A recent study found that black people were more likely to suffer from cultural mistrust, get psychologically misdiagnosed, are less likely to attend therapy, and more likely to terminate therapy prematurely, then their white counterparts (Omari, 2019). However, according to the American Psychological Association (2011), psychotherapy is a very effective form of treatment, when administered correctly. For this reason, it is important for black people to know how to access a therapist so they can have better results.
Here are a few tips to assist you:
Get clear on what you hope to achieve out of therapy. Initially, it’s not expected that you will have every single goal in mind for what you want to achieve, but you should have a general idea. For instance, if you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, you will likely be looking for grief therapy. If you are having problems connecting with your significant other, you will require marriage and family therapy. Again, it’s not important to know with 100% certainty what your goals are before you begin therapy, but it is important to know what type of therapy you will need so that you can connect with an appropriate therapist that will help you to get clear on your specific goals.
Identify a location where you can access therapists. Therapist can be found in many places, but some of the most common ones include on directories, through Google searches, through your insurance providers, and word-of-mouth. Some therapists may even be affiliated with your church, or your church may have a therapist that they refer to. In a nutshell, therapist are everywhere, but you have to be willing to look for them to find the one for you.
Confirm that your therapist has experiences in what you were looking for. I recommend identifying 3 to 5 therapist that you would like to review more thoroughly. Look at their pictures. Read their biographies and personal statements. Do either of these appeal to you? If not, keep moving until you find 3 to 5 that do. If you get a referral from a trusted professional, family member, or friends, definitely include them because “like attracts like”. If someone that you are already affiliated with endorses your therapist, there’s a high likelihood that you will endorse them as well.
Contact the therapist. Therapist typically provide the means to contact them along with other information that you find from them on the Internet. This is usually done by either telephone or email. If your therapist does not contact you back right away, don’t get discouraged as your best therapists are typically seeing clients during the day. A therapist who is compassionate about their work, will respond to you even if it takes some time to do so. If they’re unable to book you, there’s a huge likelihood that they are well-connected in the community and can make a referral on your behalf.
Ask the therapist your questions. Some of the questions that you want to ask include how they plan to help you, where they have been trained, how long does treatment normally last, if they have any specialties that might be able to assist you, and what is it like to work with them.? While I don’t think that this should be the first question you ask, it’s also important to make sure that you know about their financial expectations. It’s important to be clear on whether or not insurance will pay for your sessions or if you’re expected to pay out-of-pocket.
Book the first session. There’s no point in doing all of this work, if you don’t intend to follow-through. In your first session, you need to identify and be clear on the policies and procedures of working with the therapist. Here, you also set goals and begin your assessment. Be honest with your therapist and set clear expectations for what you expect along with reading your therapist policies and procedures. If something does not feel right, be clear about whether or not it’s because you feel uncomfortable due to the subject matter or if it is not a good therapist/client match. Have an open mind and be honest with your therapist no matter how difficult it gets.
Finding a therapist is hard. Hopefully this will make it a little bit easier. If you are looking for a black marriage and family therapist, please search our directory now.