All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 129: BIPOC Queer Care: Building Affirmative Spaces in Mental Health [featuring Dr. Antoine Crosby]

Show Notes

In this episode of All Things Private Practice, Patrick Casale sits down with Dr. Antoine L. Crosby, psychologist and owner of Affirmative Spaces. Together, they delve into the nuanced journey of creating safe, affirmative spaces in mental health care for BIPOC queer individuals.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Building Safe Spaces: Antoine shares his inspiring mission to create environments where marginalized communities can seek help and exist fully. Learn how aligning your practice with a robust set of values can support and protect these communities.
  2. Authenticity in Practice: We explore the emotional labor of code-switching and the liberation that comes with embracing and presenting one's authentic self in all spaces, from personal relationships to professional settings.
  3. Community & Healing: Discover the powerful role community plays in healing, why having more BIPOC mental health providers is critical, and how mentorship programs contribute to the overall well-being of both clinicians and clients.

Dr. Crosby's commitment to authenticity and community support is a potent reminder of what we can accomplish in mental health care. As Antoine gears up for growth, expanding his practice to meet the needs of those who seek space to be fully heard and seen, we are reminded of the importance of psychological safety and representation.

More about Dr. Antoine Crosby:

Dr. Crosby is a licensed Clinical Psychologist who completed his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Atlanta, Georgia and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in San Francisco, California. Through training he has worked with clients in various settings including community mental health centers, university counseling centers, inpatient hospital units, and forensic settings. In these settings he has been afforded the opportunity to work with individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds. More specifically, Dr. Crosby’s clinical experience and passion involves working with ethnic, sexual orientation, and gender minorities across the lifespan, individuals living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses, substance use, and other marginalized groups.

Currently, Dr. Crosby provides individual and couples psychotherapy through his private practice, Affirmative Spaces. His research and clinical specialty areas include LGBTQ+ mental health, African American Psychology, HIV/AIDS, and working with other marginalized groups. One aspect of Dr. Crosby’s clinical approach is recognizing the role and importance of faith present in many ethnic minority communities. In treatment, he works to honor one’s faith while addressing conflicts that may arise between one’s respective faith, their other held identities (LGBTQ+, gender identity, gender roles, etc.), and their behavioral health experiences (depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.).

 


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Transcript

PATRICK CASALE: Hey, everyone. You are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by my friend and colleague, Dr. Antoine Crosby. He is the founder of Affirmative Spaces in DC and a psychologist. And just a really fucking cool person.

And we're going to talk about a lot of things today, including, intersectionality, showing up in spaces that need to be affirmative, training and mentoring more BIPOC clinicians in the LGBTQIA space, and all the things that come in between. So, I think there's a lot of overlap to this conversation.

So, Tony, thank you so much for coming on and making time for this today.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Thank you for having me.

PATRICK CASALE: So, I can tell you're nervous.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Of course.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. I read the room a little bit when I know the person.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: So, this is your jam, right? Like, this is what you do. This is what you're passionate about. You and I used to do coaching together. And you came to our New Orleans Retreat Builder event in January. So, I have a good sense of like, really where your passion lies.

And I follow you on social media. You show up in a big way. And we've kind of talked when you were creating Affirmative Spaces. Like, I think it was last year. And you wanted to create this group practice. There was a vision here, there was a desire to have more… I think, what you told me is more people who look like you showing up in these spaces, ensuring that more BIPOC clinicians who are multiply marginalized, who also identify in the LGBTQIA population are being supported.

Because you were getting so many calls, that you were like, "I don't fucking know what to do. Because I don't want to turn these people away, because there's no one else that I trust to send them to. But I'm only one human being." And here we are.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Here we are. Yeah, so that is a phenomenal recap, because that's actually where I was and I'm. But I think, like, you know, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:02:57] of Affirmative Spaces actually came to me, the name, actually came to in a dream. I'm highly [INDISCERNIBLE 00:03:04] spirituality, very true to my core being even though I don't necessarily engage in all religious practices.

And like, the name came to me in a dream. And just kind of thinking about it where people can come, people who look like me, people who hold multiple marginalized identity can come, and show up any day. And they can leave that sit at the door. And be able to show up at their full self without having to teach, without having to explain. You know, they can just get in and get the healing, the joy they're needing.

So, that's how it came about. Opened it, literally, at the height of COVID, May 1, 2020. So, yeah, when I reached out to you I noticed that I was getting an influx of calls, which I was grateful for and thankful for, right? And figuring out, like, how to see everybody, especially, at the height of COVID.

And so bringing people on and making the decision, be able to offer it here, and ensure that people actually have access to, like, quality mental health care is really the focal point of the practice.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And there's so much intention, and care, and thoughtfulness going into that.

And I like that you said leaving that shit at the door. Like, having people who are showing up in society and often having to explain, and educate, and do all this emotional labor for everybody else so then to just have a place where you don't have to do any of that. And you can finally focus on what's going on for you, as I imagine so much is going on if you're existing in a world where that is your reality and that is very emotionally taxing.

So, to have a place that feels safe enough to just be yourself, and to show up, and feel safe enough to talk about things that are going on behind the scenes when you have to present a certain way in a lot of society.

ANTOINE CROSBY: In the old identity, like show up is not even something… so obviously, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:08] but I specialize in working with BIPOC, we're full. That's like my specialty.

So, that specialty black [INDICERNIBLE 00:05:15] men who have sex with other men. But even in that, that doesn't say because I identify as such, that doesn't mean I always get it, right? It doesn't mean that we are, like our experiences are the same. There are, however, some things that I just get about being black, some things I just get without being queer, some things I get just about being black and queer, because that is its own identity. And so-

PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:05:40] here.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Exactly, exactly. And so I think being able to leave that at the door, and like, there's certain things [INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:49] interesting, so if clients will, and I don't think intentionally will like test me. Like, they might say something and be like, "[INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:57] you know, when you be X, Y, and Z." And I'd be like, "Okay, but…" Like, you know what it is? So, like, "Hey."

And so, I think, you know, and ensuring that I'm not putting the word, even if it's something that I come across and I don't know, I think there's a difference about being curious, where they're a better fit versus being treated with like my own just wanting to know.

And so if I don't know something, I will, you know, do a quick internal check. And then I'll say, "You know, I'm checking. Can you unpack that for me and let me know what that means. I want to make sure I'm following along."

And that has been like, I think, extremely helpful, powerful, and people being able to tell their stories, and like, share their experiences. And to talk about things that they normally didn't talk about, and realizing how their identity show up in all of these other spaces, like you're listening, right?

And so [INDISCERNIBLE 00:06:48] therapy [INDISCERNIBLE 00:06:50]. But how do I navigate being black? Especially, in corporate America. Or in a nonprofit agency, where I'm like, one of three black people in an organization of 500? How do I navigate being the only queer person, you know?

And so seeing how the different identities show up in different subset of their lives. And that's probably even before we get to like, familial and romantic relationships.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I guess that, well, there's so much to unpack here. But I love that you said just because I identify a certain way doesn't mean I always get it, right? Like, that doesn't mean that I understand and get every single experience, because I'm black, because I am queer. There's lots of layers to this. And there's lots of experience that is within experience.

So, it's very interesting, and it's very complex. But I love that you're saying this because first and foremost, when you're out in society, right? In corporate America, in nonprofit, like you named, in academia, wherever, in just life. It's obviously apparent when you walk into a room that you are a black man. It's apparent to a lot of people like how you identify. So, immediately having to present a certain way in certain situations and having to sometimes often code switch, too.

My wife does that all the time. You know, there's like, as she would say, "Government white Arielle, there's black Arielle, there's like, I'm with my family Arielle." So, there's lots of having to navigate all of these situations. And I imagine, and obviously, I can't relate, that is so fucking exhausting to have to do that.

ANTOINE CROSBY: One of the reasons why I opened up my own [INDISCERNIBLE 00:08:41] little [INDISCERNIBLE 00:08:42] urge, because I pride myself on being able to show up authentically, right? Like, what you see is what you get. Like, I'm Dr. T, I'm Tony, whatever you just want to call me. But I don't ever want it to be situations where if two people are talking about me, there're two different people showing up in [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:00], right?

And so being able to fully show up as myself in all spaces. And I think that helps like inform how I show up in the room with clients. And being able to be that authentic when I think about different interventions, when I think about different things, even how I say certain things to clients.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Just bringing that human component is so important. Like, I am a whole human being.

And one thing we know, I know we're talking about intersectionality, when we talk about like intersectionality where it's about being able to always be your full self and [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:38] after check which part of me can't show up in any [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:41], that creating, excuse me, like an internal distrait. Before I even enter the situation I'm already thinking about how I can show up, how my hair has to look, what am I going to wear, all of these things. I'm not prepared for the presentation. I'm not showing up in the states. I'm not engaged as a participant. It all happens beforehand. So, yeah, really trying to like mitigate that and making sure that you don't have to do that.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that you are naming that. And I'm wondering for you, you know, I know you're a professor too, right? So, you teach psychologists… What's the word that I'm looking for? I know that you are helping with psychologists who are certainly coming into the workforce and helping them through their process. And I wonder how was that for you to say, I am going to show up in all of these spaces as authentically as possible.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Oh, I think that's been a journey. Shout out to my therapist over the years. Because I think to able to show up authentically means that I have to, you know, be okay with who I am. I have to love all parts of it, even the part that are hard to love.

And so I think that's been part of my journey and a continual journey, right? But I think I've reached a point of self-love that I will not allow, intentionally, a situation or individual to dishonor me. I'm not going to allow you to do something to me that I wouldn't allow myself to do me.

And so I think that helps me personally ground myself in authenticity, thinking in my mind, thinking my truth in all spaces. So, I think that translates in how I show up at therapy, but also how I show up as a professor, and how I show up as a supervisor.

And not saying that you have to show up as I show up, but who are you authentically? What's your authentic voice? Let's find that. Let's ground you and root you in that, because at that point you're unstoppable. Once you know who you are, that [INDISCERNIBLE 00:11:46]. And so I think that, you know, knowing what it feels like to experience that and like walk, and live, and breathe that, I really want people to be able to experience that and find that for themselves.

PATRICK CASALE: It's powerful. How have you noticed a shift since being able to experience that for yourself? How have you noticed just how you show up differently and what that's like for you?

ANTOINE CROSBY: I think it means that [INDISCERNIBLE 00:12:16], how was that? I don't know, that sounds terrible. Well, meaning that I don't apologize how I show up. I'll acknowledge, you know, if I miss that, and things of that nature. But I feel I'm not as [INDISCERNIBLE 00:12:29]. I'm still a work in progress.

But leaning into, like, things that I've done, the things that I'm doing, like that is what I'm working for. Also, it allows me to, like, be unapologetic and bold in like my marketing campaigns, and the demographic that I want to serve, and that I choose to serve, and be like unapologetic in that regard, unapologetic in my research, interest, and specialty, and how I teach my students. I think that's how it shows up.

PATRICK CASALE: Does that feel freeing?

ANTOINE CROSBY: Liberating, yes.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Because then I get to march to the beat of my own song. And that's not to say other drums are important and I pay attention to other things. But also, I'm aware that like, you know, I hold value. It's okay for me to trust [INDISCERNIBLE 00:13:25], right?

PATRICK CASALE: Sounds like also having a stronger sense of self and feeling more grounded and confident in acknowledging like, this is who I am and I love who I am. And I imagine that that can be really fucking hard to get to that place.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah, so without making it to therapy sessions. The best for me, I think that… so my journey of self-love had been one that had not been [INDISCERNIBLE 00:13:59] right? So, I am black [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:02], I am queer, but I'm also a PK, preacher's kid.

And so grew up in the church, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:11]. And so what that means is that didn't always hold space for my queerness, right? And even now, there are, I mean, if I'm out with my family, but then it's this condition where it's like, it's acknowledged by some and then it's kind of like a don't ask, don't tell, all that.

But anyway, my journey of self-love and getting there hadn't been like realizing like there's power in like who I am, there's value in like my queerness. There's nothing wrong with my queerness, there's nothing wrong with my blackness, there's nothing wrong with my black queerness. Because society would say that there's something wrong with any of those identities. And those are messages that overturn my internal lie.

And depending on the phase that I was in, the truth was marginalized identity sees me [INDISCERNIBLE 00:15:02]. And so I think, over the years through therapy, through self-reflections, through re-engaging in my own spiritual path and relationship with my higher power, I think that that allowed me to not only to discover, but also like, embrace, and internalize that self-love.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And it sounds like it's been quite the journey. And it's got to be, like you mentioned feel like liberation, for sure. And then just, I imagine, and I don't know the behind-the-scenes, right? But I know how you show up on social media. I know the impact you're having on your community. And I imagine there are a lot of people who are very thankful that you are embracing authenticity, and showing up the way that you show up, and help the way that you help.

And I'm curious about how that has led to the desire to create a group structure, because, again, coming back to it is like, you can only do so much as one human being.

ANTOINE CROSBY: The desire to create an expanse of the group practice really was fueled by the amount of referral that I was receiving-

PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:16:55] telling me in the moment, you're like, "I could see 75 people this fucking week if I wanted to."

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: I was like, "Please don't do that. Please, please do not do that to yourself."

ANTOINE CROSBY: No, no, no, no. And even when I was starting, I was being involved between like 28 and 30ish, which was just not sustainable, right? But because I realized like the need, and so I was blessed and fortunate… have been blessed and fortunate, and a lot of referrals comes from clients, a lot of referrals from current clients, a lot of impact. A lot of referrals come from colleagues. I have a Psychology Today page. But like, it's been awesome for the greater part of the year.

But realizing like, there are people who we help build their literal value in sitting across from someone who looks like you. And so my goal and mission with Affirmative Spaces is to really build that faith, build that infrastructure where you can be trained, you can be heard, there are certain things that you just will not have to explain, right? And then you can just take this fully.

And you don't have to wonder if this is a safe haven for you. This is a safe haven for you. And safety doesn't mean that we're not going to miss the mark, that we're going to have missteps. We'll sure have that, but the safety is in being able to name them, being able to like process them, unpack them, and recalibrate.

And so that's really what I had hoped to, like, build by bringing on, you know, new postdoc, and other staff, so that we can really drive this mission forward. Because as BIPOC queer folk we have a lot that happens to us, a lot that is outside of our control, you know, from, you know, high level [INDISCERNIBLE 00:18:46] clinically, with laws, and things of that nature, even down, you know, to the individual level with families and relationships.

And so if for 50 minutes out of the week you can compress, especially, in a space that's designed for you, that is what we are trying to do. And really bring healing and like create what I could call like the ripples.

So, if you're coming in, getting hearing, and unpacking, and relief in your trauma, in your pain, and moving through your joy, you're going to go out, and that's going to impact how you show up in the community, and that's going to ripple, and ultimately, change the community overall.

PATRICK CASALE: It's powerful. Where are we at these days in terms of have you hired anyone yet? Not to put you on the spot about this, but I am curious.

ANTOINE CROSBY: So, I currently have one postdoc. So, I started slow.

PATRICK CASALE: That was the word I was looking for before, by the way. I was like, I fucking knew this-

ANTOINE CROSBY: Oh.

PATRICK CASALE: …because you've used it so many times when we worked together. I lost [INDISCERNIBLE 00:19:48].

ANTOINE CROSBY: So, my postdoc, so people who recently completed their doctorate in psychology, it's a way for them to get their hours before licensure. I have one right now. I'm in the process of bringing on two more, who will start in the fall.

PATRICK CASALE: Okay.

ANTOINE CROSBY: [CROSSTALK 00:20:06] three. And then see how that goes, I might bring on like a fourth or fifth when need… at the top of the year 2024.

PATRICK CASALE: That's exciting.

ANTOINE CROSBY: So, yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: How does it feel to see that vision start to become reality?

ANTOINE CROSBY: It's a bit anxiety-inducing and surreal at the same time.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah.

ANTOINE CROSBY: So, there's so much that goes into it. I mean, we talked about this, right? And thinking about all of it, like, when it was just me, right, okay, I know I do these things, these are my forms, that's just fine. It's just me.

But now I'm like, oh, there are other people. There are policies and procedures. There's a standard practice that we have to have that I would love holding. You know, I have to now communicate that to other people.

So, that piece, you know, and really wanting to protect the integrity of the brain and to protect the integrity of the mission, because I don't want a [PH 00:21:08] sell of the business or [INDISCERNIBLE 00:21:10] to enact any harm.

PATRICK CASALE: Yep. And it sounds like that's something that absolutely cannot be sacrificed in this mission. Like, oh, whoever we hire, right? As group practice owners, you're always thinking about the reputation, the integrity, and maintaining value, maintaining your value structure that you've created.

And I think, it is even more impactful when you're trying so hard to be mission-focused and driven towards supporting marginalized communities. Like, I imagine that can feel like a lot of pressure, like there's no room for this, like, error or potential fuckup that can happen if someone is just not in alignment with the values of this culture that we've created.

ANTOINE CROSBY: And if you're not in alignment, we will find you somewhere else to go. It will not be here, because really, this is my business, but greater than that this is my community. And, no, we've experienced enough harm, we don't need anymore. And so we want to make sure that we're bringing peace and healing. And so if this is not for you that's okay.

PATRICK CASALE: But it's not going to last longer [INDISCERNIBLE 00:22:36]-

ANTOINE CROSBY: No.

PATRICK CASALE: It's an interesting thought to go from like, I'm just doing my own thing. I know my policies and procedures, and I want to processes to bring someone on because it's like, "Oh." It's almost like this weird feeling of like, now it's a business because someone works here, that isn't me.

ANTOINE CROSBY: You have to call me and ask me about certain things, I have to do payroll, I have to review your notes. It's like, it's these things that you know you have to do but then when you are actually doing them, you're like, "Oh, yeah, like I own a business."

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, it makes it feel a bit more real. It also feels like there's an extra layer of responsibility in a way. Because I know for myself, and I'm interested to see how a year from now how Affirmative Spaces looks for you, if it's three postdocs, if it's 10, who knows.

I remember hiring my first clinician who was a friend of mine, who's still with me two and a half years later thinking like, "Okay, I'll hire one person." And now I just interviewed to hire my 20th today, and like-

ANTOINE CROSBY: Wow.

PATRICK CASALE: It's just a matter of like, if you can continuously have a ripple effect, because our mission is really to support the neurodivergent community at large. And if we can continue to bring on neurodiverse affirmative care, I'm like, why would I say no to this if we can continue to support more people? But it's a fine line, because it can get from like, one to 20 and then you're thinking, "What the fuck comes next?" And I don't know, it's scary.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah. It's a lot, to your point, it's a lot, wow. And it feels like it can grow and because of the impact that we want to have on our community. So, yeah, yeah, yeah. Then it's also like, hey, what does that mean?

PATRICK CASALE: Exactly. Tears of leadership and more structure and organization. And you don't want to lose sight of why this was created in the first place. Like, that's always something that comes to mind with growth is like, you really want to operate from a place of alignment in terms of the populations you really want to serve, but also not only serve, but protect.

And I think that is so crucial when you're talking about intersectionality and marginalized community of saying like, first and foremost, the protection of the community comes first. And that creates this differentiation and thinking about business ownership, because policy, procedure, culture, hiring, everything has to be in alignment.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Because it is so, so, so important. And to the point, like, intersectionality, what I'm realizing in this moment right now, it's like it's not… I mean, I've been feeling this, but to put language to it, it's not separate. Like, it is my business in a way. But if I could [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:21], like if my community like, I be quiet out. You know, we might frequent similar settings, which I disclose to them from session one like, "Hey, we're members of the same community, community like this big, so…"

PATRICK CASALE: Right.

ANTOINE CROSBY: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:36] out and about. But yeah, it's part of my life, it's who I am. So, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:46].

PATRICK CASALE: I just did an episode, my last episode that came out was with Elizabeth McCorvey who's a BIPOC therapist here in Ashville. And we were talking about the mental health industrial complex.

And just the realization of like, mental health private practice care is a privilege, right? Like, to come to a private practice setting, to have the ability to pay for services, or whatever the case may be. There's privilege in the ability to do that. But it takes so much more than just 50 minutes of session time to heal. And it takes a community at large to heal.

And I think the mental health profession as a whole, has really gotten away from that concept of like, it's more than just one-on-one therapy. Like, that's great, it's wonderful. But at the same time, communities healing together are also important.

So, the work that you're doing, like you mentioned that ripple effect, that's healing a community. Like, that is so big. I don't know if you're able to take that in. But I just think that watching and witnessing it is pretty incredible.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah, I had an input, thank you for that. I hadn't actually thought about it like that, as you were saying of like, settling in because I agree, like community is huge. And community is such a powerful healing energy, especially, with like BIPOC community. So, we don't tend to do one-on-one, right? So, to hear you frame it in that way, like, routing and [PH 00:27:16] settling. So, thank you for that.

PATRICK CASALE: Well, I just want to say, as a friend and colleague, I'm really fucking proud of what you're creating. And from day one, when you told me what your vision was, I was like, "Holy shit."

And I felt honored that you sought me out to work together. Because I think, you know, there is, obviously, we always have to acknowledge race. And we always have to acknowledge that there's a difference in privilege.

And you mentioned something that kind of struck something in my head while you were talking about like wanting people to sit across from me who look like you. And I think about like telehealth and how that's really increased access to be able to do that. Because when my wife was looking for a therapist here in Asheville I was like, "We might have for black providers. And if it's not a good fit, then you're, like, kind of stuck with whoever you can get."

ANTOINE CROSBY: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: Now, with telehealth, it's like, well, we have the entirety of the state to have access to care. So, I think that's also really helpful.

But I know you live in DC. So, there's a higher percentage of people who are black, and who are African American. And the ability to show up in your community with people who look like you. I just think that is so so important, because I think relatability is accessibility in therapy. And I think the ability to, like you said, leave that shit out the door, and it doesn't even have to be spoken,that is so powerful.

ANTOINE CROSBY: I mean, even being on the other side, like every side, like there is something about not having to [INDISCERNIBLE 00:28:56] for safety in that way.

PATRICK CASALE: Sure.

ANTOINE CROSBY: And so yeah, like being, like here in DC, I think that is, well, I'll say that even being in DC, there's a higher concentration of black providers, but it's still relatively new, if that makes sense.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely.

ANTOINE CROSBY: And so, yeah, I also want to, like, create that like having more black providers, having more BIPOC providers. So, I think, not I think, the business of actually like two-tier or two-pronged in that approach is like showing up for the community in this way. It's also like changing the face of like mental wellness, and mental health, and psychology, and what the face of that looks like, that for so long it hasn't been inclusive of the people who look like it.

PATRICK CASALE: For sure. I think that because you provide mentorship in what you're trying to do with these postdocs, I think that's also huge because then people know I have a safe place to go and work. That's huge too, like having culture built in and making sure that things are affirmative, and anti-racist, and anti-oppressive. Like, it's more than just wording, right.?

So like, just for you to show up the way that you show up. I imagine a lot of these folks who are coming out of their programs are like feeling a relief, if they think I have a place I can land safely.

ANTOINE CROSBY: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:27] like when I get to business or to like create that safety, that was actually something I had during my internship when I was at Howard. Through all my years of training, that was the first time I was in a state where all of my supervisors were black, the vast majority of students who I follow were of the African diaspora.

It was [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:50] in a way to just be able to exist, to not worry about, you know, hair. And I have dreadlocks, and like is that going to be okay? Is that going to be a thing that's going to come up? Just those nuanced, people call them micro aggressions [INDISCERNIBLE 00:31:07] aggression.

So, the macro aggression that we have seen out in the world as if like not have to deal with that, was so powerfully healing in a way that I didn't even know I needed at the time. And so, yeah, I just really want to be able to, like, create that moving forward. There were traits of my blackness, there were traits of my queerness at Howard. And that in and of itself allowed me to show up differently in the way that I was able to do the work.

PATRICK CASALE: That makes complete sense to me. I imagine that anyone listening to this right now is going to be like, what's Tony's email address, I really need a place to work in the DC area? So, I just want to highlight that when we're talking about one to three postdocs in the next couple of months, I'm like thinking, "Damn! This could really turn into like a collective, this could really turn into something really fucking cool."

ANTOINE CROSBY: I welcome it [INDISCERNIBLE 00:32:04] five years. So, my email address is [email protected]. You can reach me via email. We are rebuilding the website right now, that should be done in a couple of weeks, actually. So, it's www.affirmativespaces.com.

And then, also, if you want to see my clinical work and how I work clinically and approach either, you can search me on Psychology Today.

PATRICK CASALE: Don't do that, because Tony's not taking more clients on. I'm trying to protect him from himself. But in all seriousness, that's fantastic. And I love the logo too. Like, I love what you've created. And everything you're doing is really powerful. And just keep creating these ripples, because these ripples become currents, these currents become community changing events and community healing as well taking place. So, really, really incredible stuff. Anything you want to leave the audience with or share before we before we end.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Well, I want to thank you for inviting me onto this platform, like amazing, so thank you for that. I would just encourage, like, anyone who's doing this work, anyone who's thinking about pursuing this, is that authenticity is so important both from a provider side and a client side. Just show up as yourself because there is something very healing about not having to pretend.

PATRICK CASALE: I agree 100%. I think that it's helpful not only for the provider to show up as their best self, but it's helpful for the client, in terms of building rapport, and trust, and safety. And it also models that you can show up in different spaces as yourself and in the mental health space, in the community, etc.

And I think that is a really powerful message to send to people who are really struggling to just feel okay with being themselves in any capacity. So, really thank you for the message today and the conversation. This was really enjoyable and I think people will get a lot out of it for sure.

ANTOINE CROSBY: Thank you so much. I would also add my Instagram, I forgot to mention it, sorry. So, you can follow me on Instagram @docwithlocs_. So, D-O-C-W-I-T-H-L-O-C-S-_, docwithlocs_.

PATRICK CASALE: Love it. All of that information that Tony just shared will be in the show notes so you have easy access to Affirmative Spaces if you're interested in looking what they're doing, their Instagram account so you can follow on social media, and just follow the journey.

And for everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice podcast, new episodes are out every single week on all major platforms, YouTube, as well. Like, download, subscribe, share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. And we'll see you next week.

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