For a number of reasons, young people today are incredibly privileged to have access to empathetic and thoughtful therapists. However, for children of South Asian immigrants, it can be awkward at times to bridge the culture gap with a therapist from a different background. Many scenarios South Asian youths want to discuss in therapy are deeply tied to their cultural identity. Therapists can help navigate these experiences, but South Asians often find themselves giving a lot of context and education.
It can be tricky expressing our different cultural norms to someone from a different background. It can be even more difficult to explain the complex emotions of differing cultural expectations. To further complicate matters, South Asian and American identities are often in conflict. It’s a frequent struggle to reconcile competing ideals from each identity.
Given the statistics of the racial demographics of therapists, it can be almost impossible to find a therapist with the exact background as you, and some people may not even want that! The mental health field has made considerable strides in emphasizing cultural humility in practice. At the same time, some may feel like talking to someone who is a “familiar face” can go a long way.
Thanks to the power of social media, there are some resources that can help South Asian youths find therapists from a similar background.
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- South Asian Therapists
- National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN)
While Instagram pages are not a substitute for therapy, they can serve as a nice sense of community
In what ways can therapists be more sensitive to and knowledgeable about the cultural backgrounds of their clients? How has your cultural background influenced your experiences in therapy? Comment below!