September 1, 2021
Welcome to DIRECTIONS the monthly online newsletter of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi). We look forward to providing our readers
with pertinent information to support, encourage, and uplift our community and those who
serve the community. The goal of DVABPsi is to make a positive impact on Black Mental
Health today and for the future.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.- Editor
Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
ZOLA (LOVE) UP ON WE! SELF-CARE
As you continue to face the pandemics of racism and COVID-19, you are told to prepare for another more aggressive virus than COVID-19, the delta variant. After sheltering in for a year, job losses,
children staying home while learning/trying to learn, the loss of family and friends (from illnesses, murder, suicide, and drugs), interpersonal relationships have been strained more than ever. There is a critical
need for self-care. Self-care is essential for your survival, healing, and revitalization. Self-care can heal current illnesses, prevent illnesses, or prevent them from becoming worse. This is the time to
re-evaluate your choices. The first step in self-care is self-analysis. What do you need to change in your
life that will make you happier, healthier, and more comfortable financially? Is this the time to end
unhealthy friendships, love relationships, or jobs? Are you taking care of your physical, mental, and
spiritual health? DVABPsi and our parent organization, the Association of Black Psychologists (www.abpsi.org) recommend the following 40 self-care strategies:
Take care of yourself first and then others
Self-Monitor your stress
Ask someone you trust to let you know if they see signs of stress
Connect with your spiritual beliefs/strength
Spiritual music (listen to it, sing it, play it)
Music (play it, sing it, dance to it)
Songs from happy times in your life, elementary school, tv shows, or commercial jingles
Soak in a tub
Staycation (stay in and just relax doing you)
Livet (eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts) vs diet (eating dead animals and processed foods)
Healthy foods (watch the movie What the Health)
Ask for help
Learn to say no
Take a break from social media and the news
Bubbles, buy a bottle at the Dollar Store
Remove toxic people from your personal and professional life
Avoid/minimize alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and excessive caffeine to cope.
Weighted blanket (feels as if you are being hugged)
Create a safe place for you and for others to destress
Words of wisdom, proverbs
Talk to elders get advice and words of wisdom
Seek a Black therapist to help you with self-care (www.dvabpsi.org)
Hula hoop – (This is a great exercise to reduce your waist)
Compliment others especially Black females, praise natural hair, dark skin, full lips and broad noses
Bake or cook something you like
Self-Care is Self-Love. You deserve to be loved. ZOLA (LOVE) UP ON WE!
Harambee! Harambee! Harambee! (Let us all pull together).
Hotep (Peace and Blessings)- Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, LLC
Guest Contributor: Faruq T.N. Iman, Ph.D., C.H.P.
Natural Supplements vs. Psychotropic Drugs
For more than 20 years the American Psychological Association (APA) and various state divisions have suggested, debated, and advocated prescription writing privileges for
qualified psychologists. At the present time, there are two states and one U.S. territory that allow psychologists to write prescriptions (i.e. New Mexico, Louisiana, and Guam). The
debate between psychiatrists and psychologists has, generally, boiled down to training
and money. Psychiatrists contend that they have the necessary medical knowledge and training to write prescriptions and psychologists do not. Psychologists state that they can
get the necessary training without four years of medical school.
Psychiatrists state that psychologists who write prescriptions will reduce their income
because clients/patients will have more options to obtain their pharmaceutical drugs. Psychologists retort by saying that there is enough business for everyone especially with governmental initiatives to psychologically test and possibly treat all school children. The debates and legal battles continue to rage on in every state where psychologists apply for prescription writing privileges. However, what seems to be lost in most of the arguments is
the question “Are psychotropic drugs effective and safe? The quick answer to the above question is an unequivocal “NO”. This article will attempt to examine (1) why psychotropic drugs are not safe; (2) why we should use natural supplements to help treat mental health disorders; and (3) possible increased liability.
The Case Against the Use of Psychotropic Drugs
Just about all pharmaceuticals (whether prescribed or “over the counter-OTC”) do at
least two dangerous things. The first is that they introduce foreign and/or toxic chemicals
into the body. The second is that pharmaceuticals inhibit the absorption of one or more
vital natural nutrients.
Introduction of Foreign/Toxic Chemicals
Many psychotropic drugs start with natural ingredients, however, pharmaceutical
companies increase the dosage or molecule levels to expedite chemical reactions in the
body. Let’s take a look at Ritalin. Ritalin is primarily used to treat “attention deficit
hyperactive disorder - ADHD” in children and “narcolepsy” in adults. Let’s examine the chemical make-up of Ritalin. Ritalin’s formula is C14, H19, NO2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritalin, 2007). Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen are
part of our bodies and nature. However, nowhere in our bodies does 14 parts of carbon, 19 parts of hydrogen, and 2 parts of nitrous oxide exist naturally. The body, therefore,
perceives this formula as a poison or toxic substance and reacts accordingly.
Adverse side effects of Ritalin include depression, psychotic episodes, rapid heartbeat,
blood pressure changes, cardiac arrhythmia, angina, necrotizing vasculitis (i.e. death of
blood vessels), thrombocytopenia purpura (i.e. decrease in the number of blood platelets), etc. Long-term use increases the probability of future illegal drug use and abuse (Manufacturer’s drug insert and the Physician’s Desk Reference, 2005).
Nutrients that fail to be absorbed when using Ritalin are coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, and sodium. (Vagnini& Fox, 2005).Coenzyme Q10 (CO Q10) is an antioxidant, vitamin-like substance found in all parts of the body. This substance plays a vital role in the production
of energy, blood circulation, immune system protection, and improvement, tissue
oxygenation, and anti-aging. Deficiencies in CO Q10 have been linked to periodontal
disease, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy. Riboflavin is a “B” vitamin - B2. It is necessary
for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth. Deficiencies include cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, skin lesions, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slowed menopause response. Sodium is an element
and mineral that is necessary for proper water balance, blood ph, stomach, nerve, and
muscle function. Symptoms of sodium deficiency include abdominal cramps, dizziness,
fatigue, confusion, dehydration, depression, heart palpitations, headache, memory impairment, etc. (Balch, 2006).
Space will not allow a full explanation of all the psychotropic drugs on the market, but a sampling may give the reader an idea. Thorazine is used to treat schizophrenia. This drug’s side effects include low blood pressure, allergic reactions, symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease, and an unsteady gait. Thorazine robs the person of riboflavin and CO Q10. Prozac
is used to treat people with depression. Its side effects include anxiety, restlessness,
seizures, suicide, hallucinations, hostility, paranoia, hypertension, angina, congestive heart failure, etc. Prozac inhibits the neurotransmitter melatonin and CO Q 10. Haloperidol is
used to treat people with Tourette’s syndrome. Possible side effects include anxiety,
agitation. irregular heartbeat, and blurred vision. Haloperidol blocks the absorption of
sodium and CO Q10 (Vagnini & Fox, 2005).
Possible Ethical and Legal Liabilities of Administering Psychotropic Medicines
The first principle of many health professions is “Do No Harm”. This principle states that healers have a practical, ethical, and sacred duty to attempt to facilitate healing in
themselves and others. If the healer is unfamiliar with a type of illness or does not have the necessary training then he/she must inform the client/patient of the situation and refer the person, family, or group(if possible) to someone who may be able to facilitate healing.
Healers must not aggravate or create injury to clients/patients. It seems that the administration of psychotropic drugs may violate this principle.
The Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP), a section of the APA is also opposed to psychological prescribing. They mention in their position statement that (1) malpractice premiums would go up for those who elect to prescribe, and possibly for all licensed psychologists, whether they prescribe or not; (2) should even a few malpractice
suits against prescribing psychologists based on claims of inadequate medical training be successful, insurance coverage would become prohibitively expensive or disappear
altogether; and (3) psychologists would be exposed to patients' demands for “pill fixes” and blandishments of the pharmaceutical industry, just as psychiatric and other medical professionals already are (Bush, 2001).
Using Natural Supplements to Treat Mental Health Disorders
From the above descriptions of psychotropic drugs, their formulas, adverse reactions,
and nutrient robbery using pharmaceuticals to treat mental health disorders seem to be
risky at best and deadly at worst. Even if there is some improvement in the condition that
the drug is prescribed for “How long will it last?, and “What is the cost economically, physically, psychologically, and spiritually? Trading one disorder for other disorders hardly seems worth it.
The question is asked “What can people do to relieve symptoms of mental health
disorders and/or mental health disorders themselves (besides talk therapy)? The following description will include mostly natural supplements that may help treat various mental
health disorders. The reader, however, is reminded that supplementation is only part of a
more holistic program to help people overcome certain mental health disorders. Below is a partial list and brief example of how to treat people with natural supplements for
Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.
Alzheimer’s disease involves the gradual decline in memory and cognitive abilities
(DSM-IV, 1994). Supplements that help and even cure (depending on the stage of development) are vitamins A, B-complex, C, coenzyme A and Q10, E, boron, zinc,
acetyl-L-choline, phosphatidylserine, grape seed extract, selenium, Butcher’s Broom,
Ginkgo Biloba, Gotu Kola, etc. All of these supplements help to restore memory, increase
blood circulation, and replace lost nutrients (Balch, 2006).
Anxiety disorder or panic attack is a discrete period in which there is the sudden onset
of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom (DSM-IV, 1994). Supplements that will help relieve symptoms of anxiety are calcium, magnesium, garlic, potassium, selenium, SAMe, vitamins B-complex, C, & E, zinc, valerian root, skullcap, fennel, chamomile, hops, passionflower, etc. All of these supplements either promote relaxation and/or replace nutrients that are lost during panic attacks
Depression is chronic sadness that occurs for most of the day more days than not for at least 2 years (DSM-IV, 1994). Supplements that help are Omega 3 fatty acids, garlic,
5HTP, L-Tyrosine, SAMe, DMAE, vitamin B-complex, St. John’s Wort, valerian root,
Kava kava, etc. These supplements help to uplift one’s mood and replace lost nutrients
The term supplements (in this case) means additions to one’s food intake. None of these supplements are known to have any adverse side effects unless they are combined with
some pharmaceutical drugs. Ideally, one should be able to eat the correct combination of foods and get all that one needs to be healthy. However, due to inadequate farming
methods, herbicides, pesticides, overheating, and processing of foods one may not get the nutrients one needs.
One may ask “Will I have to take all of those supplements to help heal myself or
others?” The answer is not necessarily. One would need to go to a person knowledgeable about the natural treatment of mental health disorders or find an organization or program
that treats mental disorders naturally and holistically.
Conclusion: Costs and Casualties
According to Null, et.al (2006), “....the number of people having in-hospital adverse reactions to prescribed drugs is 2.2. million annually. The number of unnecessary
antibiotics prescribed for viral infections is 20 million per year.” Null et.al.further state that “adverse reactions (on average) cost 106,000 lives and 12 billion dollars per year”.
Pfeiffer (1987) suggests that “since mega nutrient therapy treats the whole person’s biochemical imbalances, it can be of immediate and long term benefit. There is no
justification for the use of drugs except in the case of the critically ill. Generally, the use of drugs is a self-deception which sacrifices long-term health for immediate results.”
As healers can we with any kind of African consciousness support, advocate, join, administer, certify or license the use of psychotropic drugs to heal mental disorders? To do
so would mean that we cannot call ourselves “healers or Africans”. To be African means to
be human/humane and to heal. We would be no different from those who enslaved our ancestors, conducted inhuman and unethical pseudoscientific experiments, and those who continue to use Maafa-like methods today. Not only must we not support or administer psychotropic drugs, but we should be at the forefront of the fight to discontinue their use.
This article is a small introductory attempt to acquaint readers with some information about psychotropic drugs, their dangers, and introduce a more natural, humane, and effective
way of treating people who are experiencing mild to severe mental health disorders.
Balch, P.A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing, 4th ed. New York: Avery.
Bush, W.J. (2001). SSCP task force on prescribing privileges (RxP). Clinical Science, pp 7-11.
DSM-IV (1994). Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
Null, G., et.al.((2006). Death by medicine.Life Extension, V. 12, N. 8. pp 67-87.
Pfeiffer, C.C. (1987). Nutrition and mental illness: An orthomolecular approach to
balancing body chemistry. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Physician’s Desk Reference (2005). New Jersey: Thomson.
Vagnini, F. & Fox, B. (2005).Side effects bible: An all natural way to fight the nutrient
depletion caused by more than 300 popular drugs. New York: Broadway Books.
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritalin. (November 6, 2007). Methylphenidate.
Dr. Iman is currently employed as a psychotherapist in private practice, a certified holistic practitioner and a retired educator. He is currently senior consulting editor of
the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) newsletter, Psychdiscourse and editor
of the ABPsi Eastern Region newsletter (i.e. The MasharikiGazeti). Current and past professional and community organizations include ABPsi – former East Regional Representative, the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi) –
past president, International Board of African Thinkers, Priests, Healers, and
Religions, Inc. – former board member, the Freedom Theatre – former board member and president, Pan African Studies Community Education Program – former board member, National Coalition for Black Reparations (member), Association of Classical African
Civilizations (member), Coalition of Black Fathers.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.
"Beyond Charity: A Sojourner's Reflections on Homelessness,
Advocacy, Empowerment and Hope"
Book Release September 3, 2021
As a social psychologist, diversity and inclusion specialist, community advocate, and
former homeless African American woman, the author explores the issues of housing and homelessness in the United States. Justice and equity considerations, systemic and institutional dynamics, and the trauma of homelessness frame this personal journey of loss, enlightenment,
and empowerment. The book is available from Kharis Publishing at
Beyond Charity: A Sojourners Reflections on Homelessness, Advocacy, Empowerment & Hope by DeBorah Gilbert White (kharispublishing.com and Amazon. Books will be available in the
coming weeks at Black-owned/independent booksellers. Contact the author at AuthorDGW@gmail.com to be placed on the email list to receive updates and book signing information.
The Black Health Trust presents every Sunday 12:00 pm PDT/3:00 EDT
Visit https://www.blackhealthtrust.org/ for updates and more information.