Observations of an Invisible Woman

Forget Prayer, Get a Shrink

{This post is based on the Essence article which I linked here : http://www.theroot.com/buzz/you-dont-need-prayer-you-need-therapist}

An Excerpt:

I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer. I’ve seen not only the joy of receiving God’s answer — even if it didn’t show up the way the person doing the praying thought it would or should — but also the cathartic process of connecting with the Lord and hashing out the emotions that go along with those deep, sincere, pleading-for-a-change kind of invocations. I’m also a firm believer, however, in the anointed calling that God has placed on some people to be therapists, psychologists and licensed counselors to help heal others much like neurosurgeons and cardiologists do.

One out of every 20 adults experiences some form of depression in any given two-week period. Hypothetically, that means in your office, your sorority, even your congregation, at least one person is struggling right now with symptoms that may be too deeply rooted to just be prayed away. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the country, particularly for women in their 30s. To complicate the issue, as if it needed more complexity, somatization — which, in the language of everyman, is physical ailment that crops up because of mental health problems — shows up at a rate of 15 percent in our community compared to only 9 percent among White folks. There’s a trickle down affect that proves what goes on in our heads has a direct impact on the rest of our bodies. Since we already have a higher rate of just about every disease under the sun, that makes our holistic health that much more serious.


Do you believe this hypothesis?

Why should blacks trust any mental health professional, especially a white one, with their troubles?

{Thanks again to HunglikeJesus for a great topic}

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35 thoughts on “Forget Prayer, Get a Shrink

  1. Psychosomatic illnesses ARE real. Unresolved emotional/mental issues exact a toll (toxins) on our bodies/physical well being on the cellular level. That’s why one’s attitude about things/life is so very important!

    This is why we need positive and constructive OUTLETS (exercise/relaxation/fun/passion/hobbies/real & caring friends – CAPRICORNS -lol).

    And we need to increase our food/nutritional knowledge… Consuming some things are good – consuming other things are not – according to whom we are – as individuals because there’s no ONE thing that is perfect for everyone – except air, and our Creator.

    I would advise all to tune into Heaven’s frequency, listen carefully and follow the instructions that come to your heart/spirit/soul. Commune with your maker!

  2. SomeGuy on said:

    No one should trust those jackals. No one.

  3. @ Matari….I’m an overly emotional Pisces…we feel everything!
    Blacks no longer have those positive outlets…we’re consumed with money, paying bills, the newest designer clothes and what ever Hollywood tells us we need to be happy.

    We’ve strayed from Jah. I do not subscribe to the church. But I am deeply spiritual and we’ve been lead down a wrong path lead by Mammon.

    Of course the economy doesn’t help. And watching us die off at the hands of the racist’s bullet does a mind-job on us all.

  4. @ Someguy

    I sought help once from a white middle-aged grandma who had never had contacts with blacks in her life. She stared at me the whole time like I was an alien. She complimented my “well-spoken” speech and asked me questions on my education.

    Then she implied that I was my biggest problem and needed to change my thinking.
    I never saw her again.

  5. SomeGuy on said:

    The goals of a therapist are:

    1. Make money.
    2. Distract the neurotic with bullshit and pills.
    3. Provide the incurables with drugs to keep them sedated.
    4. Make sure to fill the quota for private hospitalization.
    5. Make money.

  6. @ Someguy


    So…..making money is important?

  7. Someguy is right. Shrinks do not really give a damn about anyone except for the purpose of increasing the green in their bank accounts.

    That woman who turned around and said that you were the problem is no surprise. People like that love victim blaming. Besides, I bet that even though she never had contact with Blacks, if you went to her more than a few times and filled her pockets with cash, Black would become her favorite color.

  8. Another thing, I don’t really think that POC should really go to White doctors for psychological issues because there are things we go through that they do even think about as has been mentioned several times on this site alone. As Jane Elliott once said, “Black psychology is not the same as White psychology. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.”

    I remember once reading about a woman who had long hair and how tension occurred between her and her older sisters who had short hair. She was given preferential treatment and one of her sisters even cut her hair in the middle of the night while she slept. She said that she discussed her issues with a White doctor who really could not understand her plight, but when she told a Black doctor about it, they immediately knew the deal.

  9. @ Mickey

    Talking to a white woman about my job issues, my life issues and love life was excruciating. She stared at my jewelry…I wear lots of Native turquoise and Jade, she was “distracted” by my presence and it showed. Plus my hair was long then..corkscrew curls in an afro flew everywhere…She just sat there and stared.

    She gave me “textbook” advice…”It’s all in your thinking”, “Let’s look at what you’re doing wrong first..”…blah, blah, blah…

    I should have used that as my warning of white emotional emptiness.

  10. @ Mickey

    Jane Elliot is right. We are different in EVERY way.

  11. mary burrell on said:

    I am speaking for myself but prayer is what works for me. But each to his own.

  12. mary burrell on said:

    You know what I went to a shrink because I was so depressed about the depression and anxiety I was experiencing. Trying to talk about black racism to an unsympathetic white woman. She told me I was the racist. I give her the middle finger and got my purse and walked my cute little chocolate self out of there. I discovered having a relationship and worshiping my creator was far more beneficial. It has served me well thus far. If I should have to seek professional help it will be with a black professional therapist who understands my situation.

  13. mary burrell on said:

    I meant trying to talk to a white woman about racism from whites and black self loathing family members to an unsympathetic white woman was a waste of time.

  14. mary burrell on said:

    Love that above picture of the beautiful sister with the bantu knots I think I will be brave and rock those.

  15. I’m sure to part ways with many scared Black folk on this one. My father told me sometime ago that the biggest downfalls of Black people as a collective was integration and the Black church i.e. religion. My father was a very radicalized Black Panther from D.C. and he put some things in my head early on. Only a few remain as my memory is not what it was. One thing he or my mother told me, to be fair, is Black people are hurt and they will hurt you to ease their suffering just a little bit. This when I would come home from school red eyed and enraged. Okay I’ll leave that for now.

    I as many may know have suffered from depression my entire life. I have a chemical imbalance that have left me racked with the most inhuman lows one has ever had and lived. In those lowest of low times I called on what I thought was the Lord. I mean I called on the Lord with what I thought was my last breath. Not only did I not hear anything, I didn’t see anything nor feel anything. I have done this more time than I can remember and this is before I got my diagnosis, so I had no idea what was wrong with me. Nothing happen for me and some will argue, that because I made it through that prove that the Lord is a way maker. Will the Lord need a PR person because he get’s no credit for that. I credit my grandmother and grandfather, because I wanted to see them again and if I would have taken my own life I don’t think I would have been able to see them again. AND I could feel my grandmother next to me when I got really bad.

    What got me on the road to some serious recovery was my doctor and get this party people, she was a white doctor. She told me that I was the worst case of depression she had ever seen in someone still able to function. And function I did, with a wife and five step children, a job, a home, an active social life.

    If you wanna some true progress, get you a shrink and if you need your spirit uplifted, then you can visit church. Though I don’t encourage Black people to even bother with church. It’s not ours.

  16. “Trying to talk about black racism to an unsympathetic white woman. She told me I was the racist. I give her the middle finger and got my purse and walked my cute little chocolate self out of there. I discovered having a relationship and worshiping my creator was far more beneficial. …”

    @ Ms. Mary

    White women/men who are as perceptive as Jane Elliot is, are about as rare as red gold … yeah, I’ve never seen that either!

    I’ve also learned first hand (on and off-line) that talking to 1000 white people about racism, is a waste of time with 99% of them. I understand well why many of us won’t have anything at all to do with them.

    Walking your cute chocolate self out of there was the RIGHT thing to do!

  17. Miss Mary

    Talking to whites is draining. I just can’t muster the strength anymore…but I hear what you’re saying.

  18. Kushite Prince on said:

    I understand why some black people might be fearful seeing a doctor. And a white one at that. However you can always look for a black mental health professional. I don’t see anything wrong with looking for help outside of the church. I’m for anything that can help a person overcome the pain they’re suffering.

  19. I agree with Jesus when you indeed have a chemical imbalance, you should seek treatment. I work around mentally ill people occasionally and it is something which requires treatment. However, mental illness is stigmatized in this society. There are many myths surrounding mental illnesses which vary from the mild, to the chronic.

    However, there are situations in life which are imposed on you such as systemic racism and its’ ilk. Now folks, here’s where it gets interesting;instead of owning up to the system’s pathology, the system will try to make it seem as if the recipient of their malfeasance is the one in need of ‘counseling’, or is pathological somehow because the recipient complained.

  20. @ Herneith


  21. In those lowest of low times I called on what I thought was the Lord. I mean I called on the Lord with what I thought was my last breath. Not only did I not hear anything, I didn’t see anything nor feel anything. I have done this more time than I can remember and this is before I got my diagnosis, so I had no idea what was wrong with me. Nothing happen for me and some will argue, that because I made it through that prove that the Lord is a way maker. Will the Lord need a PR person because he get’s no credit for that.

    My Pastor gave this spiritually inspired poem to me a few years ago:

    One night I dreamed I was walking
    along the beach with the Lord.
    Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
    In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
    Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
    other times there were one set of footprints.
    This bothered me because I noticed that
    during the low periods of my life, when I was
    suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
    I could see only one set of footprints.
    So I said to the Lord,”You promised me
    Lord, that if I followed you,
    you would walk with me always.
    But I have noticed that during the most trying periods
    of my life there have only been
    one set of footprints in the sand.
    Why, when I needed you most,
    you have not been there for me?”
    The Lord replied,
    “The times when you have
    seen only one set of footprints,
    is when I carried you.”

  22. mary burrell on said:

    @Ynotme: The Footprints Poem. Like that Peace and Blessings.

  23. Sanctified Brother on said:

    I didn’t read the article in Essence (not a reader of their material, their opinions tend to clash with mine), I’ll just comment on the excerpt and question.

    I find their point to be true. There are some issues that require prayer and some that can be fixed by “wiping your face and getting up.” I know of a CSW who is amazing (he taught me much about the ministry) and even know of cases where depression has been broken without a pill or potion. SOmetimes we’re confused and need someone to point us in the right direction. The situation isn’t as bad as we thin it is; the psychoanalyst or counselor can help us unravel the thread and walk the straight line.

    Sorry I haven’t been to your blog much lately. THere are so many articles that I have to catch up on in here.

  24. Ron Thomas on said:

    Interesting hypothesis.
    While I believe that mental health has a direct impact on physical health in many cases, I also believe that the myriad of health issues that plague us are more a product of poor health care, poor diets, and in many cases, an unwillingness to deal with the root causes of our issues.
    As a people, we are under a LOT of stress, all the time. Some might disagree with this assessment, but that’s how I see it. A lot of it is externally race-driven, and a lot are internal demons from dealing with that. And stress can have a direct impact on your physical well-being. We need to work on that in an active way; find out what the stressors are, and deal with it.
    I believe that prayer has it’s place, but all too many of us place too much emphasis on it, and not nearly enough time on working to resolve the problems that face us now. I see and hear far too many of us using the phrase “I put it in God’s hands, and I know everything will be all right.” Or the old standard, “The Lord will provide.” If that works for you, but it’s wayyyyyyyyyyyy too passive for me.
    Pardon my cynicism, but I have yet to see that produce any results, except more of the same. And the white american power structure actively promotes religion to (in my opinion) keep black people distracted from demanding their equal rights and working En masse to bring about a change in society, by promising some pie-in-the-sky “better world” in the future. Once again, it’s the same old bait-and-switch, and we keep falling for it.
    Again, it ain’t worked yet. We seem to have forgotten Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
    People want to pray; go ahead. But don’t use it as an excuse to stop making the efforts to move forward. Of course it’s hard; do it anyway. Yes it can be extremely painful; do it anyway. Depending on a miracle hasn’t worked for us YET; I think we need to re-look that line of thought.
    As for going to a mental health professional, again, I have my doubts. Having never been to see one except in the course of a rubber-stamped required visit on a form, I can’t say what effectiveness they bring to the table. I have met a few, and they all seemed more interested with their own professional credentials, and their perceived ability to “Help someone with their problems” (i.e. Give advice) than getting to the real cause of what ailed the person they were treating. Both white and black, they seemed more ego-driven than actually helpful.
    As for the white mental health professionals, I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion, going to advocate sending any of our people to see one. I think they would take the information and use it against the individual, and disseminate it among themselves to attempt using against us as a whole. They have NO CLUE of what we deal with on a daily basis, what drives/motivates us, and would place their own internal guilt’s and fears into any diagnosis they rendered. When it comes to us, they believe what they want to believe anyway.
    So after all the years of mistreatment, maltreatment, and just downright evil we have suffered at the hands of this bunch, why would we trust them to tell us what’s wrong with us, and how to fix it?

    To me, that’s like asking a Peeping Tom to fix your window blinds.

  25. Negress

    Religion and prayer move us in the right direction, but, we still gotta put in the work just the same. A lot of religious folk spend their entire lives waiting on some unseen force in the sky to save them, which is not the purpose of “The Church.” Human beings are supposed to be proactive in every aspect of life. As for therapy, it’s an individual call. I have common sense, so, i don’t feel the need for someone else to state the obvious to me. Black people who’ve been broken down by the system and can’t decode all of the bs that comes our way need therapy. The violence, drugs, funky attitudes, and self-destructive behavior are born out of black folk who’ve lost control of their personhood…Bottomline!


  26. @ Ron

    Do you think it’s also because there is a lack of black therapists to help us?

  27. @ Tyrone

    Good explanation. Self-destructive is big in the black community.

  28. Ron Thomas on said:

    I don’t think therapy is the answer. I think the answer lies in getting educated in things that will benefit us, quitting the use of every excuse we can dream up tho justify saying “I can’t”, and getting off of our collective butts and moving as a group towards where the H*LL we should already be. Yes we are getting there, but ever so slowly.
    I know the pain is there. I know the road is strewn with misinformation, disinformation, and accumulated centuries of lies and BS. I know how easy it is to just give up. But I wasn’t aware of that option being presented to us. So if we can’t quit, why can’t we just go balls to the wall on making sure we do our damnedest to make it in every undertaking?
    I’m not a fan of therapy; I think it’s wasted in the sense that most people are looking for someone to tell them what to do, instead of working it out for themselves. I can’t believe that any black therapist would be able to look at one of us after listening to what (in many cases) amounted to a litany of excuses, and not be conflicted about telling their client the honest truth, or taking the safe road (job, status, etc..), and opting for a less critical, and I believe less, helpful approach.

  29. OK. I see your point.

    But there is another perspective too. Maybe it not necessarily having someone “tell them what to do” but giving them another perspective on how to look at things regarding black struggles.

    What do you think?

  30. Ron Thomas on said:

    “But there is another perspective too. Maybe it not necessarily having someone “tell them what to do” but giving them another perspective on how to look at things regarding black struggles.

    Point well made, and I will admit it’s a damned good one.

    I think my inability / unwillingness to see the good a therapist might do, gets in the way of my objectivity on this subject. For so long I have been a proponent of the head-on approach to any issues that personally confront me where race is involved, that I’ve forgotten that everyone doesn’t work that way.

  31. @ Ron

    Blacks and depression have been a touchy subject for 500 years. We’re rooted in God and the Church…so we don’t need any help except from up above.

    We’re also very emotional folks…and very opinionated. We all have different ways to dealing with things. If someone can help us out in any way, I say take that help and run with it.

  32. Of course she just sat there and stared: you was NOTHING she was used to in person. She either thought you were from another country or a hippie/earthly being. LOL!

  33. @ Darc

    You may be right.

  34. It is hostile territory any time you venture into the world if whites/professionals as nothing conceals their contempt for non white life

  35. @ Omalone

    Hostile doesn’t even begin to describe it. She nearly frothed at the mouth.

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