Hello, and welcome to Episode One of the Black Marriage and Family Therapy Matters Podcast where we connect black families to black therapists.
So let’s get this party started.
Okay. As you know, we typically will do our first episode for the week with an interview with another therapist or another mental health professional. However, today, I’m going to start and we’re going to kind of reverse that for the very first episode, and I’ll tell you why. Now, I might be new to the podcasting world, but I am not new at business. And in the past, I’ve had experiences where the business has more or less defined itself for me. And I wanted to take an opportunity to define this business structure for myself, because I want to be the most helpful for you. And I think it’s only fair that as you continue listening to the podcast, because I know you’ll like it, because we got a lot of great things in store, you will know exactly what to expect and where everything came from. So for this week, only for the first and second episodes, I will begin the week with an independent episode with myself, followed by the interview which will occur in two days on Wednesday. All right? Okay. So let’s get this party started!
Who am I? And what do I do?
Well, you know, by now, my name is Dr. Connie Omari. Feel free to call me Dr. O. And I’m a licensed therapist, and also a relationship coach. So I wanted to come to you today and just provide a little bit of information about me, so that you will know again the purposes of this podcast, and of course, so we can be the most helpful for you.
Alright, so let’s talk a little bit about this podcast, and why I thought it was a good idea to start it.
As I mentioned, I’m a doctor and I received my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regis University. While there I had the pleasure, the difficult pleasure might I add of defending my dissertation entitled Marital Attitudes and Expectations Between Blacks and Whites in America. And I can tell you, I found some really interesting things. And that has primarily been my motivation for starting the podcast. Some of the things that I found, well, I’ll read a few excerpts for you…
Marriage has many potential benefits, such as enhanced finances, mental health, physical health, health related behaviors, and children’s academic performance and well being. However, individuals in the black community are married at a rate of 32% when compared to 64% in the 1960s. This reflects a 50% decrease in marriage rates since the 1960s overall, and these findings are contrary to whites who have had a steady marital rate since the 1980’s. I also found that blacks have a lower marriage rate than any other racial ethnic group. And according to the US Census Bureau in 2015, in 2015 46.8%, of blacks had never married compared to 30.7% have never married members of all other races.
Well, that doesn’t mean anything like what does that really mean? When you look at the bigger picture of things? Well, let’s let’s look at the data a little more closely.
Within the black community, it’s been determined that marriage serves as a protective factor for individual psychological well being evidence by married blacks actually experiencing higher levels of well being than unmarried blacks. Contrary to what you may have already heard from the media, marriage could offset some of the negative consequences of racism that’s been manifested by increased financial and educational opportunities that are often afforded within marital unions. In addition, the black family can improve the overall welfare by positively contributing to the economic resources that come in the household, and black women are more likely to be employed than others when they are married.
Studies also show that when black children are born into married families, they experienced less debt less delinquency, have fewer behavioral issues, have higher self esteem, have higher educational outcomes, and are more likely to delay sexual activity than those who are not. Other benefits are the health of white men as they engage in more activities that promote good health while engaging in fewer risky activities that endanger their health. Other improvements have been the observation of healthy partnerships and social integration as married black men benefit from the social and emotional support of their wives encouragement towards healthy behavior. which opens opportunities for a variety of social relationships that provide emotional and ethical accountability. Despite these overwhelming benefits of marriage within the black community, the research is consistent.
Blacks are the least likely group to get married when compared to all other racial ethnic groups. In fact, since the 21st centuries, blacks have had the lowest marriage rates, the highest divorce rates, and the highest rate of out of wedlock births. Only 35% of blacks were married, as opposed to 60% of whites. And 54% of black children live in a single parent home compared to 19% of whites and non marital births. Non marital births are more than twice as common for blacks when compared to whites. Scholars have largely attributed this health disparities in the marital rates to several things, including increased homicide in the black community, and the incarceration rates of black men. So this is just a general summary of the conflict that is being observed. Basically, what I want to do is provide an opportunity for black families who are interested in the prospects and the benefits of marriage, to have the resources to be able to experience it.
Just to be clear, this is a pro black marriage and family program, we do not discriminate against those who do not and cannot marry. Alright, let’s continue. Now, I also want to be authentic in this perspective, I personally am a Christian. But before you count me out, please allow me to continue. I do not uphold or condone the upholding of conservative religious behavior, which has been used to marginalize people, I understand that many black people have been harmed by conservatives religious values, I have as well. I simply know that for me to be effective in the capacity that I truly believe that I’m able to do, I must be authentic with you and be true to myself. If I don’t do that ,I can’t do this work, and I can’t help you. So for this reason, I am most effective when I give feedback that I feel is based in truth, and ask that where this might be in conflict for whatever your religious or spiritual views are, that you replace that with whatever value you uphold. I believe that if we can do that successfully, I can give you the help that you were looking for when you reached out to the podcast.
Okay. Now in light of culture, and diversity, which is all about this program of what we’re trying to promote, I think I should tell you a little bit about where I’m from. So I was born in Texas, but I was raised right here in North Carolina. I did spend some time in New York, and also New Jersey to get my master’s degrees. And I actually started my career in New Jersey. But then of course, I came home to North Carolina, because to be honest, it was too cold up there. I’m just kidding. It was a little cold. But actually, I just really wanted to be home, to be closer to my family, and obviously, settle down.
So I guess that will go to my next segment to let you know that yes, I am married, I am married. I have two children, who I love very, very much. And they also serve as instrumental vehicles and purposes for why I am doing this, I have had the benefit of being able to experience a lot of these benefits that I just mentioned regarding marriage. Now, it doesn’t mean that it’s been perfect. It certainly has not, but it has been worthwhile. And I truly believe that if we provide the opportunity and the resources for people to experience the beauty in marriage, others can benefit from it as well. I would also like to share that I am very protective of my family. So as where occasionally I will give maybe an example here or there, this is not the forum or the platform that will be used to be too personal. Just as being vulnerable is going to help me be relatable by getting too involved in my own personal affairs, that might make things too difficult for me to be as helpful as possible.
Okay, so I’ve told you a little bit about where I’m from. Okay, there’s one more thing that I forgot to add, I can’t believe I forgot this. And this is very important because a lot of people reach out to me requesting this information. So I’ll share this as well. As a black therapist. A lot of people just come to me basically because I’m black. Sometimes that’s not the most helpful, but I’ll get into that a little bit more at the end, which is another reason why I started this podcast, but let me explain my name. So I will disclose that my husband is from Ghana, West Africa. So you might hear the name Omari and think “Wow, where, you know, where’s that from?” Like I said, a lot of my clients have that question. So I, myself am an African American, but I have married a Ghanaian from Ghana, West Africa. Okay?
All right. So I’ve told you a little bit about where I’m from. Now, let me tell you where I’m going.
Look, if you’re here, that means that I am going in the right direction, because it is my plan to disrupt the industry of mental health, specifically, within the black community. Basically, I’m looking to change the world, I’m looking to break down stigmas, and I’m looking to make mental health resources more accessible, and more attainable to the black families. I do that by obviously utilizing this podcast.
It also serves as a resource and a connection to my website. Now, with this being the first episode, things are kind of new, we’re starting on a little bit of a slower pace. But my hope is that pretty soon you will have access to a therapist in every single state on my directory. That directory can be found at www.blackmftmatters.com. In the meantime, if you’d like to work with me, I am a private practitioner, I provide my services through my online mental health practice, by the name of Tech Talk Therapy. Tech Talk Therapy can be found either online at www.techtalktherapy.com. Or you can be you can contact us by phone at 844. My Tech Talk, I personally am licensed in four different states and can practice in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. I also run an ongoing DBT skills group. This group is for women who have been in a variety basically, who have communication challenges, and are looking for an opportunity to present better within themselves and others. In fact, I think it’s very safe to disclose at this time that I personally have provided relationship counseling, but I am not a relationship therapist, that’s not my specialty. I do it when I feel like I might can be helpful. But it’s not my specialty. Though I do plan to get additional training there. The way that I got into providing this is that I found that by working with a lot of black women, we have a lot of relationship baggage and trauma. And as you can see from the excerpts from my dissertation, which I forgot to mention is also found on my website. So please, when you get an opportunity, go to the website, www.blackmftmatters.com and take an opportunity to look at his dissertation. And if you really really want to get funky with it, you can read all 200 pages because it’s there 200 Plus, I can’t remember how many pages it is. But it’s really great stuff.
But through that, in my interest in wanting to work with black women, I realized how our systems and our history and our trauma, which we’re going to be talking more about has contributed to a lot of the problems that we have. And that has been directly tied to our role as black women. And what that looks like within the marital framework within the marriage dynamics was in the concept of family. So through my interest in wanting to empower and assert the black woman’s position and role, I became very sensitive to the importance of marriage, the importance of relationships, I’ve been able to manifest that development was to be my own personal life. And I brought that into my practice. So that’s the connection that I have as an individual therapist who works with black women, and one who has this directory and resource for black marriages. Okay, so I’ve told you about my individual work, I’ve told you about my DBT skills group, I do all these under the license of being a licensed clinician. However, I also have a course It’s entitled release your inner goddess relationship course where I work with black women, Ding ding, ding, yes, black women, again, to reevaluate the relationships that they have with themselves and attract meaningful, rewarding and intimate relationships with men. This course is only available a few times a year. So you want to monitor me closely. I’m actively running this court course now, as this recording is taking place, but I will let you know as the course opens back up if you’re interested. And I’ll also give you the resources and the tools to be able to reach out. Okay, so I think that pretty much summarizes enough information about me. Again, the purpose of me just doing it this way is because I want you to know what you’re getting into. All right, I want you to know the information you’re going to receive. I want you to know where it’s coming from. And I want you to know why because I truly, truly, truly believe in this work. I believe I have been called to do this and I know that if you just stick with us, it continues to be a faithful listener, you will learn that it is real, it is helpful as well. Alright, so I thank you again for your time today.
Thank you for listening, and welcome to the Black Marriage and Family Therapy Matters. Podcast. Peace and Blessings.
~ Dr. O