Going There: Bartees Strange Embraces Validation for BIPOC Mental Health Month

Singer-songwriter talks about the damaging effects of gaslighting

Bartees Strange mental health podcast bipoc mental health embracing validationGOING THERE, photo by Leon Piotrowski

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Season 3 of the Going There podcast continues today with Bartees Strange helping launch our focus on BIPOC Mental Health Month. The Farm to Table artist joins host Dr. Mike Friedman for a discussion about the concept of validation and why it it so critical for maintaining strong mental health and emotional well-being.

Validation refers to the process by which our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are understood — both by ourselves and others — in a given social context. Being validated makes us feel more connected to ourself and our experience, and is usually the beginning of a healthy process of coping with stressful life events. In contrast, when we are being invalidated we are susceptible to gaslighting, whereby we are not only told that our experience is invalid, but that we must accept someone else’s experience as truth

Strange explains how he experienced the damaging effects of invalidation when dealing with racism, often feeling that some people in his life would either directly or inadvertently invalidate that experience. As an example, he describes growing up in Oklahoma and witnessing violence against black people and fearing violence against himself. When others told him he’d be “fine” or “safe,” it didn’t reassure him — it only made him feel more frightened.

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He also discusses the feelings of invalidation that came when others told him following his love of music was not a valid choice. (Something he’s clearly proven them wrong about, as he’s recently announced his first-ever headlining tour, tickets for which can be found here.)

Throughout the interview, Strange reveals different ways he chose to cope with these feelings of invalidation. He talks about music — both listening to music that he connects with and performing songs that express his authentic experience — as well ass seeking validating communities in his personal life, and the positive impact of therapy on his mental health journey.

Listen to Bartees Strange discuss mental health from the perspective of a BIPOC artists in the episode above. Then make sure to like, review, and subscribe to Going There with Dr. Mike wherever you get your podcasts.

Presented by Sound Mind Live and Consequence, Going There is an interview series in which clinical psychologist and life coach Dr. Mike Friedman talks with musicians about the crossroads where music and mental health meet. The series tackles the tough questions and conversations so that we can put an end to the stigma of mental illness and get the care we need.

Season 3 of Going There is brought to you by the fine folks at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, who never stop working to create a future where disease is a thing of the past.


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