"The blacksmith in times of antiquity was the person who could fix anything, or make anything for the community," says Dr. Ramel Smith, a Milwaukee psychologist whose private practice is called BLAQUESMITH Psychological Consultative Services. "The blacksmith could fix anything, and so I tried to look at myself as an emotional blacksmith for the community."
Smith's work has touched practically every strata of Milwaukee communities, from his efforts to help local children, to working with incarcerated people. He says working with prisoners has been a learning experience which has allowed him to work with people from all walks of life.
"People always say, 'Well, how was it working at a prison or a correctional institution,' and I say, 'For me, obviously you don't like to see people in those situations,'" he says. "But that's when you get to see people at a humble point but their ears are open, their eyes are open. They're willing to listen, they're willing to learn."
Dr. Smith's most high-profile job is most-likely with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he serves as the team psychologist. Smith says he strives to make genuine connections with the players, who often crave more normal relationships.
"A professional athlete, a professional entertainer is a person just like you and I. Sometimes we put people on pedestals and we make them something that they're not, meaning super human. So when you get to a person specifically within a professional realm, what they look for is somebody who can care about them organically and authentically," says Smith.