Seaver College | MDiv 2016
Professor, Graduate School of Education and Psychology
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. Bryant-Davis is a professor at Pepperdine University and a former 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.
What does being an honoree of the Outstanding Alumni in Healthcare campaign mean to you?
I am so grateful for the recognition of my efforts to improve the mental health and well-being of persons who are often marginalized.
Describe your road to success.
I completed my graduate degree in psychology at Duke University and completed my master of divinity at Pepperdine University. Together these degrees prepared me to serve as a bridge between communities of faith and mental health professionals. Some of the highlights of my career include being an American Psychological Association representative to the United Nations, being honored by the California Psychological Association as Scholar of the Year, and being honored by the Institute of Violence, Abuse, and Trauma for my work mentoring emerging trauma psychologists.
Who has helped you achieve success in your career?
One of my role models, Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel, who was recently honored by the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, gave me my first professional appointment to a psychological division, the Society for the Psychology of Women. She was president at the time and mentored me. I later became the president of the Society for the Psychology of Women.
Describe a lesson you've learned from a challenging time in your career or life.
The current challenges of COVID-19 and racial trauma remind me of the importance of healthcare providers tending to themselves as they provide care for others.
How do you prepare for a busy day?
I prepare for the day with prayer, meditation, and by reading a devotional.
"I am so grateful for the recognition of my efforts to improve the mental health and well-being of persons who are often marginalized."
Thema Bryant-Davis (MDiv '16)
What's next for you?
This summer I was awarded the International Psychology award for my contributions to the psychology of women globally. This was based on my work with women in Africa and the African diaspora. I also started a mental health podcast called "Homecoming" which is about the healing journey back home to our authentic, sacred selves.
What is one of your hobbies?
I love to dance and to write poetry.