Dr. Thema Bryant Davis is an Associate Professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. She is director of the Culture and Trauma Research Lab and associate editor of the journal Psychological Trauma. She is author of the book Thriving in the wake of trauma: a multicultural guide and editor of the book Surviving Sexual Violence.
Thema is a past psychology representative to the UN and a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women. She is a researcher, clinician, advocate, and survivor.
Come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed.
What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?
Thema shares how her experiences as a young pastor’s daughter, listening to her father offering pastoral counseling on the phone, and then bearing witness to the violence of inner city baltimore, as well as her own traumatic experience, drew her to help others not only survive but thrive.
A Crucial Early Mistake
Thema talks about her experience working with a young girl and how it taught her the importance of realizing that just because you have a piece of information which might be helpful in your understanding of the client, doesn’t mean that you can close the door on continuing to assess.
I am in this field because to do trauma work is to witness miracles, and how awesome it is to be a part of a miracle.
- Practice Self-Nourishment: Do things that are speaking life, speaking wholeness, and that resonate with the good in humanity.
- Be authentic: Ask yourself, How can I internalize these skills and strategies I am learning so that they come across as me?
- Be careful about your own relationship-life; be careful that you’re not drawn to wanting to fix people; also seek out relationships with people who are in a whole and healthy place.
Thema’s go-to books
- Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Judith Herman
- Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery, Na’im Akbar
- Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide, Thema Bryant-Davis
- Surviving Sexual Violence: A Guide to Recovery and Empowerment, Thema Bryant-Davis