Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a licensed psychologist, ordained minister, and sacred artist who has worked nationally and globally to provide relief and empowerment to marginalized persons. Dr. Thema, a professor at Pepperdine University, is a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women. Her contributions to psychological research, policy, and practice have been honored by national and regional psychological associations.
Dr. Thema earned her doctorate from Duke University, completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center, and is a past American Psychological Association representative to the United Nations.
She has served as a mental health media consultant for numerous print, radio, and television media outlets, including but not limited to the Huffington Post, NPR, CBS, Oxygen, CNN, BET, TV One, Lifetime, and We TV.
Dr. Thema has edited and co-edited books on recovery from sexual violence, spirituality and religion in women’s lives, and womanist and mujerista psychologies. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed books Tweets for the Soul: When Life Falls Apart, Thriving in the wake of trauma: A multicultural guide, Mangos and Manna and The Birthing of a Lioness and is the recording artist on the CD Sky: An upbeat black girl’s song. Her work is based in an interdisciplinary understanding of spirituality, gender, culture and psychology.
Dr. Thema received her doctorate from Duke University in Clinical Psychology with a focus on the cultural context of trauma recovery, as well as the intersection of gender and racial identity. She completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center’s Victims of Violence Program. From 2001-2004, she served as Senior Staff Psychologist and Coordinator of the Princeton University SHARE Program, a counseling, education, training, and policy program aimed at addressing assault, harassment, and abuse. Dr. Thema was a faculty member at Lesley University in Boston and then the California State University of Long Beach. She is a tenured professor of psychology at Pepperdine University where she teaches on Trauma in Diverse Populations and Clinical Skills. She is a contributing author in the books The Psychology of Racism, The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women, and Featuring Females: Feminist Analyses of the Media.
Dr. Thema served for three years as an American Psychological Association representative to the United Nations where she advocated for mental health and human rights globally. She served for an additional three years to the Committee on International Relations in Psychology; during that time she was elected chairperson and spear-headed initiatives in response to the crisis in Darfur. In addition, she was appointed the Global and International Issues Chairperson for the Society for the Psychology of Women. She later became president of the Society for the Psychology of Women, creating the society’s first film, CEU online program, task force on the trafficking of women, and task force on spirituality and religion in women’s lives.
Dr. Thema is a trained dancer and actress, having completed studies at The Baltimore School for the Arts, The Peabody Institute, The Liberian National Cultural Arts Center and the Boston University Theater Institute. She teaches others how to use poetry, song, art and movement for emotional and spiritual edification. From 2000 -2001, she was the Artistic Director of the Blackout Boston Arts Collective. Additionally, she won the Nuyorican Queen of Slam competition and has coached poets across the country. In addition, Dr. Thema is an accomplished playwright. Her play entitled Upbeat was performed in New York at the Urban Arts Theater Festival in 2003.
Using artistic expression, spirituality, psychology and culture, Dr. Bryant-Davis is an internationally recognized lecturer, performer, and minister. She has presented at conferences, universities, churches, community centers, schools and prisons throughout the United States as well as in South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Dr. Bryant-Davis is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She leads a community mental health bible study at Walker Temple AME Church in Los Angeles and lives by words from her mother, Rev. Cecelia Williams Bryant, who states “God is speaking. My life is God’s vocabulary.”