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Session 307: ICYMI, What In the World is EMDR?

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

This week we’re revisiting an episode from our archives and diving into the world of EMDR. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment method designed for treating trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and panic. Our guest for this #ICYMI episode is Kelli Davis, a Licensed Professional Counselor based in Memphis, TN. Kelli and I explored what EMDR is, how it works, and how it differs from traditional talk therapy.

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Session 307: ICYMI, What In the World is EMDR?

Dr. Joy: Hey y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 307 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: This week we're revisiting an episode from our archives and diving into the world of EMDR. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and is a treatment method designed for treating trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and panic. Our guest for this In Case You Missed It episode is Kelli Davis, a licensed professional counselor based in Memphis, Tennessee. Kelli and I explored what EMDR is, how it works, and how it differs from traditional talk therapy. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession or join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in depth about the episode.
You can join us at Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Kelli, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Kelli: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Joy: You're welcome. So you are here to talk with us all about EMDR. First of all, can you tell us what those letters stand for?

Kelli: EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization reprocessing.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so what is that?

Kelli: EMDR is a type therapy modality that creates REM sleep, rapid eye movement sleep, at a waking state. It is believed that a lot of healing and repairing and restoring takes place in REM sleep so essentially what EMDR does is mimic REM sleep, but the client or patient is awake and very aware of what's going on. Many people mistake it for hypnosis – it’s not hypnosis. They're awake, they're alert, and they're just kind of guided through correcting areas in their lives that need to be corrected.

Dr. Joy: Okay. And so what is involved in this? It sounds like this may require some kind of equipment or does it involve any kind of equipment?

Kelli: It can involve equipment. When it was first discovered and taught to different clinicians, clinicians were encouraged to create the eye movement process by taking two fingers and waving them back and forth in front of a patient, and patients or clients were asked to track the movement of the fingers going back and forth. And there are some clinicians that still use that. I personally use what are considered tappers that will bilaterally stimulate patients, and that's what creates the REM sleep process. As long as the eyes are moving back and forth, then we are mimicking REM sleep, and that's the whole method of what's going on, the eye movement going back and forth.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so these tappers that you're talking about, what would they be doing? You say they stimulate bilateral…?

Kelli: What I do when I'm using EMDR, Joy, I will have clients either hold the tappers in each hand and you can create the intensity of how they buzz back and forth. You can also control how fast the movements go back and forth. Some clients, I will have them to sit on top of them, to put one tapper under each leg or under each foot. Because reprocessing traumatic events is painful and so when people get tearful, I like for their hands to be free if they would wanna reach for Kleenex or clench their hands. But every clinician is different.

Dr. Joy: Okay. So what clinical issues is EMDR typically used for?

Kelli: It's typically used for people, survivors of traumatic experiences. Primarily people with post-traumatic stress disorder that have these disturbing events, that try to process on their own, people try to work them out on their own. And the way they try to get worked out oftentimes are through nightmares and flashbacks, but nightmares, people wake up and so they stop the process of trying to work through a traumatic experience. Or if there's a flashback, the inclination is let's go ahead and stop it from happening. EMDR will go ahead and encourage that in a controlled setting and in a controlled environment.

Dr. Joy: Okay. Is this something that works in tandem with something like cognitive behavioral therapy or is this like a different approach?

Kelli: I definitely think it could work in tandem with CBT. I've had a lot of clients that come to me, they've used cognitive behavioral therapy to try and work through traumatic experiences, but that kind of keeps you intellectual, you know, just kind of in your head. EMDR, and that's what I like so much about it, it encourages the emotional aspect that goes along with traumatic situations that happen. Most traumatic situations that happen to us, they kind of freeze us, we’re kind of stuck in time. So we can feel all of the– all of the painful emotions are still stuck there. EMDR encourages becoming unstuck, and sometimes CBT just cannot reach a client at that level because EMDR can be very physiological… Trauma is trapped in the body.

Actually, there's some research that talks about MS, multiple sclerosis could be considered trapped trauma. Trauma is trapped in the body, so EMDR encourages the processing at a cellular level. And that's a place that talk therapy tries really hard to reach, but in my experience, it can't quite get to it. And most clients will come to me and say, I've talked about this issue, I'm so tired of talking about it. The talking gives us the relief, but it just doesn't get it to the level that EMDR will get a client to, that I've seen.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so this all sounds really interesting and I want to kind of help everybody understand what this exactly looks like. So somebody comes to you after a traumatic experience, maybe like a bad car accident or something. What kinds of things would happen in the first couple of sessions? And what would a course of treatment look like with EMDR to help work through the trauma of a car accident?

Kelli: That's a good example. Somebody comes to me with a car accident, EMDR has phases that you go through. The first phase would be the history taking, asking the client exactly what happened. And from events that happen to us, we develop a narrative that oftentimes is self-deprecating, things we begin to believe about ourselves based on what happened. And the belief oftentimes could be, I'm not safe, I'm not okay, I'm stuck, I'm gonna die. Now, if the client made it to my office, of course we know that narrative is not true but they're still living with that narrative that keeps them very hypervigilant. That could keep them from getting back into a car again or just not wanting to drive. So the EMDR process would take a client essentially back to that event and work hard to change the narrative. And you go back to the event with bilateral stimulation, asking a client to close their eyes, asking them to think about what the worst part of that event was. While they're closing their eyes, it just depends on the client, but I will ask that they would talk to me through what's going on. For example, a client may say I see the red light changing and I don't wanna be there, don't wanna get out. So what I would do as a therapist is almost kind of hold that scene and have the client sitting on my couch imagine going back to the client that was driving the car. Does it make sense what I'm saying?

Dr. Joy: So kind of going back to that moment?

Kelli: Going back to that moment while you are still being bilaterally stimulated. And asking the client, you know, what is it you would like to say right now? And without prompting, most clients are able to say, you know, you're gonna be okay, you're gonna make it through. It's not gonna be good, at the same time you're gonna make it through. So with the bilateral stimulation, now the body and the brain is buying into the narrative that I'm safe, I'm gonna be okay. Not coming out unscathed, but still safe. I survived this incident. And the bilateral stimulation helps the client to take on that new belief, thereby releasing some of the anxiety that's associated with it prior to an EMDR session.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Kelli after the break.

[BREAK & CTA by Dr. Joy]

Dr. Joy: It sounds like maybe your first couple of sessions are really kind of getting a lot of the background information about like setting the scene for the trauma so that you can then use that in your EMDR sessions.

Kelli: Absolutely, it's setting the scene forward. And in this day and time, Joy, you have people with a lot of complex trauma and it's not uncommon to realize I was in that car wreck and I was unsafe but now I also remember there was another time in my life that I felt the same way. So it's very common to discover other traumas coming out of just one session, and the whole narrative associated with what happened possibly long before the car accident. There's some research that shows that one EMDR session can be equivalent to about five talk therapy sessions… And there was some research that said it would be equivalent to 12 talk therapy sessions, especially dealing with veterans of a post-traumatic stress disorder. Just kind of the relief that you get out of one of those sessions. It encourages clients to come up really with their own insights and their own narratives without being prompted by the clinician.

If I fall and break my arm, they're gonna take me to the doctor, the doctor will set my arm in a cast, and as long as it's supported, our creator has given our body everything it needs to heal. That bone will grow back stronger than ever. EMDR is kinda like taking the brain and setting it correctly around what happened, and so then the thinking goes in an area that's helpful and not an area that's maladaptive, it sets it correctly. And the brain has a potential to heal just like any bone in our bodies, it just has to be said correctly.

Dr. Joy: Wow, that's a really powerful analogy, Kelli, I appreciate that. So you mentioned, and I would imagine – I don't know how early in a session this would happen, when you said if they could go back to that moment right at the red light, they would be telling themselves, you're gonna be okay. I would imagine that doesn't happen in like the first session when you are using EMDR.

Kelli: And I will say this, if I could digress just a little bit. In the first session, there's a tool you can use with EMDR called Creating a Calm/Safe Place. By being bilaterally stimulating, you help the client to create a place that is calm and safe, that's only for them, and you talk them through moments of that using EMDR. So let's say if I ask them to go to the red light. If that's too much for you, I will say, remember we created the calm/safe place. It just depends on the amount of emotional resourcing a person has that a clinician would have to assess to see if they are ready for a “red light” scene. So you're exactly right. The assessment is important. It depends on the emotional resourcing of somebody, if they're equipped enough to be able to handle a scene like that. So, depending on the resourcing, they could be ready during the first session and then maybe not. But you get that in the history taking part before you start.

Dr. Joy: Okay. So those assessment sessions really do more than just get like the background of the trauma. They also talk about like what the person has been doing to cope with the trauma, like how ready are they for this intense type of experience.

Kelli: Absolutely, you're exactly right. And sometimes certain medications will affect how effective EMDR can be. Most of the time, benzos and opiates work against the whole process. Because that's supposed to relax you, you're not supposed to be heightened. But there are points of EMDR that can be very heightened, and if you're on certain medications, you can't quite get to where it is you need to be in order for the process to even be worthwhile. I've had people in the hospital that I work with that I have to go back to the physician, how far can we cut back on this medication before we even try this process? Cuz you would hate to re-traumatize somebody.

Dr. Joy: Right. I wanna go back to something that you pointed out that I find really interesting.
You mentioned that it's been your experience in some of your EMDR work that one trauma will then unearth these other traumas. I'm curious how then you begin working with like multiple traumas through the EMDR sessions.

Kelli: It's a very good question. We ask for a SUDS level based on a trauma, and SUDS stands for a subjective unit of distress (scale.) And so on a scale of zero to 10, we'll say when you think about this event today, how badly does it bother you? 10, it bothers me a lot. Zero it doesn't bother me at all. Personally, if a SUDS is five or above, I feel like that's active trauma and it's probably affecting your life today. So if one trauma unearthed another one, I'll assess and I'll get a SUDS level. And if that distress level is high, then that's something that we need to work on, we need to process. Now, something I do with my clients in my outpatient office, I'll do what's called an envelope system when I believe that there are multiple traumas. And what that is, is I ask clients to get an index card, just give that event in your life a title. Write that title down, put it in an envelope and seal it. We don't open the envelope until you come in my office. So that means I'm not ignoring it, I know exactly where it is. When it's time to deal with it, that's when I take it to session. Because most people with PTSD are very afraid (with multiple traumas) of losing control, so sometimes the envelope system gives them a sense of control. Now, each title that they name an event, I ask for a SUDS level. And people can come to work on a car wreck, but I'll look at a SUDS level that happened 12 years ago and this thing is still at a 10. It's like, okay, whoa, this holds a lot of weight right now. And we start the processing from that point.

Dr. Joy: Okay, got you. You mentioned that they would hold it until they come to your office. Is the EMDR not done in your office?

Kelli: It is done in my office. But the point, that I give people the assignment. You know, just to say that I'm not ignoring it, I'm not forgetting it, I wrote it down for Kelli, it's on my dresser, I can't wait to take these to her office. I'm not asking you to deal with it at home or talk to your spouse or your kids about it. We got it on paper, it's sealed. And all of the EMDR that I do outpatient takes place in my office unless I'm seeing patients in a hospital. But often in my office, if I'm working on one thing and I assess that there are several others (and that is the case with a lot of African Americans), several others, meaning a theme of traumatic experiences that stand out, they really do favor and like the whole envelope system.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I can imagine that does feel a little comforting. Like they can kind of contain it, so to speak.

Kelli: Absolutely.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. You mentioned that you found that, particularly with African Americans, they find that comforting and I'm wondering if there are any special considerations related to EMDR when using with the black community.

Kelli: Prior to getting to we wanna do EMDR, is convincing the African American community that what you're dealing with is trauma and is PTSD. We ask people a lot of times, what's wrong with you, or people may ask what's wrong with me? When the correct question is, what happened to me? What happened to you? And it's getting African Americans to understand that things that happened to them, things that happened to us, maybe they were not healthy. And maybe they were not intended to be harmful, but they were. So it's just kinda wrapping my mind around that this really is an issue and this is something that really has affected me. Once there's a buy-in, that here's something that I need to work on— Because a big part of it too is establishing trust.

I have to earn my way, in my opinion, especially with African Americans, into doing something like EMDR. Because the first thing they ask, okay, is this hypnosis? What does this mean? But earning my way into that. By getting them to understand that what's going on with me is unresolved trauma, the EMDR process then becomes a little easier because it is a very spiritual process. And one thing I use with African Americans, they are quick to go back to— For example, I ask them if you were sexually abused as a little girl, who would you like to take back to help rescue that little girl? While the bilateral stimulation is going on, it's very common for them to say I wanna take God back, I wanna take Jesus back, my big mama back, I wanna take those. So to allow them to do that and for them to become tearful around that in a good way, they buy into the process a lot more, if I'm being clear on what I'm saying.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. And I know in some previous conversations before we started recording, you talked about the fact that EMDR can be really helpful because it allows you to get to a place that sometimes words can't. And I think that that would be particularly helpful for a lot of black women because there does tend to be like a guard there in wanting to share emotions. So if we're getting at it in a different way, then it kind of opens up the space for the words to follow.

Kelli: You're exactly right. And here's the thing you’re doing when you talk about unresolved trauma: some of the events around what happened to us can be really shaming. What I like about EMDR is that it takes that element out of it because as the clinician, I don't have to know the details of what happened and how many times and where you were, and that's not nearly as important to me. What I'm looking for is that belief that you have about yourself because of what happened. That's the only thing I'm really concerned about because that's really the thing that's kind of wreaking havoc. This belief that you have about yourself, based on what happened. So EMDR helps to go back and change that narrative, realizing that I was actually strong because I survived that, so I can take off the layer that I'm unworthy and I'm not good enough. So you look at the SUDS going down, that when I think about that situation now, I'm not at a 10, I'm at about a two. It stings, but I can handle it a whole lot better. And when people come with sexual trauma, their fear is that you're gonna force me to talk about it. If somebody wants to talk, I'm not gonna shut them down, but that's not the expectation.

Dr. Joy: I can imagine in these sessions that you're bringing up a lot. There's likely, even if it didn't start with emotion, there may be a lot of emotion coming out of it. So I'm wondering what kinds of homework or what kinds of exercises or grounding kinds of things go along with the work that goes on in your office?

Kelli: Yeah. I give the assignment of letter writing to the part of you that endured that trauma.
And the hope is, what I'm looking for is that the person that's in my office or at therapy, that we've invoked a little bit more compassion. Because it's amazing when we come out of trauma, we're so upset with ourselves, and we beat ourselves up and expect ourselves to heal all at the same time. And that just kind of doesn't work, it exacerbates even more trauma actually. But the homework assignment of definitely writing that letter and giving them permission to talk from the space of the trauma, meaning what does that eight-year-old little girl have to say today to a 40-year-old? Oftentimes the eight-year-old’s thank you for forgiving me for realizing it really wasn't my fault. And that's where the grounding comes in, after the session is over. And sometimes even during the session. Every patient, every session is different. And not only grounding; the whole integration process of it. Integration meaning the D in the EMDR, we desensitize it. Let's take the sting out because I did survive, now I am okay, now we're gonna reprocess this and realize just how strong I actually was to even make it through that situation. So the letter writing helps with that.

Dr. Joy: It sounds like you don't use the bilateral stimulation necessarily in every session. A lot of what you're talking about is like narrative and cognitive restructuring in some ways.

Kelli: You’re exactly right.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so there's also a lot of like talking going on in the sessions that don't involve the stimulation.

Kelli: Yes, you are exactly right. The bilateral stimulation with creating the REM sleep, it helps to get through the painful parts of the situation. Sometimes when I see a client is really struggling or really tearful and clenching. As I said, there are different speeds and various intensities on the tappers that I use so I'll turn them up just a little in order to kind of make it over that hump. And there are times that I've turned them down and the client said, no, turn it back up, I'm in this place, I wanna process it, I wanna go ahead and get through. But you're exactly right, the bilateral stimulation is not necessarily used through every setting, you know, every session regarding that.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Kelli after the break.

[BREAK & CTA by Dr. Joy]

Dr. Joy: And is there a part of this that a client would try to do at home? Like could a client induce this for themselves?

Kelli: Well, that's the first thing I say. Please don't go home tapping on nobody. Or go home and tell people, close your eyes, let me show you what I learned from Kelli! There are people that can order their own tappers, but you have to give a lot of paperwork into how much EMDR you've actually had. Another therapist has to know that this is what you're doing. What I have encouraged clients to do is to kind of create their own tapping when I do the calm/safe place element, that you could help to enhance that safe place for you. And it's really not tapping because we bilaterally stimulate all the time. We rock side to side, that's what that is.

Dr. Joy: So really you're talking about self soothing?

Kelli: Absolutely, self soothing. We sway. So that's the only thing that I would encourage, but not with tappers. And if a layperson tried to order tappers now, they have a lot of questions to ask you before they send them to you. You have to have a lot of proof of how much EMDR you've had and, like I said, those type things. But self soothing, you absolutely encourage that, and I do that a lot.

Dr. Joy: Okay. You've already talked a little bit about how you see the SUDS scores go down between sessions, but can you also talk about any other improvements that you see kind of throughout the course of treatment with EMDR?

Kelli: Yes. I think coming out of trauma, there are four behaviors that people lean to in order to survive. Fight, flight, freeze and appease. Fight is that being angry and defensive. Flight a lot of times is being suicidal, drugs and alcohol. Most people that are suicidal, I don't think they wanna die, they just wanna stop hurting. People wanna end their pain, not their life. Drugs and alcohol is flight behavior. They get drunk, they get high, you don't have to feel any pain. Freeze is just kind of numb, you're checked out. And appease is becoming that people pleaser to the point of even being abused, often. Those four behaviors, they try to take care of you.

Coming out of EMDR, a lot of times people will realize I don't use those behaviors as much as I used to or I'm using them now with the right people. That's a marker for me as a clinician that I look for – what has your fight behavior looked like? Your need to please so that people won't hurt you or leave you, what has that looked like? How are you gauging that? And that's exactly what I look for. Just behaviorally, how has therapy manifested? Therapy to me, the work is never in your office, it's outside of your office. How does that enhance the quality of life? So that's exactly what I look for. And have clients just report that back to me. Because unprocessed trauma just leaves you hypervigilant, you're waiting on that next hit to the point that you sabotage it or you even cause it, all in an attempt to protect yourself, but it ends up causing new traumas if that's not calmed down. And an EMDR helps to calm that down.

Dr. Joy: Got you. I was not aware of the appease reaction, Kelli. I've learned so much just hearing you talk, but the appease reaction was a new one for me and definitely helps to kind of bring to light some things when we hear about people having repeated traumas. And the point that you mentioned about ending up maybe in continuing abusive relationships because maybe they are trying to appease, would then lead to multiple traumas.

Kelli: And Joy, that is the biggest one for African American women. Oh god, that is the biggest one, that appease. And that appease behavior is – Oh, you want my money, my mind, my body? What you want? Whatever you want, I'll do it, just don't leave me and just don't hurt me. You know, that's the biggest one for us. And so one of my new favorite quotes about that: we set ourselves on fire to keep other people warm, not realizing I am now working on a new trauma because I'm just trying to get them not to leave me and not to hurt me. And it's survival. We know how to survive, we don't know how to thrive. It's survival. But for black women, that appease, we are either angry or we are appeasing. Two total opposites. You know, the polarities between that I'm fighting angry or trying my best to please you. And all of that is surviving, trying not to relive the impact of whatever that trauma was. And then, again, working on new traumas and then mad at myself because why do I keep going back to this situation that doesn't benefit me? But I think all of it is a part of just unresolved trauma and being educated about this is what I'm doing and why.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, those are very good points, Kelli. What resources can you give us for anybody who wants to maybe learn more about EMDR? And I also want you to talk about like if somebody listens to this episode and thinks, oh, that's something that I really would like to try – is there some kind of directory or national organization where people can find EMDR-trained therapists?

Kelli: Yes. There is or just google EMDR. And whoever you go to that's trained in EMDR, they need to be a Level Two trained EMDR. That's the highest level that you can go, but you wanna be a Level Two trained EMDR. Level One is a person that's getting trained, that can do a little bit of the calm/safe place, but not necessarily reprocessing the trauma. So googling that, you can find a Level Two trained EMDR. And any clinicians that would like to use it as a tool, I definitely think it's beneficial because the foundational parts of EMDR, even if you don't do the bilateral stimulation, the foundational component is very important to be able to do talk therapy, in my opinion. And that same information can be found on the EMDR website. The same information can be found.

And the more you use it, you kind of tweak it to get it to your personality and the population of people that you use. The more you use it with anything, the sharper you get with being able to use it. It is definitely my go-to, I like using it a lot. Very, very effective (let me say this) with children. Very effective with children. It doesn't take them a long time to process. The reason is because they don't have a lot of memory so they go directly to what that event is. Most of my adult patients often talk about how much better they would be if they had gotten the therapy at 12, 13, 14, 15. Like so many different decisions they probably would've made because it would've been able to just kind of pluck up that, you know, that template that's been so negative. So it's very, very, very effective with children as well.

Dr. Joy: Also, any resources for maybe clients who are interested in learning more about EMDR and how it can be useful. Any videos or books that you really like?

Kelli: Francine Shapiro was a founder of EMDR, so anything you read by Francine Shapiro. She was a founder of EMDR, she discovered it in 1989. I'm so sorry, I can't think of the title, but I think The Body Keeps the Score is one that clinicians go to a lot. In an Unspoken Voice by Dr. Peter Levine, he talks about trauma. And I heard Dr. Levine speak, if I may say this, at a trauma conference, and he showed pictures of the 9/11 building (9/11 when that happened in our country), and he kinda said, “You see the people in the picture that are running, that are moving? They're probably going to be okay.” PTSD and trauma is all about this feeling of being stuck so the EMDR process helps to get you unstuck. That make sense?

Dr. Joy: Yes, absolutely.

Kelli: So I often think about that because most people with PTSD and trauma, it’s this feeling of trapped. And so Peter Levine talks about that a lot in his book, In an Unspoken Voice, of what that looks like. But The Body Keeps the Score is probably one of the leading ones in talking about just trauma and PTSD and some of the benefits of EMDR.

Dr. Joy: Okay.

Kelli: And, you know, you can google in YouTube, you know, message boards. Clinicians are doing some awesome things with it, some awesome things with it. It's almost a grab bag of learning the foundational part of it first and then tweaking it to your practice and what you're willing to do. I think everybody needs to be trained in it, but that's just me. Because it blows a myth away that you gotta be in therapy for the rest of your life to work on trauma. People think this has gotta be years of therapy to undo this stuff. That myth is gone. It goes away. You, don't have to work on it forever, you know. Six to eight sessions, that's kind of what I'm able to do with clients, whether that's the bilateral stimulation or not, but I definitely see a lot of movement and EMDR helps to jumpstart that.

Dr. Joy: Got you. So Kelli, I also want you to talk to us more about your practice and where we can find you online and any social media handles you wanna share.

Kelli: I am in Memphis, Tennessee. Love being in Memphis, and I'm located in Midtown. My practice is in the Mental and Emotional Resource Center Inc., MERCI. I've been here since 2011. Social media, I do have a YouTube channel, it's called Life Management w/ Kelli, and I'm talking about my work in trauma and PTSD on YouTube. I am contracted at the local behavioral health hospital here in Memphis, I'm the director of grief and trauma therapy there. They've only had two directors and the first one was there about 19 years, and I trained with her for five of those. And when she left, I'm number two. So most people, if they see me in the hospital, many of them will follow me outside of the hospital. In the city, I'm known for my work with PTSD and trauma so a lot of my referral sources, that's where they come from. And as I said, I do this week in, week out, with child and adolescent, whether it's in the hospital, in my office, geriatric adult.

I use this skill a lot so sometimes people will say (and this may sound arrogant) is there anybody you know as good as you with this type therapy? And I often say there are not many clinicians in this city that have as much experience as I have because I do it week in and week out with various populations. And so the more you do it, the sharper you get with it. So I am a clinical supervisor now, an approved clinical supervisor. I do have two supervisees that are trained in trauma that are shadowing me at the hospital and even in my practice, and I'm so excited with what they will also be able to do with learning this tool.

Dr. Joy: Wonderful.

Kelli: Because I can see everybody.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, right, right.

Kelli: I can. But again, I do enjoy it. So I'm found in Memphis. I don't know if you want my website.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, it'll be included in the show notes, but you can share it now.

Kelli: Okay. It is That just talks about how to get to me, and things that I've done in the community.

Dr. Joy: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us today, Kelli. I definitely, like I said, learned quite a bit.

Kelli: Thank you for having me, Joy. Thank you so much.

Dr. Joy: You're welcome. I'm so glad Kelli was able to join me for this conversation. To learn more about her and her work, visit the show notes at And don't forget to text two of your girls and tell them to check out the episode right now. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at
And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y'all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here