Interview with Dr. Tekesia Jackson-Rudd
Born and raised in Compton, Dr. Tekesia Jackson-Rudd shares how her early life inspired a successful mental health practice.
Could you please tell us a little bit about what you do and how you do it?
I’m a clinical psychologist, and I also coach therapists to brand and build a private practice. I use some different methods, like my Instagram quizzes to screen and prep for consultations with new clients. Often, they call into the number, and I’m not in the position to answer, or I’m not ready to do a consultation. I’d rather them fill out that form first, whether it’s a therapy or coaching client. I can screen them before getting on the call because that helps me determine what we should be talking about on that call. And it helps me route them to the right service because some people may call me for one service and they need another one.
What is your specialty and what has been the trajectory of your career?
Therapy. The coaching came by accident. I went to school for therapy, but then I worked for the Los Angeles County department of mental health. I ended up leaving due to burnout and a lot of the other therapists just started calling me asking, how did you make it out? I used to work in the jail. So I thought that was funny that people would ask me, how’d you get out?
Don’t allow this season to bring you down. You should be very creative with all this time you have. I always say pain is temporary. And if you don’t believe it, then I would advise you to sit down and think about a time that you didn’t think you would make it through. But clearly, you did because you’re thinking about this right now, and you probably didn’t think you were going to make it, but here you are.
How does your background help you?
I grew up in Compton, California. I went to Cal state for my Undergrad and Masters. Then I decided to go up North to a professional psychology school and the program was four years. I first came back to LA to do an internship for LA County, for the adults who came out of the facilities. Then when I graduated, the market crashed. That was not ideal. I always tell people to imagine having a six-figure debt, but you can’t find a job, and you still have to get licensed, and you have to get hours. So none of that is happening when you can’t get hired. And my lease was about to expire. My health benefits got cut off. It was a mess. That’s when I started to recognize jobs are not dependable. I ended up moving back up North, got my hours, got licensed, came back, and worked for the County jail system for about four and a half years. I worked there twice. I only lasted the second time for 43 days. I’m glad that I went back because that made me tap into my true business ownership mindset. Some people wait to figure that out. I figured it out around age 30. I was doing great work in the community and then building a private practice just came naturally.
When did you start using Pocketsuite?
When I started to hire interns, I would use it for certain payments. We were using it to do intakes with their clients to share the material and it was easier than paper charts, of course. We were still new to electronic charting and it was easy to communicate via text in a group. I did a lot of stuff with transitional age, youth kids like 16 to 24. Until last year, I was doing this three to four times a year at my office. We would have a weekend or I would schedule these kids to come in for one or two days and do living skills, crash course, because they didn’t get that in high school anymore. I would book them through Pocketsuite, where their parents would pay or assign a contract.
How do you carry the emotional weight of being a Counselor?
I have to leave it at work, and if I go home and take this to my husband and my kids, it will not be constructive and healthy. I just practiced that over time. When I started working in the jail, it became more difficult because it’s a different group, they are kids. I think what helps for that is support and community. I had a girl who I carpooled with. We had a two-hour drive home. I worked in Lancaster and lived in Compton. We had time to decompress. Now what I do, which is a lot easier, is working with adults. The kids are harder because they attach a lot quicker.
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How has your profession changed?
I know for one that most grad schools make it mandatory now for the therapist to sit on the other side of the couch to see what it’s like to be in therapy. I think that’s very important because I talk about baggage a lot. I feel like everybody has a story and my story helps me do my job well. I believe that no matter where I see these kids, whether it’s jail, whether something bad happened, whether it’s just a regular person who needs help, everybody has a story. What I did in my practice that’s a little different than my colleagues is that I used my time in grad school to evaluate myself. That was a given because all of our papers were written about our families.
How did that help you?
I saw a lot of skeletons that I needed to clear. I had to evaluate myself as an adolescent and what that was like. I had a father that was incarcerated my entire life. I’ve never linked the two, even though other people were trying to do it for me. I just wanted to give back to Compton. That was always my M.O. I didn’t understand why. My dad came from Compton. I have siblings on his side, and we know one of them, and she decided to have a heart to heart with me, and that conversation helped me finally understand my “Why?”.
How do you reach hardened gangsters?
For one, I do a PTSD and the ‘hood Podcast series. The way that I get through to them is with my life story and telling them the benefits and pros of mental health and breaking down the stereotypes of mental health. I remember specifically three weeks ago. I had a younger gentleman, 20, 21 ish. He said, as soon as I came there, “I don’t like no mental health.” I said I’m just providing you with information. And it’s fascinating because as many times, as he said, he don’t like mental health, he had the most questions [of anyone else in the group].
Tell me about Compton.
Every single city has a good part and a bad part period. Living in those cities, you become resilient to what’s happening, and you know where to go and how to protect yourself at the same time. If you go deeper than what’s on the internet or a movie or a video, you’ve got to remember why they amp those things up. They have to get ratings. If you get to know some of these people, they are the most generous people.
My podcast is out if you look-up “Branding for Abundance with Doctor TK.” My goal is to reach a hundred episodes by December 31st. I have the podcast, a Youtube Vlog called “Doctor TK”, and then one of my new books is a small relationship book. I wrote this book initially for premarital couples. It’s made up of questions, like journal pages and called, “12 Steps to a Divine Relationship.”
I’m a lifelong learner and that’s one of the things I love about being a professor and a coach because it keeps me on top of my game. I’m teaching every year or every semester. I have to stay up.
After the last economic collapse, it was three years later, after I started to save money, I was able to purchase my first home. It was super low. During this season, this will be around for a minute, and I want to be able to do it again. So don’t allow this season to bring you down. You should be very creative with all this time you have. I always say pain is temporary. And if you don’t believe it, then I would advise you to sit down and think about a time that you didn’t think you would make it through. But clearly, you did because you’re thinking about this right now, and you probably didn’t think you were going to make it, but here you are.