Our recent guest, Dr. Leslie Rogers recalls her 25 years in service with the FBI as an intelligence analyst helped prepare her for the important work she does today.
“It was a rewarding experience working in counter terrorism because I was immersed in the world of intelligence. I knew what was going on and saw the anxieties, struggles with substance abuse, even suicide, that is part of the stress in that world.”
Today Dr. Leslie Rogers is the founder and the CEO of Mental Health Talk, LLC. She publishes the first-of-its-kind quarterly magazine called Mental Health Talk, a well-rounded publication that seeks to bridge gaps between mental health and medical health.
Dr. Rogers also runs two private psychology clinics in and around Fayetteville, North Carolina. She specializes in men’s health, including veterans with a wide range of trauma histories.
“I see veterans who have been in the field and actually dealt with terrorism or war situations and the traumas that come with that. Men, first responders, and children are unique populations needing a modified approach to therapy because there are stigmas associated with them.”
Dr. Rogers knows each man defines what it is to be a man differently. His own definition is based on culture, how he’s raised, expectations, and responsibilities.
“That self-definition is going to influence what men share and don’t share about trauma. Men may say they don’t need validation, but they do. When one person steps up and shares, the whole group is validated, and others will start sharing.”
Suicide rates are high for veterans, law enforcement, and the military population. They know the importance of their job and feel inadequate when they themselves are falling apart emotionally. In addition, society may think these populations can’t do their job effectively when dealing with mental illness.
“Individual and group therapy are the starting points. When someone is dealing with anxiety and/or PTSD, groups are an excellent approach to recovery.”
Dr. Rogers suggests group work validates and normalizes experiences, which allows the members to be vulnerable and authentic. Trust is built, and they begin to advocate for each other.
“Men are under-reported when it comes to depression because they present differently, such as anger and irritability. Because of the stigma, men are less likely to report symptoms of depression.”
Dr. Rogers cautions that reducing stressors is a learning experience and takes practice. She tells patients they may feel worse before they feel better.
The end result is going to be amazing!
- Improved relationships
- Better communication
- Emotional security
- Empowered life navigation skills
“I think we’re starting to see more men in therapy than ever before. More men are starting to open up.”
Society has to change too, according to Dr. Rogers. She feels the stats on sexual abuse in men are not presented as openly as they should be. This causes men to be less likely to share openly.
And let’s not forget the children…
“Make discussions once a week a family thing. Check in with your children and see how they’re doing. Let them tell you about their day at school, how it’s going, or how it’s not going right.”
Dr. Rogers shares an emotions checklist on her website.
“It’s often hard to come up with words to describe emotions, and we don’t know how to express ourselves. That may manifest in negative emotions. You can give the emotions checklist to your child and ask them to identify how they’re feeling.”
When we’re able to put a word to a feeling and label it, we can communicate better by taking our power and control back.
Dr. Rogers hosts a mindfulness meditation group online for men and women every Sunday evening on Zoom beginning at 7:00 pm Eastern time.
“We’ll relax. We’ll meditate on things. We’ll get the week started.”
Understanding we need to learn ways to love ourselves without judgment, and replace negative emotions with positive ones, Dr. Rogers will be holding these sessions through the upcoming holiday season.
Once you start practicing her methods, you’ll reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Meditation research shows a lot of medical advantages to the practice of mindfulness.
To enroll in this program, go to www.MentalHealthTalk.live
Dr. Rogers had some final words to say to our listeners the day she was on our show:
“Please check in with your emotions. Check in with your children. With so much going on in the world that can potentially cause anxiety, stress, irritability, and anger, recognize your emotions, and understand them. Turn the TV off and walk away. Set boundaries in your life.”