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  • Writer's pictureLife Coach Lakisha R. Austin, LICSW, MBA, MSW

What Does Therapy Mean to Artist Dr. Rob "ProBlak" Gibbs?

From episode: Graffiti is a form of Therapy with Artist Dr. Rob "ProBlak' Gibbs

Therapist_Coach LA: "First question is what does therapy mean to you? When I say therapy, what comes to mind?"

ProBlak: "I think therapy is the ability to hear yourself think. You know, whenever you are out in the world, what you portray is what you imagine yourself... kind of like navigating through and walking through and it starts with you. So imagine when you get all this information and you got to have the time to download and because that's a part of your makeup, it's an addition to your character. So therapy is like a check-in, you know what I mean? It's like, yo, are you good? Is the information that I receive something that I can take tidbits and pieces away from? What do I need to download? What could I add? What could I leave behind? What could I get back to later? Therapy to me is like a soundboard.

Therapist_Coach LA: That's a great way to frame it because often I think people make therapy to complicated, right? I talk about journaling. I'm a big journaler, right? I encourage people to write. I also write poetry. And for me, those are mental massages. You know, you go to a massage therapist and they start giving you a massage and they get to a certain spot that you didn't even know hurt. I think that for me, you know, journaling is like a mental massage. Journaling helps you to get to certain things that trigger you. While you are writing, you often write down something that you didn't even know bothered you until you get triggered. Exactly. Right on. So good, good, good response. Good response. Now, have you ever gone to therapy?

ProBlak: I have not gone to therapy traditionally. When you go to the barbershop, when you're young and you grow up in that environment, that's a level of therapy, a type of self-care where you go in kind of wolfing and then you leave brand new. The conversations that you get into, the fellowship that happens in a barbershop alone, you're left there for hours, especially if you're waiting for the dope barber, and everybody is waiting for the same barber, there's an exchange of information. The commentary around an album that dropped or verse or, and things that were happening in the world. You know what I mean? It can be the final call that got dropped in the barbershop that morning. Somebody will take the time to read the article. It can be a brother who came in and had something going on in his mind. You're not necessarily ear hustling, you're a part of that community. It's like young guys watching grown men who are having these conversations and just getting a series of opinions, and if there's anything that I ever had to add to that conversation, I could jump in. That level of openness and just the way that you got brought up, helps you navigate in just different parts of your life and the world. So I would say that was a form of informal therapy. But when I look at what therapy does, that was a very instrumental practice in my community"

Therpist_Coach LA: Barbershop therapy, that's real. I think for us as a community, a lot of us had therapists, right? They weren't licensed therapists. But I think some of the best individuals that go into this work that I do are already coaches, mentors, and counselors doing it. They just didn't have the clinical context to maybe name what they were doing as therapy. But one thing they were able to do is to connect with people. That's the heart and essence of therapy "building therapeutic connections (relationships)".

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