Dr. Reshale Thomas

by Terry Watson | September 20th, 2021
Dr. Reshale Thomas

Dr. Reshale Thomas

By definition, “Allay” (pronounced Uh-lay) means to soothe or diminish worry or fear. For Dr. Reshale Thomas, ensuring this is her primary objective as she leads the way at Allay Psychological Services in Fresno, CA.

Allay Psychological Services was founded in June 2018 and is one of only a handful of Black woman-owned psychologist private practices in the Fresno area. Located in the heart of downtown Fresno, Allay provides high-quality mental health care and strives to reduce stigma toward mental illness and treatment. They also focus on health and wellness and increasing the quality of life in the Fresno community.

Dr. Thomas is a licensed clinical psychologist. She completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in piano performance at Fresno Pacific University. Dr. Thomas went on to Fuller Theological Seminary — Graduate School of Psychology and earned her Master of Arts in Psychology in 2012 and Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry (MATM) in Spring of 2015. Not to stop there, she earned her Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) in the fall of 2015.

Dr. Thomas has worked and trained in some of the most underserved communities in Southern California, including El Monte, Watts, the Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, and the Los Angeles Mission on Skid Row. Her training culminated at Philhaven Behavioral Health in Central Pennsylvania. Dr. Thomas’ areas of research and expertise include substance abuse, trauma, resilience, poverty, multicultural issues, spirituality and health, creative arts and wellness, program planning, development, evaluation, and integrated medical and behavioral health care.

While Dr. Thomas is the founder and owner of Allay, the practice’s success is made possible with the help and dedication of three phenomenal employees, Sandy, Regina, and Charles. Its mission is to create safe spaces for people to experience health, healing, and hope. With the help of Reggie, who volunteers, Allay can meet the needs of all its clients.

Allay is committed to enhancing the quality of life in our community through three main objectives: Training, Education & Mentorship of Prospective/Early Career Psychologists, Community Engagement, and Service to Underserved and Underrepresented Populations. In further detail, Dr. Thomas explains, “By utilizing training, education, and mentorship, engaging with our community, we are helping to create a better world by reducing stigma toward mental health challenges and necessary treatment. Our clients leave our office with a greater sense of hope and belief they can nurture the resilience necessary to face life’s toughest challenges, whether in a difficult work or school environment, interpersonal relationships, out-of-home placements, or dealing with aging and chronic illness issues. We can accomplish this by using up-to-date, evidence-based interventions to treat a wide range of mental health conditions and behavioral challenges. Our guiding vision is that everyone in our care experiences the healing, health, and hope they deserve.”

Dr. Thomas shares, “The demand for Allay’s services is often more than our team can keep up with. That means that sometimes I am the janitor, errand woman, secretary, or any other role that I can reasonably fill if the work needs to be done.

As a licensed clinician, Dr. Thomas works with individuals and families from all backgrounds and walks of life to address depression, anxiety, grief, difficult life transitions, aging, and trauma. Dr. Thomas brings a warm, nonjudgmental presence to the therapeutic process. Her clients enjoy her sense of humor and ability to draw from multiple treatment modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, coping skills training, and interpersonal therapy.

“I grew up in an area wherein mental health challenges were not openly talked about,” Dr. Thomas shares. “I initially wanted to pursue a career as a medical doctor. Still, as I watched people struggle with mental health challenges, often suffering in silence, I decided there was another way to aid people in their journeys toward being whole. Becoming a psychologist was a dream, but starting and owning my own business was not initially a part of that plan. Allay was born out of the very real feelings of worry and fear I experienced as a young, Black female doctor. I live in a conservative area that lacks proper access to mental health services, so there were very few job opportunities available for psychologists. Moreover, being a Black doctor in the workplace had its own set of challenges. After two years into my career, I decided to start my practice for myself and other prospective African American psychologists (women, in particular) who might have trouble finding adequate opportunities.”

Why does Dr. Thomas love what she does so much? It has little to do with her connection to music. “I am a musician at heart, and I love hearing different parts of a piece that can be improvised or even reharmonized. In music, you don’t have to start from scratch or create something from nothing to be great—you can work with whatever you have right in front of you and make it into a hit. As music is resilient, I often think of the therapeutic process in the same way. People get to have their stories—whatever it is, we can keep it. We don’t have to throw anything out, and whatever isn’t working can be rewritten and rearranged into something better and more useful,” she says.

In the future, Dr. Thomas plans to expand her practice and offer more opportunities for both her clients and employees. “In the next year, I’d like to hire more clinical and administrative employees and expand into the adjacent office suite. I’d like to continue that expansion to satellite sites across the city in the next five years. In the next 10 to 15 years, I’d like for Allay to be a household name and one of the top three providers of mental health services in the area,” she says.

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