Lemme tell you a quick story about what it’s like to be black in the field of psychotherapy, specifically in the field of Solution Focused, Brief Therapy. I wanna tell you a quick story about how I came to Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and then what led to some of the things that I’ve experienced all the way back in 2005, I was in graduate school and was really kind of struggling with what kind of therapist I wanted to be.
And what I mean by that is when you’re in graduate school and you’re studying psychotherapy, they introduce you to dozens, even hundreds of different psychotherapy approaches. And I didn’t feel like I was mastering any of them. I felt like I was getting a very surface level education on what these models were, and none of ’em really fit with me. Like I,
I’m someone who comes from my own trauma background and, and I’m someone who come from my own experience with mental health. And I didn’t wanna focus on people’s problems. I didn’t wanna focus on what was wrong with people. I knew that I knew enough to know that, but none of these approaches I was studying fit with me. And then I learned about Solution,
Focused, Brief Therapy, and it was like exactly the way I wanted to be doing therapy. And I got so excited about it. And I read every book I could get my hands on every research article I could find. I did everything I could do to read and study and focus on every part of this approach. ’cause I wanted to be very good at it.
I began to admire the people whose books I was reading. I began to become fans of theirs from a distance. I didn’t know who these people were, and I had no idea that I would ever know who these people were. They were just people who were writing books that were significantly changing and impacting my life. And then I graduated and a couple years after I graduated in 2008,
there was a conference being held all about Solution Focused, Brief Therapy near my home. And I was really excited. I didn’t have a ton of money at the time, so if the conference had been anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t have been able to go. But it was within a couple hours driving my home and some pipe people I knew I was going so I could like crash with them at a hotel.
Like it was, it was, it was like meant to be almost. And I remember going to that conference and all of the people whose books I was studying at the time were there. All of the people whose books I had read a few years prior when I was in graduate school were there. And I was in awe. I was so excited to meet them.
I would walk up to them, this was in the super duper early days of selfies. And I would walk up to them and ask ’em if I could take a selfie. And a lot of them were older and didn’t really know what I was talking about, or I would ask them to sign books for me. It was an amazingly great weekend. That was also the weekend I gave my first presentation at a,
at a conference like that. So I, I tell you that because I want you to know where this journey started for me and how impactful it was when those same people began to behave in really horrible, bigoted, racist, biased, and privileged ways. It was, it was, it was super duper hurtful for people that I admired to be behaving so poorly.
As the years went on, I wanted to be involved in this organization. I wanted to be a part of this organization. I wanted to contribute to this field. And it became very, very clear that the people that were in power did not want me to be a part of their journey, which is fair. I mean, you don’t have to like me,
you don’t have to like my work. All of that is fine. But over the years, I started noticing that they didn’t really interact with anybody who looked like me. Then I started to understand that if you’re on a board of a, of an association, you can’t just exclude people barely have to be able to tell them why they’re excluded. And and they would say things to me like,
we just don’t think you’re a good fit. And when I would say, based on what, I wouldn’t get an answer. ’cause I had done, by that time, I had done all the things that everybody else had done. I had written books. I traveled the world giving lectures, I had written research articles, I had participated, I had delivered workshops.
I had done all the things, but they just didn’t think I was a good fit for years and years and years. I heard that for years and years and years. That was the experience. And I think it’s important to share these things because during Black History Month, it’s really about black stories and black experiences and black representation. These days, I have the biggest platform in the entire field.
By far. I have the biggest following in the entire field. By far. They worked really hard to make sure that wouldn’t be true. They held multiple meetings where the topic of the meeting was, how do we stop the growth of elliottconnie? I mean, that’s crazy. It makes me think about in the 1960s, the the powers that be having meetings.
But how do we stop a black messiah from coming out of the black community, which led to the demise and death of people like Fred Hampton and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That’s the mentality, that’s the mindset. And they had those similar meetings about me. But here I am, I I I represent a movement. And here I am, I am the steward of a very,
very large platform. And every single week, in fact, every single day people send me messages about how they watched my material, they watch my videos, they watch my content, and they never felt more seen. They never felt more heard because for the first time, they’re seeing someone that looks like them on this stage doing this work. And that matters.
I have no idea why people engage in such horrible, horrible behaviors. But if history has taught us one thing, it’s that it never works long term. It’s a bad strategy long term. It’s a very, very bad strategy because it always blows up in the face of the people who are behaving poorly. I thought it was important for the first video I do of Black History Month to be about the black journey and the black story within the field of Solution,
Focused, Brief Therapy or psychotherapy. I was shocked to experience these things in this field. I think if you say you love Solution, Focused, Brief, Therapy, then you have to support other people who are doing it. Even if you don’t enjoy the way that they’re doing it. We at least would be curious about how they’re doing it. We would talk to them about what they’re doing,
and we would engage with them about what they’re doing. If you really love Solution Focused, Brief Therapy that you would embrace its most foundational tenets, which is we assume people are doing the things they’re doing with good intention and for good reason. We assume the best in people At the very core of racism and bigotry and bias and all those negative things is fear and judgment.
And at the very core of Solution Focused, Brief Therapy is radical acceptance and not judgment. At the very core of Solution Focused, Brief Therapy is thinking well of other people, and particularly when you don’t know anything about them. At the very core of Solution Focused Brief Therapy is love. I have not experienced that from other entities in our field. I,
it was really important to me to build a community and a platform where that was in fact true. I’m so proud of, of that. I’m so proud of what we’ve built in spite of how people treated me. I’m so proud of what we built in spite of some of the challenges we experience. But I’m not surprised. ’cause like I said, those are very,
very bad long-term strategies to success. The greatest long-term strategy to success is openness and love. And that’s what we’re about. That’s what we practice. So here during Black history going through 2024, I want to, I want to acknowledge the journey. I wanna be clear and transparent about the journey, but I also want to express just how proud and honored I am to be in the position that I’m in,
in spite of everything that I’ve been through. And I feel bad for those people. A lot of them have retired, a lot of them have moved on. A lot of them, their careers have not gone very well. A lot of them are just not, not where they used to be. And I genuinely feel sad about that. I, I genuinely wish that,
that were not true. This field is better when we’re all thriving. And some people took pathways that did not allow them to thrive. And that makes me sad that, that I wish that that were the case. I wish that people had made different choices and I wish they were in better positions. But I’m, I’m so proud and honored that representation is now being address addressed through our work.
Representation is now happening because when I was coming up in this field, I couldn’t find a black person on a prominent stage teaching about Solution, Focused Therapy and people coming up now seeing my work. And I represent what they could become. And I represent overcoming oppression and I represent overcoming challenges. So that’s what this story is really all about. And and I make this video because I want you to know the experiences,
and I want you to understand what it’s like to be black in this field. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been triumphant. I’m so thankful for people like you that watch my videos, engage in my content and support me. And I’m gonna continue to make dope content for you. I’m gonna continue to make amazing content for you. I’m gonna continue to do the work that matters to me and my heart so I can touch yours.
Thank you so much.