Hi, my name is Dr. Bertrina Olivia West Al-Mahdi. But most people call me Dr. O. I am a U. S. Navy veteran, International Psychologist, Coach, Trauma, Diversity & Inclusion consultant, and a Human, Social, Civil Rights Advocate and Activist, and Clinical Director at Out of the Box, Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting. I specialize in the area of trauma recovery and I have dedicated my life and career to helping individuals, families, couples, adolescents, and children overcome emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral challenges. Some of these challenges may include family or individual crisis, trauma, death, loss, or divorce, depression, anxiety, ADHD, behavioral issues, addiction, eating and body image disorders, personality disorders, sexual dysfunction, self-harm, and suicide, or complex mental health disorders. I received my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in Phoenix, Arizona. I graduated with honors and specialized training in cognitive therapy and trauma-focused therapy. After completing my Master’s degree, I completed a doctorate degree in International Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, with a concentration in Trauma.
As an International Psychologist, I received extensive education and training in working with minority populations. As an International Psychologist, I utilize a Global perspective in working with my clients. What this means is that my treatment is not solely based on Westernized concepts and beliefs. However, I have traveled the world and immersed myself in various cultures to learn about how we think and behave, our values, ethics, and beliefs, and I implement my teachings in my sessions with my clients based on their unique ethnic background. My education and training extend well beyond the western definition of being “culturally competent.” I truly enjoy learning about the differences in my clients and incorporating those unique differences into our treatment plan.
It is believed that over 70% of the US population have or will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. Among minority populations, this number is much higher, at 92%. This may be alarming to some because when most people think of trauma, they think about complex trauma (war, famine, abuse, death, violence, etc). However, what most aren’t considering is that trauma is simply STRESS. Stress that has become so overwhelming it has affected your ability to cope and live an effective life. Trauma is individualistic and it affects people differently. What may have been a traumatic event for me, may not have been for you. I like to believe it is much higher within minority populations. Symptoms of trauma are often depicted as depression, anxiety, restlessness, anger, feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, relationship problems, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, personality disorders, and so much more. The root cause of almost every mental health diagnosis can be traced back to trauma. As a trauma specialist, I look at your current issue causing you distress through a trauma lens. Although it may not be readily evident that you experienced a traumatic event, I partner with you to find the root cause of your distress.
I believe in taking a holistic approach to therapy, coaching, and consulting. Because not everyone is familiar with therapy, or on the same level of recovery, I believe in stepping Outside of the Box of traditional talk therapy, and doing whatever it takes to meet you where you are at your current stage of life. I believe therapy is not just about “fixing the mind” (ie thoughts and behaviors), but it is important to understand how our physical health and personal affairs also play a part in our mental well being. Thus, I incorporate an equal balance of wellness and harmony in your mind, body, and personal affairs. Some may call my approach to counseling, coaching and consulting unorthodox, as I step away from traditional approaches and ways of thinking. However, I believe in truly partnering with each individual client to meet their unique needs and accomplish goals. I am passionate about supporting individuals, couples, families, children, adolescents, organizations, and communities throughout all of life’s transitions and challenges; as well as advocate for equality across nations.
My compassionate demeanor is, undoubtedly, impacted by my own multicultural background, traumatic experiences and exposures. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, playing with my two children, traveling, writing poetry, and working out. I offer virtual, in-home, and in-office appoints. Again, I believe in meeting my clients where they are both figuratively and literally!