Nicole Raines and Dr. Dena Scott Shares about Resilience

Nicoles Raines, Dr. Dena, and Dr. Dave

Kayana Singing  00:07

We all have something to share. Knolshare with Dr. Dave.

Dr. Dave  00:19

Well, hello, and welcome to the knowledge share with Dr. Dave podcast. This is Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host. And today, you know, we have Nicole Ward and Dr. Dina welcome Nicole and Dr. Dina to the podcast. So let's let's just jump right in, you know, and I stole some stuff from you guys, you know? Yeah. You know, you guys was so profound the last time we met, like, I'm gonna borrow a little bit from love and learn a little bit. So that's how we grow, right?

Nicole  00:51

It's all about sharing.

Dr. Dave  00:53

Yes, yes, sharing is caring or caring is sharing. So let's talk about stuff that just makes you go Oh, yeah.

Nicole  01:04

That today, when you had like, the gesture there, that's the first thing I thought it was music. Because that's that's top of mind right now being able to go back and see live music that that really makes me say, oh, yeah, along with being able to share that experience with my husband and my bonus kids, and just being able to just be back in that environment. That is definitely an Oh, yeah. moment and had one a couple of weeks ago.

Dr. Dave  01:31


Dr. Dena  01:33

Yes. And actually, I feel like that is a love that Nicole and I share and one of our connecting points. And so it's funny, because when I saw it, I also immediately thought of music. And I also have this like synergy when it comes to just being able to see musicians that I love and respect live. And I also was thinking about, I work with youth a lot. And so I also was thinking about just youth and the power of youth voices and how much I learned from youth so much. And so that also is something that gets my Spirit on fire. It makes me say, Oh,

Dr. Dave  02:09

that's so beautiful. So when you're in a good space, you know, and that good space where you're at home or you're on a block, you know, what's your favorite music or song?

Dr. Dena  02:21

I love that because I'm like, That is such a question Dr. Dave as Nicole and I've shared we are we love music. However, I will say that I'm from the Bay Area and when I'm like really feeling it and I'm really in a good mood, I probably will go for some hifi Bay Area Music and that will feed my soul soul in the moment. But I also love Jill Scott and love Eric, do they also build myself sobriety?

Nicole  02:53

Yeah, today there's so there's so many playlists on my, on my phone that have these different ones. But the one that came to mind is decades. So when I'm just really in like that space, I play my decades playlist, which has like 90 The golden era of hip hop on it, it has some 70s funk and soul. So it's very eclectic. But being able to swim through the decades is definitely my my Happy New could play.

Dr. Dave  03:22

Oh, that's so cool. I was just thinking about Bob Marley. You know, it went on my my happy space, you know, it's like, yeah, let's get together and we'll be all right. And one of my favorite songs, you know, but you know, since you know, let's do an elevator pitch. Let's let's learn more about who you are and what you bring to the table as leaders in your space.

Nicole  03:47

I'm gonna go to you first Dena

Dr. Dena  03:50

stores. Sure. So I am a licensed clinical psychologist here in Oakland, California. And it's interesting because for me mental health started, my journey started when I entered having out therapy as a young child because of some significant childhood trauma and having a very negative experience with the therapist that my family and I needed to see. And so for me, it was like I need to get in this field, I need to make sure that other black and brown children do not feel the way that I felt with the experience because healing was so far from what was occurring. So, so yeah, so I feel like since then, I was on this path to mental health and I have been able to work with youth for decades at this point. And I also have the privilege of sharing a business with my partner Connie Chu, where we do work around racial healing and other diversity, equity inclusion and belonging work as lump. Sure, so

Nicole  04:57

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Only therapists and by title, I like to consider myself a guide and and explore as we're kind of walking through and disrupting those thoughts and really just diving into being able to ignite coping skills. I have a private practice where I work solely with adult individuals right now, as well as those in relationships in all phases and stages. But I have a background is actually had been and I met in working with children and youth and families and really being at one point a pure trauma clinician. So I have all of that in my toolbox that comes with me into the mental health space. And I also do consulting, as part of my private practice and working on well being diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging as well as racial healing. So Dina and I, oddly enough, no longer work at an agency together, but have very similar things that we kind of delve into.

Dr. Dave  05:55

Yeah, man, what's your background, I'm gonna have to pull you into some of the things that I'm doing with dei BH, I add healing at the end of after belonging, healing in there. So I think that is such an important context. You know? So let's talk about your resilience, what actions do you take to make you resilient Yeah.

Nicole  06:21

Momen t to self. So just being able to do like a quick check in. So I like to practice what I preach. So the first thing that I do, when I open my eyes is I meditate, I pray, I just take a couple of breaths, before I even pick up my phone, and then just kind of laying there and, and checking in to see what I need in the day, that really kind of helps with being able to ground myself in order to tap into that resilience, if needed. Because, you know, resilience is a skill. So if not, whether or not you're a resilient person, so much as are you able to access that skill in the moment. So just giving myself those moments is, is the very first thing that I do and go back to throughout the day.

Dr. Dena  07:11

Yeah, no, I love that Nicole. And I love just thinking about resilience and in the power of also self awareness. Because we're not first self aware, it's hard for us to then know the things that we need know the things that need to happen, for us to be able to cope. And to be resilient, I also think of the power of connection and community. And so I think oftentimes, resilience is looked at so much as like an individualistic concept. And that can be harmful at times. Because I also think, for some of us, myself, I feel like Nicole is much better than I am at like, checking in with self, sometimes I need people to check in with remind me of some of the things that are important when it comes to my resiliency journey. And also just trying to stay in the moment as much as I can. Because there's always a lot that seems to be going on, and how do I also check myself so that I'm not losing my center in the actual moment and presence.

Dr. Dave  08:23

And you know, you to have your breaks the really great, you know, context to what resilience really mean. But when we start to look at resilience as a skill that we need in this world, right, you know, and I think of the world in this volatile volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity we call VUCA world in a business context, but how do you take your skills and help to make things better for others? In this kind of endless world that we live in, right?

Nicole  08:58

The first thing is listening, being able to just sit and hold space for whatever a person is, at first, because if you just dive in there with oh, do this, do that do this. Sure, you know, there's science, there's research behind these things, we know what works, but I don't know what's gonna work for you. So I first need to really just be really present, and listen and see where their awareness and insight is. And then as I'm listening, the next step is in being able to just highlight the already highlighting where people might not recognize that resilience is showing up for them. And then looking at okay, well, what are some other strategies, but that strategy piece comes after those, those first few steps and sometimes there's more steps for people but really being able to do that and it's like what Dina said, being able to also tap into that connection because we sometimes think, Okay, well, self awareness, that's great, but it's like you also need to connect That's actually one of the five ways to work through our stress response cycle and being able to look at okay, well, is that where the resilience is kind of frayed a little bit like? Or is it? Are we disconnected from others? And that's where our resilience isn't showing up. So it's being able to tap into those things with a curious observer lens. Sometimes we get really critical of ourselves, and well, how come I'm not resilient? I should be resilient, because I've been through all these things, and being able to just look at okay, well, let's be curious and observe, and ask ourselves, you know, what's going on? Why, like, what's going, what do we need in that moment, and it might not be just holding up the cell, it could be, oh, that you've done that too much, let's connect with some other, or let's get outside, that's something else that might come out. So just really being able to look at those, through those

Dr. Dena  10:52

lenses. I, I really appreciate what you said, Nicole. Because when I also think about what you know, can be supportive when I think about that curiosity lens, it makes me think about some passion and just the power of helping to model self compassion, because I think sometimes we can be very, very hard on ourselves, and beat ourselves up in different ways. And there's so much that is going on, that really requires us to give ourselves permission to be compassionate with self. You know, I mean, some of us can maybe be compassionate with others, and we concern ourselves, we, we kind of, we kind of might fall short, and so it's okay. But how do we model that? And I also, you know, just think about, again, when thinking of us as experts, that can also be dangerous at times, because, as I said, you know, each of us has our own individual journey. And so how can we also, you know, think about ways that we could fuse, you know, our knowledge, so that everyone knows that they can be an expert with their selves. And so you don't have to be at right now you don't have to do it right away. I also felt like, it's important for me to share my struggle at times, and that it's an imperfect journey. Because sometimes there's this sense that, okay, if you're the professional, you know how to do it and do it right all the time. And what is right, so being able to just, again, allow permission for us to be human together and to talk about that humaneness being a complex layered experience, that we're in together.

Dr. Dave  12:39

What am I going to do with all this? That's so good, so good. You know, in a modern world, you know, people talk about psychological safety. And, you know, in New York Times, Google, they talk about the justice context, or this important way of being. So if you could explain how psychological illogically safety can impact belonging, and, and resilience, and how it affects those individuals ability to cope with stress, adversity and change. Give us some insights on that. Bring your wisdom.

Dr. Dena  13:18

Yeah, I felt like that. When I looked at that question, Dr. Dave, there's so many feelings and thoughts that come up when I hear psychological safety. And I think part of it is because Nicole and I do have that kind of experience in the journey that we travel in with larger systems that are navigating some of these concepts. And I think about the fact that no, at times, and even, you know, being specific, so in 2020, I felt like there were a lot of different things that were going on in the world around us. There always been a lot of things going on in the world, I think in 2020, there was a lot more conversation, maybe attention to it. And since then, I've heard a lot more folks talk about, you know, wanting to make sure that their work environments are psychologically safe, telling people to show up as their authentic selves. And yet, there hasn't been the work done with the system to help to make sure that folks are able to feel held to able are able to feel like they can actually show up and be heard and seen respected. And so to me, I think a lot of it. A lot of what needs to happen is for us to slow down. And to really know what we're talking about. Make sure that we have a common definition and understanding of what being psychologically safe means because sometimes it can mean different things for different folks, and to also understand that for different identities, what being psychologically see, and can also look and feel very different. You know, our systems aren't created the same. Our systems are not You know, they haven't necessarily done the same for every group. And there's harm that continues to happen. And so being able to mean these things, and to talk about different things that need to shift is to me really important, as well as being able to again, hear from others what it is that they need to feel psychologically safe. Because again, just saying that it exists, or asking folks to show up as their authentic selves, if they don't feel like they're safe, is going to do more harm than good.

Nicole  15:33

Yeah, I mean, I take out there, Dina, just to echo on your sentiment of being able to have, you know, it's an ever evolving thing. So it's a very dynamic conversation. It's not just kind of this one and done of words, like, oh, we had a training. And now that's it, really being able to continue that line of communication, that open door, I mean, something as simple as when you are having meetings, just acknowledging like, oh, okay, it might have been, you know, a rough week for some of us and then, and being able to have that acknowledgement in there too. Without, it's hard without that, okay, I have to get it, right. Because you're gonna make mistakes, you're gonna make mistakes, you're it's not a one size fits all kind of thing. There's a general baseline of being able to be safer, and what that means for different groups and being able to just again, listen and make it an ever continual dialogue, and being able to shift and, okay, we have to get it right. And we got it right this one time. And that's the end of it. We don't have to ever revisit it. So just all the things that you use that Dana came up for me as well, that was a great question. There's

Dr. Dena  16:48

ongoing journey,

Nicole  16:49

ongoing journey yet.

Dr. Dave  16:51

Yes. I like that, you know, the continuum of learning and continuum of growth. So I'm going to ask you even a more complex question. You know, just kidding. You know, so what are some common challenges or obstacles that people face when they're trying to build resilience and a sense of belonging? And I want to know, how do you help people or clients overcome, you know, these barriers that they may run into?

Nicole  17:19

That's a good question. I mean, it's different for every one, the individuals have their uniqueness, but then organizations do well, but I think one of the most common barriers that I've, this is my personal or professional observation that I've encountered is this, it is that notion of there's something wrong, if I'm not already resilient, there's something wrong, if I don't belong, you know, how do I get this right? So that dichotomous thinking is what it's termed, as it has to be right or wrong, good or bad? That that's one of the biggest barriers that I've seen, because, again, sometimes even when it's just like, Okay, I've got it, right, so to speak, then people don't revisit it, and or look at how they grow and change, or the notion of, oh, well, I'm just so bad at this, that I'm never gonna belong. And resilient. I'm not a resilient person at all, is those things that get in the way for dichotomous thinking on an organizational as well as individual level is one of the typical barriers that I that I see. And ways to address it, name it, you know, name it, be able to be aware of it, acknowledge it, accept it, that and then let's, let's find out which actions we need to take and being able to take these small incremental steps. So if it's like, Oh, I'm not a resilient, you know, person or nation isn't resilient. Okay. And, you know, yes. And how are we going to move through that and looking at it something as small as Alright, well, you know, are you doing individual check ins are you doing team check in? Those are just little small steps that you can take instead of trying to take this big leap to? Okay, well, now I got it.

Dr. Dena  19:12

Very, very true. And I felt like speaking to my spirit, no. I think, yeah, I feel like the acknowledgement piece is huge, making sure that folks are feeling seen, heard and understood in terms of their journey, I think, you know, also on being able to talk about some of the different layers that might be experienced. And so what might be going on might not be isolated just to that work experience or just with that experience with that social interaction. There might be other layers that are connected to other things that have gone on whether you know, we think about the larger society whether we think about that person's personal journey. Knee or the journey of folks that were connected to their identity. And so I think even being able to have some of those conversations is really important. Because it also kind of extends the lens. So we can go away from feeling like, oh, my gosh, there's something wrong with me, or is there something that I'm doing wrong? Or something that's flawed in me? We're more so looking at what slot in the system around me, and how does that impact some of what's happening and some of what you're feeling is internalized, that's probably appropriated. And so I think a lot of that has also been important in the journey. And I think even being able to have real conversations about what does feel like is, it's necessary, um, when it comes to you, when it comes to that sense of belonging, because there are some foods that might be in positions or in places or in relationships or in careers, where there might need to be some shifts made, because that is such an important core piece on that as needed and necessary, and so even helping to support and affirm to get them to the place that feels right and feels necessary for them.

Dr. Dave  21:12

You know, it's so good that you're doing this contrast between the system and the individual. So in your experience, you know, what role does self awareness, self compassion play in helping clients develop resilience and the sense of belonging?

Dr. Dena  21:32

That is, so core, I feel like to all of the the pieces because although you know, we're talking about the individual, we're talking about the collective, we're talking about community that systems, I think, also us being able to check in with cell phone, which has come up a little earlier, is also so key, and so huge, because we are important, we are valuable, we have so much to offer when it comes to the solution. And so, to me, that self awareness, and also being compassionate, and giving ourselves permission, because there are already things happening in these systems is also I think, necessary for any part of this journey. So to me, those are like, that's like a foundational piece that that's necessary.

Nicole  22:20

Yeah, I agree, Dena. I mean, that's kind of when people hear the term marriage and family therapist, they think, oh, it's specific to marriage and family. But what it actually means is that we study systems and how the individual relate to the system. So for you and for myself, and just for all of us, self awareness is key to that, because you're going to start with you and then look at because you're not just isolated in a little bubble to yourself, and being able to look at how you are impacted and how you impact the system. So that's where self awareness really is important is just being able to know where you're at, in a given moment, there's actually a tool called an eco map, which I actually love, where you put I have people put themselves in the middle because I want them to spinner on themselves. And it gives a visual to because sometimes it's hard to prioritize ourselves. And then from there, you draw arrows and hope sometimes they're bi directional, usually they are of you and the different systems. So say it's work or family. And just think of all the roles that you have maybe sibling, you know, spouse, partner, co worker call, like all these different roles, and you put these arrows, and the arrows are going to also show like if it's strong, okay, it's a thick line, if it's kind of frayed, maybe it's dotted, and you're really looking at how you are impacting these different systems in your life and how they're impacting you. And that really does kind of help with the self awareness. But I want to Clawson too, because I love how much you know, we're talking about mental health and we're talking about well being in a whole person contact. But just like if you drink too much water that can be kind of not a great thing, right? Like water is good for us. We're mainly composed of water, but if we drink too much water, we now might have some challenges we can be over hydrated. Same thing with that self awareness. So sometimes self awareness becomes also weaponized and where every little thing is like, Oh, I have a process and I have to process it and I'm a therapist saying you don't have to process every single thing. You don't. So it can come into your awareness and you might need to be self aware enough to let that thing go. Because you it's just not the time to do that. And that's how you also exercise compassion towards yourself of that yes, you are a work in progress. You can be a beautiful masterpiece and still be working on yourself but it doesn't Not have to be that you are now tipped over the stress curve into overwhelm of that, okay, I have to be self aware I have to be present in all the moments, exercising that compassion to be kind to yourself. And a little trick that we do for that is, how would you speak to a friend? What would you tell your friend, and nine times out of 10, you have a different tone, a different voice, a different viewpoint. So being able to shift that perspective, by giving yourself some compassion, even as you're exercising that self awareness.

Dr. Dave  25:34

Man, you know, that was a lot. That's a lot, and I can't wait to go back and listen to this and pull some of these things out. So I can apply them to my coaching practice, you know, but that's really good stuff to get to that place where we give ourselves a little bit of grace. I mean, I really liked the fact that both of you touched on that. So if we pull back and we look a little bigger, and we're talking about cultural, social and systemic factors that, you know, may impact a client resilience and sense of belonging. You know, are there a I know, Nicole, you kind of talked about a tool? So I'm I'm asking, Are there specific interventions or tools that you could utilize to address any of these challenges that impacts resilience and belonging for a client?

Nicole  26:29

Sure, so as I mentioned, there's the Eco map. And then there's also, there's so many tools out there. There's various card decks that are out there, Dr. Evany, Butler has a really great card deck that is focused. It's focused on black women, black men, teenagers, adolescence, he has various card decks. Those are really helpful. There's another book that I recommend, and now the authors are escaping me, but it's called What's your story? It's a guided journal. And It delves into questions about you, right. But it also have questions about how you show up in the world. And I really like that for clients. Then there's Dr. Kristin Neff, who has done so much work on self compassion, though, there's compassion card decks, there's watching TED talks, all of these things or interventions is just trying to figure out where you're at. Because sometimes people are like, Oh, well, do you have a worksheet? And I just, it depends upon the person. And the organization. Some people are like, oh, yeah, I want homework. Others are like, please don't ever give me anything that's even titled homework. So it is being able to look at the different mediums that are out there, and how people consume information and being able to do those things. body scan, is another thing, where you just sit for a minute doesn't have to be longer than people sometimes think that they have to do these things for 30 minutes. And you just start at the top of your head and notice. So just that act of noticing is giving you some skill, that some compassion to because you're not trying to fix it, you're just noticing what you you.

Dr. Dave  28:28

Let me see if you guys are good. Let's hear from you. Dr. Dina.

Dr. Dena  28:33

Yeah, yeah. So I, I also just when Nicole was talking, I was thinking about a presentation presentation that Nicole and her husband did, that actually also highlighted certain things such as rest. And, you know, I also think about just the tools that we've had that are like some of our like internal tools that are so important. I also was thinking about boundaries, as something that is also like, undervalued at times. But so important when we think about just ourselves and we think about our self awareness, like what boundaries do I need to also feel supported or hold on Phil resilient. So just thinking about some of the things that might even be things that we possess within ourselves that we haven't tapped into yet. I also have been really encouraged by some of my colleagues that are part of our black ERG, where they've had us do things called brag sheets. And you know, I think for folks, especially women of color, sometimes we tend to not feel as comfortable with acknowledging some of our strengths and our gifts, as if we are bragging is a bad thing and us that are in groups that have been historically marginalized. We have gifts we have strains and being able to highlight those things and affirm Then I think it's super important and something needs to do more.

Dr. Dave  30:05

That's so beautiful. But what does BRG says? Brag? What does it stand for?

Dr. Dena  30:11

Oh, so it's literally a brat like a sheet where you are showing and being able to highlight your things that you use bring to whatever environment so your ability to brag on yourself.

Dr. Dave  30:26

Oh, okay. I need a sheet like that. Yeah, that goes back. That's so good. So, finally, you know, what words of encouragement would you like to gift the listeners with today? Yeah, well, I

Dr. Dena  30:47

thank, you know, again, just remembering how much exists within us that might not be tapped into. And that does not mean that you're flawed. That does not mean that you have to know or do it all. But being able to provide yourself with an opportunity and permission to let some of those things come to fruition as it feels right. And also to be able to, again, continue to give yourself Self Compassion, when the times are hard, because there are a hard time that comes to all of us. And we do need to give ourselves grace, you deserve it, we deserve it, there's a heck of a lot going on in this world around us, and continue to give yourself permission. Yeah,

Nicole  31:33

I would say something that we say over and over again, is honor your wholeness. And even when you feel like you might be broken into a million pieces, look at it as as more of a disconnect, you are still hole. And even ways to honor that is just being able to, again, check in with Sal. And I know that this gets said over and over again to where sometimes people are like, Oh, my goodness, I don't want to hear any more, but really sit with that you are enough. Because there's so many things that are pulling on or stories that were told in any number of spaces to you that somehow you start to believe and recognizing that our thoughts aren't facts, they're not directives, and for you to know that you own that pen. And this is your story. So it you know, it's not written for you being able to really write it for yourself. And again, just remembering that you no matter what, you know, you you are enough and you are whole.

Dr. Dave  32:39

Wow. Thank you, Nicole. Thank you, Dr. Dina. And so in closing, I would say thank you for listening to the knowledge share with Dr. Day podcast. This has been a real treat for me to sit here and learn so much from you know, these two esteemed, you know, leaders in their own space. And you know, you could listen to our podcasts and Spotify and on all of the popular streaming services that we have out there so again, thank you so much for honoring us by showing up and sharing your knowledge and your guests.

Dr. Dena  33:15

Thank you so much Dr. Dave

Kayana Singing  33:28

We all have something to share. Knolshare with Dr. Dave.