When someone imagines a therapist, the typical image that comes up is that of an older white man or a young white woman. Unfortunately, this is more often accurate than not. A recent study from the American Psychological Association on the demographics of the U.S. psychology workforce between 2005 and 2013 showed that 83.6% of the workforce were white, followed by 5.3% blacks/African Americans, 5.0% Hispanics, and 4.3% Asians, which is considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. workforce. This can be a problem – a diverse pool of therapists is especially important to a diverse client population. Studies have shown that clients whose therapists match their racial and ethnic identity have a greater sense of trust toward their therapist as well as a greater perceived benefit of therapy than those who don’t have similarly matched therapists. While it is important that we all have some degree of cultural competence, there is a special connection and understanding among those from similar communities that simply cannot be replaced.
In order to optimize mental health outcomes with therapy, it is important to find a good fit when it comes to working with a therapist. Jeff Baker, a black therapist from the LGBTQ community and mental health activist, recognizes that his strongest relationships are with some of his black clients, some of his queer clients, and all of his black queer clients. In his post on TeenVogue, he discusses how much one’s identity shapes one’s therapeutic experience, and he has compiled a list of directories of therapists and organizations from minority populations so that clients can find the resources to best meet their needs.
Here are a few directories from his list:
- Asian American Psychological Association
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Psychology Today African American Therapist Directory
- Psychology Today Asian American Therapist Directory
- Psychology Today Latino Therapist Directory
- Psychology Today Native American Therapist Directory
This SOVA blog post was inspired by Jeff Baker’s post on TeenVogue, “52 Mental Health Resources for Disabled People, POC, LGBTQ Folks, and More.” To see the original post and access his full list of culturally specific and general directories, check out his post here.
Do you have a therapist? Are they the same identity as you? If not, do you wish you had a therapist from your same community or culture? How much does identity matter to you when finding a good therapist? Please share your experiences or thoughts below!