Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, Ph.D. is a polymath who utilizes psychology, writing, and dance to help others heal and thrive. As a Black same-gender-loving cisgender man born into a family of low socioeconomic status in Augusta, Georgia, he intimately knows the necessity of self-revelation, resistance, and resilience to achieve transcendence. This understanding is a constant driving force in his work as a licensed clinical psychologist, educator, author, and choreographer. These roles allow him to fulfill his mission of aiding others in cultivating deeper insight into themselves, centering their experiences, and flourishing in their purposes.
noun: polymath; plural noun: polymaths
· a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.
Considered a leading expert on Black LGBT health and Intersectional Afrocentric Psychology, national media outlets such as Blavity, The Chicago Defender, and Lambda Literary have documented Dr. Lassiter’s expertise and passion for facilitating healing in others.
What sets Dr. Lassiter apart from other scholars and public intellectuals is that he has both empathy born of his personal experience navigating identity and mental health as well as expertise as a trained healthcare provider developed through countless hours of delivering mental health services and education.
For Dr. Lassiter, psychology, first and foremost, is the study of the human spirit. He uses his education and expertise in service of helping others conduct this exploration in the classroom, the psychotherapy room, and beyond. He is currently Assistant Professor of Psychology at Muhlenberg College and Visiting Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Earning his doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in clinical health psychology in 2014 and completing his National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded postdoctoral fellowship in 2016, Dr. Lassiter specializes in clinical health psychology, Afrocentric psychology, spirituality, and social justice. He is trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness interventions and has a special passion for integrating Afrocentric principles such as harmony, spirituality, and rhythm in his clinical interventions. He has provided psychotherapy and psychological assessments to clients in medical centers across the country including Alameda County Medical Center, Harlem Hospital, and the Indianapolis VA Medical Center. Clinical issues addressed include helping clients cope with and minimize the impact of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, chronic illness, identity conflicts, addiction, and other life stressors.
Dr. Lassiter specializes in clinical health psychology, Afrocentric psychology, spirituality, and social justice.
Out of his desire for understanding the human spirit, comes his passion for sharing those discoveries with others, which is accomplished through his writing. Dr. Lassiter is the award-winning co-editor of the first and only text to focus solely on Black LGBT American's holistic health: Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (co-edited with Dr. Lourdes D. Follins; published in 2017). This book received the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's Achievement Award for its groundbreaking empirical analysis of the interplay of Black LGBT people’s strengths and struggles in the midst of transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, racism, and class oppression. He is currently at work on his first sole-authored book that will explore contemporary issues of race and mental health in the United States.
…award-winning co-editor of the first and only text to focus solely on Black LGBT American's holistic health…
Dr. Lassiter has published several peer-reviewed articles in prestigious academic journals such as Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. His work has been funded by several NIH grants and institutional awards. Dr. Lassiter’s scientific studies utilize online survey and community-based participatory research methodologies along with quantitative and qualitative data analysis. His studies query the relationships between spirituality and other resilience factors and the health outcomes of people who currently experience and have historically been subjected to societal oppression. He was also the founding Chair of the LGBT Rights Department at Hampton Institute: A Working Class Think Tank. He held the position from 2013 to 2015, contributing and editing essays that explored topics such as whiteness in psychology, homelessness among transgender people, and racism within LGBT communities.
Aligned with his curiosity about spirit and love for expression, dance has been a method of achieving spiritual alignment and engaging in emotional communication since Dr. Lassiter’s early childhood. While his dance and choreographic work was initiated in the dance studio and on the concert stage, he now integrates it into his social scientific research. Dr. Lassiter is currently collecting movement data to understand the ways in which collective self-esteem is embodied and non-verbally expressed by Black LGBT people. Trained in contemporary modern dance, ballet, African dance, Hip-Hop, jazz, and dance composition, his choreographic work has been showcased most notably in New York City at such venues as the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, and Triskelion Arts. He co-founded (along with Elan Bass) Psychosomatic Dance and served as its co-Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer from 2013 to 2016. A major accomplishment was being selected as an Emerging Choreographer by Ronald K. Brown of Evidence Dance to participate in the National Choreography Intensive. Similarly, Elisa Monte and Tiffany Rea-Fisher of Elisa Monte Dance selected Dr. Lassiter to participate in their annual Winter CREATIVE TOOLS Choreographers Symposium.
While his dance and choreographic work was initiated in the dance studio and on the concert stage, he now integrates it into his social scientific research.
As a sought-after speaker, Dr. Lassiter shares his unique experiences and expertise with others across the country. He has given keynotes, invited lectures and workshops, and panel contributions at venues such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Johns Hopkins University, Winston-Salem University, the Opportunity Conference, Ruth Ellis Health and Wellness Center, and George Washington University. He delights in engaging audiences in exercises of deep thought and feeling about issues related to mental health, intersectionality, Black communities, LGBT health, and wellness. He is currently represented by CCMNT Speakers.
He delights in engaging audiences in exercises of deep thought and feeling…
Born into a lineage of beautiful and resilient people who have forged lives of integrity and genius in the midst of forces that seek to destroy them, Dr. Lassiter continues in the tradition of his (s)heroes: his parents, Denmark Vesey, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Linda James Myers, and Jay-Z. He works to uplift the voices of the marginalized, facilitate empowerment of the exploited, and dismantle the status quo. Psychology, writing, and dance are the methods Dr. Lassiter employs toward these aims.