Author And Mental Health Expert Dr. Nakpangi Thomas Is Paving A Way To Reduce Mental Health Stigma
Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Nakpangi Thomas.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. I was raised by my maternal grandparents. I experienced sexual abuse as a child and watch some of my family members suffer with mental illness and substance abuse. Watching them made me want to understand them better and figure out how to NOT be like them. I also wanted to help others that experienced sexual trauma. I remember feeling alone and dirty as a child. These feelings impacted my self-esteem and interactions or lack of interactions with my peers.
After high school, I explored various career paths including aeronautical engineering and accounting. I did not feel these two careers fit my personal. Thus, I took an interest inventory assessment that provided several career options comprised of entrepreneur, psychology, teacher, lawyers, and a few others. Based on my past trauma and family dynamics, I pursued a career in psychology. But, to work as a psychologist, I had to attend college for 12 years. Being in my early 20’s at the time, 12 years of school seemed like a long time. So, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in social work. I worked in the field for eight years before pursuing a masters degree in mental health counseling. Two months after earning my masters, I sought to earn my doctoral degree. And it only took me 21 years to do it. (Smiling and lightly laughing)
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
In addition to the sexual abuse, I was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 1st grade. For those who may not be familiar with dyslexia, it is a specific learning condition that effects one’s reading, writing, and spelling ability. This causes me to be a slow reader, the inability to recognize common words, problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike, problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colors, and a delay in responding during conversations. However, I had a great teacher (Ms. Price) that enrolled me in resource classes that helped me learn strategies to improve my reading and comprehension skills. I attended summer school from 2nd to 7th grade. I also attended enrichment programs in my 8th and 9th grade. While dyslexia is not curable, it is manageable with the right resources. Hahaha, I recall my 3rd grade teacher saying I would not graduate high school. And if I did, my diploma would not be endorsed. But, I graduated at the top 10 percentile with honors. And now, I have a doctoral degree. Her words actually fueled me to do better.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I have many hats, but the most important one for me would be that of a licensed professional counselor. In this role, I also serve as a counselor educator for Southern New Hampshire University. I have taught courses in diagnosis of mental health and emotional disorders, substance use and addictions, and research methods. The major of my work as a clinician centers around trauma and crisis. To work with this population. I obtained my Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision with a concentration in Trauma and Crisis. While working on the Ph.D., I obtained my designation as I Certified Traumatology. I have worked with clients that have experienced sexual trauma, PTSD, grief and loss, survives of human trafficking, patients with terminal illness, accident survives, and various other traumas. I also work with individuals that have been in relationships with narcissistic. Recovering from narcissistic abuse can be challenging as the person had lost their identity, self-esteem, self-worth and have developed a mistrust of others. As a survivor of childhood trauma and narcissistic abuse, I believe it is vital for people who experience traumatic events to seek help from a licensed professional counselor that specializes in trauma recovery. Currently, I am working with military families in Okinawa, Japan. I have also written mental health content featured in Psychcentral, Business Insider, Teen Vogue, Ideapod.com, and TheHealthy.com.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
Good question! Success looks different to each individual. What success looks like to me is achieving the goal(s) I created for myself. To others, it may mean driving a luxury car or living in a mansion. My advice to readers who desire to find success in their life is to follow your own path. Be clear in your goals and develop a plan of action to obtain your goals. There will be challenges and obstacles, but do not let anyone or anything stand in your way. I recall my mother calling me a “career student” because she did not understand my life goals. Now that I earned my Ph.D., am a published author, public speaker, and have written content for various publications; she understands the “why” behind my educational goals. With that said, do not allow others to define what success is to you and how you get there. Sit down, write out a 20 year plan. Yes, I said 20 years. Start with a large goal. For me, it was obtaining my Ph.D. Create 3 -5 action steps to achieve the goal. Develop 1 -3 small goals for the first five years. Then, one large goal year 5, 10, 15, and 20. Again, start with small obtainable goals, then more grander goals. Achieving smaller goals will set up for success and made the larger goals more obtainable.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
For me, success is not about money and acquiring things. It’s about the legacy that one will leave behind. Have you helped someone else? Did you leave this world making it a better place for future generations? Have you inspired others to do more, be more? If you have, then that is the measure of success.
What’s next for you?
What’s next? While, I recently developed a platform form new indie authors to help promote their book. TC Reader’s Lounge provides free and fee reviews. We place their work on our website site to offset the cost of hosting your own website.
I am also working on the second series of Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes that focuses on lived experiences with narcissist and the recovery process. The second series will focus on how we encounter narcissist in our everyday life.
I have also co-authored a book chapter on the traumatization of Black women and the healing process. It should be released early next year. I just submitted a proposal to write a book chapter on disruptive behavior, impulsiveness, and conduct disorders in teens. Fingers crossed that it is accepted.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
I may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes can be purchased on Amazon.
Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578736225/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_Y1YGQC7BGEHM5X55D2MA