About Dr. Thema

Dr. Thema Bryant Davis

  • Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Duke University and her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical Center’s Victims of Violence Program. She then became the Coordinator of the Princeton University SHARE Program, which provides intervention and prevention programming to combat sexual assault, sexual harassment, and harassment based on sexual orientation. She has been a faculty member at Lesley University and California State University, Long Beach. She is currently a tenured professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory. Dr. Thema teaches Trauma in Diverse Populations, Clinical Skills, Social Foundations of Psychology, and Advanced Multicultural Psychology. She has chaired the graduate school’s Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical treatment of research participants and she served as supervisor at the Union Rescue Mission where graduate students provide therapy to persons facing housing insecurity.  
  • Dr. Thema’s clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression. She provides national and international training on trauma recovery for marginalized communities, embodied psychotherapy, spiritual integration in psychotherapy, and liberation psychology. Dr. Thema has been actively engaged with APA over many years. She is a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women and a past APA representative to the United Nations. Dr. Thema was a part of the first APA team to serve at the United Nations and within her tenure she contributed to the APA Resolution on Racism and Racial Discrimination. Dr. Thema also chaired the APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology and served on the Committee on Women in Psychology. 
  • APA honored her for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest in 2013. The California Psychological Association honored her for Distinguished Scientific Achievement in Psychology in 2015.The Institute of Violence, Abuse and Trauma honored her with their media award for the film Psychology of Human Trafficking in 2016, and also with the Donald Fridley Memorial Award for excellence in mentoring in the field of trauma in 2018. The International Division of APA honored her for her International Contributions to the Study of Gender and Women for her work in Africa and the Diaspora in 2020. Dr. Thema is co-editor of the groundbreaking APA book Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies. She also edited Multicultural Feminist Therapy: Helping Adolescent Girls of Color to Thrive. She is a pioneer psychologist on the trauma of racism and gave a 2020 invited keynote address on the topic at the APA Convention. In addition to being a reviewer for several APA journals on the topics of trauma and culture, Dr. Thema served as an Associate Editor for the APA journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Dr. Thema has raised public awareness by giving psychology away beyond the academy and private therapy office and into the community through programming and media engagement, including but not limited to Headline News, National Public Radio, OWN TV, BET, CBS, and CNN.