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Why we need to decolonize psychology

Thema Bryant

2023 United States

What affects your mental health beyond your thoughts, emotions, or biology? The cultural, political, and even economic context of your life influences your psychology. Psychologists and other mental health professionals, need to attend to your individual and collective identity, as well as experiences of oppression, to truly see, hear, understand, and be of service to you. Psychologists need to also honor the individual and cultural wisdom that you carry. Dr. Thema Bryant is the president-elect of the American Psychological Association, the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology with more than 120,000 members ( Dr. Thema Bryant completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Duke University and her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center’s Victims of Violence Program. Upon graduating, she became the Coordinator of the Princeton University SHARE Program, which provides intervention and prevention programming to combat sexual assault, sexual harassment, and harassment based on sexual orientation. She is currently a tenured professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory. Her clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression. She is a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women and a past APA representative to the United Nations. Currently she serves as the elected Vice President and Racial Equity Officer for her neighborhood council in Los Angeles. Dr. Thema also served on the APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology and the Committee on Women in Psychology. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.