Celebrating Community, Opening Dialogue and Changing the Game: Dr. James Wadley

Dr. James Wadley is on a mission to bring openness and community to those from all walks of life that may otherwise have shied away from stepping forward to get help for themselves or their families. He is an advocate and voice for healing across the world and is passionate about working with both those in the community and training the professional leaders that work with them. He is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Human Services program at The Lincoln University and licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is the founding editor of the scholarly, interdisciplinary journal, the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships (University of Nebraska Press).   Dr. Wadley talks with Rob about his background in education and educational leadership, his program development to help African Americans know where to turn when seeking treatment, and ways to improve the current structure so everyone feels welcome and deserving to be part of whatever it is that will serve them towards their health. He and Rob also discuss the ways that African American communities are typically underserved when it comes to mental health and addiction programs, especially sexual addiction, how we can help minorities step out of the hidden secrets of addiction and into the light of healing and hope.   TAKEAWAYS: [2:52] Dr. Wadley has worked with African Americans and minority groups for many decades, and still finds misconceptions, and mistrust around the community and medical and mental health professions. It is great for someone struggling to get initial support and advice from a member in the community or social group, but non-medical help can only go so far, and oftentimes their response comes from a pre existing belief, stereotype or myth. [5:06] Dr. Wadley and his colleagues actively try to work towards people having a “sex positive” approach towards sexuality. This means facing and dealing with the stigma and trauma of sexual expression in the African decent, whether it’s stereotypes surrounding the community, or the way they express their own sexual identity. [7:16] Rob and Dr. Wadley run into the same type of problems, but in different ways. Minority groups tend to not seek out professional help for their issue, and even when they do, the factor of access and finding a professional of a similar minority is usually of importance as well. [8:18] Although other cultures deal with sexual addiction just as much as the white culture, there are several factors that make up why they seek professional and 12-step treatment groups less. First, if they walk in and see that they are the only representative of their minority, they are less likely to open up and share, thus reducing the likelihood of ever returning again. [11:08] Dr. Wadley finds that spending time in the community is a way to at least open the conversation with people regarding their sexual behavior and help them get their guard down to see that there is no judgement or stigma around seeking help. [15:08] Dr. Wadley credits a lot of his success to the positive and inspirational people around him. [18:02] Although the communities may be different, the pain and shame of addiction is the same across the board no matter race or ethnicity. The top sexual issues among Rob’s young male clients are the same as Dr. Wadley’s - online porn, hookup apps, traditional affair / anonymous sex and prostitutes. Seeking out help online is better for anonymity, but individuals must be in the know that they are expected to share vulnerably everything they are dealing with. [21:22] Rob and Dr. Wadley discuss the difference of options when a couple has financial means and resources vs. when they need to stay together because divorce or separating just isn’t an option financially. [26:42] On a recent trip to Cuba, Dr. Wadley appreciated how he could fully experience the culture, as it is one of the few places that hasn’t been colonized.   RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Dr. James Wadley The Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians Lincoln University Dr. Wadley on Twitter phdjamesw@yahoo.com   QUOTES: “While people in the community may be able to listen and give advice, they are not mental health professionals.”   “My work is to try my best to empower not only those people who are indigenous to the community, but also to work with the folks who work with folks in those communities in having a level of acceptance and appreciation towards diversity.”   “Minorities tend to want to keep their problems to themselves.”   “I allow my spirit to lead me.”   We as therapists and healers have to figure out how to provide access to those folks who probably can’t afford us.”  

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