Disrupting Racial Disparities in Mental Health with Dr. Charmain Jackman

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Dr. Charmain Jackman
About The Episode Transcript

On this episode of the She+ Geeks Out podcast, we chat with Dr. Charmain Jackman, founder of InnoPsych, a mental health platform focusing on therapists of color. Dr. Jackman shares insights on challenges in mental health support for BIPOC communities, her journey with InnoPsych, and how emotional well-being practices can translate into the workplace. Tune in for this important discussion on promoting mental health services for all.

[00:01:16] Interview with Dr. Charmain starts.

[00:06:29] Entrepreneurship journey and challenges.

[00:08:24] Overcoming obstacles in therapy.

[00:14:47] Finding the right therapist.

[00:18:04] Workplace well-being.

[00:20:24] National BIPOC Mental Health Awareness.

[00:26:59] Importance of cultural competency

[00:30:49] Lack of cultural competency in therapy.

[00:33:21] Accessibility in finding therapists.

[00:35:30] Decolonized approach to therapy.

[00:42:32] The role of AI in therapy.

[00:44:21] Privacy concerns in therapy industry.

[00:49:31] Self-care and prioritizing health.

[00:53:27] Stepping out of comfort zone.

[00:55:24] Stay updated on all things.

Links mentioned:

Bob Newhart interview on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Art Pharmacy

Follow Dr. Charmain Jackman


Dr. Charmain’s TEDx Talk


(00:06 - 00:17) Rachel Murray: Hi, and welcome to the SheGeeksOut podcast, where we geek out about workplace inclusion and talk with brilliant humans doing great work, making the world a better and brighter place. I'm Rachel. (00:17 - 00:42) Felicia Jadczak: And I'm Felicia. In this fun episode, we got to speak with Dr. Charmain Jackman, who is the founder of InnoPsych. We talk about challenges related to mental health support in BIPOC communities and her work in providing greater access to therapists and psychologists of color. We also touched on her entrepreneurship journey with InnoPsych and how we can translate some of what we know from therapy work into the workplace as emotional well-being.

(00:42 - 01:10) Rachel Murray: I am excited for this! When we get on to that. Yes. Did you know that we have a ton of resources available online? You can check them out at sglearning.com. If you want to learn more about ways to mitigate bias in the workplace and the world, we've got you covered. Sign up for our mailing list at shegeeksout.com forward slash podcast for free access to our mini course on psychological safety in the workplace and learn more about what else we have to offer.

(01:10 - 01:12) Felicia Jadczak: All right, let's get on to our discussion with Dr. Jackman.

(01:17 - 01:18) Rachel Murray: Hello, Rachel.

(01:18 - 01:43) Felicia Jadczak: Well, hello, Felicia. And hello, Dr. Charmain Jackman. We're so excited to have you here. Hello there. You're the founder and CEO of a company called InnoPsych, which is a mental health platform focused on therapists of color. Really cool. We've actually interacted with you before. You've spoken at one or two of our events. It's great to be able to chat with you like this. I would love for you to tell us and our listeners what your origin story is.

(01:44 - 03:00) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Well and

(03:00 - 03:08) Rachel Murray: Why was there this sort of innate interest in being a therapist if you, or psychologist, if that was not something that you were exposed to?

(03:08 - 03:18) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I think there are many reasons. I was an only child. for about the first 15 years of my life.

(03:18 - 03:25) Felicia Jadczak: I was also an only child for the first one and a half years.

(03:25 - 04:49) Dr. Charmain Jackman: But I know like I was very, I was definitely an introvert, very quiet, very shy, but I observed people. I watched people. And I, you know, now I kind of talk about it as a Colin, like, but I just had this, this innate desire to understand people and be curious about people, but also to help people. And so I think that was definitely something that was formed early on. And then I used to watch this show, I'm aging myself now, but called the Bob Newhart Show. It was this quirky white guy who was a psychologist. And he had this business talking to people and he also had a bed and breakfast. But I just love that idea of being in a room with people and hearing about their situation. and trying to help them through it. So I think that was just something that spoke to me very, very early on. Again, not having met one in real life, but I could see that was something that really appealed to me. And I was like a missile. Once that came into my mind, I was like, this is what I'm going to do. So I would say probably about 14 or 15, I knew I was going to be a psychologist. I was going to leave Barbados and, you know, find my, you know, get, get a PhD again, like very early on, like I knew this was my path without really kind of having a lot of exposure to that, to the world.

(04:49 - 05:04) Rachel Murray: It's, it's so funny because it's like, Bob Newhart are two words that would not have been on my bingo card. Shocked. If he were listening right now, he would be very surprised.

(05:06 - 05:10) Dr. Charmain Jackman: The impact that he had.

(05:10 - 05:34) Felicia Jadczak: Super side note, I'll plug another podcast. If you are familiar with her, if you haven't, you should listen to the Bob Newhart interview on Conan O'Brien needs a friend. It's great. And since you are an early fan and he was definitely check that out. We will link to it in the show notes. We're not on the same level podcast wise, but in any case.

(05:34 - 05:45) Dr. Charmain Jackman: So, you know, Barbados is birthed, you know, this psychologist and Rihanna. So like, what else do we need?

(05:45 - 05:48) Rachel Murray: Literally nothing. I think the interview is over. We did it.

(05:50 - 06:28) Felicia Jadczak: And now we just hit the Conan O'Brien episode. No, we have so much more to get into. Okay. So you, you were like, I'm on this pathway. I've got this, you know, this mission from wherever the Bob Newhart show you're, you were just like on this, you know, divine path, as it were. So then talk about how you actually started InnoCyc. Like what inspired you to start that? Because you were, as you said, you were more focused, I think, initially on becoming the psychologist, getting a PhD. That's a leap from being a PhD, being a therapist, psychologist, to actually starting a company. So can you talk a little bit more about that transition?

(06:29 - 09:42) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, and I think, you know, I had always known back then that I wanted to have, I wanted to do two things I wanted to work in a school. And I wanted to be an adult, young people could talk to about anything because I didn't have that for myself. But I also knew I wanted to have a business. So in college, I double majored in psychology and business. But then the process of going through grad school really extinguished my desire for entrepreneurship. It went deep. It got buried because the focus was on being a therapist. and they didn't really prepare us to be business people, and I'll talk a little bit about that as well. I worked in schools. I got lots of experience. My last job was working at a high school, but during that time, I was coming into this idea of what is my next career going to look like? What is the rest of my career going to look like? I'd done my dream job. It was very fulfilling, but I also felt I was aging out of being working with teens. The further I got away, the age gap got. And so I was really thinking about what was the next path going to be. And then I experienced this very difficult, painful time. And actually, this business comes out of a difficult time in my life. My husband and I were going through a very, very challenging time in our marriage. I knew like we both knew like we needed to get help or we weren't sure like what the path was going to be for us. And so we started, like we wanted a couples therapist and we both wanted therapists of color. Black woman for me, I think he wanted to work with a black male. He's a black man. And the process was extremely difficult. I'm finding a therapist, you know, we went through like all the search engines that were out there we tried our insurance. It was challenging, and I was like, I'm a therapist and if I'm having this much trouble like the hope for people, particularly people who look like me, who don't see therapy as really a good option, like if they're having this much challenge finding a therapist, like it could be fatal. Like people will come to this when they're in hard times, not when things are all roses, right? And so if they find this many roadblocks, like, you know, and I was like, I can do something about this. So it took us, We did find a therapist. She was a white Jewish woman. We were like, we're going to go with her, but it took, it was about six months before we could actually get in to see her. And then she actually helped us find, you know, therapists for ourselves. So again, this was like at least six months waiting as we're trying to figure out our marriage. And so once I came out of that, I was like, this is something I can do. I've been thinking about what is this next phase of my life going to look like? I knew I wanted to do something in entrepreneurship. I'm like, this is something I can do. And so that's kind of how I got inspired. So a lot of times, I think entrepreneurs do create companies out of pain. And I definitely that's that that's was my formation for InnoCyche. It came out of a painful time in my life.

(09:42 - 09:50) Rachel Murray: Wow. That's, that's really beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. What year did you actually start InnoCyc?

(09:50 - 11:10) Dr. Charmain Jackman: So 2019, we incorporated, and then soon after that, again, I think like the world, the universe does kind of conspire to support you on your goal. And I think in December of 2018, I was at my desk at work, and I was going through my email, and I saw this email from Citizens Bank. There was this Community Champion Award. Apply for it. It was like $20,000 for the first prize, $10,000 for the second prize. And it was 150 words. Tell us about what you want to do, what change you want to bring to your community. And I think it was about two days before it was due, so I typed up and sent that puppy off. And then in about April 2019, I got an email about, you know, you made it to the final to the like semifinal round, you have to send us your social security number and all this information. I was like, No, you're not getting that sounds like a scam. So then I researched a company. I'm like, okay, well, you know what, I'm just going to do it. So anyway, fast forward, I won. They said, we're going to come out to your office, you know, invite people. I didn't invite anyone because I'm like, this is probably still a scam.

(11:11 - 11:17) Felicia Jadczak: I'm a community champion. Look at my community.

(11:17 - 11:30) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I'm going to bring all these people here and then it's going to be some gas. I won second place. So we got $10,000. And actually that helped us to then create the website that people now see.

(11:31 - 11:54) Rachel Murray: Amazing. And what a time to start. This is kind of why I was asking because, you know, I mean, right before the world shuts down and and then all of a sudden, you know, people are realize that we are not in a post-racial society. A lot of white folks realize that. So it's it's such a time to have been incorporated and have your business start.

(11:54 - 12:37) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Well, so we incorporated, we built the product in 2019 and then in January 2020 is when we did our official launch. And then as you, to your point, two months later, you know, we're, you know, our mission was to disrupt racial inequity and mental health and the universe like, all right, you said you want to do this thing, go do this thing. So it was actually a good timing to be a resource for people, particularly communities of color at a time where people were desperately looking for therapists. And I know we definitely made that process easier for folks. So I'm really proud of the work that we're doing. But it's, you know, it's entrepreneurship.

(12:37 - 13:44) Felicia Jadczak: It's an up and down. I mean, yeah. And it's so funny, because I think Rachel and I can really resonate to that feeling of the universe. When the path is right, the universe, we both feel conspires to put you in the right place, introduce you to the right people, the right, maybe scammy, but not really business opportunities. I'm like still throwing some side eye at citizens bank for that. But, and I personally can definitely relate to some of those challenges because I had similar issues myself when I was trying to find a therapist years ago and same exact thing, you know, it's like, you tell your insurance company, they say, here you go. I actually remember I called my insurance company because I was having issues with recommendations from friends. And the guy I ended up talking to on the phone must've been some customer service person or somebody, but he was like, Okay. So he just started listing names and I was like, can you send me a spreadsheet or like an email? And he was like, no. And he just started listing names. I remember I just was like, okay, okay. Like that one, just give me the, that's how I found my white Jewish there.

(13:44 - 14:37) Dr. Charmain Jackman: And I think for me, by the time, I guess I was looking, they had maybe taken your advice and it was. an email list or a website they had, but it was just people's names and their address. There was nothing about them, about their approach, about their ethnic background. They didn't, and some insurances are changing that up, but there was no information about their cultural or ethnic background. I'm like, this is important for me. Like, you know, I don't want to just go to someone who I have to explain my identity and my path. And, you know, it was just like, so Lots of work there to do. So that's why they're, you know, when we launched in January, 2020, you know, there was probably just about two or three other websites or directories that I was aware of. But by the time we launched, they're like 20, there was, I remember someone put out an article with, I was like, wait, what?

(14:37 - 14:39) Felicia Jadczak: You're like, wait a second.

(14:39 - 14:46) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I'm like, well, we needed this, but the market had then flooded with these types of directories too.

(14:47 - 15:58) Felicia Jadczak: Well, and I think that point, though, that you mentioned is so critical, because when you're talking about finding a therapist, it's not just about finding a human body to talk to. It's about finding someone who not only relates to you, can help you, but who aligns with your values, who can understand some of the issues. And we'll talk more and we'll get deeper into some of these challenges. considerations, especially for people of color looking for therapy help and some of those things to navigate. But I know for me personally, going into 2020, that therapy was such a lifeline. And I was never more grateful to find out that my therapist was aligned with me. And I truly didn't know, right, like until I had some of those first couple conversations in like March, Then may June 2020 I didn't know if we were aligned and thankfully we were but it could have gone in a very different direction and even now like there's still things always happening around the world and I sometimes I'm like, are we on the same page like am I fully safe in this space and you want to be safe in a space. But you mentioned a lot of other stuff out there. And so, you know, let's talk a little bit more about that. Rachel, I'm going to tag you in for this next question.

(15:58 - 16:17) Rachel Murray: Yeah. Yeah. I was just curious. So there's, you know, BetterHelp is the site that, you know, this podcast episode is not sponsored by BetterHelp. One of the few. But I am curious about sites like that, that are like that, that are now these big directories, like you mentioned, how has that impacted your business?

(16:18 - 19:01) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, I mean, I think that one of the things that. gives me pause and this is just my philosophy around getting support, therapy support is like, I want, I don't care, I'm excited that there are a number of ways that people can access resources, right? Because at the end of the day, that's what's most important. We don't even charge for our therapists, for our website or people to use our service. It was part of our initial business model, but I just abandoned that given the timing that we launched. So I won't be able to get help. So to me it's meant that I've had to evolve though, right, because it's not a revenue generating product and we're not a non-profit, we are for profit. that I needed to find other ways to tap into revenue. And so it's just, you know, I think, but I think that's also part of the journey of being an entrepreneur, which I didn't necessarily learn. I thought that this journey was like this. Although, you know, it's funny because my mom was an entrepreneur. You know, I saw her kind of put all, she was grinding in her business. So I knew there's a grind that was part of it. But I never knew all these ups and downs would happen, or things would move much slower than, like, I thought, like, once I launched this directory, like, people are going to be flooding the gates to get on the site. I was like, no. Slow, you got to do the work, right? There's so much work you have to put into it. So recognizing that this journey requires that you evolve. You have to constantly think about where is your business going next? Who are your customers? And so it required me to evolve much faster than maybe I had planned. And so one of the things that came out of that is that we started focusing on workplace well-being. And that came out of, again, I hadn't thought about this, but once we had launched and we were positioned, providing this therapy support or access, Once the pandemic hit, then we got lots of calls from companies saying, can you come and talk to our employees about well-being and how to take care of yourself in this crisis? And then a few months later, it was the racial reckoning surrounding George Floyd's murder and Breonna Taylor. And then it was like, well, can you come help our employees of color or talk to our organizations? Then it was like, oh, this is something that we can do. We have this unique experience. We are a company with therapists and med-del providers, and we have a unique perspective on helping people navigate crises. So that evolved as a revenue-generating aspect that we had not anticipated.

(19:02 - 19:26) Rachel Murray: Oh, that is so good. But I'd also I have to just add that I can relate to you on like thinking the floodgates are going to open. And there was one time one of my favorite like, SGO stories is we got put in this really well known newsletter was like the fortune newsletter. And I like contacted our hosting company to like prepare them for the flood of people that were going to come. It was like,

(19:26 - 19:45) Felicia Jadczak: nothing i'm like dying over here because i remember that so vividly we we both we were like printing it out oh my gosh like you know paper copies and we're like oh my god like people are gonna be beating down our doors total crickets we did it we're like felicia we're like we did it we made it the the

(19:46 - 19:56) Dr. Charmain Jackman: The website was going to crash without. Yes. Absolutely was going to crash. New York time. You know, I've had some of those moments, you know, it's like, yeah.

(20:01 - 20:36) Rachel Murray: I love that you pivoted and that was a really smart move. I think being in the corporate space is great for many reasons, so congratulations on that. We just touched about on your evolving mission, but I wanted to talk a little bit about how this month, this coming month, July is National BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month. And I would love to know what you think some of the unique challenges or considerations are to keep in mind when we talk about mental health specifically in BIPOC populations.

(20:36 - 25:03) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I think that one of the, and thank you for highlighting that, we really appreciate that and use it as an opportunity to kind of, again, build more awareness around mental health and well-being for BIPOC communities. I think some of the unique challenges First is, which is why I started the directory, right? It is the recognizing that there are not that many therapists of color out there. So for example, psychologists, we only represent, Black psychologists represent 3% of all psychologists, 3%. And then psychologists of color represent about 15%. And then the numbers get a little bit better for social workers, and licensed mental health counselor is probably in the 20%, maybe 22%. But it's still really low. And so I think that mental health is something that our communities are wary about. And I always say for good reason. The medical industry The healthcare industry has not engendered a lot of trust in our communities. And so people are wary. I think that a lot of the way even the way that I was trained to be a psychologist centered whiteness and colonial and white supremacy and so as soon as I got my degree and I started working with young people, I had to learn, like, oh, this is not, how I was trained, this is not going to work. Some things will work, but there's a lot of things I had to pivot to really be more culturally competent in my work. And so I think that that is another issue that people see, you know, when they think of a therapist, they don't, my image doesn't come to mind for folks. And so we haven't been very visible. I think we're seeing changes in that right now. So this idea that you're going to try to change me, you know, there's a stigma around that, again, which all comes, you know, it's there for a reason. And so I think those are some of the main barriers. And so part of within us, like our education, We've had a number of podcasts and different ways which we feature therapists. We have them talk about their own journey, about their perspective on healing, how they have healed, right? It's really about kind of peeling back and opening that door to the therapy room so people can peek inside. It's very mysterious to understand like what happens in that room. You're going to share all your stuff with this person that you really don't know. And so part of our work is like just demystifying that process. I think some of the other challenges is that I think there's some of the language also that we see around mental health, like words such as crazy, really also create barriers. So I've really tried to strip that word from my vocabulary. Mental health is a very loaded word, so I talk a lot about emotional wellness and emotional well-being. I think about mental health on a continuum. So there's a lot of work that I'm doing around education to really help people understand. One, first to prioritize your well-being. And I think the other thing that I think sharing my story and having people share their stories have been super helpful, But I also talk to people about therapy is one way that you can heal and get support. And offering people other options and sharing what those are, I think is really helpful. Because, you know, it's just some of the ways in which we're raised culturally, whether it's our religious beliefs, you know, there's a lot of faith communities that think that mental health doesn't exist or it is centered, it comes from out of evil. And so people have a real challenge in thinking about therapy and their well-being in the same conversation. And so it's been a lot of that, how do we shift up these narratives? How do we help promote more positive understanding about what mental health is and why it is important.

(25:05 - 26:59) Felicia Jadczak: Yeah, all such important things. And you're kind of like touching on some of the questions we're hoping to get into deeper with you, which is great already. I know personally, from personal experience, and also from doing this work, that when you start talking about mental health and therapy in communities of color, there are so many barriers for a lot of the reasons that you've just named. And there can be some real pushback against it for, again, the variety of reasons that you've touched on already. I know, again, personally, when I started seeing a therapist years and years and years ago, I remember having a very, like, loaded conversation with my mom. And I was actually looking to her to provide some of that therapeutic support for whatever situation I was going through. And I remember she was very dismissive of it and was like, well, go see a therapist. And then when I did, it was kind of frowned upon almost, like a deficiency or a failing. Just a small, you know, sort of isolated experience but that happens so many times over and over again. And you've touched on this idea of cultural competency and therapy so there's first just barriers in getting people of color. even to the site knocking on the virtual or real door, getting them in the room. And then there's the matching with people who can understand the experiences. And so I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that idea of cultural competency, because I know that especially over the last, let's say like three, four years, we have, I personally heard a lot of people talking about, you know, I'm a person of color. I have support. I have mental health support. I have a therapist, psychologist, what have you, but they're white because there are still so many white therapists out there and like, they don't get it. Right. And so can you talk a bit more about why, whether or not you are a psychologist of color, why that role of cultural competency is really critical for this kind of work?

(26:59 - 30:49) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, I think that, um, And I'll tackle it from a number of ways. But let me start with this story. As I was launching in Osaic and telling people what I was doing, many people shared their experiences in the therapy room. And one of the ones I remember distinctly was a black male. Because part of it, and why this, I think, sticks out is because Men of color access therapy are one of the fewest population to access therapy, right? There's even more stigma within the male community and in the Black male community, specifically in communities of color. But I remember him telling me his experience working with a white therapist where he experienced racism. where he felt that therapists had said some things. And then the next session, they were like trying to appease their guilt. And it was like, it became all around this white therapist centering their own needs and not providing for this man who's come in at a difficult time in his life to get support. So that story really sticks out to me. And there are few, there are many that are like that, where people have shared, you know, trying a white therapist, because again, the math, That's the math we have. But experiencing racism or other isms in the therapy space. And so I think this is how it happens. As I mentioned earlier, the way that I was trained was definitely centered whiteness. It often pathologized peoples of color's cultural experience, our ways of healing, our faith. Even when I was trained, you don't bring religion in the room. How can I not bring religion in the room? particularly for people where this is central to their experience. So those are some of the things that people experience. And in my training, I had to take one course on multicultural, and then it was called multiculturalism, where you understood every culture and had all the stereotypes or central beliefs about a culture that were supposed to fit everybody. In Massachusetts, you had to take a cultural, if you wanted to get licensed in Massachusetts, you had to take that course. There are some programs where you didn't need to take it. And then, so you can go through your training to be a psychologist and not take a course, right? Or you take one three-hour course. And then once you need to renew your license, you don't have to ever take another course on cultural diversity. And it's still the case in Massachusetts, something that I'm working on with some other mental professionals. But in other states, it really made it where you do have to require, you are required to take a course in multicultural counseling as part of your licensure renewal. So someone can go through their whole career and only have taken one course. and have no incentive to take any other courses. So that's why this stuff happens, why there often is a lack of cultural competency in therapy. And so the problem with that is that if you don't know, you haven't made an effort, and you go see someone and assume that your experience and what you know is going to be resonant for this person in your room, you can actually cause harm. And people have experienced harm in their therapy room. And that's why I'm such a big advocate for ensuring that people have the tools. And if you don't know how to work cross-culturally, don't do it because you can cause harm unintentionally.

(30:49 - 31:10) Rachel Murray: You know, I have to say, Dr. Jackman, I think you may have found a new business. Because, I mean, it just seems like there's a real opportunity for education for therapists in this space, because until the numbers, the math, math, it's like the amount of harm that is being caused in these spaces across the board.

(31:10 - 31:22) Dr. Charmain Jackman: But people need an incentive to go take the course, right? Oh, my God, you know, and even me, I'm always taking court like I it's important for me, but people can go through their career and not have to do it.

(31:22 - 31:28) Rachel Murray: So do you think there are folks that want to do it that but can't find it?

(31:28 - 31:46) Dr. Charmain Jackman: No, if you want to do it, you can. You know, even if you say, go say, Dr. Jackman, this is what I want to do. Can you supervise me? Can you help me? You know, there, there are ways. I think people just don't prioritize it to be honest.

(31:46 - 32:04) Rachel Murray: That's fair. That is fair. That is fair. Thank you for sharing that. That's a bummer and totally fair. And I was going to, we were going to one of their questions, you sort of touched on it, but I don't know if you wanted to add anything. around any of the challenges with accessibility as well in this space?

(32:04 - 32:15) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, and I think that is, you know, well, let me clarify. Can you clarify what you mean? Finding, like, access, like, finding the therapist or from, like, a disability kind of perspective?

(32:15 - 33:20) Felicia Jadczak: So I just want to… I think it can be both. So I think from an accessibility standpoint, the two sort of avenues that come to mind for me our first just finding a therapist because we've touched on this already. We know it's really hard. It's maybe gotten marginally easier in the last five, ten years, but it's still really, really challenging. So there's just access to therapists in general. I know, again, for me, it felt like a very, you know, sort of like closed door situation that was very mysterious. I think you mentioned that before, too. And then the other aspect and the other angle of it is physical accessibility from like a disability lens where, you know, and you're talking, I know your work is primarily focused on communities of color. But of course intersectionality is a real thing and you know people of color also have a lot of barriers beyond just finding the right therapist but then You know, I think the pandemic has alleviated some of those challenges because remote therapies become a lot more prevalent. But have you seen anything on that front as far as part of your work or just things that you're aware of?

(33:21 - 33:49) Dr. Charmain Jackman: So yeah, I think when we think about accessibility, I think, you know, there are different ways in which I look at it. So one is just the process of finding a therapist. And even though I created this wonderful directory, I still get calls at least once or twice a week. Can you help me find a therapist? Because people are really invested in like, they want somebody that I personally know and can kind of like guarantee. And I'm like, we created this directory for a reason, people.

(33:51 - 33:55) Felicia Jadczak: It actually became because people were, they want the personal Dr. Jacqueline touch.

(33:55 - 36:35) Dr. Charmain Jackman: It actually created the doctorate too, because it was, I was getting all these requests. I'm like, Oh, this is an easy way to do it. But I think that coming out of the pandemic, before the pandemic, I had one or two clients that I would use telehealth with. It was usually only like if there was a snowstorm or something. People were not very fond of it. So I think from an accessibility in terms of thinking about our different abilities, I think that has helped. But it's not a cure for all because there's some people who that is not their preferred mode of interacting. It doesn't feel personal enough. We also have people, if you're living in a household with someone else, you know, privacy, right? Walls are thin. I actually had one client who would actually do her session in the car if her partner wasn't at home. And we also have technology, we noticed that access to high speed internet is not available for everyone. And so why telehealth is a great option, it doesn't work for everybody. So I think there are some challenges that we're still kind of navigating in finding that space. um you know I have my practice is now fully remote um I know a couple clients were like came on you know like kicking and screaming because it's not their preferred mode but I'm seeing some really exciting things one of my uh one of my colleagues who just completed this um eco therapy so where you actually have your therapy session outside walking in nature I've never heard of that before. It's really cool. I think there are these opportunities that And I think when I think about the decolonized lens of approach to therapy, it is actually kind of centering the patient and what they need. And I think we can listen more to patients. It can be very exciting about how we can actually shift this where it does work for everyone. I actually just came off a call with another person who started a company called Art Pharmacy. And so they work with mental health providers, health care companies, and actually prescribe art experiences, so cultural experiences, which, again, is fascinating. So if we can kind of disrupt that therapy is the only way, and what are other ways that you can heal and you can find well-being? I think it just allows us to expand that perspective on healing as well.

(36:36 - 37:12) Felicia Jadczak: So interesting. Thank you for elaborating further on that. Let's talk about now going back into the workplace context. So I know you mentioned that you are doing more in that space as well. And two topics that we see very commonly brought up are burnout and trauma, obviously, very prevalent, and especially in these days, and much more commonly discussed now at the workplace, whereas even a couple of years ago, it was not a topic at all. So in your opinion, how can leaders of organizations create emotionally safe workplaces for their employees?

(37:12 - 40:04) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I love that question. And, um, one, come talk to Dr. Jackman, because really dive deep into this. And I think that, you know, one, one of the, one of the things that the data speaks very loudly in that workplaces, when we ask people, like, what's your level of stress? We see that over 70, 60% of people describe their workplace as stressful. That's actually a question that we've asked in our data. We get 60% of people will describe their workplace as stressful. There's increasing amounts of burnout. I've had about two bouts that I talk about publicly, and I think In our technology world, driven world, we expect people to do more and more with less and less. And so of course, the outcome is that people are going to be extremely stressed, but still also feel this pressure to get everything done in this eight hour, seven hour, whatever hours are supposed to be. You know, people work long hours. And so I think that there has to be a recalibration for leaders to prioritize their people over profit. And it doesn't mean that you're going to lose money. Actually, I think people end up winning, which I hate talking about people in terms of the bottom line or money perspectives. But when people feel valued, that they feel that they can attend to their well-being, people actually, their satisfaction increase and their productivity increases. So I think that it has to come from the top. And I know in the work that you do, the DI work that you do, It has to start at the top, or otherwise nothing happens. And I think the same thing is leaders have to model that. When you send emails, like you send in emails late night or on the weekends, people are going to read them. So how do you actually create policies that you follow? I think a huge aspect that we see a lot, particularly when it comes to racial stress and racial trauma, is those middlemen. So sometimes the leaders at the top get it and communicate it. But people in the middle, the middle managers, aren't trained and don't have the experience and knowledge on how to support their employees, how to set up their meetings and their teams in ways that foster well-being. So that's one of our big approaches is how do you, and looking at it from a training perspective, how do you actually train your managers to actually kind of hold a culture that your company wants to ascribe to? And I think that's a huge pride that we see and people have shared with us. middle managers just don't have the experience, expertise, and they are the gatekeepers in well-being as I see it.

(40:06 - 40:16) Rachel Murray: Yeah, couldn't agree with you more on that. And yeah, a lot of times are being given this role without any training on how to actually do anything with people.

(40:16 - 40:48) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, and that was the same thing. I was promoted into this role and no experience, no coaching on how to do this well, how to support people, right? And I think what we see with racial trauma is people move from one job to the other. and they never feel, they never address or process the hurt that they experience in one business environment, then it just gets elevated. And if they're promoted to leadership, it just becomes people who have been hurt, hurt people.

(40:49 - 41:07) Rachel Murray: That's right. And the ripple effect is so massive. Thank you for sharing that. And since we're also talking about the workplace, obviously, AI is a huge part of that these days. Do you see AI influencing the work that you do? And if so, how?

(41:08 - 43:11) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, you know, we've actually am on an advisory committee for part of the American Psychological Association. We are finally looking at how to think about technology and how it impacts our field. And I think there are ways, you know, I would say psychologists, we are like the last to get on tech. We are definitely tech folks for the most part, not all of us. Myself included, I'm like… Healthy skeptics. I like that. I like that. I think that I have started to embrace it a little bit more. A lot of my work is not the direct individual therapy. I still do a little bit of that. But I think there's AI where you can help in terms of your therapy notes. I think there's a huge piece around client privacy and confidentiality that I think about when we think about AI. because it relies on data from our clients and from our resources. I also think about it. I've done a lot with marketing, writing letters. Like, OK, so I write my letters. OK, make it sound this way for me. And it's like, oh, I like some of that. So I think that AI does have an opportunity. But I think it is the same mindset that we have to think about how do we make sure people are still centered. I don't think an AI would ever be able to take over what I do. And there are a lot of people who like the interpersonal, who like the realness of being with a therapist. There are some people who will be fine using a chatbot to get their support, right? So I think that AI offers choice and options. I think I always get concerned when you think you're going to replace people in that way. So everybody, there's a little piece of the pie for everyone, and if we can think about it that way, I think it helps. But if you think we're going to just replace therapists with, all therapists with chatbots, like that's not going to work.

(43:12 - 43:14) Rachel Murray: What about robots?

(43:14 - 43:15) Dr. Charmain Jackman: No.

(43:15 - 43:33) Felicia Jadczak: Are you kidding me? I'm just imagining like in the future, you sign on a therapy and this like generic, you know, racially ambiguous face pops up and it's just like, and how does that make you feel?

(43:33 - 43:59) Dr. Charmain Jackman: And I think about, we definitely, there's a generational gap in like, you see the younger generation be more open talking about seeing a therapist. You know, Felicia, when you talked about, you know, talking to your mom, and she had a supportive, initially, reaction, and then a not, right? I think we have to also think about the different generations, how are we supporting them, right? They're not going to talk with chatbot.

(43:59 - 44:59) Felicia Jadczak: Right for the moment. Oh no, I mean, I can't even get my mom to see an actual therapist which I, you know, thank God you listen to this. She's, she needs one. You know, and I've accepted that her children, including me will be that role. I was also reminded as you were talking just now about the, the better help scandal. from I think last year, actually, where it was revealed that they had sold their customer data, and then that data was being used for targeted advertising. And that just feels like such a betrayal of the whole point of therapy, which is to have these really sensitive conversations in safe spaces. And with the rise of these companies and tech, I just think that's an ever-present Danger or consideration to be aware of, if you will, around, you know, sort of the downside of using these rules. But let's switch gears a little bit. So you spoke at TEDx Roxbury in May of this year.

(44:59 - 44:59) Rachel Murray: I know.

(44:59 - 45:03) Felicia Jadczak: Very, very exciting. So just tell us all about that experience.

(45:03 - 46:00) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Thank you. It was a humbling experience. And I do a lot of speaking. And I'm always like this person who is always, I'm looking at my vision board here. It was on my vision board, something I wanted to do. They actually applied in 2019, didn't make it to the finals. I waited a year. Last year, I was supposed to apply again. And I was like, oh, I didn't feel it, missed the deadline. And the process was great. I would say there is coaching that's provided. You kind of write your own talk, and then you get feedback on your talk. And I would say the first few versions of my talk, actually, I shouldn't say talk, my TEDx was Like a workshop that I might lead around racial trauma and workplace well-being. And then my coach was like, well, where are you in this thing? TEDx is different. You got to bring some of you into this. I'm like, I'm the therapist.

(46:00 - 46:05) Felicia Jadczak: I do the educational. You're like, I'm holding the space for you. Yeah, right.

(46:06 - 49:31) Dr. Charmain Jackman: they're like so it was really a process of having to then reflect on kind of my journey and think you know how I connected to this topic and why it was so important and I think that that process was actually in its own self-healing for me and you know I talked you know I hope people will listen to the TED talk I share a lot about just stuff I had experienced, and there's so much that I had to cut out because, you know, there's only 15, well, we were supposed to get to 10 minutes, mine was about 15. There's so much that I then was like, all right, we're going to put all of this in there, like, okay, well, we still can't, you can't be, you can't go half hour, like that doesn't work. But I think it was, it was a healing process for me. And a lot of people have said, like, I didn't know you were going through all of that. And I think that's part of the therapist thing where I'm like, well, I'm the therapist, I got myself together. And I think it was really good for me to be a little bit more vulnerable and sharing kind of my own experience. And I think it is helping people already. Even those were just probably about a month out. But I really wanted to share how not taking care of myself. I had two very dramatic, I don't know, significant wake up calls in my process. And I think I'm finally I'm finally, I get it and taking action steps to actually take care of my health better and prioritize myself. Part of it was, part of that was also kind of changing careers or changing my, the way that I work. So leaving a job and being a full-time entrepreneur has really been important in that process. Making more time for me, my family. I'm getting to like, Because I worked, I had a full-time job and then I had like two other side jobs. So I was burning that midnight oil or the candle one too. I mean, I was doing it all and I burned out. And I had taken a step back after my first burnout episode and then kind of slowly went back to the same things. And so I think as I'm not in the over 50 thing, you know, retirement is, is a very appealing. And I think about like I want to be around for my kids as long as I can control. And so that has been a real shift and game changer for myself. And I hope that other people, you know, we had the question about leaders. And I think there's often a lot of focus on the individual changing, but we can change. But if we go back into the same work environment, it doesn't make sense. You're still going to get re-traumatized, burn out again. But I think there's a piece to it where we do also have to make sure that we are making sure that we are first. And I think in this country, It's all about the job first and people last. And it's been a real shift for me to think about how do I prioritize myself and my needs first. Sometimes it feels selfish. I think even as a woman, maybe as a healer, it feels kind of selfish, but I know that if I don't take care of myself, then I can't do the things that I love. And I can't go for people in the way that I want to.

(49:31 - 50:03) Rachel Murray: That's right. You take those spa days. It's we got to put our own oxygen masks on first before we can help others. It's one of the biggest, I think it was one of the best things that came out of the pandemic was this sort of awareness that life is precious and short. And that, um, so I'm so glad to hear that, that that is your new way of living in the world. Um, and you mentioned, you know, potentially retirement in the future. I'm curious, what is next for you?

(50:04 - 50:07) Dr. Charmain Jackman: You mean retirement wise?

(50:07 - 50:32) Rachel Murray: Well, maybe. I mean, you know, it's an interesting concept. You know, I've been reading about it. I'm a little bit behind you in age, but I certainly think about that as well. And I read articles about, you know, what even is retirement? It's not what our parents did where you work, you know, at the company for 50 years and you get your pension and then you, you know, wait to die. Now it's very different. And so just curious what that might look like for you.

(50:32 - 52:14) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, thank you. I mean, I think, you know, I still have a few years as I figure out, you know, so I can get it to a place where it's profitable and bringing in, you know, can support my my my lifestyle that I envision. I definitely see myself, I love the idea of actually just finished writing a book and it's in the publishing process now, helping therapists think about their own entrepreneurial journeys. I see myself having started either a fund or an accelerator program for therapists who are looking to start their own businesses. I think that's, I really want to support our therapists you know, there's a message about, you know, therapists are poor, you know, like the artist kind of, it's like, we don't have to struggle with like that. So I want to really shift that mindset and give people opportunities. I love traveling. So one of the things on my journey to kind of refinding myself has been going and traveling, doing some of that alone without my family, which has been wonderful, getting to know myself and challenge myself in new ways. And yeah, I think I'm also exploring and working with two other women on this really fascinating business idea that's focused on art. And so I'm excited to see how that evolves and where that goes. So I see myself being a philanthropist and there's lots of things that I envision and want to do. I'm also trying to keep my feet on the ground and like, OK, you got that thing going on in the future, but you still got the now you need to do. Can y'all relate to that?

(52:14 - 52:18) Rachel Murray: Absolutely. Totally.

(52:18 - 52:39) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yes, I think it's very exciting. And I think what entrepreneurship has given me is that liberation to do the things I want and to vision and, and really like make those steps to do what I'm doing. I don't think I would have ever done a Ted talk if I was still working at the job I was working. I just didn't have the brain space to do some of that. So.

(52:39 - 52:53) Felicia Jadczak: Love that. So we just have a minute or two left together. So really quick, rapid fire. What do you geek out about? It can't be anything work related. You may have already touched on it a little bit. I think maybe travel some of that stuff. Is there anything else that you want to highlight?

(52:53 - 52:54) Rachel Murray: Perhaps basketball.

(52:55 - 53:22) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Basketball, we love basketball. We're a basketball family. Food, we love food and trying different foods and restaurants. I love reading. I'm trying to get back into it, because I think I lost that passion. But then travel, like travel. And one of the things, it's like, OK, so when I travel, what is the hard thing you're going to do? What is the thing that's outside your comfort zone? So I've been trying to do that, and it's been fun.

(53:23 - 53:27) Rachel Murray: Can you give one example of a hard thing that you did while traveling?

(53:27 - 54:18) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yes, I was just about to give it. So I was in Jamaica, and I've never gone horseback riding. And I was like, I want to do this. And so I got on a horse. And on this tour, it was just me and the guy. I thought it was going to be other people. And he went into the water. I love water, but I'm also afraid of water. Growing up on an island, you have this double thing of loving the water, but also afraid of it. We get in the water with the horse, and he starts to buck. He starts trying to throw me off. I held on as tight as I can. And there's a picture of me just breathing. So I didn't panic. And so that was super hard. something that I did and didn't expect that was going to be challenging in that way at all. But yeah, so I'm just trying different things and stepping out of my comfort zone.

(54:18 - 54:26) Felicia Jadczak: I also love that apparently your guide was like, click, click while you're trying to hold it together.

(54:26 - 54:45) Dr. Charmain Jackman: I mean, it was a beautiful moment, but I was like, yeah. And if you had fallen off, I guess you would have been okay. I don't know. That would have been a different moment for me. I was like, I am not falling off of this thing. I'll let you bug. I am not. This is not the day.

(54:47 - 54:56) Felicia Jadczak: Well, we do have to wrap up, unfortunately. So is there anything else that you'd like to share, promote, point people to? How can people follow you, get in touch if they want to learn more?

(54:56 - 55:14) Dr. Charmain Jackman: Yeah, definitely check us out on InnoCyc. We're on all the platforms. And check out my TEDx talk. And definitely stay connected because there's lots of stuff happening, lots of workplace well-being initiatives that we do as well. So thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

(55:14 - 55:24) Rachel Murray: Oh, thank you. We hope you enjoyed listening to this interview as much as we enjoyed the conversation. Yeah.

(55:24 - 55:41) Felicia Jadczak: Thanks so much for listening as always, and please don't forget to rate, share, and subscribe. It makes a massive difference in the reach of this podcast and by extension, the work. You can visit us on YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, sgolearning.com, and shageeksout.com to stay updated on all things SGO.

(55:42 - 55:51) Rachel Murray: and want to learn more, sign up for our mailing list and don't forget to grab that free code for our mini courses at shegeeksout.com forward slash podcast. Bye.