Keith Wright: Couples Therapist

Published by Joseph Pak on April 27, 2012 at 3:12AM

Harvard men’s basketball center Keith Wright, a former Ivy League Player of the Year and two-time All-Ivy League player has spent much of his Harvard career in the gymnasium working on his array of post moves and more recently, preparing himself to pursue a career in professional basketball. When he’s not in the gym, Wright, a Psychology concentrator in Leverett House, is an avid student looking to become a future couples therapist. We caught up with Wright to ask him a few questions about his aspirations to go into relationship counseling.

The Havard Crimson: So, what has led you to want to become a couples therapist? How long have you wanted to do this?

Keith Wright: I think I had that set in mind that when I entered college it was something that I wanted to do. I wanted to enter psychology, and I didn’t ever waver, and it’s now my concentration. Taking [Psych 1503: The Psychology of Close Relationships] last semester, that kind of sealed the deal for me and [helped me to decide] that [relationship counseling] is something I want to pursue after my basketball career.

THC: Have you ever counseled anyone before and at what point did you realize that you liked counseling people?

KW: My friends come to me and talk to me about stuff that has been going in in their personal lives. A lot of them talk to me about stuff that’s going on with people they’re dating. It’s something that I’ve had happen to me pretty much my whole life. They always seem to listen to my advice, and it seems to work, and I just like to help people.

THC: What separates you from just any random person in terms of relationship advice? Are you qualified to advise people?

KW: I don’t think that I’m more qualified right now, but I think that once my basketball career is over and I go back to school, then I’ll be qualified. Just through my experiences through relationships that I’ve had will help me. People aren’t afraid to talk to me about those things, and I’m not afraid to tell people what they don’t like hearing.

THC: What are the keys to a successful relationship at Harvard?

KW: Communication is definitely key. I think communication is important in any relationship, not just in a relationship here [at Harvard]. Communication with time, understanding that as athletes—and there are some athletes that are dating non-athletes—playing a sport takes up a lot of time. Being able to communicate that will help a relationship out. So just not being afraid to open up and tell whoever you’re with how you really feel [is crucial]. You should be able to talk to whoever you’re with like you’re talking to a friend.

THC: What are the top three important things in a relationship?

KW: I think communication is definitely there. Honesty, when you communicate, you have to be honest. I think also being your own person and not letting the relationship define you and being your own individual are definitely key.

THC: What's the most romantic thing you have ever done?

KW: I think I’m just genuine. If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you I’m an honest guy straight up. I don’t know, I think some girls will find that romantic—someone that’s going to be honest with them—and there aren’t a lot of honest people out there when it comes to that.

THC: There's a cute girl in my section, but I've never really had a real conversation with her. What's my play?

KW: You should have a conversation with her. If your section was yesterday, and if it was really fun or really boring, then it’s easy to start up a conversation because you have something that you guys have in common. Just start up that conversation. You shouldn’t be afraid—after all that and she’s still not interested, you’ve done your job, you’ve done all you can do.

THC: Have you ever had your heart broken before?

KW: Yes, yes I have.

THC: Looking back on past relationships, what would be some relationship advice you would have given yourself?

KW: Just to take every relationship as a learning experience. Don’t look at it as a negative, but try to take something positive out of it. [For example in] a situation when you’re moving away or you guys just fell apart, think about that time you really cared about that person, you really loved them and they really loved you—[at least] you know how it feels to be loved by someone. Some other relationships end because there is no communication. I’ve learned [from those relationships] that it’s important to communicate how I feel before it’s too late. And this might sound kind of cliché, but at the end of the day, there are always other fish in the sea.

THC: Has your mother/family influenced you in any way to want to become a couples therapist?

KW: Yeah, definitely. My mom is someone that has been married twice and then divorced twice, so seeing that, growing up with that is definitely hard. It was definitely hard on my mom and on the family. I just want to have the opportunity to help somebody’s family, to help somebody’s relationship so they don’t have to grow up like I did.

THC: What is your attitude towards salvaging a troubled relationship versus helping a couple break up?

KW: It all depends on the couple. [I think] if the couple is coming to you for guidance, they’re not looking to end things, they’re looking to you to help them in working their relationship out and turning it around. Hopefully I don’t ever have to help a couple separate. [I would like to focus] on helping their relationship instead of ending it.

THC: Are you looking to help people with things like sexual assault/domestic violence within relationships?

KW: If that comes up, you definitely have to help. That’s definitely something that you cannot turn away. I don’t know how often that comes up [in relationship counseling], but if something like that comes up, you have to help that person. I’m definitely open to helping people.

THC: Are you going to counsel for all couples, including gay couples?

KW: I think I’d be willing to do it all. I have a gay uncle in my family, and actually my sister is gay so I’m not opposed to help them there. I think they are normal people like us, with normal relationships and normal problems.