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Like many in the iReport community, Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, 38, wears a cornucopuia of different hats. She’s a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who works to provide support for victims of human trafficking. She dabbles in dance and live poetry. She runs a women’s ministry in southern California. And she’s the daughter of a preacher man.
Well, Davis now has one more hat to add to an already-impressive collection: The iReport Pundit of the Week.
Affiliation: “My primary issue is mental health. I like to look at the news and current events from a psychological perspective, to help understand to how to analyze bad news in terms of prevention, and how to promote positivity. Growing up, I was a pastor’s daughter. Within our community, most people talk to their minister about emotional issues; it’s called pastoral counseling. So I got exposed to this very early on, recognizing the need for people to have someone to talk to they can trust.”
Why do you share your opinion on iReport?
“It’s a way to access a larger community. I do work with people and families in sessions, a one-on-one type of thing, and I also teach classes at Pepperdine University, which is a classroom setting. But with the Internet, I’m able to connect with people across the globe. I want to learn from them, and share what I know with that larger audience.
“There’s also a stigma attached to therapy, some people have emotional or financial barriers against it. So the way I see it, the more good information on mental health I can get out in public, the better.”
Who is your political or cultural hero?
“Sonia Sanchez. That’s an interesting choice for me, because she’s a poet, but a lot of her poetry also deals with political and cultural issues. One of the reasons I admire her is because she’s a truth-teller who uses the arts to get her message across.
“The arts are often a way to get people to hear truths and ideas that might be uncomfortable. You can present people with facts and statistics, but the arts have a way of connecting with people on an emotional, spiritual issue. Sanchez talks about very difficult and sensitive issues that motivate people to action. The best kind of awareness-raising is the kind that doesn’t leave people feeling guilty or overwhelmed, but motivates and inspires them.”
What’s going to be the defining issue of the 2012 election?
“This election is going to present very different ideas about who runs the government, and what shape it should take. Now, if you ask a general person on the corner, they’re probably still going to say the economy. But in the way the debate is being framed right now, it’s more about how we’re going to get there. Everyone agrees that we want the economy to get better, but the debate is going to be about how.”
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
“I was a queen of slam, I’m a slam poetry champion! I love performing poetry, which is an interesting balance for me. In therapy, you do a lot of listening; with performing poetry, it’s a space for me to let my voice be heard. Like iReport!
“I’m also in charge of the women’s ministry at a church in southern California. ... I direct our dance ministry, I like to integrate the arts and mental health into spiritual life. It’s nice being able to connect psychology and spirituality. In the women’s Bible studies I do, I really try to pick out life principles and strategies for success, so that it’s not just something that people think about in the abstract, but rather their lived experience.”
Follow Thema right here to catch her latest updates on your iReport homepage. If you’re ready to get in on some of the smartest debate and discourse around, now’s a perfect time to join the discussion on iReport. You could be our next Pundit of the Week!
Vote for me, i'm Rastafarian, I'll be President. anyone who has taken college biology knows that we are H. Sapiens a species of primates closely related to Chimpanzees. All Drugs Legal, pharmaceutical and controlled. Free public Universities. Health Insurance
for all Citizens. Strong Military. Technological Singularity. Evolution in Biology. BigBang in Physics. Nuclear Spaceship colonating the Milky Way. Higher taxes for the Rich. Homeless Shelters. God of the Universe. The Fraternity Party. Do I get Secret Service too? My BAC is enough to say "if I am elected potus I will attempt to peacefully take over the world and impose the United States Constitution on all Hom. Sapiens who like the idea."
YAY Dr. Thema! A well-deserved nominee!
Thanks so much!