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Influenc-HER Profile Series: Crystal Joseph

Updated: Oct 9, 2018

What is your name and what do you do?

Crystal (Morrison) Joseph

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (Maryland)

Licensed Professional Counselor (Virginia)

. . . in other words a “therapist.”

Where are you from?

757/Hampton Roads/Tidewater region of Virginia I get questioned when I’m walking around the DC metro area . . . “You’re lying. Where are your parents from?” . . .Virginia. I’m going to start picking a country.

Tell us about Psyc Your Mind?

It is my conception of a private practice which allows for the use of out-of-the-box interventions to produce therapeutic outcomes. Out-of-the-box includes use of pop culture, sociology concepts, cultural concepts, world events, etc.

PSYC /sahyk/ Verb—To prepare psychologically to be in the right frame of mind or to give one’s best

YOUR /yohr/ Noun—Indicative of belonging to oneself

MIND /mahynd/ Noun—The element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges

! —Expresses extreme emotion

Tell us about the meaning behind the name "people's champion" and how you received that name?

I used to manage staff and LPNs in a medically-complex group home. My staff were always being written up by the director of nursing (who was lateral to me), which meant if they were taken off the schedule, I had to work their shift and get my own work done as manager. I later realized their write- ups were not due to egregious behavior, but due to a lack of training or retaining information in the way it was initially taught. I learned to re-package the information and partner with them when they were on shift instead of sitting in my basement office. Thereafter, the write-ups decreased completely. One of the staff used to tease me when I reported in the morning saying, “The champ is here!” My husband gave me the final name of “people’s champion.” Sometimes you have to meet people where they are. Then once you understand this, root for them. Teach them. Support them.

Where did you know you wanted to become a therapist? 

This is a hard question. I’m actually not sure. I can’t recall a lightbulb moment, but I do remember auditing a class at Thomas Nelson community college at the age of 8! My parents would drop me off to one of the professors in our church parking lot and I would ride with her and sit in her class. In high school, I was dual-enrolled and passed my Intro to Psych courses with flying colors.

Why is mental health so taboo?

Lack of understanding. Inability to see “it.” And, the increased privatization of managed care systems. We can see someone receive an insulin injection and realize, “oh they are insulin deficient, diabetic.” We can see someone’s hair fall out from chemotherapy/radiation treatment and realize, “wow, they’re being treated for some type of cancer.” But, if I see I have anxiety, depression or a past trauma, the behaviors you see are not matched by a formal, substantive antidote. Instead, combined talk therapy and medication management may be necessary to modify or diminish these symptoms. People of color also lean heavily on their religious affiliations and the church edifice. The indivisible perception of church coupled with the positive outcomes, inherently gives people permission to only seek out church resources instead of partnering with community resources, like a therapist. I’ll be discussing how church leaders can partner with therapists in the community regarding bullying, sexual abuse, LGBTQ and other hot topics in July in Orlando for the Mennonite Church USA convention.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I go into the office much later than the average worker, so I have time to run errands and cook my lunch and dinner. I have an hour commute to my practice in Maryland and that is due to traffic, not distance. Good music is a must. On Tuesdays I collocate at the South County government building in Alexandria, Virginia for a contract I hold. I try to create my schedule to allow for walking breaks and eating. I sit far more thanthe average person. I take my last client at 7:00pm. I do not work on Saturdays and tend to incorporate my self-care on Tuesday afternoons and the weekends. I currently field my own calls, correspondence, and social media. So when I’m not in session, I’m returning phone calls and emails. Many times, the prospective clients are surprised when I answer my phone or return their call. Apparently, there is a lack of customer service in my field? I pride myself on making that a part of my brand. I get home pretty late and need about an hour to unwind. Then it starts all over again. I set a lot of reminders and use a planner. In my field, if it is not written down, it didn’t happen.

Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

Mom—Graceful rebellion. Her license plate says REBELLE. If people ever wonder where I get my passion from, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I speak my mind. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Over the years I’ve had to become comfortable with that. Whether this involves advocating for my client, a cause or self, I attempt to tactfully bundle up my inner sparks to create agency which will be respected and heard. I’ve learned to play by rules that weren’t made for me to affect change.

Dad—Matchless work ethic. He passed away my junior year of college. He would say, “successful people rise early.” He never complained when he had to report to Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) after bank hours for an emergency server issue or cherry pick things from a hard drive which took hours. He had the keys to all of the branches in the 757. I marveled at the level of responsibility which was entrusted to him. I remember sitting in a storage unit with him doing inventory for what appeared thousands of the same piece of equipment. He raised me as his own. Never asked questions, accepted the challenge, and provided. What tangible piece of advice would you give young girls who want to be where you are?

Don’t give up. The door is locked—try a window. The window is stuck, can you fit through the air duct? Seek out information which fuels your passion; it will not be handed to you. Third, always have a Plan B.

What do you love most about being a woman?

We’re like water. Givers of life. We can adapt. Ever moving. We can change our state based on our environment . . freeze, evaporate, liquefy. We can get into a rock, freeze, expand the rock itself and crack it. Strength. When we need to modify our message, we can evaporate into steam and transport it in a different form, without being detected. You get where I’m going. Water is life. Women are life. What is the key to finding balance in your personal and professional life?

Not taking “client stuff” home. Figuratively speaking, there has to be a wardrobe change or switch. “Change clothes and go” in the words of hometown phenom Pharrell. I work in a stressful field. However, I’ve learned “your emergency is not my own.” There are levels to my provision of service. If you can’t make it a week without me, then we need to discuss you acquiring a higher level of care. I love music and I like to cook. I’ve been cooking since I was 8. I’m from the south. Cast iron please. Find your happy place.

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

Balancing being a wife, business woman, and therapist. My husband is my biggest supporter. He meets my commentary with support and a flair of board room bravado. I know I can come to him honestly with my ideas, but expect to deliver a 30-second pitch lol. He keeps me humble.

Is there anything you wish you could do over again?

Suffolk City-wide Spelling Bee 1997. “Benevolent.” B-E-N-E-V . . . -E-. . . l-e-n-t. “No I’m sorry that is incorrect.” I will never forget that word or its meaning. What is one thing many people do not know about you?

I peel the top and side crust off of my PB&J sandwiches. The bottom crust remains. Our fun question: If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

A rabbit. LOL. They’re cute and cuddly, but quite witty and fast.

What does the future hold for you? God knows. I learned at a young age to stop making plans. I would become frustrated to tears and my dad would say, “not everything will go your way Crystal.” That has stuck with me and balanced out my expectations.

Where can people find you?

Twitter| @PsycYourMind

Psychology Today

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