Today was one of the most incredible days of my life.

I was invited to speak on a panel at an event called Hollywood and Mind. And Hollywood and Mind is an event that dedicates combining the entertainment industry with mental health to try to make Hollywood safer for the people participating in Hollywood, either in front of the camera, behind the camera. It’s a really cool initiative, and the second time I’ve been at this event.

The panel that I was a part of, that I moderated, was about representation, black representation in Hollywood. It was cool because I was able to share what my experience has been as an African American in the field of Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and as a psychotherapist kind of the lone African American male at the level where I am like writing books, traveling around the world, appearing in graduate school curriculum, my content and things… and how the [black] representation has been so low and trying to explain to this audience that representation is so important because it provides hope.

If someone sees someone like them from the area they’re from, they think they can achieve what that person has achieved. So getting to explain that to this audience was, it was absolutely amazing. There were directors in there, writers in there, actors, singers, showrunners, people from all walks of the entertainment industry.

It is such an amazing thing to be a part of these conversations that are literally changing the world.

I still am a psychotherapist and I love that work, but my dreams have expanded. Not only do I wanna help people overcome their mental health, I want to help the world and the systems that we have access to, and that we live our lives in, and that we participate in, so that we can truly just be happy and have joy.

So I share all this to say, the world will be a better place (this is part of what we talked about on the panel). The world will be a better place when instead of judging each other for our differences, we recognize that differences should trigger compassion. You don’t have to live your life how I do, dress how I dress, eat what I eat, live where I live, live how I live.

We have to recognize that people are different because cultures are different. And that’s actually what enriches the world.

I told this audience, I’ve been a practicing psychotherapist for almost 20 years. I’ve never come across a problem that more love wouldn’t significantly help. And I think we need to love more.

And speaking of love, one of the things that also made this day epic, is my very first crush was at this event. My very first crush was an actress who played in a TV show called Punky Brewster. I was young, like nine, you know, little, little, little. I remember used to watch Punky Brewster, in third grade, fourth grade, whatever. And I was like, man, I got a crush on Punky Brewster. — Fast forward 40 years, nearly 40 years, and the actress who played Punky Brewster, Soleil Moon Frye, was there and I got to talk to her, connect with her. We exchanged contact information. We’re gonna stay connected, and we’re gonna talk about some projects in the work that we’re both doing. And it’s really, really exciting. So anyway, that’s just a side note on why today was such a great day.

The highlight was getting to talk about diversity and the importance of diversity. We talk about diversity, but what we’re really talking about is making a discipline, in this case, entertainment, in my case, psychotherapy, more representative of what society looks like. But this little highlight was, I got to meet Punky Brewster.