PS 042: Animal Assisted Therapy

My guest on this episode is Christina Strayer (Ed.D). Dr. Strayer obtained her Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Argosy University, Sarasota, FL. She is a licensed practicing counselor at 180 Counseling in Garner, NC with two therapy dogs of her own. Dr. Strayer and her canine co-therapists work with individuals with many issues including depression, self harm, trauma, ADHD, autism and PTSD. Her therapy animals are rescues who have experienced trauma and Dr. Strayer uses their stories to provide hope to clients. Dr. Strayer is also a professional speaker for PESI and teaches on the topic of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).  She is also currently writing an AAT treatment manual . Dr. Strayer has received training through Pet Partners and Carolina Canines.  Dr. Strayer is an Adjunct Professor at Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC where she has taught School Counseling, Practicum and Internship, Crisis Management, Counseling Techniques and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Animal assisted therapy is the goal directed intervention in which an animal that meets a specific criteria is used and integrated into the therapeutic process by a mental health professional. This episode is packed with practical information like: the difference between animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activities, the different types of animals that can be used in animal assisted therapy, specific training for the animal and therapist, as well as neuroscientific findings of health benefits of AAT.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page and post a picture of your favorite animal!!!

CLICK HERE for your FREE guide on Animal Assisted Therapy!

Get A Free Copy of Jimmie’s New Book: “Freedom From Emotional Abuse”

I’m excited about the upcoming release of my new book, Freedom From Emotional Abuse. I wrote the book for all those who want to live a life that’s free from the limitations associated with being mistreated.  I’ve spent years working directly with this population, and I want to share what I’ve learned through my clinical experience. In the book, I expose false ideas about healthy versus unhealthy relationships so you can separate fact from fiction. Then I explain some of the common tactics a psychologically unhealthy person uses to subtly exert power and control.

Many people are struggling with a poor self esteem, and they don’t realize it’s because they’re in a relationship that doesn’t promote equality and mutual respect. It’s true: many people are being psychologically abused and they don’t even realize it!  Sometimes the abuse is blatant, but what about the more subtle, manipulative acts? It’s important to develop the ability to recognize these covert tactics to protect yourself and those you care about.  After all, a healthy self esteem is one of the most valuable things anyone can own.

EMAIL ME if you’d like to receive a free advanced copy of the book in exchange for providing an honest review on Amazon.

Thank you for helping me help others! Jimmie

PS 041: Cultural Awareness In Diagnosing Mental Disorders

William B. Lawson (M.D.) is the Associate Dean for health disparities at the Dell Medical School and Professor at Huston-Tillotson where he is directing the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center. He received a BS in psychology from Howard University, an MA from the University of Virginia, and PhD in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire.  He received his MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. He completed his residency at Stanford University and a fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health.  He has held numerous senior positions and received national recognition including past President of the DC chapter of Mental Health America, Past President of the Washington Psychiatric Society, past Chair of the Section of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the National Medical Association, and past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America. He has over 200 publications and has continuously received federal, industry, and foundation funding to address mental and substance abuse disparities.

Increased cultural awareness is needed to increase diagnostic accuracy. This is important because we recognize that there is a positive correlation between an accurate diagnosis and positive treatment outcomes. Research suggests that there are no substantial differences in diagnostic categories among races when using proven diagnostic instruments or assessment tools. However, clinical results show that African-American men are over-diagnosed with schizophrenia, but this same group is under-diagnosed with depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.   Often, this is the result of a lack of cultural awareness by the diagnostician.

Working cooperatively with others is imperative if we want to help the diverse populations suffering from chronic mental health conditions. This includes police, hospital staff, mental health professionals, clergy, family members, and volunteers.  We can improve diagnostic accuracy by improving mental health literacy, and that’s what Psych Sessions is all about! – Jimmie

CLICK HERE to download your FREE guide on this subject.

PS 040: iTunes Contest Winners!

Congratulations to jaforster and Baby_kangaroo13 for winning a free copy of  On Becoming A Person, by Dr. Carl Rogers.

Dr. Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987) is well known for creating  Client-Centered Therapy.  He was one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century, and he’s recognized as one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology. If you’d like to learn more about Carl Rogers, check out PS Episode 018.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest! -Jimmie

PS 039: Treating Depression with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Daniela White (M.D.) is a board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. Dr. White finished her residency in Adult Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in 2000 and continued her training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the same institution till 2002. During her training, she served as Chief Resident at Baylor Clinic in 2000 and Chief Fellow Resident in the Fellowship Program in 2002. She received her Diploma in Psychodynamic Therapy after she completed the two year training program at the Houston Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute between 2000 and 2002.

During this session, Dr. White and I discuss Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a medication free approach to treating depression. You’ll learn how TMS is different from other neurostimulation modalities and who can benefit. We also discuss delivery methods, rates of remission, and ongoing research for future use in other areas of mental health. It’s a fascinating topic that will make you look at technology in a whole new way.

CLICK HERE to download your free guide on TMS

Congratulations To Our 3 Winners: Laney (New York), Diane (Canada), and Tracey (Texas)!

These 3 PS Newsletter Subscribers won a free copy of Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary.

Disarming the Narcissist explains how to move past a narcissist’s defenses using empathy, confrontation, and limit-setting. By learning to anticipate and navigate certain hot-button issues, you can relate to narcissists without triggering their aggression. The book also describes how to get your own needs met while sidestepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments. And most importantly, you discover how to hold them accountable for unacceptable behavior.

Psych Sessions Subscribers are the best!

More contests are on the way!

Cheers! Jimmie

PS 038: Disruptive Behavior Disorders with Ayo Gathing (M.D.)


Ayo Afejuku Gathing (M.D.) is a board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.  Dr. Gathing earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her Medical Doctorate from the Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her general psychiatry residency at Emory University from 2006-2009 where she received many accolades and awards. She chose to further specialize in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in a fellowship in 2009 to follow her dream to work with children with severe mental illnesses and become an expert in building healthy families.

During fellowship she began her involvement in national advocacy for children with mental illness, by participating in advocacy training for psychiatrists and traveling to Washington D.C. for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACAP) Advocacy Days at the capitol. She has also been a two time recipient of the AACAP educational outreach award and presented a clinical case conference at the AACAP 57th Annual Meeting in New York City.

During this session, Dr. Gathing and I discuss Disruptive Behavior Disorders, which are a group of behavioral disorders that frequently coexist among children and adolescents. They include behaviors like temper tantrums, physical aggression, and defiance towards any type of authority figure. These disorders include Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD). While all children go through periods of testing limits, children with Disruptive Behavior Disorders struggle with school performance, family relationships, and peer connections. The disruptive behaviors usually intensify over time and negatively affect their everyday lives, as well as those around them. Listen to this episode and learn more about the differences between ODD and CD. You’ll also learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, and more. Thanks for listening! -Jimmie

CLICK HERE to download your free tip sheet on Disruptive Behavior Disorders.

PS 037: Narcissism with Wendy Behary (LCSW)

wendyMy guest on this session is Wendy Behary, LCSW. Wendy is the founder and Clinical Director of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and the Schema Therapy Institute of New Jersey. She is also a distinguished founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. She maintains a private practice, specializing in narcissism and high-conflict couples therapy. Wendy is also the author of Disarming the Narcissist. You can learn more about her at

Do you know someone who only thinks of themselves and their own needs? Someone who is intimidating and overly arrogant? Someone who lacks empathy or exhibits an inflated sense of entitlement? You probably do. Whether they are family members, friends, or coworkers, when it comes to dealing with the narcissist in your life, you may be at your wits’ end. So, how can you stand up for yourself without getting caught in crossfire? Listen to this episode of PS and find out! – Jimmie


CLICK HERE to download your free guide on narcissism!

PS 036: Bullying with Israel (Izzy) Kalman.

My guest on this episode of Psych Sessions is Israel (Izzy) Kalman.  Izzy obtained his Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, Philadelphia, PA.  He is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist who has been working in schools and private practice since 1978. Izzy has developed methods that use role playing to teach basic psychological principles for solving bullying, aggression and relationship problems.

Bullying with words or actions is unacceptable, and we need to work together to make it stop. Bullying can take various forms including: teasing, gossiping, excluding, and hitting. Bullying can occur in person and online (cyber bullying). Bullying has changed over the years, and we need to understand how to deal with modern day bullies.  During the show, you’ll hear Izzy and me role-play an example of how to disempower a bully. You’ll also learn what to do if you know a child who is being bullied.

CLICK HERE to download your free guide on how to deal with bullying!

PS 035: Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy

In this episode of Psych Sessions, I speak with the authors of Irrelationship:  How We use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide from Intimacy. 

Irrelationship is a jointly created psychological defense system that two or more people maintain to avoid awareness of the anxiety that’s part of becoming intimate with others, especially feelings about letting people see and know us for who we really are.

Mark B. Borg, Jr., (PhD) is a community and clinical psychologist and a psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. He is founding partner of The Community Consulting Group, a consulting firm that trains community stakeholders, local governments and other organizations to use psychoanalytic techniques in community rebuilding and revitalization.

Grant H. Brenner (MD) is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, specializing in treating mood & anxiety disorders & the complex problems arising from developmental childhood trauma. He works from a humanistic & integrative perspective, incorporating evidence-based approaches as well as innovative techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) & neurofeedback.

Daniel Berry (RN, MHA) has practiced as a Registered Nurse in New York City since 1987. Working in in-patient, home care and community settings, his work has taken him into some of the city’s most privileged households as well as some of its most underserved and dangerous public housing projects in Manhattan and the South Bronx.

During the podcast, we discuss how people in irrelationship can generally be described as falling into the category of either Performer or Audience. The Performer is driven to caretaking of the Audience while the Audience hangs back, allowing the Performer to continue and even escalate efforts to “rescue” or “fix” him or her. Paradoxically, by hanging back, the Audience is covertly taking care of the Performer allowing him to act out his need to be a rescuer. For both parties, this process fends off anxiety, but in so doing, they jointly eliminate the possibility—or risk—of developing a genuine, meaningful relationship.For most people, intimacy is likely to be both desired and feared. This conflict is at the heart of irrelationship, which develops as a result of a break in the development of a secure attachment as children.

Listen in and learn how to tell if you’re affected by irrelationship and what you can do about it.