Therapy pro Chantelle Doswell on preventing mental health from affecting your wealth

ORLANDO, Fla. – Health and wealth go hand in hand, yet not every injury wears a cast or bandage. Just like how a broken leg or high fever can take you out of the money-making mix, so too can problems with your mental health.

This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews Chantelle Doswell — a liberation-focused trauma specialist in New York City, founder and owner of therapy provider Ordinary Healing, LLC — to learn more about how impacts to your mental health can affect your ability to build generational wealth.

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Doswell explained a theme in the Black community she called “schoolishness,” described as when people approach a career out of school while still retaining learned habits of a subservient student.

“So if you’re told that you’re bad, if you’re told you’re not good enough, if you learn how to kind of get a little, you know, avoiding of authority, stuff like that, you start to learn your place in the world, right?” Doswell said. “…Black kids do simple stuff, like they’ll lie to the doctor about how much vegetables they’ll eat, right? And a lot of white kids don’t do that, and part of the reason is because they’re learning that they’re the same as this doctor, this doctor is here to serve them, even as a child, whereas the Black kid is saying, ‘Well, what’s the right thing to say?’ right? Like, ‘What’s the thing I’m supposed to do here? Because I’m not really the same as this doctor.’ And we carry those habits into our adulthood. We don’t see ourselves as bosses or leaders or people who are able to have the same amount of skill as those people who we admire who have wealth.”

The solution, however, is not to simply look to and copy others, but to look within, find self worth and dare to dream, Doswell said.

“We don’t have to project this idea that our kids need to be better than everybody else. It’s like, ‘No, you could be yourself and maybe that would actually be healthier and more successful than trying to be like this white person over here, that white family over there,’ you know what I mean? And so a lot of the mental health, self esteem and self image really turns into how big you’re able to dream, how much you can kind of imagine for yourself and your kids, you know, beyond survival,” Doswell said.

At Doswell’s private practice, her job involves clients with complex trauma, yet the angle she takes in addressing such issues lends a silver lining to an otherwise tough conversation and potentially tougher healing process.

“Black folks are very smart. We can figure things out. We don’t actually need somebody to tell us all the time about ourselves, we know ourselves; the bigger thing is, like, can you learn your emotional language? Can you learn the way that you deal with things in the world, and do you know what that means?” Doswell said. “We really try to work from your body up to make you feel better, and that can include anything from writing to — I’ve done stuff with teenagers, where we’ve rapped for an entire session — and there’s times where we do just kind of like anything that makes you actually feel good: dancing, moving, things like that. It’s not exactly as sad as it would sound, like to those strangers, right, because a lot of healing trauma is about making sure that you feel safe, that you feel good, that you know who you are.”

Black Men Sundays talks about building generational wealth. Check out every episode in the media player below.

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