Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis Discusses Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Response of Faith Communities on NPR’s The Spin
Discussion Reflects Dr. Bryant-Davis’ Interest in Providing Alternative Coping Strategies to Survivors of Childhood Trauma and Research Focus at Pepperdine
Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis recently spoke with NPR’s The Spin for their on-air special program entitled #LoveWithAccountability. Hosted by Esther Armah, Dr. Bryant-Davis spoke with L. Marquez Benbow on “the script of silence” that child survivors of sexual abuse are asked to follow within their families and larger communities, as well as the important role faith communities play in healing these significant wounds. Having originally aired in both the United States and West Africa, the interview is now available free on SoundCloud.
Themes of recovery from trauma and strategies for doing so are not new to Dr. Bryant-Davis, who says she originally entered the field of psychology to help those in need. "I am primarily committed to uncovering and attending to the role of culture in the trauma recovery process," Bryant-Davis says. "Secondly, I seek to both teach and build on the empirical knowledge base that equips people to move from victims to survivors and from surviving to thriving."
Having received her doctorate at Duke University, Dr. Bryant-Davis is a familiar figure at GSEP, teaching classes at Pepperdine that align with her interests in spiritual growth and emotional wholeness. An experienced dancer, poet and playwright, she says she believes strongly in the healing power of the arts. Her spoken word performances have garnered multiple awards, and in 2015, she was awarded the California Psychological Association Distinguished Scientist Award for her work in addressing trauma and oppression.
Bryant also is the director of GSEP’s prestigious Culture and Trauma Research Lab, a group conducting qualitative and quantitative research for the larger scientific community on the context of interpersonal trauma recovery. Current projects at the GSEP lab include studies on partner abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, genocide, and the societal trauma of racism, as well as the ways in which religion and spirituality play a role in the recovery process. GSEP lab findings have been presented by researchers at the annual conventions of the American Psychological Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Association of Women in Psychology, the National Summit on Interpersonal Violence, the National Scientific Meeting on Sexual Assault, and the Multicultural Summit.
Dr. Bryant-Davis and her national stature within the fields of trauma research and recovery reflect GSEP’s commitment to providing innovative academic programs, transforming students into true scholar-practitioners, catalysts for inspiration and change within the community at large.