It was a great opportunity to speak with Lisa Lackey, M.A., LCPC, CSAT, CMAT, Chief Engagement Officer of Insideout Living, Inc., and CEO of Lisa Lackey Speaks. She is a licensed clinical therapist, coach, consultant, and keynote speaker. After the interview, she showed her appreciation for having been asked to do this interview, “Well, I thank you. And I thank BlackDoctor.org; they’re the only one of its kind out here. So, I appreciate having this opportunity.”
Q: So, who is Lisa Lackey?
A: I am a Black woman. Daughter of a Black Woman. Granddaughter of Black women. Offspring of Black ancestors. Those connections have informed my life path and calling. From childhood, I knew that there was something bigger than me that was loving, patient, and approachable. It is that being, which I call God, that was present during times of celebration, pain, confusion, and clarity. Professionally and personally, my work has centered around carrying a message of healing and holding space for those who felt hopeless. This is me giving back what has been given to me throughout my life. I am a bridge builder from perceived brokenness to wholeness.
The professional spaces that allowed me the greatest opportunity for growth and service have been as a pastor, and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Over the last several years, my professional and personal experiences have culminated in my current work as a keynote speaker, wellbeing coach, and consultant to organizations willing to prioritize Black women’s wellbeing.
Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: What I enjoy most is feeling like a puzzler. People come in and give me their pieces, and together, we find the stories of where those pieces go, how they got misplaced, and how to integrate them into a life of wholeness within a framework informed by neurobiology, spirituality, and a strength-based model. Soon, clients learn that “the problem” that initiated their engagement with me is really not the problem. For many, that “problem” is the tip of the iceberg. My work is to support clients in exploring the causes and conditions that led to the “problem,” which is often a maladaptive solution.
What I want to do is find out how to get to the origin of the root cause so that people can change patterns and go on to live their lives, healing intergenerational patterns.
Q: So, I know that you mentioned trying to find the root of why it is now, to try and combat the continuation of that. So, within the black community and everything, therapy itself is, is pretty stigmatic, but what I’d like to focus on is trauma therapy. What is trauma therapy? What is the importance to the black community? How will our trauma engulf us if not addressed?
A: What is trauma therapy? The therapeutic relationship is one of the experiences in which healing happens. To engage in therapy, we must feel safe with the “3 P’s”: place, person, and process. This necessary sense of safety is an individual decision often thought of as a gut reaction in the beginning moments of connection.
We walk clients through steps to identify cycles of mobilization (anxiety, stress, agitation), disconnection (overwhelm, hopelessness, despair), and engagement (regulated, safe, well-being). Current-day triggers activate a “drive to survive” in response to the “longing to connect.” As part of the process, the client completes a trigger and resources map, regulation map, and tracking graph, which traces the path of trigger and trauma through the client’s brain and body to create a new pathway that resolves the trigger in an empowering manner.
This work allows the client to gain confidence in their internal resources to support them in staying grounded while engaging in stressful experiences. From this place, the client finds new options for addressing current issues that are frightening, challenging, and normally dysregulating with more confidence and courage.
People don’t understand that other traumas impact us, and if we don’t have a place to process those, they impact us throughout life. Those traumas appear unconsciously. Say, you were always left alone, had plenty to eat, and your home was nice—but you were always left alone. Or say you went to a school where you were bullied by teasing or being uninvited to things, and that was continuous; those things are traumas. Traumas are something that feels too big for you to resolve. You feel helpless, alone, and unable to access any sense of safety.
Then, as Black people in the United States, we are going to experience trauma. We’re going to experience trauma through systematic racism, caste systems, and everything that comes through their emotional, social, psychological, and spiritual impact. And we become so used to these different aggressions that we automatically react to them by mobilizing the fight/flight response or immobilizing, the freeze/faint response. We normalize so much of what we regularly experience, and we think, “Oh no, I haven’t experienced trauma.” Whether we know it to be trauma or not, our bodies and brains store the trauma, and it becomes embedded in negative beliefs we have about ourselves that are not true. Trauma changes the lens which we see ourselves in the world compared to others. It informs how we behave.
Trauma from the past shows up in the present through triggers. An example may be if someone gives you a friendly pat on the back, and your first internal response is a feeling of electricity running through your arms and legs, your heartbeat is faster, and your impulse is to fight this person. In that moment, your mind and body are connected to a past of physical abuse; your nervous system sends a danger alert. And those automatic responses come from early defenses used to help us have some sense of unsafe experiences. So, I think that in our community, it’s really important to educate and to help people understand how many different ways we can be