The most recent episode of NetVUE’s podcast series Callings features Thema Bryant, president-elect of the American Psychological Association. Thema is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Los Angeles; a professor at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Lab, and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The American Psychological Association awarded her the Emerging Leader of Women in Psychology Award in 2007 for her scholarship and clinical work on violence against women, and recognized her for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest in 2013. Her most recent book is Home Coming: Overcome Fear and Trauma to Reclaim Your Whole Authentic Self. She also hosts The Home Coming Podcast.
Thema describes a deep sense of calling in her life in terms of an “overarching theme of healing.” In this conversation, she discusses liberation psychology, the relationship between faith and therapy, the healing power of poetry and dance, and the opportunities and limitations of social media in vocational discernment. One of her callings is to raise public awareness about mental health, so she uses social media to reach a wider audience than she could reach through her academic scholarship. “The dissemination of knowledge is a form of liberation,” she says.
Thema is an expert in the cultural context of trauma, particularly child abuse, partner abuse, sexual assault, and the societal trauma of racism. “Trauma affects you,” she reminds us, “but it doesn’t define you.” Throughout the episode, she explores what it might mean to find one’s home, to heal, and to be a healer.
Callings can be accessed at the link below and through Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms. We invite you to listen to this and other episodes, and ask you to share them with your friends and colleagues.
Click here to listen to the episode featuring Thema Bryant, titled “Healing and Homecoming.”
Stephanie L. Johnson is the editor of Vocation Matters.