Self Studies is a podcast miniseries by Alma (helloalma.com) that explores how identity and unique cultural challenges inform a person’s experiences in life and in mental health.
Islamic Religious and Cultural Norms with Zeina Alturk, LMHC
In religious communities, it's not uncommon for mental health issues to be viewed as spiritual shortcomings. People are encouraged to pray away issues like depression, and the line between religious teachings and cultural practices can be blurred. For religious clients, finding a clinician who understands their culture firsthand can be essential to building trust. In this episode, Alma member Zeina Alturk, LMHC, speaks about religious and cultural norms in Islamic communities and community outreach as a tool against mental health stigma.
Adoptive Identities with Grace Huntley, LMHC
For many adoptees, identity development involves integrating their birth culture with their adoptive culture. Among transracial adoptees, it's not uncommon for this exploration to happen later in life, and to come with feelings of grief and loss. In this episode, Alma member Grace Huntley, LMHC, addresses adoptive identity formation, grieving a birth culture, and the interplay of identity and career development.
Identity-based Privilege with April Grigsby, LCSW
Privilege takes many forms and is determined and dictated by the community in which an individual finds themselves. The privilege one has at home may be different from the privilege they have at work. In both cases, identity-based privilege can shape an individual's mental health and sense of self. In this episode, Alma member April Grigsby, LCSW, speaks about defining and managing privilege, code-switching, and ways that therapists can better understand the many layers of identity that clients bring into the therapy space.
Social Justice in Therapy with Estefanie Ceballo, LMHC
It's impossible to separate individuals from the contexts in which they live. Bringing social justice into the therapy space allows clinicians and their clients to better understand how social norms shape their lived experiences and how to better advocate for their needs. In this episode, Alma member Estefanie Ceballo, LMHC, speaks about intersectionality, social justice counseling, and the importance of talking about identity in therapy.
Black Mental Health and Equitable Systems with Atiba McLean, LCSW
The field of psychology is overwhelmingly white, and a handful of researchers are introducing Afrocentric frameworks for treating and diagnosing Black individuals. In spite of this, a legacy of medical abuse has left many in Black communities skeptical of any and all healthcare. In this episode Alma member Atiba McLean, LCSW, speaks about equitable mental health care in the Black community and the urgency of confronting our shared humanity.
Queer Histories and Identities with Donald Schmoll, LCSW
Queer communities are grounded in a belief that there is not any one way to be — shaped by fluid identities. Individuals are free to explore, decide, and declare what it means for them to be queer. This freedom stands in opposition to the internalized shame that many LGBTQIA+ people feel — a byproduct of both American norms and the legacy of the 1980s AIDS epidemic. In this episode, Alma member Donald Schmoll, LCSW, speaks about the expansiveness of queer identities and lingering shame in the wake of the AIDS epidemic.