Episode 57: Influence, Income, & Impact — Shaping Your Business & Life [featuring Dominique Pritchett]
Even in this day and age, it can still be very challenging for people in the BIPOC community to find therapists that look like them or therapy practices that are inclusive and culturally sensitive.
In this episode, I talk with Dominique Pritchett, therapist, speaker, and health and well-being consultant, about how private practices can create more inclusive spaces for black women and girls in therapy. Dominique also shares how to be an advocate on a larger scale to leave a bigger impact, as well as shares her experience and expertise with being a business owner and showing up online.
More about Dominique:
Dr. Dominique Pritchett is an exceptional licensed therapist, speaker, and mental wellness consultant.
She supports companies and mental health clinicians who are ready to create cultures of well-being and belonging using solution-focused strategies. Her goal is to make this the norm rather than an afterthought.
Dr. Dominique has been featured locally, nationally, and internationally in sources such as BBC London, Shondaland, Women’s Health Magazine, The New York Times, and many more. She is the founder and podcast host of Space for Sistas - a wellness community for Black women and girls.
Dr. Dominique is the owner of Beloved Wellness Center, the first and only private mental health practice in Wisconsin curated for Black women and girls.
Dominique's Website: dominiquepritchett.com
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.
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This episode is sponsored by The Receptionist for iPad. It's the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.
The Receptionist for iPad is a simple inexpensive way to allow your clients to discreetly check-in, to notify providers of a patient's arrival, and to ensure your front lobby is stress-free. The software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in and can even ask if any patient information has changed since their last visit.
Start a 30-day free trial by going to thereceptionist.com/privatepractice. That's thereceptionist.com/privatepractice. When you sign up, you'll get your first 30 free days.
Hey, everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I am joined today by Dr. Dominic Pritchett, therapist, speaker, health and wellness consultant. I definitely just said that wrong. What did you just say?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Well-being consultant, close enough.
PATRICK CASALE: Well-being consultant. I always forget. My brain is so scattered. Anyway, happy to have you here. And we are going to talk about how practices can create more inclusive spaces for black women and black girls for therapy. It's a topic that really is important for me as my wife is black and has a hard time finding therapists that look like her, especially, in the wonderful state of North Carolina. So, I'm really happy to have you on and I appreciate you making the time.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Thank you so much. I'm delighted to be here.
PATRICK CASALE: So, tell us a little bit about, you know, what you're doing and what you're creating, because I see all your social media stuff. One, I just want to say this, you made me, like, so envious of some of the stuff you were doing the other day. Like you posted a couple months ago, "I automated all my postings for the rest of the year, I did these things, like, I've got this setup, I've got this set up." And I was like, "Holy shit, how do I be like her?"
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Well, first, it's just me at my practice. I'm not ready to go into group practice just yet. I honor that and I'm okay with it.
And so, one of the things I actually enjoy doing is learning graphic design and website development and design. So, it's like my little hobby. And you know, I'm starting to introduce that for therapists and offer that as a service.
But yeah. So, I wanted to really, really focus on my clients this year. I didn't want to delegate anything out just yet, because a lot of my content comes from pop culture, all the hot mess that's going on around the world. It comes from that, and only I can put my voice into it.
And so, I took a whole day or two and automate it and did a year's worth of content about hot topics and all things related to wellness.
PATRICK CASALE: When you say a day or two, how many hours a day are we talking to create an entire year of content?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: You know, between my snack breaks, and my dog, you know, eating at my foot, I could probably go for about four hours each day. You know, I have a very good system. And because, you know, as a therapist, it is important that I still have my voice out there in multiple areas, social media, on my website, you know, with my clients, everywhere, because it's all about where can people find me. You never know where they'll hear your voice, such as a podcast. So, about four hours a day, four or five hours a day, I came up with templates, I came up with my system, and it's set, and I don't have to do nothing but push that button at the start of the year and it goes.
PATRICK CASALE: That is remarkable. And now I'm, like, rethinking my entire process, because my content is more like what is happening and coming to my mind in the moment. But I think that's a part of my neurodivergent sometimes, but you know, and maybe you're already thinking about this, and I don't want to, like, uncover it as you are, but like that could be something that you could be offering to therapists to, like, help them create that. And I feel like that would be so valuable.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: I was working on a course and I know I need to do a live masterclass. A lot of therapists, we weren't taught stuff like this, you know, marketing and content development, and how do I diversify one post. I could have five legs come from one post. You know, you've probably seen me talk a lot about black women and girls, the inequities that we face, access to care, how people can be active allies, and create spaces and cultures of well-being and belonging.
And so, from one post, I can come up with five legs, a podcast episode, a blog, a live, some content on social media. So, I'm not recreating the wheel or making this hard. So, yes, to your point, I will be offering that and following through with it too.
PATRICK CASALE: It's just such a wonderful offering. And I want everyone to hear that, because one piece of content can create so many different little snippets and different ideas too instead of feeling like so overwhelmed with like, I've got to create more, I've got to create more, I've got to think of new ideas, and you don't. And you can also recycle content when necessary. Like, we forget about things every, like, 90 days anyway.
But that is very cool. And I've been watching it and it honestly makes me want to shift how I do a lot of my stuff too. So, congrats on that.
You just mentioned, like, the passion, the value behind what you do, especially, creating spaces for black women, black girls, black teenagers to have access to care, to have therapists who are inclusive, or at least anti-racist in training and going through the motions and really not just saying, like, "I just took a diversity class and now I'm good to go." So, tell us about this. Tell us about your mission and like, the value behind it, too?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, it definitely starts with my upbringing. You know, I went through so much growing up from abuse to homelessness until the day I turned 18, being exposed to drugs, gangs, all of it. And everyone who reached out for help was white. And I grew up not trusting white people because my family didn't trust white people, because they always came with an unwanted mission or agenda to a welfare check because someone called. And so, not seeing many helpers look like me, whether they were therapists, social workers, even teachers, I didn't have my first [INDISCERNIBLE 00:06:21] teacher, and she was a sub until my ninth year in high school, ninth-grade year.
And so, it started with just my experiences growing up, because I say, well, if there's not many of us are many of us getting the help we need? I focus on understanding black women and girls' narrative, because all of our cultures are different, even the subcultures. But your narrative is your narrative. However, we don't need to spend a lot of time talking about what it's like to, "Be black." Let's do the healing.
PATRICK CASALE: That's powerful.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes. And so, that was so important to me, to open up a private practice curated for black women and girls in the state of Wisconsin, which is a state that is not so friendly to black folks. We represent a high population of the jail, but a small percent of the overall population. And so, I do pride myself on being the first and only practice in the state curated for black women and girls. But we have some amazing black folks doing some amazing therapeutic work throughout the state.
PATRICK CASALE: That's incredible, and what a freaking journey too in terms of what you just named and going through. And it sounds like that driving force of also providing something that you weren't able to access growing up, and just making sure that people don't have the same experiences due to inequity of care, right? Like, even in North Carolina, it's not a state that's friendly towards black people, for the most part, except, you know, maybe a few select cities. And that would even be a stretch.
And, you know, you've seen these, "Progressive." cities like Asheville, where like, if my wife and I go out to eat, we don't see another black person out. It's like, you know, fake, liberal bullshit. But nevertheless, we don't need to go down that road. Tell us about the struggles that are coming up, though, as you're creating this in a state like Wisconsin. Like, what kind of barriers are you facing as you're like, "This is my mission, this is my drive, like, this is really my passion project."
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yeah, you definitely have a lot of people who say, "You're discriminating yourself, you're being a racist yourself." And I believe in the power of infinity spaces, because there is a space for everyone. When the whole world is designed for white folks, allow people to have a corner that is unique and universal to them.
Research shows when those spaces are created people do better, and they do well, and they can grow. And so, I got a lot of that stuff. I actually got a few threats. When I first opened up my practice, you know, that, "Oh, your business won't last. We won't let it last, because you're promoting racism." And I'm just like, "Make it make sense."
And so, that was one thing, but I've always been integral in my community. I've served on boards and committees since I was 13 years old. And right now, I serve on the Kenosha County Health Department, as well as a local outreach centers board. And they are very supportive of my mission, because they recognize the uniqueness of it.
So, I've been faced with, you know, racism, I'm faced with threats that people aren't going to let my business succeed. But since I opened, August of last year, or two years ago, people now see the value.
When we look at bigger hospital systems, and we have three major hospital systems in our little old town, a lot of my clients, they tell me testimonies of not being welcomed there, not seeing any support doctors or other staff that look like them. So, regardless of all the BS that people threw at me about I was promoting discrimination or racism, I'm not going anywhere, because my city and surrounding cities need a [INDISCERNIBLE 00:10:03] wellness center.
PATRICK CASALE: Damn. Yeah, that's a really powerful statement. So, since 2020, it sounds like you started this business during COVID. And I imagine it's been really thriving and you stay busy. I mean, obviously, there's a need, right? And that just disproves that statement of like, this isn't a safe space, this is a racist space. Like, it's fucking bullshit. But nevertheless, the ability to persevere through that and say, I'm going to continue to keep showing up. And I imagine that is wonderful role modeling for the clients who are seeking you out and who need your support.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Absolutely. And I make it a point to go to community gatherings. You know, we're getting ready for our annual Juneteenth Celebration. They're like, "That's not fair, because that's not for Dominique." I'm like, "Okay, well, you just put all your confidentiality out there." But I'm not the kind of therapist that will not go to community events. I'm aware who lives in my neighborhood, I'm aware who lives up the street from me, I am an active member of this community.
And one of the things I love about working with black women and girls is that there is a sense of pride and respect for their doctors and their helpers. And I think that is multigenerational. You know, the esteem is definitely there. But I tell my clients, this is a partnership, this is a collaborative therapeutic relationship, I just happen to be on this side of the screen.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And I think that's so true, it's like this, and also, the ability to trust a doctor opposed to we all know the research about people of color not getting equitable care in the hospital systems and the mental health systems, and being made to feel like the issues are just being presented in a way where it's like, this is behavioral, or this is just like embellishment, or this isn't really real and dismissing that.
And we see, you know, statistically, a lot of people of color not reaching out for support and keeping it within the family system, right, in the family unit. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like, in terms of culture, and in terms of black women and black girls seeking out therapy, what are you seeing now that we're in 2022?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: I work with a lot of individuals who identify as spiritual or religious. And so, that's a whole nother layer of the culture. But in 2022, people are seeing some of their favorite singers, their favorite dancers, authors, and whoever, openly talking about mental health. And there have been some great pop culture movies and TV shows, or there's like Insecure or something like that. And in my profile, like, and all the directories it states, do you find yourself watching TV and you see a favorite sister and she's telling your story? And so, a lot of my clients feel like I saw that movie and it sparked something in me.
And so, now in 2022, people are willing to make the call. But the person on the other end of that call, are they holding space for black women and girls to be seen, supported, and safe from day one?
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. And how often is, you know, the accurate answer to that, in terms of being able to hold that space and actually make someone feel safe? It doesn't seem like it's a high prevalency in terms of our field, where people don't do the training, they don't do the work, but they're the only option in town. And that just can't feel good.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, it definitely doesn't feel good, because I am her and she is me. And so, I don't go around saying, "I'm a doctor so you got to give me preferential treatment. I am Dominique, I'm here for my appointment." And when they learn about me, their tone, and everything changes.
I tell black women, you don't need accolades or alphabets to be treated with respect and for people to honor your experiences. This past weekend I was at a health and wellness event for breast cancer survivors as well as open to the community.
And I spoke on one of my signature methods is called the Sister Method to Self-Advocacy. And it starts right there. I tell people, my job is not to give you your voice, you already have it. My role is to move some stuff out the way or guide you to move some stuff out the way so you can elevate your voice.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. I mean that's tangible, right? Like, that's empowering. And saying you already know how to kind of support yourself, you already know who you are, but now it's about working through some stuff so you can really do it confidently.
And what kind of results do you see when you're offering this method? Because I've seen you post about it and I was always like, "Damn, that's really freaking cool that you have this thing that you're really putting out into the community."
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: In a therapy space, you know when I can use a common vernacular, a common language, sis, you know, this lady, all of that starts with, can I self-advocate and be who I am no matter where I am?
So often black and brown women and girls, we're one of you in many spaces, okay? And so, unless it's, you know, in our community, and you know, at church or something like that, but when we're looking to step outside of that we're one of you in many spaces. And so, when I'm able to offer that perspective through my solution-focused therapeutic style, people are like, "Sis." I'm like, "Yes, yes, sis, what?"
I'm not offended when people call me sis [INDISCERNIBLE 00:15:23] and to break down all of that oppressive shit, people thrive off that. They're like, "I'm here to get fed, and I am here to become a better version of myself. I don't need all the stuff that's going to keep you away, I want you to come back."
PATRICK CASALE: That seems like that really reduces the barrier to kind of building that rapport and that trust, and that safety. And, you know, you're mentioning some things about even, like, the way you… the what… long day, the way you word things on your website, and in your copy, and in your, you know, your Facebook posts and the things that you do. Relatability is so big, right? Like, the way we speak, the way we present ourselves, the way we kind of connect with our audience, our clients, you know, before they've even met us. So, by staying current, by like, using examples like, are you watching Insecure and like, is this coming up for you? That creates that instant rapport, right? Like, that creates that instantaneous connection before they've even met you.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes. Yep. And that is so important for therapists to keep in mind. You know, we talk about niching, we talk about this, we talk about that, but if you are not relatable how can people know you, trust you, and like new way before you even get to the office? I have had clients who say, "I've been following you for a year, and you have consistently shown up, and now that I bumped into you in the avocado aisle at the grocery store, you're the same person on the live as you are in person?" And I say, well, it takes less energy to, you know, be me.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that just speaks to authenticity, right? And if you're acting and presenting within your value system, and who you really are, you don't have to put on this mask or this facade of like, you know, I'm going to present a certain way. And I think therapists do themselves a disservice way too often and talk about this all the time with like, I've got to be robotic, I can't disclose information, I can't be real, I can't use real-life examples. Like, I can only speak in clinical jargon. And my argument is always like, who the fuck speaks like that? Like, nobody speaks like that.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: It's so true. But look, what school has done to us. They have taught us to approach the field in this one particular way. If it does not resonate with my soul, it doesn't align with who I am as a person, how can I effectively and authentically show up and serve? Clients pick up on you being fake and phony? And I tell my clients, please call me out if something ain't jive with or, you know, just ask, "How are you doing Dr. Dominique, you seem off." But it's important for us to get ourselves under control. And I do talk a lot about therapeutic or therapists practicing self-care. If we are not well, how can we attend to others?
PATRICK CASALE: We are definitely a profession that doesn't practice what we preach very often when-
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: [CROSSTALK 00:18:12].
PATRICK CASALE: Exactly, right? Like, it's one of those things where we just don't practice what we preach. And you're so right, how can you take care of other people and support their healing if you haven't done the healing yourself?
And I think we can only go as deep as we've gone. And if we're not willing to be vulnerable and be real, and even I ask my clients, call me out, like you said, and if I make mistakes, it happens, I'm a human being. Like, let's own that shit. Like, I think that a lot of people assume that means it's self-serving, but that's not the case. It's more so we're creating the normalization of the human experience and destigmatizing mental health.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, absolutely. And it breaks down the higher gauche paradigm as well as, "Well, I can never be wrong, because I'm your therapist." It's like if I misstep, you know, I had a client last week, she said, you know, "Hey, you mentioned something that didn't sit well with me." And I said, "Oh, do share. You know, I'm open."
And once we explored it and she got my meaning behind, which I recognized I didn't clarify that with her. But she said, "I feel so much better I'm able to talk to you about this stuff." Because in the real world, many people avoid conflict, which we know in turn harbors all of those feelings, and people act them out. I tell people, as therapists and clients too, you act out behaviors of things you do and things you don't do. Not doing anything and letting shit simmer is acting out.
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And what a beautiful testament to the trust that they must have in you to be able to say that and name that, right? Like, and if they didn't feel that way, and they held on to that the outcome is I can't be real in this space anymore, I can't actually be vulnerable, or I'm just never going to show up again. And therapy isn't for me.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Exactly. Yeah. And so, yeah, and I think that is breaking the mold of inviting our clients to have a relationship with us, a professional therapeutic relationship. Man, so often people are like, "Oh, that's unethical to do certain things." How the hell is that written in the ethics? I don't think it can be unethical if you're a human being. We know what not to do. Don't do that stuff.
PATRICK CASALE: Don't have sex with your clients. Like, don't show up wearing Budweiser T-shirts, like, don't meet them at bars for drinks. Like, what the fuck? We are a profession who loves waving the unethical flag, though. And if you're a part of the bigger Facebook groups, you see it all the time. And it's just like, you're so right. Like, our profession is about relationship building. How do we build relationships if we aren't real people or we are inaccessible?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes. And I absolutely agree with that wholeheartedly. But also, it is important to clarify. I believe I have a great rapport and alliance, because I get some clients who are court-ordered, and they're like, "I want to be here." And I'm like, "Oh, God I get you." Still, not every client likes me. And it's not about liking. But do we have a shared understanding, which is the alliance of what is going to take to get you from A to B. That's what we mean. And so, it definitely invites therapists to really examine themselves, their biases, and what feels good. If that training stuff that they taught you don't feel good, you have the right to change it up to make it make sense for you.
PATRICK CASALE: That's such a good point, because I think people listening can assume like it is just about the connection. And you're right, it's about the alliance, too. And it's about meeting people where they're at. Like, you have to adapt and change how you work with every single person who walks in the door, I don't think it can be a one size fits all approach. You know, I used to work only with men with addiction, and a lot of them did not want to be in my office. So, I know what it's like to be a man struggling with addiction and I just name it. Like, hey, I know it fucking sucks to be here. And I know you don't want to be here. And we can either use this time or we can just sit here in silence, but whatever you want to do, that's on you, and it's your goal, it's your plan.
So, I just think it's important to navigate it that way. But you're right. I mean, if it doesn't sit well with you, right, and that's the same thing for supervision. And I think a lot of people don't think they have the right to change supervisors or like, seek outside external supervision. And I hear this a lot with people of color who are like, "My supervisor doesn't get cultural or diversity at all. They don't do the work. But I feel like I have to work with this person, because I don't have any other options."
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes and no. You know, if you're, you know, in a small city, and your supervisor has to be in your state or whatever, because of your school program, we have a shared responsibility to do the work we need to do and regulate ourselves, that other person won't change. But also, part of that responsibility to speak the hell up.
You know, at a lot of my internship, they would call my clinical supervisor, like, "She's a little opinionated." "No, she's a self-advocate." And that is the difference between accepting and taking a supervisor's BS when it's hurtful versus getting what you need to get up out of there.
And another reason I created Beloved is I work with a lot of high-functioning professionals, who are one of the few in many spaces, is that they don't have supervisors look like them, they don't have colleagues, and other people that look like them. And so, how do you regulate yourself, but also claim the space you deserve? Because you deserve to leave out of there less stressed just like everybody else.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a great point. So, you're really helping people advocate in more ways than one in terms of taking up space and using your voice and deserving to be heard and respected?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Absolutely. And I actually work with a lot of therapists who were in the very similar situation as myself. I have never had a black work supervisor, and I've never had a black clinical supervisor. And so, I get a lot of them. There is that fine line. I [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:05] supervisor, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:07], you know? I [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:06] supervisor, but part of that space, how do you want to use this space? Well, I want to be able to effectively communicate with my supervisor that I disagree without feeling like I did something wrong.
Black women naturally carry a sense of guilt when we confront a white person. And I was having a conversation with someone, and we were talking about how that white person is always in our head. Are we too loud? Were we too aggressive? I always say, certain folks can be assertive and certain folks can't. Some people get accolades for being great leaders and, you know, whatever, and some folks get chastised. That is just how it is, but that don't mean you have to go along with that flow.
PATRICK CASALE: I like that and that's a really good point for people to hear. You know, I think about you know, so often, like, my wife works in the federal government and has to code switch very often. and like, there's like, U.S. government Arielle, there's I'm with my family Arielle, there's I'm with my white friends Arielle. Like, having to switch tone of voice and how you show up in every single environment and being hyper-vigilant about everything, and about how you're received too, because it's like, there's moments where she's like, "I spoke out, and now I'm the angry black woman at work, and I was just trying to defend myself, and like speak up."
And it's like, those are the types of things that white people do not have to think about in any circumstance. And in the mental health field, I just think we do such a poor job of having any sort of cultural sensitivity in terms of moving through this world.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, and I'm glad you just said cultural competence, because Patrick, I would have came at you. I'm like, [INDISCERNIBLE 00:25:49] competent about anybody else, per se. And so, you know, I'm a person who really looks at like, the derivative of words, the origination of them. I don't believe that it's possible, but we can be culturally sensitive, we can demonstrate cultural humility and all of that.
Still, I empathize with what your wife is going through. You know, so many of us have to do that. But I invite black and brown women to wonder what would it be like if I didn't code-switch as often or at all? And what is it within me that I can change where I don't feel like I need to? It came up with a level of survival, the thought that I need to code switch. Have we experimented and tried it? What if we didn't? And what is even code-switching? Changing your voice? Changing that? You get the same me across the board, you know?
And so, I invite my clients to take a step back and say, I wonder what would it feel like and what would it be if you didn't code switch tomorrow? We're in survival mode all the time that we forget we have the ability to not do it in certain places.
PATRICK CASALE: Such a good point, you know, and I think that a lot of listeners will never experience that or understand that. So, you're working in a state where white therapists are the majority, right? And white clients are probably the majority of the clients going into private practice therapy.
So, with that being said, you know, how do you see that ever changing and being different in terms of white therapists creating more cultural sensitivity, because, like you said, competency is, that's not the word, but the work has to be done, because there aren't enough therapists of color to support the need, right? Like, there's not enough therapists who look like their clients, and especially, in certain states.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: And that is okay. And I love how you phrase that as well, what can white therapists do? And it does take white therapists to recognize that something is off. You know, I get called into a lot of private practices to do a cultural humility and sensitivity training, because they're like, "We're all white. We recognize we're white, our website's white." I say, "Well, how about you start there? Why do you find yourself only hiring white people? You cannot be in front of a black client if you haven't even done the background work." That speaks for itself.
And so, what can people do? One thing I want to say is even the clients I work with, I always say we share similar melanin, but I just might not be the provider for you and that's okay, too. I have several diverse people who have immediate openings, I want you to give them a try.
So, I don't want people to think that only black people need to see black therapists. That's not necessarily true. And vice versa, because sometimes the conversation gets lost in that white people are not capable. I'm not here to rescue white people, but I am here to call you out if you are not doing the background and the legwork to hold space for people that don't look like you.
PATRICK CASALE: That's very well said. And I think that's really important to think about in that way.
And I do think practices need to do ongoing work. So, if that's the value behind your practice and who you are as a person, then you really have to do the work. It can't just stop at like, "I'm going to make a statement, or I'm going to participate in a movement." Like, you have to do the work. And I think that hiring consultants of color to help lead that work is crucial, especially, for practices out there who really want to be supportive of clients of color and BIPOC people in general.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Right. Some of the best experiences I've had walking into all-white clinical spaces is sitting in their supervision, sitting in their consultation groups, or supervision groups. And you know, my whole model is how do we ask better questions? Every question can be a good question. I don't think there are dumb questions, but how do we ask better meaningful questions?
And I think folks are scared to say what's happening and to say what's not happening. So, you know, if you're a white therapist, you know what you know, you know what you don't.
PATRICK CASALE: And there's going to be blind spots to that, too, right? Like, there are blind spots and we have to be aware of what those are. And I think that comes with the territory of being a therapist in general. Like, you have to know those areas of growth, because I don't think we can assume that we know everything about everything at any point in time in this career, especially, when we're working with human beings.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Exactly, exactly. I want to go back to a point we were talking about earlier in terms of, you know, how clients, you know, are connected, and why I feel connected with them and they feel connected with me? A lot of my clients have mentioned that my black women and girls is that when they go a lot of places people assume certain things about them. I put all my assumptions in check, because I have taken over people's experience. And so, one thing that really stands out to me is people assume black people can't afford the out-of-pocket rate. People assume black people got certain kind of insurance until you say where you work and all of that.
My clients, we have a mutual respect. My policies are my policies, and my rates are my rates. And if I am not the provider for you, let me help you get to where you need to be.
So, I say the effort is a reminder for us to check ourselves as we check our biases and assumptions, we then create room to grow.
PATRICK CASALE: That is so wonderfully said. And I think that is so important to pay attention to because we do have these biases that exist. And I even see that a lot on a lot of the Facebook groups for therapists and some of my own coaching clients who are BIPOC. And why could anyone that looks like me ever afford to pay me out of pocket? And I can't answer that question in terms of lived experience. But I can say this is what I see. And it's really a beautiful thing when we can work through some of that stuff in terms of mindset, because I have some clinicians who are in Oklahoma who are charging $250 an hour and they're getting it all day long.
So, it's wonderful to see that though. And I think that you're so right, that we have these assumptions. And I do think it's important to really pay attention to that. But I also like your comment about, like, finding the appropriate landing spot. And that's important no matter what, right? Like, clients who call us, we're not going to be able to support everyone that calls us no matter who they are, and finding the appropriate landing spot is a part of our job and making sure that they get the best quality of care and can use the resources that they have. And I think so often we internalize that almost and like take it personally. So, I think that is really an important point.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Absolutely. One of the earlier pushbacks I got when I opened Beloved, I was very, very vocal about, you know, my mission and my vision was from certain black folks. If you really care about the people why you only this? I started off taking insurance, but that kind of hell ain't for me. You know, heard an insurance say, "Y'all still ain't paid me two years later?" Bah! So, I only pick your insurances only two. I am a heavy EAP provider, because it fits with the whole solution focus, a true solution focus of work I do, and I can take self-pay.
And so, I got a lot of pushback was if you really cared about people you wouldn't do certain things. I said, "My three I's I operate on, influence, income, and impact. And I need to live and take care of my life and my family." And so, I had to work through of man, am I really not showing up for my people? But my service to my people comes in many ways outside the office, volunteer work. You know, I do this sewing class, I use sewing as a conduit to facilitate understanding of mental health and well-being. And so, that's something a lot of black therapists I know have worked through as well. Am I really not showing up for my people and am I fitting in that box of inequality and oppressive approach to work if everybody can afford me? Everybody's not for me.
PATRICK CASALE: That could be a mic drop moment. It can also be the title of this episode. So, I really appreciate that influence, income, impact. I love that. And that's such a great, great point. And I think that it's got to be one of those internal struggles that happens all the time for people when it's like, how do I create accessibility but how do I also afford to live my life and I think those things are always being juggled in this profession. But I see it, obviously, much more often for therapists of color, because it's like, there is that mentality, a lot of the time of like people that look like me cannot afford me. But then what you're saying is like I'm giving back in so many other ways, too and I'm supporting in the community so many other ways other than just 60-minute increments of my time.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: And it's not even just with black folks, you know, I recognize not everyone can afford to pay out of pocket. So, that whole pardon, let's go back to ethic, the whole pro bono thing, nobody said it had to be on my job.
PATRICK CASALE: Exactly, exactly. And you can do that in other ways, right? Like, you can donate time, you can donate resources. Like, you can show up in advocacy effort. Like, there are so many ways to balance the scales of accessibility in the therapeutic world. But you're right, ethical flag goes up. And also, like, we think about running jokes in grad school and agency jobs are like you don't get into this field to make money, and we create all this money shame around even having this conversation and then we're stuck, like, burnt out, can't pay the bills, and we're questioning our career choices. And like, sometimes we do this to ourselves, though.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Right, how I look those two, that shame and that guilt went away when I decided to be a doctor. I said, "How much [INDISCERNIBLE 00:35:59]?" Okay, I'm going to do that for myself. I knew I was going to open my business. And so, that went out the door. But how I'd make it hold sense and I keep that, because it still comes up like, "Oh, am I charging too much? Am I this?" No, for this area I'm probably undercharging. I know I am. But I keep it in check, because in order for me to show up unburned is I need to invest into myself and that comes when people invest into me. There are too many black and brown folks being mis, under, and over-diagnosed due to shitty counselors and therapists. So, if I am being reported, which is my income, and my impact, and influence, I can keep showing though.
I don't have nobody in my business saying, "You know, good job, you get employee of the month." My rewards come when I get to travel for my, people investing into me. And that's what I consider, you know, play on words, fees versus investment. On my website, it says this is your investment, you're investing into yourself.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. It's a lot different than thinking about it as like rate for service or fee for service, because it is an investment. And we can never quantify what our, "Worst is." Right? We see that all the time. Like, charge your worth. And it's like, what the fuck does that even mean? Like, how can you put a number to that? But, I love the fact that you're naming it that way.
And also, it's a trickle-down effect, right? Like, if you're supporting people in the community, then they can heal, and then, they can support in the community or they can change trajectory and pathway. And I think that is really powerful.
And again, I don't know how we put a price on that. But the ability for you to travel, do the things you love, I know we were just talking about that before we started recording, doesn't that keep you like motivated and unburned, so to speak, and just able to show up with your cup full, so to speak, so that you can support in the best way that you can?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Absolutely, I just got back from Rio and Brazil and have a few other trips lined up, that is exactly how. If my cup is full or being filled, I know come whatever hour that is, I'm going to be fully present. And if I'm not, I'm going to take time off.
I use my mental health days, I use my breaks during the day, I tell my clients, I'm very honest with them, you know, "I'm not feeling my best self, today is not the best day to meet, I would invite you to self-schedule and reschedule to what's convenient for you." And so, yes, those are my rewards. They got to come from somewhere.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I don't think we become entrepreneurs to like, recreate our agency environments or corporate America environments. And I think, you know, there's a lot of similarities, right? Like everyone always says, "Autonomy, freedom, flexibility, more money, more travel." That's always the answer. And that's good, because those are my values, too. But, I mean, I think that what you just said, again, is modeling healthy behavior, right? Like, I'm not feeling my best self. So, I think it would be in our best interest to reschedule, is giving the client permission to do the same thing, right? Like if they're feeling the same way they can name that with you.
And I would always do that with my clients when I was seeing therapy clients, like, hey, my head's not in a good place today and I don't think I'm going to be, you know, the most use to you or you know, the most helpful today, and let's just reschedule, and it just, again, is like permission to be human. It takes away some of that, like, pedestal power dynamic situation as therapists versus client, and I think it, again, just normalizes the human experience, like, we all struggle and that's okay.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Exactly. I love how you put that, is we do all struggle, and I think I posted online not too long ago, yes, therapists don't have it all together too.
PATRICK CASALE: Yes, I just did a TikTok about that.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Ooh, I'm going to check it out. I'm going to check it out. And that can mean a lot of different things. But if we are not well how do we pour into others?
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. And again, going back to, like, not practicing what we preach, we can say you self-care all day long, and then, helpers, notoriously, not just therapists, like people in all helping professions tend to burn themselves out, work too much, do too much. Like, put everyone else first. And it's not selfish to put yourself first, because how else can you help people if you can't do that?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: It's not just about me, this is about me in the present. But I am building a legacy. I have never had an inheritance. I have never had a piece of China given to me, I have nothing. I have three pictures of me from being a little kid. That's all I got to my childhood in a bowl, one bowl, I stole from my grandma, she don't know I got it.
So, when I do this, and when I say I live out loud, I live through the good, the bad, the ugly, and ugly as hell. And I'm very vocal and transparent. I am building a legacy so that my next generation has something to honor and cherish.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. That's so powerful. And, you know, you're doing this in the moment and just living out loud and just really being real. And I think that makes a difference for people. I think people need to see all sides of this. Like, it's so easy from the outside looking in. Like, entrepreneurialship is glamorous, and small business ownership is always vacations, and you know, all these things. And it's like, hell no, it's not. Like, it is a lot of heartache, it's a lot of self-doubt, it's a lot of questioning, a lot of imposter syndrome and insecurity, and like, a lot of consideration, "Should I go back and bartend to Applebee's again?" Like, I'm just like… but at the end of the day, we get to have control over the situation and our policies and how we move through the world in terms of business ownership. And I think that is really, really empowering. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: No, no, it is that opportunity for free will. If you're a therapist out there, and you know, you're really trying to get your bearings down with private practice, so, what if you had to pick up a few shifts at Applebee's? Hopefully, you get free appetizers, enjoy, you know?
PATRICK CASALE: Exactly.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: There's nothing wrong with pivoting. So often when we're on a track or you know, we're grueling, we have become so fixated on what would everybody think if I didn't succeed? I recently closed my physical office, I invented that office in two years. So, folks are just taking my money, I have been traveling, like I said, it's just me. Before I closed the office a few months before I decided not to renew the contract and some crazy mess popped off, I sat with so much sense of failure, imposter. And I went back and looked at my analytics and income and I said, "Girl if you don't get yourself together?"
So, who said that having a physical office was a definition of success? I did. And so, I decided to define my successes, and I defined my failures. It's okay if you need to take a step back and pivot wherever you need to pivot in your niche, pivot with your rate, your investment rates, whatever you need to do to pause and regroup, take advantage of the opportunity.
PATRICK CASALE: That's so perfectly put. And there's no permanence to this, I think we get so caught up in like black and white and whatever decision I make today is the rest of my career. And that's the beauty of small business ownership, is you get to constantly reevaluate how you're running your business, what's working, what's not, what you want to change, what you want to shift, that can be your niche, whether you want to have a physical office, whether you want to be a travel therapist. Like, all of these things get to go into play. And there's no right or wrong answer.
And I think a lot of the times we're just in comparison traps because of social media. Like, we see all these people, like, my goal for the year is to make $718,000 and I'm going to do A, B and C and it's like, who fucking cares? Like, everyone's situation is very different. And we don't know what goes on behind the scenes.
So, it's really important to just listen to yourself and not shame yourself if you have to, like you said, pick up a few shifts at an Applebee's nearby, or like, pick up part-time work, or do something different. It doesn't matter, but just make it work for you. And then, you can be okay with how your situation plays out and just know that it's always going to change, and you can always adapt, and you can always edit, you can always improve. And that's a big part of doing the work.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, those are some of the essentials to burnout prevention and treating yourself well. When you can give yourself permission to pivot, that's the best gift possible. You deserve to live a life with mistakes and to be perfectly imperfect, but you deserve just as much to succeed and have the opportunity to keep trying again. Many folks don't get that opportunity and we know that. You know, coming out of COVID and what we're seeing across the world many focus on get tomorrow.
PATRICK CASALE: That's true. I couldn't have said it better myself. Yeah, I think that's just a really good reframe for everyone listening. You really don't know if tomorrow is guaranteed for a variety of reasons. And just don't hold anything back or regret not doing something because you're scared. Because then you go through life with resentment and wondering what if, and I think that is one of the most painful things that we can experience.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Right. I encourage people to get out of shoulding and get out of what if. Shoulding is an unrealistic fantasy, desire, and belief, but it's not the reality. The reality does not fall in shoulda, coulda, woulda, what is real? What feels good? And what do you need right now?
PATRICK CASALE: So many good quotes from you this episode. Now, I have all these struggles, like, what am I going to name it? What am I going to quote? But this was awesome. So, I just want to say that I really appreciate you making the time and coming on here. And I'm glad we connected this way. And I want to just ask you if you could, you know, any advice for the audience that feels really like a last-second thought or idea, and then, promote whatever you've got going on so people can find you?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, to piggyback off exactly what I just said about shoulding, I want to encourage you to get out of what if too. So often we say, well, what is goes wrong, negative or if it doesn't work out? What if it does? That's it. To wonder and be curious is the art we've lost, children do it so well. So, just be curious and wonder about all the possibilities that you deserve. And the only way to know for sure is to try
PATRICK CASALE: Mic drop moments all over the place.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: But you [INDISCERNIBLE 00:46:39] me right now.
PATRICK CASALE: I love the back and forth. So, that's why I love doing these podcasts is just really seeing everyone else's processes, and the things that they're creating, and the things that they have worked through to get there, and you know, your story is definitely one that has shown a lot of fucking perseverance and I just want to congratulate everything that you've accomplished and that you're doing. Where can the audience find more of you so that they can find what you're offering?
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Yes, my practice is belovedwellnesscenter.com, that is B-E-L-O-V-E-D-wellnesscenter.com. You can find us across social media platforms at the same name. For my speaking at consulting, you could find me at dominiquepritchett.com. I'm sure it'll be in the show notes. I will be launching a few services for mental health professionals. And I've started website design that's user-friendly and easy maintenance. And I will be launching private practice principles mini-courses for new and established mental health therapists
PATRICK CASALE: It sounded like perfectly rehearsed infomercial.
DOMINIQUE PRITCHETT: Well, it totally just came out like that.
PATRICK CASALE: I like that you're like your facial… for people not able to see, everything changed like facial expression, body language. But nevertheless, everything will be in the show notes so that you can have access to everything Dominique is creating and that you can have more access to her social media, her year-long planned-out content, and everything else that comes along with it.
Thanks for everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast. You can download, like, subscribe, share on all major platforms, new episodes out every Sunday morning. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. See you next week. Thank you.
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