Stranger 86/100 – Derek

100 Strangers - DerekStranger 86/100 – Derek

“Love everybody because everyone deserves it.”

Meet Derek.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Never stop being creative.”

What is your creative outlet? “I have a few. One, I’m a therapist. I like poetry… I really like music a lot too.”

I don’t think people realize how much creativity there is in therapy… “Yeah, it takes a lot. People think all the time that ‘yeah, you’re just talking to people all day’, but the thing is there actually really is an art to communicating with several different people. Because I do group therapy… you’re talking to like twelve different individual personalities everyday. It takes a lot to know what to say, how to say and what they’re looking for out of this whole thing.”

How did you get started in that? “Basically where I grew up at… there’s a lot of things happening and therapy wasn’t a thing no-one really cared for. Especially with black people in the black community, therapy has a lot of stigmas to it. So, I’m trying to break that mold and actually trying to get people the help that they actually need”

What’s the best technique for building rapport? “Humor. I think having a sense of humor, being able to crack jokes with people, it takes the tension out of the room. So, you don’t have to be serious all the time to do this job… it’s ok to have fun.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Slowing down. That’s my biggest challenge because I want everything right now. So, it’s just remembering that I’m still young. I have a lot of time. Just take everything as it comes and breath and everything will be ok.”

What are your goals? Where do you want to be in ten years? “I want my own private practice. I want to be a professor at a community college. I want be a father and a husband. Yeah, have everything just kind of settled and still exploring and trying to learn new things.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Love everybody because everyone deserves it.”

Technical Notes: We were out of the bright sun under an overhang of a building. I used a small LED panel to add some light to the right side of Derek’s face.

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