Black Male Mental Health Advocate Breaks Down Why Controversial TikTok Therapist Was Terminated: APA Code of Ethics

A therapist named Shabree Rawls went on a TikTok rant recently about Black men failing to address their mental health concerns by not seeking out professionals. Now she has become the latest person to lose their job over a TikTok posting.

“TikTok got me fired” has been trending and Rawls knows all too well. She is no longer working at Grow Well Cleveland following a video she posted on Aug. 13 to her nearly 150,000 followers. In the video, Rawls told Black men to “expand their emotional vocabulary” and stressed that they go to therapy.

“Y’all think b*ches just be talking in ya’ll ear just to be f*ing talking; we don’t. Y’all think b*ches just wanna argue with y’all because y’all refuse to expand your emotional vocabulary; we don’t,” said Rawls, who said her clientele is 90 percent Black men. “It’s to provide clarity for both us and y’all dusty b*ches.”

People started calling her out on Twitter, and in fact, one Tweet included her name and job information. This information was soon picked up by some media outlets which ran with the story.

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But the incident hasn’t made Rawls shy away from posting on social media. She went back online, this time posting a video about being fired and baking one particular media outlet. According to Rawls, as soon as the video went viral she was almost immediately “without employment.” She also said she began to be attacked online.

“It turned into a crusade to attack this Black woman who serves the Black community,” she said.

She said that she no longer has employment because people had to contact “massa.”

She later said, “Y’all attack me for wanting better for y’all.”

Others, however, say it wasn’t the fact that her original video went viral or that it was picked up by the media, but the content of the video that got Rawls pink-slipped.

“This is such a dangerous pop culture articulation of Black male mental health issues” tweeted Dr. Tommy J. Curry, chair of Temple University’s Black Males Studies program. “Pathologizing & speaking down to patients struggling to find words for trauma is not best practice in any literature I have read. This shaming tactic is why many BM don’t pursue therapy.”

“Thread; I see a lot of confusion regarding why this therapist was fired. Here are some considerations – including the APA’s Code of Ethics which she was professionally responsible for adhering,” Crinkle Speaks tweeted.

The American Psychological Association issues an “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.”

According to the APA, “Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm.”

The code of ethics applies only to work-related, professional activities including research, teaching, counseling, psychotherapy, and consulting.


Photo: Therapist Shabree Rawls in a TikTok video. (Photo: TikTok / @unusuallybree)

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