DR. JESS ON BLACK STRESS

"We Are Our Own Victory!"

My Voice Is More Than Just My Own
I Am Eternally Indebted to My Elders and Ancestors Who Made My Journey Possible
WELCOME!

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Why I Left Ohio and Never Looked Back....

No, I'm not an Ohio native; I just happened to spend four years of my life there as a result of unpredictable education-based events. I completed my higher education in California, my home state. After living in California for 30 years of my life, I decided to let life take me to the DC Metro area where I lived for two years prior to moving to OH. Ohio was my home for four years, and nearly everyday I was there, I counted down to some unknown time that I knew would be my d

We Are Our Own Victory!

In a world of COVID-19 and 1619 Pandemics, the notion of a 'victory' is likely the last concept that has been on our minds. In this tumultuous, chaotic election cycle we are uncertain if 'victory' will even exist, even if the vote goes our way! We are persistently triggered by losing family/friends/neighbors to COVID-19, the increasing of boldness of white supremacy, the unjustified death of innocent black bodies, and the various implications of working/parenting/schooling f

"Is there a Black one?" ....Honoring Black Panther

Growing up as a Black child in America, at some point you will realize what it means to be Black. My earliest memory of experiencing racism was around the age of 8 or 9 on a playdate with a white peer from school. My parents grew up during a time when America was explicitly segregated, with firsthand experiences, yet that did not prevent them from allowing me to experience the world in as free a manner as possible. But, in less that a decades' time, I learned what they kne

We Got Nothing.

Black people have been in a persistent state of grief since our arrival on the coast of Jamestown, VA. Ancestral grief of being forced from our native land, grief from the violence and dehumanization of slavery, grief from being lynched, grief from deaths in the form of Emmett Till, grief from George Floyd, and grief from most recent incidents in Kenosha, WI. We got nothing. We are numb, angry, depressed, anxious, and constantly re-traumatized. We have no energy to contin

Karen, Becky... and Kathy.

As a mental health professional, I spent a great deal of time in the month of July honoring BIPoC/Minority Mental Health Awareness month. I evaluated the work I've been doing, how I am choosing to show up in the community and in the field, and perhaps most importantly I engaged in intentionally increasing my own self-care. This self-care included a few things, but one key thing - intensely connecting with other black women in dialogue where we love, see, hear, and honor one

Dear Black Moms, You Are the Expert. Period.

As a psychologist, much of my clinical work goes beyond the therapy session. I spend a decent amount of time offering diagnostic evaluations for adults and children with various cognitive, learning, and behavioral problems. This means, I spend anywhere from 1 to 4 hours with a client engaging them in various standardized or projective activities that give me information about their various abilities, social skills, strengths, areas of growth, and behaviors. Most recently,

The Weight of Generational Trauma

Terrance, a recent highly intelligent, artistic high school graduate, is preparing for his freshman year at college. He has several mixed emotions as he will be 1000 miles away from his family. It will be the first time he will be away from them for any significant amount of time. He especially has some anxiety due to a history of abandonment issues by his father, after a tumultuous divorce between his parents, ten years ago. He has been an emotional and physical pillar to

Unapologetic Self-Care

When people hear "self-care" some of the first images that pop into their minds are exercise, eating healthy, sleeping more, or meditating. Each of those examples are absolutely important types of self-care and imperative for overall well-being. Our minds and bodies require intentional care and attention to sustain our daily experiences of being black and all that entails in society. Our physical bodies are the primary holders of stress, which starts in our minds as we exp

The Numbing Effect...

When we hear the word "stress" we often associate it with certain images or symptoms that we see in mainstream media. We might have an image of someone who is visibly frazzled, pacing non-stop, have a short fuse, or seemingly easily distracted. Stress is generally defined as a sense of tension; this tension can exist emotionally, physically, or even soulfully. Stress is also defined as a perceived threat or demand that removes one from his/her comfort zone. Stress can be

Why 'Black' Stress?

I started this site with specific intent to focus on black people. I was raised in a black neighborhood in Vallejo, CA that was developed by a black housing developer. I went to a black Baptist Church during my childhood. My schools were always diverse in ethnic and racial composition. My mother and grandmother intentionally instilled in me messages of 'black girl magic,' before it was a movement and hashtag. I had dolls like any young girl, but always had the Black opti

It's Time to Breathe

On the day that George Floyd died, after desperately pleading to regain ownership of his breath, many black people stopped breathing right along with him. We stop breathing every time this happens to a black body, but with the world being on "pause" due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many non-black people suddenly had more time to think and reflect on racism in the U.S. Many White people were outraged, as if for the first time, that a black man could be killed in the middle of t

Welcome!

I am Dr. Jessica M. Smedley, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the Washington DC Metro Area. My background and interests are founded in psychological and theological training, with much time spent focusing on and studying issues in urban community settings. While my current work is mostly clinical in nature, I have always enjoyed and felt empowered by writing. As a Black woman, I have a deep appreciation and value for the ability to speak and share my voice with others.

 
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READING LIST

This is a blog that is intentionally designed to offer insight, education, and to create dialogue about a a very important topic regarding an exquisite group of people.  Views are my own based on my personal, educational, and professional experiences.  Below, I will continue to share a myriad of resources that give voice to the black experience.  

The Souls of Black Folk ~ W.E.B. DuBois

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome ~ Dr. Joy DeGruy

White Rage ~ Carol Anderson

The Cross and the Lynching Tree ~ James H. Cone

Black Theology & Black Power ~ James H. Cone

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America ~ Charisse Jones & Kumea Shorter-Gooden, PhD

Urban Trauma ~ Dr. Maysa Akbar

 

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