a clinical psychology emphasis, and so I applied, and I kind of forced my way in. They accept five students a year and, and I had to take tests GRE, GRE Psych, and the LSAT. And so, with my GPA and taking the LSAT twice because they said that I was two points shy of a guaranteed admittance, so I retook it and got the score, and that’s where I ended up.
Wow. So, for our listeners, you were in your JD, at Villanova University of Charles Widger School of Law and your PhD at Drexel University. So how did you decide? Maybe you already answered it, but I’m going to ask again. Is this the reason why you decided on Drexel? Because it was a combined program or. Tell me you know, there are many other graduate psychology schools in Pennsylvania. So, tell me how you ended up at Drexel.
Sure, it was 100% because it was a combined program and in fact when I went there, it was MCP Hahnemann, Villanova, and then there was an acquired an acquisition that occurred in my second year as a master’s student. And then my. So, my masters is actually MCP Hahnemann, and my PhD is from Drexel after the acquisition occurred.
OK. All right. And as I mentioned, you know, for those listeners that are just listening or going to the video and watching Pennsylvania does offer master’s terminal degrees as well as PhD programs in psychology and you can see there’s a ton of them here. Drexel is in both those categories as well. So, if you wanted to learn a little bit more about, if you are in Pennsylvania, what are the programs available, you can visit the website, so that’s a little plug in for those who are interested in that. Any advice, I know I mentioned that it must have been difficult working on both doctorates at the same time. Would you suggest doing that for somebody or what were some of the biggest challenges that you found after you entered the program and, and you were able to work on both at the same time?
You know, I think that the a school that’s going to offer a dual degree program really does well at facilitating how do we manage it. So, for our program it was you did all 1L, so all of the first-year law degree, which is really, really difficult, plus they add on psychometric statistics. So, year one was crushing psychologically, physically and emotionally. But I think that there’s a lot of support because there’s, you know, your cohort is like there’s only four or five students that are in that cohort and you mix with the other students, of course. But, uhm, it definitely is a different field than a traditional track. That that of course I had friends in with those, but it’s definitely something that that they do a good job in if you’re going to, if you’re interested in doing policy or advocacy, which is why I went into that.
And you actually received your PhD in clinical psychology. Any advice to those who are interested in the field of psychology or specifically the field of clinical psychology?
I think that with that, if you have that calling in yourself, clinical psychology is really focusing on “I want to deal with individuals and help them through therapeutic measures.” But I think if you’re gonna get your PhD in psychology and if you want to do even social psychology or other, there’s a lot of different things you can do with a degree that helps the human species in many ways. But with the clinical degree, I think it’s just very interesting to me because I love how the brain works and as individuals, how we iterate with each other in the world.
And we were talking before we started recording that how the brain works and there’s so many different branches out there that you could look at. And so, any advice on how you can decide on which branch of psychology? Or does it kind of come to you instead of you selecting it?
Well, hopefully if you have a an undergrad program in psychology that you’re in there, there’s obviously some people that that are in different majors in college, and then they go into PhD programs. But if you if you do a major in psychology, you’re going to be introduced to various different behavioral and social and all of the different areas. So, once you figure out where you resonate well and and have relationships, my best advice is have relationships with your professors because they’re there to teach and to educate and to support. And they do have office hours and they usually sit there all alone. So, use that time wisely and ask them what is it like and what are those fields and what’s the difference and that’s how I would suggest, like picking where you’re going to end up.
OK. A follow-up question to that in in retrospect, when you look back at the process that you went through and selecting, take your boyfriend at the time out of the equation, making that decision based on that response. But would you do anything differently in terms of the process related to searching for graduate schools and then finally selecting on a Graduate School or program?
Yeah, I would say that the part that if in hindsight if I would look at it it. Is what is the community and the feel of the campus. If you feel happy, healthy and safe in in a campus environment like are people smiling? Does it seem like it fits your personality? Do you feel comfortable? On that campus. You need that in order to be able to really focus in on your academics and be able to like get through some of the harder times so. The people in the environment to me is key, and Davis fit me like I grew up in the country. So, it’s definitely more of an ag school and and it to me, I think I would have been eaten alive if had gone to UCLA, personally, in hindsight.
OK, thank you. Soon after you started your doctorate work, you actually founded Premier Consulting Services in 2000. And I still think that’s going on now. You also worked as a clinical psychologist at LifeScape Medical Associates, and you were the founder and Director of Technology Wellness Center. Currently you now are the founder, as I said in the introduction, founder and CEO of Digital Citizen Academy, which “is dedicated to improving the lives of students, parents and educators by providing resources, tools and the knowledge needed to foster a healthy balance with technology.” I believe it’s one of the first organizations that focus on eliminating issues such as cyber bullying, child luring, suicide through prevention and other programs and resources. Tell us a little bit more about Digital Citizen Academy.
It, DCA, was really created out of a a social need for what I saw as a clinical psychologist. So, I’m extremely busy because what I do and what I see in the world to me is I can only do and help one person at a time in an office. But DCA was really built out of my passion for families and kids that were struggling with self-harm and bullying and the things that were happening online and that that psychology of how do we help and facilitate families. So, we created, I created DCA to do a K through 12 program, to do speaking events and and to really do a supportive measure for families that are struggling and figuring out how do I answer the calling that that that they are having for this this information.
And I should emphasize, it’s not only for students, it helps the parents as well who are going through some of these things. So, I applaud you for having those resources available. I did share that website. We’ll definitely share that when we go live as well when we go live on our website with this podcast interview. A lot more, you have a podcast on there as well. So, tell us a little bit more about the DCA podcast on there. Do you focus more on? Well, I’ve seen some of them, so it’s a leading question. I’ll open it up for you. How do you view using that podcast as a way to get some of this information out there?
I love just learning about people and I love having conversations with people. We talked before the recording here about why people do things. To me, it is how do I help people understand and get their voices shared, and particularly those that have something that they can like give into this space and share about what their experience was with something. So, I started the point because I was like, I wanted to get right to the point with my guests and really find out what was the most important thing through all the noise that we see in the world and in distractions that we have, you know, what’s the key points that we can talk about on, on special issues.
And I’ll bring this up again. And so I I wanted to kind of highlight a couple things should be popping up here in a second, DC Academy and then you can find out a little bit about the steps if you want, are interested here are some examples of the program you give some good examples and then down below the point and this is that podcast. So, you can view all the episodes here. It gives you a little bit more information. And then some testimonials on this page as well. And then finally some of your latest information that you put up here, so very good website. I advise everybody to and suggest everybody to visit this website if you are interested in what she is doing with DC Academy. One thing that I should mention is and and it dawned on me after I looked at it. You know, you’re very. First, coming out of Graduate School, you focused mostly on clinical, and then you started to to draw in this intersection, and it’s actually an intersection between mental health and technology, and more specifically, technology use. What has been some of the most surprising or challenging aspects of this combined work? Combining this intersection of mental health and technology.
I I would say that the probably the most challenging piece is to have our society and and people in general recognize that a device that can be so helpful as a tool and can create so many opportunities in our lives can also be used in nefarious ways by others. And so, you know, I always talk about tech being a tool, not a toy. And what are the purpose of our comments or our statements that we’re putting out in the world? I always say communication has to have a purpose and I got there naturally. I worked in FBI, and I was there when Columbine happened, and so I saw what Eric Harris had posted online and that was really that critical moment for me that I thought. Oh, my goodness. Like nobody’s really paying attention, and this is before social media, but nobody was really paying attention to what the Internet was going to afford and allow everyone to put out there, including these kind of very disturbing difficult things that are out there and so that’s really what from a heartfelt place was how do I get in there and help people understand how to how to use that more responsibly with a moral and ethical compass?
You also have Commander Joseph Leduc. Am I saying that correctly? OK.
Yes, you are.
He’s the law enforcement advisor for DC Academy, and so I like the aspect with your background as well as with his encouragement and then background in law enforcement. He basically helps provide some insight and guidance related to some of these issues. And so, I I I find it interesting and while I was doing this research, Dr. Stroman, it also occurred to me it’s not only kids that may have this addiction, it could be adults as well.
It is adults as well. Yeah, and I, I ask kids that all the time I say, how many of you think that your parents actually have a problem, and all the hands go up. So yes, it is.
It’s a societal problem.
So, it’s not only the kids that would benefit from this, but it’s everybody who is using technology and you have to admit sometimes that you are addicted to it and, and that’s the first step, isn’t it? You know, every recovery program is to admit it.
I I see that you’ve done extensive work with the schools and other organizations to promote healthy technology use and mental wellness. Through, kind of summarize, what are some of the top strategies that you found to be the most effective in engaging and educating these communities and organizations, and how can psychology students apply these approaches to their own work?
Really, fundamentally, I think the educational system struggles with personal devices with kids and distraction. It impacts academics, it impacts mental health that you know that we’re now in this massive crisis, and so now everybody’s starting to pay attention. I think that students coming up and into this space now. It’s not going to go away with AI and Metaverse and all of the things that are coming. It’s really look at how do you give your time or how do you focus in an area where you’ve got a need at the educational level for people to come in and help because they don’t have enough resources at the time? We don’t. We can’t have enough psychologists at a school campus anymore, and we we don’t have the funding or I mean that that system or us, the psychologists can’t fix, but we certainly can look at are there opportunities for practicum and internships and and volunteer hours that we can get experience and help in that in that field. I think it’s it’s fundamentally important because our children are our future leaders of our society, so that’s what I would suggest.
You have a Ted talk. You actually have a couple of them, but I’m going to highlight one on the screen here and this was one of the original Ted talks called Empowering kids to rise above technology addiction. And then you had another one more recent Ted talk as well. But I also wanted to highlight that you had some, let me move this out of the way so I can hide this. You also have a bunch of YouTube videos and here’s one that I I listened to and this was Practical Tips for Kids’ Use of Technology. And then you also have a bunch of other of others on here and going back a year ago, just talking about yourself worth and then you kind of started switching and talking and focusing more on technology use. The the use of technology in and of itself, you know, we’re talking mostly about the phone with the kids and even adults as we mentioned. But the technology, social media, YouTube, Instagram, all of these social media outlets as well could also become addictive. Not only just the phone use itself, but the avenues through which you’re actually communicating, and you said communication is the key and have a purpose behind that. So, what are you, what’s your purpose and what’s your goal behind using some of these Ted talks and YouTube videos for your clients and for your audience members?
Great question. Really, it’s about how do we share the research and the information that we have. And there’s a, there’s a ton of information on problematic Internet use. There’s a ton of information on addiction as it comes to gaming. We are tethered as psychologists into the DSM 5 now. And if there’s not a diagnostic code, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and so my goal is really because we don’t have some of the the labels and the and the resources that are out there is to really identify and say that just because it’s not a substance we have process addictions. And so very similar to gambling, cell phones, social media, those things can have process addictions that are very real that impact our social functioning, our educational or academic, all of our life. So really, it’s just how do we figure out and get that information out there that we are structurally changing our brains. We are actually hindering ourselves in long term places and just share it so that people have that information so that they can make better choices for themselves.
You also have your main website here, DrLisaStrohman.com, which actually has a client portal on it as well. So, I’m sharing your main website here. Has a lot of good information. Here’s the point again, and then a little background on you, a little bit more on DC Academy, and then down below you have the latest book you need to update this. You need to change this with the latest book.
I do need to, thank you.
Yes, you do.
And then you have some you have some posts down here as well, but I wanted to share with the audience that you, you do have that client portal. So, tell me a little bit more about your practice and and your focus on the practice. I know some people are just generalists and they bring and accept anybody. But other times you focus on particular type of clients. So, tell me a little bit more about your clientele.
So, I focus probably about 60% of my time on younger like the teen, college-age students. I really love mentoring and helping them through. I take it very seriously that often times I’m the first person in the mental health field that they’re going to meet, and so I want it to be a really good experience because I want people to recognize that mental health should be about preventative measures and not in crisis, always just in crisis situations where we’re going to talk to someone. And then about 40% of my clients are adults or couples, but I I tend to do a lot of like business. I was, I as an attorney I practice MMA law and health law, so I like that kind of business strategy and focus. So, I so I have an eclectic adult population where I come in and I I don’t as a clinical psychologist cognitive behavioral training. But I take a lot of trainings for my continued education, years or hours that I have to do. But I I tend to in in my practice let the the client come in and tell me what they need, and I don’t have kind of a predefined pattern of what I’m going to do because I, my goal is to be helpful and then for them to kind of take those tools with them as they go, so and then be here as needed and not have to be kind of a long term partner with them all the all the time.
Well, that’s good. And and I like the approach a lot of people don’t like the canned approach and saying, hey, you know, I already have a therapy, you know, session in mine and a program for you. You need to listen to what they want first before you apply anything. I’m sharing my screen and and you have multiple books out there and as I said, you have three of them that are on your website, one is Unplug: Raising Kids In a Technology Addicted World back in 2015. The next one is Digital Distress: Growing Up Online back in 2021 and your most recent one is Phone Alone back in September of 2022. So, tell us a little bit more about your newest book Phone Alone.
So that was just a fun exercise for myself. I go into a lot of schools and talk to a lot of parents, but it really is kind of a a play on a child who has a phone and it’s notifications are distracting them, and they’re, he’s not playing out in the real world. And so, it’s kind of the phone against the real world and it it just takes like like a child to be a parent reading to a young child about and about playing and and how phones can kind of overtake our our lives if we let them so.
How do you stay up to date? I you know this. This is a relatively newer field compared to some other fields. And what I’m referencing is that intersection that we’ve been talking about. So how do you stay up to date with the latest research and developments in the field of psychology and technology and what resources do you find the most helpful?
That’s a great question. I follow obviously a lot of the leaders in the space, Jean Twenge and and those folks. But I do. I put in alerts, so I actually use technology to stay up appraised of what new research is coming out. So, I use Google Scholar for a lot of that where I’ve put in alerts on social media, addiction technology, problematic internet use and so I get the notifications in my inbox and then I go in and I look at the different research across the world globally that comes in to try to stay on top of that.
What advice would you have for some psychology students who are interested in this area and are there any skills or competencies that you think are the most important for success?
I I think that probably the most important is to have a very empathetic curiosity as a therapist. I tell people this all the time. I wouldn’t get very far if I came in with a preprescribed notion of what I think is right and your what you may not agree with me on, but I come in and I’m always very curious as to how did somebody get there. And I’m very empathetic at the at the pieces that came together for that. And so if you’re really want to go into clinical psychology and and with a focus on technology, it is moving at at such a pace that we have to be in this space where we’re gonna learn with our clients and we have to be open to hearing what their thoughts are as we go through and see what their issues are and how we can help them in that space.
And it is. You actually alluded to something that leads me to my next question is what do you see as the future of mental health and technology? What are some of the emerging trends that you see that may have the biggest impact on the field?
You know, I think that the probably the telepsychology part, the psypack, when I was at the APA, we, they were working on getting that approved so that we could do telepsychology and for folks the asynchronous offline kind of therapies that are coming out you know the research is mixed. I I think that some of the things that I see for myself and particularly post-COVID when a lot of people went online, it’s just not the same. If if, Brad, you and I were in the same room together, it would be a different interview than we are using technology in two different states. So, I, you know, I worry and I and I and I would love to have like, I mean, psychologists really interested in the field look at and focus on like where can we improve upon that interaction? And it may be in the metaverse where we have more of a virtual experience when we’re there, but that’s all just developing right now. And so, I think it’s going to be really interesting, but I pay attention to that, that part and that need to have that social attachment with others.
And you mentioned this already with the APA talking about through COVID. How can psychologists, specifically clinical psychologists, help their clients without being together? And so, we’ve learned a couple of things through that. And and I’m saying this based on some of their previous guests that I’ve talked to about this topic. We’ve learned that it is better than not seeing a psychologist at all. But you’re missing out on the nonverbals, you’re missing out on that feedback that the leakage, some other things that come into play that would help you recognize and help diagnose some certain things and and you just mentioned it. I can’t see your legs. You can’t see mine. If I was nervous, or if I, you know, any twitches also you, you get that feeling, that sense being in front of each other and having that human presence is different than you know on the on the screen here so. How can we combine the use of what we’re learning about mental health and technology during your actual client visits at your practice?
Well, that’s a big question. You know if if we’re, if we’re looking at the technology of our clients in person, is that what you’re saying?
Like really asking them the same way we would ask them, you know, what are your sleep patterns? What are? What’s your diet like? Are you exercising building in on that? Say like, what is your tech use look like? You know I I always say look, let’s look at your screen time. Let’s look at how you’re. Where are you spending your time? How is that impacting you? What you know from from my you? Know I’ve got. This little kind of position with the law firm that’s working on this litigation against the tech industry right now for that algorithm. It’s fascinating to me that we don’t understand. How those algorithms work that that is a proprietary information for them and so my clients like if we’re talking through that and we can, we can discuss, maybe we don’t actually understand how technology is influencing us because we are not able to see how feeds are sent to us and information is sent to us. So, putting that in just as much as you would the sleep, the eating and the fitness I think is really important to talk to our clients about.
I would also imagine, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I would imagine that if you’re giving some advice to some students or some use some kids that are using their technology and yet their parents are not supporting a change in their behavior and they’re actually doing the exact opposite, it would be difficult for that student to actually recover and make some progress.
Yeah, and it causes a lot of conflict in the house as well, as you can imagine.
So, do you do you have? There’s almost 2 battles there where you have to deal with the person that you’re trying to help, and then if they have parents that are coming in or not coming in, and I guess that leads me to my question is, do you usually invite the parents to come in or do you only do that when you recognize and you get feedback from your clients the the the youth saying hey, you know it’s difficult because of this? Is that when you invite the parents to come in for a session, or do you talk them separately? Tell me how you would address that.
So usually with my minor children, the parents always come in with the child first. I go over kind of just ground rules, you know, obviously we’re mandatory reporters. If anything is happening with the student and or the the client, we have to share that information and we talk through all of that and I typically prewarn parents listen, this is you’re going to be your first chance and if you come in in the setting and say here’s eight different things that my kid is doing horribly, and why I why, why, why I’ve drug drug them into your office, it doesn’t go very well, so I usually try to like on a phone call or something when they’re setting up the appointment. Say you know when you bring your child in, just general things. Like I notice that their behavior is changing or I notice these kind of global things. And then I usually kick the parents out and I say all right, how many of those things your parents just said are true? And do they really know or do they not know? And and and then I let the child, you know, I say, you know, might be helpful to invite your parents back in and have a conversation and and see where things are with them. And but I definitely give the empowerment to the the child, if, if they can because I think that that’s important for them to have some control in that scenario.
I wanted to share some of your social media sites. You have a Twitter account. You also have Facebook and LinkedIn. If you wanted to find out a little bit more about Lisa and what she’s working on, you can visit each of these. We’ll have these on the website as well for you. Here’s your Facebook talks about that. Now, one thing that I didn’t really talk about too much is how you’re utilizing your JD in your everyday activities and your jobs. I I mentioned that you’ve been keeping yourself busy ever since grad school. You have been a founder, CEO, founder, Director, I think you’re still active in three different areas. You can correct me if I’m wrong here, but I believe. That you are. Let me bring it up. I think the Premier Consulting Services is still up and running. LifeScape Medical Associates. Are you still involved with them?
OK. And then of course, the DC Academy is still going, and you did have a good experience at the Technology Wellness Center. And so, I wanted to highlight those three things that you’re still involved in. And so, I’ll go back to my original question. How are you incorporating your experience and your JD knowledge into your everyday activities?
To me, I feel that the law degree was a gift in many, many ways. It it really taught me how to analytically think, how to like process information, how to gain access to different things. I I originally went in to be a Guardian ad Litem, which is why I did the JD. And really, having the ability to help clients in situations that have to do with like business and things like that like that background really helped fundamentally in those scenarios. It helps me in creating companies and LLC’s and a lot of the volunteer work that I do. I use that law degree often. I’m inactive in the bar, but I think that it is, to me, one of the the best educational gifts I gave to myself was to understand and and be able to advise in different areas that the law degree gives me.
And you brought up one thing that I haven’t talked about on my show yet. Many different areas and avenues that you could utilize your psychology degree. Guardian ad Litem, tell us in your own words what a guardian does.
So, Guardian is typically they’re appointed by a court system and it’s either into like a minor that needs help. It can be an elderly individual that’s incapacitated, but you really serve as their their advocate in whatever their scenario that they’re going through. So, if it’s getting services through, you know any like an agency or if it’s making sure that that senior isn’t being taken advantage of by their children financially, but that that is a a role that is desperately in need of having good people in. Most of the Guardian a Litems that I know of, you know, their caseload is just incredibly massive, and it doesn’t it it’s not as financially rewarding as other areas. And so, I think that we tend to see a lot of burnout in that field. But it’s emotionally and and I think spiritually really empowering to be in that space where you can help somebody.
One question that kind of came through that I meant to ask earlier is when we’re talking about this intersection between mental wellness and technology use, what do you think are some of the more significant health concerns or biggest problems looking forward that need to be addressed?
I guess I could break it down, like physically we are definitely seeing the science behind the FMRI research at I think you showed that video of Dr. Daniel Amen who I work with who does SPECT scans of the brain? We are seeing that we are losing both gray matter and white matter in our brain tissues. With overuse. So, from a physical standpoint, we’re we’re structurally changing a lot of things in our body. There’s, like, you know, the the bony area in the back of our skull because our heads are down all the time, they’re starting to grow. We’re having eye convergence issues. So, the physical piece is one of them that I that I have a lot of concerns with. And then the emotional and behavioral side to me is is, obviously, that’s what I focus on most in my field and it is really trying to ascertain and figure out what is the connection to the rest of the world doing to us and there’s so much information out there, but it’s so siloed in many ways because of the algorithms. And so, we get caught up in our own space and you know I, the way I talk about it with kids is, you know, would be like sitting in the same bath water for years and years at a time and without changing it, because that’s what those algorithms do for us, and that grosses them out and makes them think a little bit differently. But but that’s, that’s where I see kind of the the mental health and and the the challenges from the technology into our mental health.
When you said excessive use, a lot of people are going to deny and say ohh I don’t have excessive use. So, generally speaking, what is considered excessive use?
So not all use is equal, so there’s academic use. There’s, you know, there’s a lot of times we’re going on and we’re doing something for work or we’re doing things. So not all screen time is the same. So, I want to first say that because they get called out on that a lot. But when you look at kind of tech or social as platforms as a toy or as fun, anything that we see that’s really on that space where it’s not something that’s like creating critical thinking or developing us from an academic perspective or intellectual perspective, anything over 2 hours is where we start to see the impact, the negative impacts showing up. So, it’s more critical at the younger ages. But even in in older adults, anytime you see something over that, you start to see these, these psychological and physical squala come out from that.
Two hours per day.
Two hours per day.
OK. All right. So, Lisa, tell me what you love most about your job or jobs. What do you love most?
I love to me I call myself kind of a grand puzzle master. Like I love putting pieces together so I love when a client comes in and you know, I say like, what can, what can I, what, what are we talking about today? How do I help you on that? And it really is every single time different. And and it’s the ability to come in and help them find the pieces themselves and how they want to get there because it really isn’t about what our agenda is as a professional, in my opinion, it should be really about what this person’s journey is and and helping them see what those pieces are and helping them figure out how they want to put them together. So that’s, that’s the part that I love the most about my job.
I usually end off with a few fun questions at the end of the podcast, so one of them is tell me something unique about yourself.
Unique about myself, I would say a lot of people don’t know that I kind of grew up as a country girl that I have chickens and that I tend to, in my off time, really kind of nerd out, like outside with animals and things like that. But yeah, definitely a country girl.
OK, what is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?
I would say my favorite term that I would use is “life is messy, so bring a broom.” And I got that from my grandmother who I lived with for almost 12 years or lived with us for almost 12 years because she was set. She was born in 1908 and she was such an influence in my life and she and she taught me that you really are going to have difficulties in life and it’s OK. You’re just gonna sweep them up and you’re gonna start again tomorrow, so I use that one a lot.
That’s good. I never heard that. What is something new that you have learned recently, and this could be inside or outside of your jobs, academics, anything that you have learned recently, that’s new.
You know, I learned something new every day because I have two teenagers who come home and tell me all of the things that I don’t know. But I think that recently I learned that the the the focus like in schools and how kids are like getting through my my son came home the other day and he said to me he’s like, you know, if kids go up to each other and like introduce themselves, they call it aggressive and he said so he told me, he said, you have to start talking about, like, how we approach people in in the world and all of those things. So, I learned like, I learned from my kids every day of, like, how their world is changing so much. And so, for me, it’s how do I help and and see those things. But I I kind of, I learned about introductions in real time for teenagers, is very aggressive. And so, I’m trying to figure out how to solve that next.
It’s almost like they have to butter up that person and maybe text them in social media first and then they have something to talk about when they actually are in person.
Right, right, yeah.
Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of psychology?
I think to me, I mentor young people all the time coming up in the field. We have two medical assistants that work in my, the medical office that I work in and both of them are now getting their PhD after uhm working with me and uhm, you know, to me it’s such a gift to be in this field and I think it’s an honorable field to be in and understand the magnitude of the power that you have in that and use that wisely and use it for good and with a full heart. Because I think that if you can do that, you will change the world in many ways over in this field.
One final question and you can think about this for a second. It’s kind of a loaded one. If you had the time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?
Well, that is a big question, Brad. You know, if I have the time and money for a huge project, I think I would combine them. I think what I would do is I probably would try to do a global trip, where I would pick maybe five or six different destinations. I think I would set it up in a way that I could come in and be able to interact, have conversations in these different places across the world and identify and figure out why and how we can come to better, come together better as a society. And figure out how we can use this immersive technology really in that pro social way because I feel like from a global perspective like we’re missing each other and we’re isolating from one another. And so, I’d love to be kind of a steward of figuring out how to bring us together from a global perspective.
And at the same time travel.
And travel right. That would be fine.
Is there, yes, is there anything else that you’d like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?
I would just, I would say to the folks that are coming up a lot of times in, in my academic studying I had professors and I had situations that I was told something along the way having a you know you have to have a certain number of clinical hours. And I remember one time having a I had a couples therapy and you had to do 20 hours in order to get this, you know, the certificate and pass the class and 10 hours into it, the the husband said that he had a mistress and he wasn’t going to get rid of the mistress and I thought, well, I can’t continue to do couples therapy knowing this information and so, I terminated. I chose to terminate that therapy and and the professor docked me on it. In fact, it was the only time I really got a bad grade in grad school. And and I stood by my principle that it was important to me from a a spiritual and emotional place for myself to do well for a couple and to, to be true to myself, and I think that students coming up, I think that you really need to to do some work and have that tether inside and have that moral compass of your own, because you’re going to be tested often. And I think that that’s really important to to hang on to as you go through this process.
Lisa, I really appreciate your time and willingness to be on the program and share all of the stuff that you’ve been working on and your thoughts and advice. Thanks again.
Thank you for having me.