This post is part of a series offering tips for finding culturally sensitive care for your identity or background.
In the mental health field, we know that having the right therapist is essential for therapy to be helpful. So how do you find the right therapist? One thing to look for is a therapist who you feel comfortable talking to–someone who “gets” you. This probably means they understand the things that are unique about you and your life experiences. Most importantly, the right therapist tailors their therapy to better fit your identity, culture, and values. This is called culturally sensitive care.
Black people can have a harder time finding culturally sensitive mental health care. It’s true that therapists from all backgrounds and identities can provide culturally sensitive care. But if you’re Black, it’s going to be easier to find it from a Black therapist. Unfortunately, even though Black people make up around 13% of the US population, only 3% of psychologists and 19% of master’s level social workers identify as Black. This is a huge disparity in the mental health workforce. Luckily, this is changing and now it’s easier than ever for a Black person to find a therapist who shares their identity.
Remember: even when a therapist has the same background as you, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll like working with them. Know your rights as a therapy client! Try out different therapists to see who you click with best and whose style you like. There’s plenty of therapists in the sea. We promise.
Interview your therapist
One way to tell whether a therapist is culturally sensitive is to ask them a few questions before starting therapy. Think of this as a therapist “interview.” It’s normal to have some anxiety or worry about asking these questions. You can ask these questions over the phone, by email, or in person. We recommend trying to interview a potential therapist over the phone so you can hear their voice. If they charge for the first visit, this could also save you money if it turns out they weren’t a good match.
Some sample questions you could ask your therapist include:
- “How would you describe your experience treating clients who share my Black identity?”
- “Describe your knowledge of safety risks related to my identity as a Black person?”
- “What is your practice’s position on the mental health impact of navigating oppression, racism, and racial violence?”
- “What is your practice’s position on the mental health impact of navigating multiple systems of oppression?”
Where to find the right therapist
Here’s a list of places where you can find a therapist who is Black or African American, or at least respects and values that part of your identity. We’ll update this list as we find new sources, so be sure to bookmark this page.
- African American Therapists
- African-American Mental Health Providers
- Ayana Therapy
- Black Emotional and Mental Health
- Black Female Therapists
- Black Men Heal
- Black Mental Health Alliance
- Clinicians for People of Color
- Henry Health
- Inclusive Therapists
- LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color (QTOC)
- Melanin & Mental Health
- National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Open Path Collective
- Psychology Today–Find an African-American Therapist
- Sista Afya
- The Association of Black Psychologists
- The Black Girls Heal Recovery School
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Therapy for Black Men
- Therapy for Queer People of Color
- Whole Brother Mission
You can also search our directory for affordable mental health services that specifically serve Black or African Americans.