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.
Latino 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 Latino, it’s going to be easier to find it from a Latino therapist. Unfortunately, even though Latino people make up around 18.5% of the US population (and growing), only 7% of psychologists and 9.5% of master’s level social workers identify as Latino. This is a huge disparity in the mental health workforce. Luckily, this is changing and now it’s easier than ever for a Latino 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 Latino identity?”
- “Describe your knowledge of safety risks related to my identity as a Latino 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?”
They have to speak your language
If you’re looking for therapy in a language other than English, things get a little trickier. You’ll have to make sure that you find a therapist that you can communicate with. Most therapists in the US only speak English. Some mental health clinics and therapists use a professional interpreter when they don’t speak their client’s language. The interpreter will likely be over the phone, translating what you and your therapist say to each other. It’s up to you if you are comfortable with having an interpreter in the room with you and your therapist.
Where to find the right therapist
Here’s a list of places where you can find a therapist who is Latino or Hispanic, 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.
- Ayana Therapy
- Clinicians for People of Color
- Henry Health
- LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color (QTOC)
- Melanin & Mental Health
- National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Open Path Collective
- Psychology Today–Find a Hispanic and Latino Therapist
- Therapy for Queer People of Color
You can also search our directory for affordable mental health services that specifically serve Latinos and Hispanics.