As part of our ongoing efforts to highlight the incredible work of ECPs within our society, the SCP Early Career Professionals Committee reached out to Dr. Palmer and Dr. Hill’s to learn about their innovative efforts to share counseling psychology and its intersection with issues of race, privilege, and equality with the public via their podcast “Naming It.”
Tell us about yourselves.
Bedford: I am a licensed psychologist in the state of California. I received my Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and completed my predoctoral internship at Counseling & Psychological Services at Cal Berkeley. I am an Assistant Professor in the Counseling Department at Saint Mary’s College of California. In terms of research and practice, I am interested in African-centered worldview, multicultural competence development, building ally identities, and infusing social justice into my work. Personally, I love science fiction and anime. I enjoy watching my dog do interesting things. And though it is usually frustrating, I spend lots of time paying attention to politics. Folks can follow me @drbfpalmer on Twitter & Instagram, and at facebook.com/drbfpalmer.
LaMisha: Presently I serve as the Director of the Multicultural Resource Center at UCSF. I completed my doctoral training in Counseling Psychology at the University of Oregon, followed by a pre-doctoral internship at UC Riverside, and a post-doctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley. I was drawn to working in Diversity and Outreach to further leverage my skills as a psychologist, impact change, and pursue my passion for advocacy with underrepresented and emerging professionals. Outside of work, I love spending time with my dog Pendleton and he drags me along for his favorite activity, hiking. You can follow me @LaMishaHill on Twitter.
What was the inspiration to start your podcast Naming It? Where did this idea come from?
Bedford: Naming It was inspired by Dr. Joseph L. White’s seminal article in Ebony Magazine “Towards a Black Psychology.” Thinking about the way that he made Black Psychology accessible to the public through a non-academic medium, I felt that we might be able to do a similar thing using podcasting. With this in mind, we collaborated in order to develop a conversational based podcast that focused on the intersection between Blackness, psychology, and social justice.
Practically, there were multiple steps to starting the Naming It Podcast. I have been listening to podcasts for years. Mostly audio dramas, storytelling, and comedy. They were highly produced and seemed like any other mass media format. But over time I started to find out that podcasting was much more open to public access. I also noticed that there were not any psychological podcasts that focused on counseling psychology.
Overall, we wanted to try to introduce the public to aspects of counseling psychology that we thought were not commonly thought of. Specifically we wanted to engage listeners in a conversation that would delve deeper than the average show, addressing social and cultural issues from the perspective of social scientists and psychologists.
LaMisha: The podcast was really the brainchild of Dr. Palmer. Bedford and I have a shared connection via UC Berkeley, and he invited me to serve on the board for the Alameda County Psychological Association. Given our shared passion for social justice and our ability to talk about issues for hours, it was a great fit and outlet for our “rants”.
Can you talk about the process of creating the podcast?
Bedford: We tend to come up with topics based on what has been happening over the past week, or based on what we anticipate to happen in the coming week. We started Naming It in the summer and as we started thinking about the second episode, to our horror, we found out about the unprovoked police shootings of two black men Philando Castile in St. Anthony, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Our second episode focused on processing the experience of being Black in the US, while being constantly bombarded by evidence that our society does not value the lives of people who look like us. I think those events changed where we were going with the Naming It.
Since then we have developed a system to organize each episode. We start with Check-ins, then Shout Outs, which is where we talk about things related to our lives and the business of the podcast. We choose current topics for our “What’s Going On” segment, and then focus in on some aspect of that segment in our main “Real Talk” segment. We end the episode with a Self-Care tip that is usually aligned with the earlier material.
We look for issues that we can take a deeper dive into, which tend to be focused on the experiences of Black people as well as other marginalized communities. Then we look for ways in which our expertise can be engaged in order to help bring clarity and/or provide support for our listeners. In the end, we try to have a genuine conversation about the topic, with the hope that listeners feel like we are just all hanging out.
LaMisha: The creation of episodes and topics is very organic. Once we identified our brand (exploring the intersections of current events and social justice through the lens of two black psychologists), it was easy to discuss any issue or theme. In addition, recent national events surrounding The Movement for Black Lives, the killing of black men by police, and the political landscape have provided a lot of content.
What do you envision to accomplish with this podcast?
Bedford: I think we hope to add our voice to conversations that tend to include psychological issues, but are had outside of the presence of psychologists. We wanted to provide something of a primer for folks who wanted to have these conversations, but felt like they did not have the language. We also hoped to show other psychologists that we can and should be involved in the discussion of social issues in our communities.
LaMisha: The goals of the podcast are both simple and expansive. It serves as a platform for us to continue our professional commitment to social justice and an outlet for our voices. More importantly we hope to provide a unique perspective to our listeners, both psychologists, educators, and the public. We look forward to seeing what comes of Naming It in the future.
How do you see this innovative effort for social advocacy fit into the larger conversation about social justice in psychology and society at large?
Bedford: I think that work towards social justice has been hampered by a general lack of understanding of social science. By this I mean that through misunderstanding or intentional misleading, individuals will make claims that are either unfounded or unscientific about social issues. One of the ones that bugs me the most is when people say, “I can’t say that the person is racist or sexist (or whatever), because I don’t know what’s in that person’s heart.” This bugs me because racial bias, and racism can actually be measured. In fact, from a psychological perspective “knowing a person’s heart” is just plain silly. We gain insight into an individual’s attitudes based on their statements and their behaviors. So if someone says and does racist, sexist, heterosexist, or other bigoted things, then we can accurately classify them as a person who endorses those ideals.
I think that, like the name hopefully implies, Naming It can become a source of honest and accurate analysis. And we can act as an affirming space for social justice advocates and allies.
LaMisha: As a psychologist, many of the primary fields of our work (e.g., Clinical, Education/Training, and Research) are somewhat insular. The podcast helps to cast a wider net for our voices as black psychologists on issues that are rarely discussed from this perspective. I feel that many principles of psychology, including simple things like our #SelfCare Tip of the Week, should be more accessible to the public and not just provided in the context of individual therapy.
How do you see the podcast is connected with the work you do as an ECP counseling psychology professional?
Bedford: For me, Naming It is a way to practice translating academic expertise into something that is understandable and useful to the public. As our discipline changes, I think it is important that psychologists take an active part in the digital age, and that we shape the ways that we will engage. Co-hosting a podcast is a great way to give the public access in a way that is both manageable and informative. It is part of my effort to create an online footprint that will allow potential clients to make an informed choice when deciding to work with me. It can be used as a resource, in terms of my clinical work, my teaching, and when providing consultation.
LaMisha: I think the podcast is part of the next generation, creating innovative ways to participate in transformative change as an advocate and ally.
Where can we find the podcast?
You can find Naming It on iTunes by searching for it on your Podcast App (iPhone), or downloading the Podbean App on Android Phones, and searching for Naming It. From your computer you can go to www.namingit.podbean.com or just search for “Naming It” on Google.
You can also follow us @NamingItPodcast on Twitter & Instagram, and at facebook.com/NamingIt
Anything you would like to share with other ECPs wondering how they can start their own advocacy efforts?
Bedford: Whatever you want to do, just start doing it. There really doesn’t seem to be a blueprint. Putting together Naming It, we just used the skills we already developed while working on our degrees. We researched how podcasts work, we got the equipment that we needed, we thought about how we wanted to present ourselves, we engaged our community for feedback, and we pressed record.
LaMisha: Don’t be afraid to take a risk and put your voice out there, even on social media. I think in the past many professionals from various sectors were told to keep a low public profile, but things have changed and social media is a critical tool. As long as your messages are consistent with your values and professional ethics I say speak loudly and boldly.
We hope you enjoyed this interview with some of our active ECPs in the division, and as always if there is an ECP doing great work that you would like our committee to highlight, be sure to reach out at (email@example.com) so we can be in touch.Tags: Early Career Professionals