PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host Patrick Casale and I am joined today by friend and colleague, Yunetta Smith. She is a LPC in Tennessee, owns a private practice, a podcast, Deeper Than the Diet, and a coaching and consulting business called GroundBreakers. And Yunetta and I are in a mastermind group together. And it's been a lot of fun getting to know her, and connecting, and just seeing this amazing, amazing growth. And you're speaking in Nashville, right? You're a keynote speaker. Is that right?
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, I am.
PATRICK CASALE: So, welcome and I'm so glad that you're here.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for the invite. I'm glad to be here, glad to be here. This is probably one of the most chilled process that I've had, like, doing a podcast. I'm usually really nervous and freaking out, and I'm like, "Me and Patrick are just going to have a conversation, and this could be…" I don't even know, what are we talking about. Who knows? Let us see what happens when we talk. It'll be all good. So, that's a good sign.
PATRICK CASALE: Thank you. Yeah, welcome to my process and my life, where it's like, I don't know how this is going to go and we're just going to figure it out along the way. Like, I like that you asked me like, "Do you have questions for me today? Did you send those to me?" And I was thinking, like, every single person that comes on here asks me that, and I probably need to start being more clear with them of like, pick a topic or two, as long as it's like pertinent to the audience and like, let's just see where it goes. Because I think that is more real anyway than just like queuing up softball after softball. And just saying, like, I'm not going to queue that up, because I want to just call it out right now and just name it.
You just told me before we were recording, like, you were writing down all of the shit that you're doing and creating, and I just want you to, like, name it, and just own it, and talk to the audience about all of that stuff, because it's a good segue into your GroundBreakers idea and program to help more BIPOC clinicians get trained in EMDR and be more representative in the therapy world.'s such a relief." [INAUDIBLE:
And then I also have the Deeper Than the Diet Podcast, which we started that in… we're in season two. Episode six just got loaded. So, it's been a little while and I'm enjoying that. I work with Demetris Chaney Perkins. She's a nutrition coach, and she talks about all of the nutrition stuff, I talk about the trauma and its connection with, like, emotional eating, and things like that. So, that's been lots of fun.
I'm also on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show every Tuesday. I have Talk It Out Tuesday and that's a mental health segment. I've been doing that. I feel like I've been talking for a while. So, I'm still not done with the list, Patrick.
PATRICK CASALE: I want you to keep going. I really want people to hear this. Like, keep going. What else do we got?
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, so did Linda Devlin speaking engagements, work and learn, like, professional development things for companies. I've done that a little bit. And the not newest but that thing that I put down that I'm picking back up, because the need for it continues to be present and I want to, you know, continue to build that, again, is the directory that I'm working on. So, that is the GroundBreakers directory and it's specifically for EMDR and brain spotting. clinicians to be able to find other clinicians, find each other, find BIPOC consultants, you know, that they can work with, and things like that. So, I've just recently picked that up, again. I put it down like a couple of years ago, so I think that's it. And I'm a mother-ke to say that the [CROSSTALK:
YUNETTA SMITH: …and that's the most important role.k that you created [CROSSTALK:
YUNETTA SMITH: I did. Thanks for throwing it out there, I forgot. It's called Take The Struggle Out of Self-Care. And it's just six weeks to help you create a self-care strategy to really dig into your relationship with self-care and explore how you can improve it. So, I'm really proud of that, too.
PATRICK CASALE: I'm really proud to know you and call you a friend and colleague because it's really impressive with everything that you're doing. You know, the audience has really transformed into not just therapists but entrepreneurs in general. And I'm just curious if you could say when you graduated with your master's degree, did you foresee that list in front of you?
YUNETTA SMITH: No, no. You know I thought I would just have a practice, and see my clients, and live happily ever after, and that's all I really saw, that's as far as I saw it. I know I wanted to reach as many people as I could. And I think as I have evolved as a clinician, it's like my brain is always going, I'm always thinking of new ideas and ways that I can expand. And that's how I've kind of dibbled and dabbled into all of these things. I'm just like, how can I reach more people? You know? How can I disseminate this information to more people? You know? That has always been kind of my focus and that's how I've developed pretty much everything that I've developed, like, getting trained in EMDR, and being like, one of three brown clinicians in the room and hearing how powerful that was. And I'm like, "Well, how can we get more black people in here? Like, how can we have more of this demographic?" You know?
So, I've always been really passionate about helping underrepresented communities have access to the things that I have access to.
PATRICK CASALE: That's really powerful. And you're certainly reaching a lot of people, and having a big impact and a lot of lives right now. And it feels like you're kind of just getting started, like, the momentum's picking up, and it's like the trains leaving the tracks, you know? It's like podcast, radio show, consulting, coaching, private practice ownership. And it's just really cool when this all starts to shape up because I don't think we ever have that vision when we start out.
I mean, I guess some people do, but I can imagine that's a large number of people. And audience, if you're listening, and you're like, "I haven't even started my private practice and now I feel like I'm in this comparison head trap of like, 'Oh, my God, Yunetta is doing so much.'" You can get there. You may not have to start out that way, you may not have the vision, but it is totally, totally possible to start to create these things around your passions and to start to see that as you gain more energy and clarity, and focus.
So, GroundBreakers is the passion project right now. And just tell us a little bit about what that does and how you're kind of holding space for all of these clinicians as they're moving through these journeys.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, I'm so glad you say that, Patrick, about just getting started. Like, even having all of these things I think we're all, like, sometimes feel like we're just getting started no matter, you know, where we are in our journey, in our process. So, I'm so glad you mentioned that because even with everything that I have going on, now, I'm feeling like they are starting to align, right? Before it was kind of scattered, but now those things are starting to like interweave and integrate into each other to where it's all making sense.
Starting out, it didn't make sense. It felt like I was pulled in 12 different directions. But now everything is connected to. So, although it's multiple things they're all, you know, interconnected. So, when I look at GroundBreakers, you know, initially, it was how do I help black and brown clinicians promote EMDR, promote its ability to, like, literally heal trauma, right? Like, we're not just talking about it, and no knock on talk there be, you know, but I was getting to the point in my work, in my practice where I was noticing, we're talking about the same thing just in a different way, right? And I really wanted to be solution-oriented. I really wanted to get to the root and help the client to get to the root of their core issues, their core beliefs, you know, about themselves, understand their body, and how the nervous system works, and why that interferes with your decisions and all of those things.
So, as I started to learn more about that, I realized if I don't know this, and if I've been working in this field for a few years, and this is news to me, how many other people don't know this, right? And how could that benefit them to help them feel like they're not like incompetent, like, you're not a horrible therapist because your client is coming in with the same thing. Their nervous system is literally hijacking all of the work that you're doing, right? So, that's where GroundBreakers started and it's all continued to build from there.
And then, when I got trained in EMDR, I noticed like some of the examples, and the videos, and you know, the things that were presented, I was like, "Well, where the black folks at?" You know? Like, okay, we've experienced a lot of trauma, you know, over generations and racial trauma, and GroundBreakers was really birthed during the pandemic, you know? It was in my you know, soul to do it sooner, but the pandemic really pushed me to really, you know, move forward with it. Just seeing all of the trauma that we experienced, the collective trauma, and knowing that I have a tool, and I have insight, and wisdom to help us heal this collectively, you know, I just felt a call and that purpose to go ahead and push it out, and get more people trying.
PATRICK CASALE: That's incredible, and so, so necessary. And I like that you named, there's nothing wrong with talk therapy, but we can't go deeper than what's coming up above the surface with talk therapy a lot of the time, and you're helping people, but it still feels like very conversational, and like you said, your nervous system can certainly be hijacking the session so that you can't really, you know, work on things that are really stored in the body, whether it is intergenerational, or racial trauma, or just trauma experienced in general that our protective parts are kind of taking over so that we don't have to feel those things, even though they're still kind of dictating how we move through the world and experience life.
And the powerful thing that you're saying that's really standing out to me is not only just helping more black and brown therapists get into therapy as therapists, but the trauma training modalities, because I can say that in western North Carolina, if you look on Psychology Today, there's probably like two or three black or brown faces, and they're full all the time because that is all we have for a pretty large population.
And my wife is black, you've met her. And if she's looking for a therapist, she has to go outside of the Asheville city limits, because if she wants to see someone who looks like her, who can help her with the things that white people have not experienced, she has nowhere to go. And that hurts my heart.
But I know that is a much larger problem societally, and just, you're helping shape the next wave of therapists so that, that healing can really take place and transform, and really empower all of these people who have struggled for so long.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, for sure, for sure. You know, one of the key elements of being able to heal, I don't know what the statistics are. I think, I probably mess it up every time. But it's like, you may have heard this before, 70 to 80% of a person's ability to do well in therapy is connected to that therapeutic connection, that alliance, that rapport, that comfort, right? Especially, if you're getting into trauma, one of the main things that we focus on is stabilizing the client. So, if I don't feel stable or secure sitting in this space with you, how much work are we actually doing, right? Like, how much am I going to get into with you?
And I've had experiences myself, like, I have a white therapist now, and I know if I… she's an amazing therapist, absolutely amazing. But a lot of the work that we've done is because I know how to communicate and address those racial issues from my perspective, or how that may translate, and have those hard conversations with her, you know, when I'm saying, "There's so much on me." And then she was like, "Well, you know, could it be that you.." "No, fuck that. I didn't feel that way. That what was happening."
Like, that was a micro aggression. It's not maybe this was happening or maybe that was happening, no. I'm very clear of what was going on, you know, but I can do that, right? Because I'm a therapist, and I understand how to have that sense of urgency in a therapeutic setting, but how many other people can, you know?
PATRICK CASALE: That's great that you can name that. It sounds like you trust her enough to say that. But again, you have also done a lot of your own work and are very aware of what's coming up. I mean, what's your experience, and what do you hear from people who don't have that training? Who don't have that experience of going deeper? Who don't have this knowledge? What happens when the therapist just misses or is misattuned in that way? Or, you know, writes it off of, "Oh, it's just your perception?" Or like, "Maybe this wasn't as significant as you think it is?"
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, I think one thing I always say, because I typically get, and I'm sure a lot of black and brown clinicians do as well, we typically get, like, some of the clients that have tried therapy with, you know, someone who, you know, wasn't of color, and then, we hear the horror stories of some of the things that were said during that session.
So, one thing I'll try to encourage people to remember is that if it's coming up, then it most likely needs to come out, so if it's activating you then it's important. And it doesn't matter if someone perceived it a certain way or if they can't relate to that experience. If it bothered you, it's important, right? If it rubs you the wrong way, it's valid. And you don't have to justify that or, you know, get someone else to affirm you in that, you know. So, I try to stress that, but it's challenging, you know?
So, one of the, you know, desires I have is to work with, you know, white clinicians as well, to be able to have a consultant that is of another race and hear the stories as you're working with your black clients, you know, and how they may be receiving you by you being a white man or a white woman or whatever, you know, and how we can look and feel for them in helping them to be able to address those issues too.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's really big. I mean, I'm just taking in what you're saying and it's just so powerful and I love that you kind of are stepping up to the plate and saying like this is my mission here, this is what I'm truly passionate about. What kinds of transformations do you see in those trainings, in those consulting sessions as you're helping people move along this journey? What typically comes up? And what do you typically experience when you're in these settings with them and just in the room?
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, I love consultation calls, I absolutely love them, just kind of, I love the group calls in terms of other clinicians being able to learn from each other, and that, you know, hearing the stories of one therapist sparking ideas and causing them to think about clients that they didn't even think it was an issue. They weren't even going to address that client in session. But because someone else said something, it made them question and think, "Oh, I wonder how that client may be experiencing it too."
So, it's a beautiful experience to have that therapist come back with the tools that we talked about in consultation and have breakthroughs with their clients, right? Clients that are like, it's just something missing, I'm not sure what's going on, maybe they're not a good fit for EMDR, maybe EMDR is just not for them, you know? We hear that a lot whenever we have an issue, you know? Maybe they're just not a good fit for EMDR, you know? And it's not that they're not a good fit, it's you haven't identified how to understand what it is that, that client needs.
And I don't believe in resistance, I don't believe in avoidance, right? I believe in stabilization and not being stable, right? In terms of your nervous system and regulation, so that client is not avoidant, that client is not going to get into anything until they can trust and believe that they can handle it, that is not going to take them outside of their window of tolerance, so when my therapist start to look at their clients from a different perspective, right? And they start to collaborate with them, instead of being like, "This is me doing EMDR on you." Then we start to work together, that's what I enjoy, that's what I enjoy the most when they come back with like those breakthroughs.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that and you're not going to see the video of this when you're listening to this, but Yunetta's eyes really light up and like start to sparkle and get really excited when she's talking about molding new therapists and helping shape their perspectives clinically. I just think that's really fucking cool because I think we all know consultants and people who do trainings are probably more so in it for the money than the actual outcomes, and that's okay, to each their own.
But what you're saying to me is, you're helping teach, and model, and mentor new therapists or therapists who just aren't trained in these modalities. And that is so powerful. Mentorship is so important, regardless of its clinical, or professional, or personal, but we need those guides along the way and it sounds like you've really embraced that role in everything that you're doing.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Every place that I've gotten in life I've arrived there through mentorship, right? Whether it has been a mentor that I've had directly, like a personal relationship with, or someone that I've just admired, just through watching their work from afar, but because of my experience and my background, I'm like, I got to see it to believe it. You know, in some cases, like, I believe it but it's a lot stronger, it's a lot better if you can actually see it through the lens of your experience, right? So, I know for black folks, culturally, we are very much so, "Do you know them?" Type of... "Who would you recommend?" Like, a word of mouth like relationship. There's a lot of value in having a relationship with someone, and knowing and trusting the word of someone else, right? And that's very strong, you know, in our community.
So, me being able to look to people who have, you know, paved the way in various ways and be able to glean from them, and learn from them, and, you know, kind of work smarter and not harder in terms of moving forward, that has been very helpful.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's very well said. And do you see a shift in the black communities around mental health and going to therapy? Because I know, yeah, go ahead. I'll let you speak to that.oals, you know, we started in:
But I'm seeing that, like, break every day, like, I'm seeing people say, "Hey, girl, all right, well, I can't meet with you. I got therapy on Friday." And I'm like, "Yes, okay." You know where it's not this big secretive thing. Like, we're becoming more open, especially, on, you know, platforms, and, you know, in the media, and stuff, people are talking about therapy more, people are talking about EMDR more, which is great.
So, I'm seeing that shift. I think the stigma is definitely… we still have work to do, but I'm definitely seeing a big shift from when I started, for sure.
PATRICK CASALE: That's wonderful. And I think that's been my perception as an outsider looking in, too because I even think of my in laws having traumatic experiences, and my wife and I talk to them about, "Hey, go to therapy, it can be doing this and that." And there's less of a mindset of, "No, I'm closed off to that." It's more like, "Yeah, I would consider it." You know? And I'm still hoping if they're listening right now that they will take our advice at some point in time. But in reality, just not relying on the family system all the time to heal trauma and just struggle in general.
And it sounds like there's a really big shift not just for BIPOC communities, but for young generations, in general, to shift the mentality around mental health support. And you see all these like Therapy is Dope shirts and you know, Therapy is Cool, Go to Therapy, all these younger people talking about like, "I saw my therapist today, I'm so excited." And I'm like, "Oh, shit, this is cool." Because there is still such a shame and stigma around mental health support, and the only way we can really combat that is to continue to advocate for it, and talk about it, and be public, and outspoken about it.how does that feel [CROSSTALK:
YUNETTA SMITH: Did I stop breathing for a minute?
PATRICK CASALE: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I saw you like, inhale, but I didn't see the exhale, and I saw it out of my peripheral. And I was like, "Oh shit." What's coming up when you start to think about, like, the culmination of the effort and the energy and everything that's gone into this?
YUNETTA SMITH: Yes, I have to actively get in my body and like, remember, I'm glad you said, because I was like taking it in because I'll let you and all of your, I don't know how many of, you got tons of subscribers and listeners, Patrick, I know. Do I want to say this on your show? Oh, no. I'll put it out there.
So, growing up for me, a trauma response for me, which took a while for me to unpack is success and being congratulated, or praised, or told you're doing a good job actively activates me, right? Because growing up for me, it was very much so be seen and not heard, don't draw too much attention to yourself or if you do well, or if things are going well, you better brace yourself because shit about to go down, right? Prepare yourself because you can't stay in that state of doing well, right? So, that's something that I actively have to pay attention to, to be able to settle myself and be okay, and just sit in those accomplishments, because it, you know, may seem backwards, but it activates me, that when you're doing well it's not safe. It's not safe to do well.
PATRICK CASALE: I appreciate you naming that and sharing that. And I think it makes a lot of sense to me. It doesn't feel counterintuitive. I think it sounds like if I take up too much space, or I start to have too much visibility, or audience, or you know, whatever the case may be, there's more room to no longer be able to protect myself. And I have to be very vigilant all the time about protecting myself.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yep, absolutely, absolutely. Cool shifts that happened, I'll just throw it out there for me. So, when I did my EMDR work in training, we have to create a secure place and my secure place was dope. It was so pretty. I like designed a room in my house because it was like all those sparkles and it was just fabulous.
But it was hidden. It kind of looked like your picture behind. It was like a forest, and you had to kind of go down to get to it. Nobody knew about it, but it was there, and it was mine, and I felt really safe and secure because it was hidden. So, as I was kind of tapping in because every once in a while I need to, I'll tap that in and kind of go to that secure place, during that processing for me, my secure place transformed, and it came up out from like underground, dopish, okay?
PATRICK CASALE: Wow.
YUNETTA SMITH: Okay, so it came up the same room, but it was enclosed in like that thick glass, you know, and you could see it. And it was like, and I'm still in the middle of a forest, still in the same place. But it was visible, right? So, for me, that showed me the healing and the integration that has happened for me where you can have this beautiful, secure place where you feel safe, and it'd be seen by other people. Like, you don't have to hide it. So, it's safe for you to be seen now, so that was really dope.
PATRICK CASALE: That's amazing.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: I mean, that is so fucking incredible to not only be able to feel that shift, but to visualize it, and to put meaning behind it. And, wow, I don't even know what to say to that. I'm just like, blown away by that.
YUNETTA SMITH: It's powerful. Like, it's that, you know, adaptive information processing system that we all have, right? Where our brain can actually shift, and integrate, and adapt to what we need and where we're at, in the moment that we're in it, right? So, when I started my process it needed to be hidden, right? It needed to be down, that's where I felt safe, right? But as I've continued to do my work and heal and grow, now it's okay for it to be visible. And my brain knew that and it knew it needed to make that transition for me to see the progress. So, I'm blown away every time. Whether I'm working with my clients, or I'm doing my own work every single time, I'm blown away by the power of, you know, our ability, our system's ability to heal.
PATRICK CASALE: It's really well said, and just by helping other people do the same thing, not only as your clients, but the coaching clients, you have too, that starts to trickle down, that starts that ripple effect, right? Where it's like, I'm not just helping the 20 people in my private practice, I'm helping these clinicians, who are helping these people, who are helping these people. They can talk about this more, and that creates this, like, snowball effect, and then it can become an avalanche effect. I mean, I think that's really fucking powerful.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, It's so powerful. You know, I always say, when we heal, we're not just healing ourselves, we're healing the generations before us. In some cases, we're healing, you know, the generations after us. And in some cases, the generations before us, right? Because of all of the things that they had to endure, and how they had to be resilient to get to the place where they can conceive you and bring you into the world, right? And then all of the things that you're doing so that those things won't carry on to another generation, so that's when I see that, that ripple effect, you know, that expansion of, as we heal, then families heal, and relationships heal, and then you heal at work, and you're not like an asshole to other people, because you're dealing with your own, you know, trauma and insecurities.
And that's why I love working with therapists, and leaders, and people, you know, who have to touch a lot of people, right? Because you could be touching them with contaminated hands, right? Or you can be touching them with healing, right? So, I like to really work with people who work with other people.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And it's just really powerful imagery. And you know, not only helping you heal, then families heal, but then communities heal. And there's just such a connection to that energy as it starts to kind of build that momentum and that healing piece of it, so really incredible stuff, Yunetta. I mean, I don't want to put you on the spot again. But watching it from an outsider perspective is impressive. And I'm glad you were able to catch your breath and just say, "Yep, I know what's coming up for me."
YUNETTA SMITH: Like breathe through it.
PATRICK CASALE: Yep, breathe through it. Yep, yep, going to move through this, wonderful, really wonderful stuff. I mean, what's next for you? What's on the agenda? Like, you have this list of, I've done, I've done it, I've done. I know, as an entrepreneur, we kind of have that, okay, I'm doing these things, but I want to find the excitement continuously.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, I think what's next for me is just continuing to do the work that I'm already doing and extending that as far as like more trainings, developing programs, you know, that's something I want to do or kind of dibble and dabble in now, and just enjoying like life. If I could integrate, though, these trainings and programs into some tropical places, and retreat type things, and that will be great too, I just really want to be able to help people as much as I can, but also teach people and myself too, to know when and how to slow down, you know, and how to restore your body as well and the importance of rest.ure, but I love to [CROSSTALK:
PATRICK CASALE: Naps are your future?
YUNETTA SMITH: Naps and beautiful places. That's what I'm looking for.
PATRICK CASALE: Man, if you didn't have so many good quotes this episode, I would use that as the episode title, but that doesn't really capture the essence, but naps and beautiful places sound pretty wonderful right now. Go back to St. Pete Gulfport in a minute, you know, because it's raining and cold in Asheville today. I'm sure in Tennessee it's not much effort.YUNETTA SMITH: [INAUDIBLE:
PATRICK CASALE: Energy comes with that, right? Like, that nice environment and we can't always get there, but if we can create that imagery or that, you know, ability to kind of transport back, I think that's helpful too. And I know, resourcing is big with EMDR as well and just being able to find that place and to really be able to step into it. So, I'm really glad you were able to bring that out of the ground and not have the hobbit hole experience that you're looking at behind me and more so just kind of saying like it's safe, it's secure, but I can own it, and I can be visible, and both things can exist simultaneously.
YUNETTA SMITH: Absolutely, absolutely. That's exactly what it feels like.
PATRICK CASALE: This has been a pleasure and I can't wait to see you speak in Nashville and Reconnect. Please, please, please tell the audience where they can find more of what you're offering.
YUNETTA SMITH: Yeah, my website is springforthcounseling.org. You can always email me at groundbreakersc.c@gmail for coaching and consultation. I'll probably have my website updated by the time this airs so you could check it out on Spring Forth. I'm on social media, Yunetta Spring, or Spring Forth Counseling. I think, yeah, that's about it. You should be able to find me in those ways.
PATRICK CASALE: Only those ways and don't be getting ideas. But tell us where they can find the podcast too. It's on all platforms right now?
YUNETTA SMITH: Yes, all platforms. It's Deeper Than the Diet, it's the name of it. Anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast, you should be able to find it there, so check that out. It's fun. We kind of get into our own stories. This season is all about support, so we'll have just different people coming on, financial, fitness, spiritual leaders, just in any area of your life you can think of, somebody is coming on, therapists, so you'll be on too. So, I'm excited to have you on. So yeah, I'm looking forward to that.
PATRICK CASALE: Very, very cool. And I appreciate you being a little vulnerable today and just rolling with it without questions, and I really do. All of Yunetta's information will be in the show notes, so you can find more about Spring Forth or GroundBreakers and everything else she has going on right now.
And if you want to find more of me you can go to allthingspractice.com for coaching, retreats, whatever other ideas come to my mind that my VA just angrily sends me texts about in the middle of the night. You can download on all major platforms like download, share, subscribe to the All Things Private Practice Podcast and the All Things Private Practice Facebook group. New episodes of the podcast every Monday morning and we will see you next week. Thanks, Yunetta for being on here.
YUNETTA SMITH: Thanks for having me, Patrick. It's been great. Always nice to chat with you.