LaToya Smith Podcast Takeover “We Have To Make Change” with Choya Wise | PoP 508

What benefits can men receive from going to therapy? How can you move through a racialized system with humility and integrity? How can you protect your mental energy in places that turn people against one another?

In this podcast episode takeover, LaToya Smith speaks with Choya Wise about the change we have to make.

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Meet Choya Wise

Choya Wise is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years’ experience in mental health.

He is the founder and CEO of Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services a group practice where he specializes in Relationship Counseling and Anger Management.

Learn more about Choya here and connect with him at choya_w@aspirecounselingal.com

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Encouraging men to seek therapy
  • Choose to function in power
  • Create your own narrative
  • Choya’s advice to therapists

Encouraging men to seek therapy

What is the need, what is it that the client needs? Choya comes from the standpoint of need, and in his opinion, most of the need comes from men wanting to be in a relationship.

From the perspective of a black male, Choya observes and works mostly with them wanting to make their current relationship work or better themselves for their future relationships. By meeting people at their needs, you can move forward from there easily and together with your client.

A lot of guys think that talking about feelings is really mushy and it’s something that’s a female trait or characteristic or thing that you do, and ‘that’s not what real men do, talk about feelings’ but the problem is … a lot of times you see with anger management is that people aren’t talking. (Choya Wise)

Choya addresses this topic directly with his clients and dives right into feelings. By talking about it, you remove any shame around it. No one is keeping you from growing and developing yourself.

Choose to function in power

Some people who are insecure in themselves are unhappy, that is why they come into your life and try to induce misery into your life. Therefore, by having an optimistic flow and having gratitude, and choosing to live in power, you are already much higher and further along than they are.

It does concern you, but I choose to function in power, and that’s what I try to get my black brothers and sisters to look in power. Don’t allow people who are insecure and have all these issues to defeat you. (Choya Wise)

Focusing on peace, focusing on change, and ignoring perspectives and narratives that are harmful.

Create your own narrative as a therapist

Perspectives from politicized mass media are not built for truth, always. The things in media are very real but each media group warps it in the ways that best serve them, not always you.

It’s not to say that there’s a lot of bad stuff out there, it’s like the bad stuff is out there but I’m gonna start pounding from the ground; I’m gonna read news, I’m only gonna watch it when I need to. (Choya Wise)

Put your energy towards focusing on one aspect instead of generalizing your attention across everything and getting spread too thin.

Choya’s advice to therapists

There is a great opportunity. Fight for the bigger picture of change, but don’t let that be self-limiting to you. Spread the word that there are great possibilities in these practices.

It is not about being right, it is about being understood and many people need to be humble to just listen to the story.

Useful Links for Private Practice Owners:

Meet Private Practice Consultant LaToya Smith

LaToya Smith

LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. As a therapist, LaToya firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. She encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome.

She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.

Visit LaToya’s website.

Connect with her on FacebookInstagramStrong Witness Instagram, and Twitter.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

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[LATOYA]:
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast takeover episode with LaToya Smith, session number 508.

Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast takeover. This is LaToya Smith, and I’m back again today. My guest for today is Choya Wise. He’s a licensed independent clinical social worker out of Alabama. So Choya, welcome.

[CHOYA]:
Thank you. Thank you, LaToya, you got that name pretty good. That’s not bad, starting out. [LATOYA]:
Yeah, I wanted to make sure I got it right. Yeah, our names are pretty similar, right? But yes. Choya, Tell us about yourself and your practice and the work you do in Alabama. [CHOYA]:
Okay, well, I’m a licensed independent clinical social worker in Alabama. I have a private practice where I specialize in anger management, relationship counseling, I do supervision, I’m starting up a social workgroup. So I do quite a few things. And I’ve been in private practice for probably over five years. But I’ve been full-time in private practice for about little over two years. So, and just moved into group private practice just a few months ago. [LATOYA]:
That’s awesome. [CHOYA]:
So that’s been quite an experience. [LATOYA]:
That’s awesome. How do you like that? [CHOYA]:
I’m loving it. I’m loving it. I should have did it a long time ago, I should have did a long time ago, I should have listened to some of the people that were preparing me, they’re like, you know, once you get to a certain point then you need to move that way. But, you know, I kind of put it off. And that’s okay. That’s okay. Because things are working out really good. You gotta face those fears. [LATOYA]:
Good. Yeah. I like that. You gotta face the fear. Okay. Tell me what led you, or tell us what led you to enter into the field of social work in the first place. [CHOYA]:
So, um, well, besides the brainwashing from my grandmother, who was teaching me about Freud when I was like firstborn, PAC, adult, parent, child, all that stuff, like when just from birth she used to go around and do like, little training and things like that. But besides that, I kind of just, I just been in a family that likes to look out for people, that likes to help people. And I was going into the field of engineering, and I had this conversation with this guy, he came up to me, he was like, you know, what’s the purpose and what’s the reason for you going into engineering? And at that time, because of my background, I really didn’t want to… I wanted to be better, I wanted to be successful. And so engineering was thought to be a place where you could be successful, where you could make a lot of money. And that’s kind of solely what I was focused on. I like math a little bit. But the math was getting a little challenging. But I was still, I knew I could do it. I knew I could do anything that I set my mind to.

But he asked me, he was like, well, Choya, you know, what are you into this for? You know, are you in this for the money? Are you in it because you’re out there to serve, that you think you’re doing what God wants you to do? And I had to question myself on that. And that’s when I decided that I need to make a change, I need to make a change. And it was just something like an epiphany that like, you know, okay, you need to reconsider. And so the whole thing for me was like, well, what about the finances? Because if I go into the social services route, if I go into, you know, the psychology route, even I was considering initially at the time, am I gonna be able to be taken care of financially? And I just kind of got this impression that that’s gonna always be taken care of, and it has.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, and that’s a valid question I think for most people starting out or wanting to go into the field, you know, I think we all have initially had those thoughts of okay, are we going to be okay, as far as you know, the finances are concerned? But then, you know, we learned different ways. But what I already like about your story, Choya, you know, I’m big on stories, right, and storytelling anyway, but what I already like about yours is, you know, it sounds like you were taught from a young age, not just about the psychology aspect, but to look out for other people and to care about other people. Or the importance of thinking deeper and not just keeping it at surface level. Is that right? [CHOYA]:
Definitely. That’s something that I was taught. Whether I was taught the right way or not, I think it’s a whole bunch of codependents in my family, and I started off that way. But, you know, we move and we grow and it’s just a natural thing. And I really enjoy helping people, I get a lot of drive and I’m motivated to just really see a difference in people’s lives. And I feel like I’m privileged because of what I’m doing in the field of counseling, I’m being able to see people being rewarded for things that I’m helping them with. And so I’m really motivated, like a lot of people get into work, and they’re not necessarily motivated at what they’re doing. I’m motivated, I love what I’m doing, and I’m getting paid for it. So it’s like a win win. [LATOYA]:
Okay, and then what motivates you now? Like, what was the kind of thing like, what are you working on? I know you mentioned your group practice. Was there anything else that you’re like, yeah, this really amps me up, this is what I’m getting after, like, in this present season? [CHOYA]:
Well, you know, we just started group practice, like you said, and one of the things that I’m really kind of amped up about is I’m starting this group for Alabama social workers, the Facebook group, it’s called Social Workers of Alabama. And it’s something new, it’s something to really engage and offer free services, continuing education, just kind of getting people thinking that are in social work, because that’s the basis for what I’m into, get them in a mindset that, like, look, you can make things happen as a social worker. You can actually, you know, help people and not be broke, you know, there’s options besides that. You don’t have to just help people and suffer, you know, so. So that’s, uh, that motivates me, just, you know, using that group and being able to see Joe, I’ve watched Joe, since around 2014, he was talking about building websites and all this stuff. And I’ve just seen him progress. And I’m motivated to do some of the things that I’ve seen him do from that kind of platform. And so I’m really excited about that. That’s one of the things I’m really excited about right now. [LATOYA]:
Yeah, I’m excited, you know, just by hearing you talk about it. I think that’s awesome. And you, you very much sound like a trailblazer yourself, and very much like a leader in how you’re speaking. But, you know, I also want to talk about, because we’re in this space now of speaking about diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism and the need to push these conversations forward. We know 2020 has been heavy, I have repeatedly said that in many conversations about, you know, 2020 different descriptors. But, you know, you being a black male from Alabama, let’s talk a little bit about that, and then building a practice and the need that you see, like, what are the needs you see, even when it comes to being a black male and black men needing slash hopefully getting therapy? What are some of the needs you see there? [CHOYA]:
There is a lot of need, we don’t generally get therapy. And I don’t think it’s just black men. I think it’s men in general, but particularly with black men, because I think we’ve been cultured to not do it. It’s not manly, it’s not masculine. If we’re in faith, we’ve been taught to just pray and leave it there. You know, we feel like we can solve our own problems a lot of times, without additional support. And so it’s really tough, it’s really tough. And I think a lot of it has to do with culture. But on a positive note, I think that that’s changing quite a bit. I think it’s changing, becoming more pop now, when you watch, you know, some of the television shows too, for people who are personalities on these shows to have a therapist, it’s like, oh, wow, you got a therapist, you know, so like, that’s like, a big deal. You know, a positive thing. And so I think that that’s changing, not only in the nation, but in our community, in the black community, I think it’s changing quite a bit as time goes by. But it’s tough for men, because we really, we feel that we’ve got all the answers sometimes. [LATOYA]:
And yeah, I can go, that’s gonna be a totally different podcast, right there. [CHOYA]:
Yeah. We could do a couple episodes on that now. [LATOYA]:
[Unclear] that way we could just keep talking, [unclear]. But even with that part, like what you said, okay, how do you make sure men, and I know we’re not just talking about black men, but also black men included, how do you make sure that men are included in the conversation? To let them know like, listen, what do you say to other men to let them know it’s okay, because you said already, it’s not manly to do, but it is okay. [CHOYA]:
You know, as a practitioner, LaToya, you kind of do that. And so, you know, we’re taught that as business people to go for the need. What’s the need? What is it that your clients are in need of, what is it that’s a high demand, something that they’ll die for? And from that, to answer your question, I come from a standpoint of need, and the need for most black men is that they want to be in a relationship. They really do. Do you want to be in a relationship? Do you want to be in a healthy relationship? Do you want to enjoy your time with your spouse? And do you want them to not leave you because, unfortunately, the majority of black men that come to my office and I make the joke, and it’s not just for black men, but I make the joke for when men come to my office, they only come for two reasons, that their wife or partner has a gun to their head. And it’s like, if you don’t go, it’s over. Or they come in court-appointed. Okay, and that’s not just for black men, that’s white men as well, but that’s generally men, that’s all men. But particularly looking from the perspective of a black male that’s what I hit on. And most of the guys that I talk to are very interested in being in relationships. And so I come from that need, either they’re in a relationship and having struggles sometimes, or they hope to someday be in a relationship. And so that’s kind of where I can meet them where they are on that to say, hey, like, we got some skills that will help you out. [LATOYA]:
Okay, and that’s good. And I know that, I like that, like, you’re meeting them at the need first, and that’s what pulls them in, like you’re speaking to their heart. And I think in general, too, I know one time, you know, I’m not from the Texas area, but when I moved here, you know, in general, sometimes it’s really hard to find a black male therapist, like on social media I can, like, look people up but then like, in your area, I’m just like, man. [CHOYA]:
Especially one under 60. I’m just saying, you know, I’m just saying. [LATOYA]:
You’re telling the truth, actually. But I know I can, I’m happy to find on social media, I can look and I can find black men. And it’s just, it’s refreshing to see and I can see other men light up and are drawn to these voices. Because, like you said, like, I think, you know, some men, not all of them, are raised in a way to think about this masculinity. But to hear another man talk about feelings and emotions, like I would imagine, that is the draw in itself too. [CHOYA]:
Yeah, yeah, it’s, um, we don’t use those words right off. You know, because guys will run off. And so I, you know, I do introduce feelings pretty quickly. But you know, I come from a different end to where, you know, because a lot of guys think that talking about feelings, it’s really kind of mushy. And it’s something that’s a female trait or characteristic or thing that you do. And that’s not what real men do is talk about feelings. But the problem is, is that, you know, my population is, the specialty is anger management. And so, a lot of times you see with anger management, one of the issues is, is that people aren’t talking. And so I target that subject and say, you know what, there may be something that you’re not talking about, that you’re holding in, and maybe your wife, or maybe you need to know what your feelings are all about. So we open up that feelings conversation, we just go with it. [LATOYA]:
Yeah.

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[JOE]:
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[LATOYA]:
So as far as anger and feelings and holding things in and, I mean, let’s even talk about this season or this racial climate that, you know, it’s nothing new, but it’s been a lot in 2020. What have you experienced, one as a black male yourself, and then as a black male who is also a therapist, like what have you experienced personally, and then in the work you’re doing and those you’re serving? Like, has it been heavy for everybody? Has it been heavy for you? [CHOYA]:
It’s kind of tough to talk about, you know, and I feel like that a lot of times that when you’re talking about these kind of subjects, that it’s important to hear certain voices. I’m not saying my voice is important, more important than anybody else’s. But for one thing, I am a private practice owner. Okay. And so, I’m not here complaining about the hiring practices of some organizations. I’m not complaining that raises only goes to white people, or every black person is getting fired. That’s not my thing. So, you know, in therapy, we start having to ask the question, we talk about relationships and things like that. So what is the concern like, like, what, you know, questioning and having empathy to find out, like, you know, why is it that this person, like, basically, what’s in it for me? And what’s in it for me to talk about race issues? You know, we’re not trying to get charity here. I have republican views. I have democratic views too. Okay. So for me, you know, it’s important to listen to those kind of voices, because I think these are the things that kind of goes on in our mind for certain people, when you’re hearing certain complaints and contentions from black folks, so I just wanted to start with that. Because I don’t need anything from no… No white man is keeping me from growing, you see what I’m saying, I’m doing my own stuff. Okay.

But as far as my experience, it, you know, I’ve been through the Trayvon Martin type situation, to where I’m in home health, and I’m visiting a client and, you know, a white guy comes up to me, and is like, what are you doing here? And it’s like, you know, okay, I’m here doing blah, blah, blah, I’m in home health. Well, who are you here to see? I can’t tell you that because of HIPAA. Well, I need to know who it is you’re coming to see and getting aggressive with me. And, you know, me, you know, putting out my badge. And then the person just being like, well, that doesn’t mean anything to me. And then, of course, me just rolling up my window and being like, look, whatever, you just do what you got to do. I gotta do my job, you know what I’m saying? And so I, you know, I’ve been through that numerous times, more than one occasion, being in the neighborhood and having a white male stop me, questioning about what I’m doing in the neighborhood and I have a badge. And so that’s been more recent experiences.

When I was younger, I [unclear] for the young black males, you know, you get pulled over a lot, you know, like, for me, even to this day, my truck right now, I just got it not that long ago, it has tint but I may pull that off, I hadn’t got pulled over yet. So I don’t know what’s going on. So I’m hoping that keeps going. But I don’t necessarily have the privilege of just riding around without, I mean, with tint. That has not been my experience. I’ve had experiences of being pulled over by cops, you know, think about if you’re not my complexion, how many times you’ve been pulled over by a cop. I probably been pulled over by cops for whatever, or engaged with cops over 15 or 20 or more times, you know, for just ridiculous things. So that has been my experience. I’ve experienced going on to the job and working as a new employee and talking to a white woman in the hall trying to get information from the nurse, who was very friendly with me, by the way, which the other person didn’t know, and we were friends. Okay, and come to find out that she’s asked, you know, is he bothering you? Like, I’m doing my job, you know what I’m saying? And so I could really go on and on being pulled over at the grocery, you know, as a teenager and at the… I mean, I got a lot of them. So, you know, I don’t want to just overload it, I got a lot, you know.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah. No, you’re not overloading at all. [CHOYA]:
Yeah. [LATOYA]:
And what you’re saying is powerful and I’m sorry you had to experience those things, but it is a lot. [CHOYA]:
That just touches the surface, to be honest, I mean, that’s just the surface. [LATOYA]:
And that’s, you know, that’s the other part too. And I have these conversations a lot. Like, you know, outside of being therapists, we are for those that are black or any other race, that we are that, like, I’m a black woman and I come with various experiences in dealing with issues of race or microaggressions all the time, not just in 2020. But it is heavy, and it is a lot. I like what you said, you know, no one’s keeping me from growing. I think that [unclear]. [CHOYA]:
Yeah, it’s just not gonna happen, man. There were happy slaves and I’m not saying that’s a good thing. But what I’m saying is that we’re not in slavery right now. And there were slaves, like, I listen to Booker T. Washington. I need to finish listening to that, but you almost kind of get upset at him because of his positive perspective about very bad things that was happening to him. So in other words, I’m an optimist. I still feel like I live in the greatest country on the planet. But I feel like there’s a lot of things that I experience on a day to day basis as a black man that are just this raw and terrible. And then things that you see that your family members have to go through, the things that you see your friends… Just five days ago, a friend of mine, I’m not gonna say her name but Miss Crutcher, she, you know, her 17-year-old son pulled over at UAH, you know, UAH in Huntsville, just for nothing, and on the camera the dude is asking if he has some kind of, if he has some type of prostitute in the truck, a dead prostitute, is he on crack, and why is he sweating? Who wouldn’t be sweating with this kind of attitude? You know what I’m saying? [LATOYA]:
Yeah. [CHOYA]:
So you know, and then you start bringing that home, and it does concern you, but I choose to function in power. And that’s what I kind of try to get my black brothers and sisters to look, look in power, you know, don’t allow for people who are insecure, and have all these issues to defeat you. Sometimes we look at these individuals, and we want justice done to them. But from a mental health perspective, justice is already served. This is the reason why they’re treating you the way that they are, because they’re very unhappy, miserable living people. And that’s why they come into your life to make you miserable. You know what I’m saying? And so you just have to just flow with it, and just be thankful for what you do have. [LATOYA]:
Yeah, yeah. And I hear what you’re saying like this, that optimistic flow, or thinking or that mindset, like that’s going to help you get through because like you said, again, like, nobody’s keeping me from succeeding, but a lot of times, and you let me know your thoughts, like when it comes to the, you know, the black community, or people of color, some people just are oppressed and don’t have the systems or don’t have certain privileges, or don’t have the resources to bring themselves out. Like, how do you communicate to those people that aren’t in the place where they can just reach that level of optimism that you have, or you obtained? [CHOYA]:
Yeah, I think it’s a little bit, and this might sound kind of raw coming out, but I think it’s a little bit of a learned helplessness that ends up occurring. And I’ll explain that, because I had it. Sometimes when you have been, you know, kind of disadvantaged, you get used to just everything being against you. I remember just growing up, and to this day, one of my worst fears is getting set up by the cops, and I’m not doing any criminal activity. And this didn’t just happen with Black Lives Matter, this was happening long time ago, when, you know, when I had issues and things with the cops way before, you know what I’m saying. And so this is the thing, is that sometimes, you know, you kind of almost start, you know, having, you can develop a mentality that just makes you feel like that, to be honest, like, if you get something it’s gonna be taken from you, you know, because you experienced it. And so, when you get that way, a lot of times you don’t necessarily strive and search, you know, for so many years, I really thought that people who were advantaged, that were rich and privileged, and didn’t work as hard and things like that, you know, because that was I didn’t feel like, because so many resources have been stripped and so many resources were taken away. So many things.

I remember, you know, I grew up in a time when watching on television, where they’re saying black men weren’t smart enough to be quarterbacks, you know what I’m saying? So you get this kind of stuff in your head. But to better answer your question. It’s, you know, I feel it’s like incumbent on us, you know, and this is why I’m glad you had me on the show, is to reach out and to try to provide that hope in the community so that people of color just in general, can feel like that they can be a part of this dream, and that it is a possibility, that you… To see people kind of like me, and people who have their own businesses, and things like that, and seeing what they’ve done. And it’s really kind of our responsibility, just like our forefathers, to try to do what we can to make things available in the community. To paint the picture of possibility.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, and I’m just thinking, as you’re talking when you talk about, okay, I want to, I want to paint this picture of possibility. And I want to let them know that there’s hope. But like we were saying a minute ago, a lot of people are just angry, especially after watching these videos, have stopped watching videos and are just angry. And I’ll be honest, there have been moments where I have been just angry too, [CHOYA]:
Oh, yeah, yeah. [LATOYA]:
Even being, you know, a therapist, an owner and the accomplishments I have, but that’s just real to me. [CHOYA]:
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Anxiety, anger, I’ve experienced it and experience it presently, on and off, you know, I just yeah, so go ahead. Yeah, I’m with you on that. [LATOYA]:
Yeah. And then but it’s the idea too I think that we have learned the idea. There is hope and achievement, but there’s still that reach back to other people. And it sounds like you’re doing it even when it comes to your anger management classes. Like just to reach back to help and don’t stay stuck, don’t stay where you’re at. But let me help you get out. [CHOYA]:
It’s like, I mean, and then like I said, some of my beliefs are kind of out there and things. I’m kind of my own person. But it’s like, to be honest, like I had to go through a Kubler Ross on these issues. You know what I’m saying? Kubler Ross, she, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, I believe, she developed a whole system of, you know, how you grieve and, you know, and all of that, and, and she talks about the stages of grief. And what I had to grieve, and kind of come to an acceptance of it, you know, is that this is just the way things are. But not just leaving it there, like, that we can change it but as of right now, this is how it is. However, we have to make change. I mean, I went through denial, you know, what I’m saying? I went through anger, and I still go through anger, you know, I’ve gone through the bargaining process, like, is it something that we could do different or something, you know, you know, what can be done?

You know, I’ve gone through, you know, denial, you know, I’ve gone through the depression aspects of it, you know, and now I’ve just come to the point of acceptance that, you know, certain things, when you have 93% of the population or something like that, what I’ve seen, I don’t know, that’s a true stat, that are on the police force, that are not looking like me and from a different status, you know, and I don’t want to get deep into that. But, you know, this is some of the things that we’re going to have. Until we can keep on fighting to get different legislation and things put in place, the acceptance for me is that this is how it’s going to be, I’m going to fight for change, but what am I going to do about it now? Because I refuse to sit up here and stand… Because see, this is the thing that I have a problem with, and why I cut off CNN, and why I cut off Fox News is that these people are controlling the narrative on my life. My wife, well, my wife cut it off. I’m going, you talking about that anger, LaToya, I’m walking through my living room I’m hearing, you know, somebody say something on the television, and now I’m upset.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah. [CHOYA]:
You see what I’m saying? Because it’s just like I’m hearing this racist rhetoric, you know, and I’m upset, because see, what people don’t understand when you hear racist rhetoric, it doesn’t just sit in your person from what you’re experiencing today, but all the experiences that you have had before. It pulls all that emotion forward. And so I had to set it down, because I still pay attention and read news, but I’m not gonna have somebody else controlling my life that doesn’t have anything good to say. And so I’m focusing on peace. I’m focusing on change. I’m focusing on whatever things that I can do in my community, and with legislation, in any way I can be a part of that. And I’m still searching. That’s what I’m about. [LATOYA]:
Yeah, I like that. I like, I mean, I always like changing the narrative. And what I hear you saying, like repeatedly, is shifting the focus. [CHOYA]:
I’m tired of being controlled, man. I can’t be the angry black man out there, you know what I’m saying? I got reasons. [LATOYA]:
You know what, and that’s real right there, again, you can drop it now. Because we can go different ways with this podcast. I can’t be the angry one but I got reasons. Like, you know, I got a reason to be. But I like what you’re saying. I like the idea that first of all, I love the idea that you’re a trailblazer. You’re a leader out here, but when you’re also in the shifting the conversation and pushing it forward, what you’re saying is we need to shift, and we need to refocus. It’s you’re validating feelings like yes, anger is there, anxiety is there, depression is there. But we need to shift as we push and move forward. [CHOYA]:
Yeah, because I feel like I want to create my own narrative, you see what I’m saying, instead of something that other people are putting on me, and we’ll be honest, most of us are persuaded by media. And that has been me up to this point. And the things in media are very real but the problem is media will make every white man hate a black man and every black man hate a white man. And when I’m going into my neighborhood and talking to white men who are like, hey, well, I was scared to speak to you, too. And we get into conversation, we start talking politics, we talk about our differences, and I get in conversation with white women, and things like that in my neighborhood, and things like that. It’s just not reflecting what I start feeling from the media. So I have said like, and you know, not to say that there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. It’s just like, yeah, the bad stuff is out there but I’m just gonna start pounding from the ground. You see, I’m saying I’m gonna read news, I’m gonna watch it when I need to, but I’m tired of like, if I want to hate somebody, I don’t need the media to do that. And see, that’s what, it was bringing stuff up like that, you see what I’m saying, and it’ll make you believe that like, everybody’s bad. It’s just not like that. I meet a lot of great people out there. But there is a sect of people who are controlling things that aren’t good people. And that’s where I want to put my energy towards, focusing on that aspect of things instead of generalizing it towards everyone. [LATOYA]:
Gotcha. Gotcha. That’s good. That’s a good take. It’s a fresh take that, it’s a fresh take. What is it, um, you know, and I guess you know, about the wrap up in a moment, but what is something that you want to leave other therapists with, either when it comes to, you know, the practice overall, or even when it comes to just the work as far as pushing the conversation forward with this topic? [CHOYA]:
As far as the practice, overall, I would just say that there’s great opportunities. You know, sometimes, when I’ve had conversations with people that are friends, we talk about this system, and there is a system, but we need to start more identifying how the system is directly impacting us before we let it limit us. So if we want to fight for the bigger picture of change, then we need to focus on that too. But don’t let that be self-limiting to the things that are available to you. And I’ve started to learn that there are more things that are available to me. And that’s one of the reasons why… And it’s not just for black people, but that’s one of the reasons why I have the, you know, what I have with Social Workers of Alabama, in trying to just spread the word that there are great possibilities in this field and in practice.

Now, as far as the conversation, what I would like to focus on, or want people to leave with them, is this, man, you know, relationship counseling is one of my specialties. And what I speak about in a relationship, I think that how some people deal with race is an indicator of how they deal with real relationships, interpersonal relationships, so how you probably deal with your husband or wife, you know, because this is the thing, is that whether it’s somebody chanting sounds at a baseball game that sound offensive, whether it’s somebody with a flag, you know, whether it’s somebody in a football league with a certain emblem, I may not be able to understand that. But the thing is, is that just like your relationship, if you just leave it that you don’t feel like you understand your spouse, and they’re just crazy, you see what I’m saying, and you just leave it there, you just crazy. And that’s it, you drop the mic. No, that’s not it, it’s gonna be it for your relationship. But until you start to have empathy, and I use this quote all the time, it’s not about being right. It’s about being understood. Because we might find that we’re both right.

Unless you start having empathy for my story, for my experience, then you will never know about that. And what I feel is that a lot of people need to be humbled to just listen to the story. There’s like I said, what am I getting out of talking about race right now? I could just, you know, if I was one of those types, I could just leave and just not even be a part of being black. Of course, I’m not gonna sell out like that. You see what I’m saying? So what is in it for me? What’s in it for me is that this is a real experience that we experience on a day-to-day basis and pray to God that you never have to experience it in your life, or anything like it. Because it’s something that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. And so hear the stories, empathize and let’s find reasons for change. Let’s unite with change.

[LATOYA]:
Yeah, that’s good. I like that. Let’s unite with change. Let’s empathize. And of course, you know, my favorite line you dropped today was ‘no one’s keeping me from growing’. [CHOYA]:
Yeah [unclear]. [LATOYA]:
I love that. But thank you. Thank you so much for being a part of this show. And just, before we wrap up, just let the listeners know how they can find you, either on social media or how they can get in touch with you if they need to. [CHOYA]:
Yes, I am Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services. You can find me at aspirecounselingal.com. And you can find me on social media under Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services. And I think that’s it. You can email me at choya_w@yahoo.com. And yeah, just reach out, anything I can do to help or if you need some services, I’ll be glad to help. [LATOYA]:
All right. Thank you so much. It’s okay. Thank you so much for being a guest today. I appreciate it. [CHOYA]:
All right. Thank you.

________________________________________

[JOE]:
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I know that running a private practice is really hard work. Fortunately, Gusto makes the payroll part easy. On top of that, Gusto offers flexible benefits, simple onboarding and so much more. And right now, our listeners get three months free. Gusto is what I personally use with Practice of the Practice. So go on over to gusto.com/joe to get those three free months. Again, that’s gusto.com/joe.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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