Clinical Psychology and Social Justice with Cara Santa Maria

Today it’s great to have Cara Santa Maria on the podcast. Cara is an Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, author, and podcaster. She is a correspondent on National Geographic’s flagship television series Explorer, and she is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria. Cara also co-hosts the popular Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and hosts the new podcast Fixed That for You. Additionally, she co-authored the Skeptics Guide to the Universe book with her podcast co-hosts and is the spokesperson for National Geographic’s Almanac 2019. Cara is a founding member of the Nerd Brigade and cofounded the annual science communication retreat #SciCommCamp.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The importance of studying the good death from a multidisciplinary perspective
  • The challenges working with at-risk adolescent youth
  • What it was like for Cara to shift focus from public science communicator to graduate school
  • Cara’s focus on social justice and diversity within her clinical psychology research
  • How depression and anxiety look different in different cultures and among different languages
  • Barriers to accessibility to studying psychology through a social justice lens
  • Cara’s personal hurdles as a woman in science
  • Cara’s personal experience with Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The real meaning of free speech
  • How #BelieveAllWomen and due process are not diametrically opposed to each other
  • The importance of taking into account base rates when reasoning about the prevalence of sexual abuse
  • The importance of being as unbiased as possible when encountering individuals
  • Balancing #BelieveAllWomen with #NotAllMen
  • The need for a multi-pronged approach to making social change
  • What to do when social justice narratives conflict with the data
  • The importance of existential-humanistic psychology


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