On Instagram I was tagged in a post by @webuyblack regarding “Why Black People Seek Mental Health Counseling” and I was surprised by the comments! I thought the Black community was further along in accepting mental health therapy, but it is not. Here are the common reasons Black people said they don’t seek therapy and here are some answers to the concerns:
- Therapy is too expensive
The biggest problem with the Black community and therapy is they believe they are paying high prices for a simple conversation. In therapy, we are diving into serious concerns within your life that needs healing and change; that is not a simple conversation and it’s not resolved in one session. Therapy like anything else improving your life is an investment; just like paying for that personal trainer to get you right with your health or the summer so is therapy and the results can last longer.
Also, becoming a therapist is not cheap! To become a therapist you need an undergraduate and graduate degree; you are already looking at least 100k in debt right there. Then we have to do an internship requiring 2000 or more at low pay or no pay, followed by taking an exam that costs at least $200. Then you have to PASS and if you don’t you have to repay the fee to take the exam again! Once you pass, they want MORE money to give you a license paper so you can show the world you are in state compliance. Oh, and don’t forget malpractice insurance, continuation units of learning, rent, utilities, and then after all that maintain life bills such as rent, gas, and food. Therapists have to survive too so we have to charge for our services to maintain a roof over our heads and love life. Not to mention, the hundreds and thousands of dollars spent to specialize and do well at our jobs so yes therapy costs!
Therapy can be covered by insurances and you pay a co-pay or you can pay on a cash based which averages $50-$200; many therapists operate on a sliding scale where they base your rate on what you can afford.
2. There aren’t any Black therapists
It is true there aren’t as many Black therapists as there are White therapists but they are out there! As a Black therapist myself 80% of my practice is catered to the Black community and there are many out there like myself. Here are some ways you can find a Black therapist:
Therapy for Black Girls is a directory specifically tailored to the Black female but men are welcomed to explore and find a therapist there as well for free She has therapists listed in pretty much every state; I am in this directory as well.
MelaninandMentalHealth is a directory targeted for the Black and Hispanic community which was created by Eliza Boquin, LMFT and Eboni Harris, LPC, LMFT. This directory as well has clinicians listed in most states and is free consumers.
PsychologyToday is the largest mental health directory where you can find any therapist in your area. You do have to search and find a black therapist but they are there; I am in this directory as well.
MyTruCircle is an online community dedicated to helping individuals and families overcome personal issues through professional therapy in-person or virtually. Founded by an Black entrepreneur Lennie Carter with roots in Brownsville, Brooklyn, allowing the leadership team to use their first-hand knowledge of the effects of substance abuse, violence, and poverty resulting in mental illness. TruCircle enables individuals to share experiences, strategies and inspiration all in complete confidence.
Side Note: There are many Black therapists who specializes in oppression and racial trauma so once again there is no excuse about not going to therapy.
- All I need is Prayer
I’ll be the first one to say “There ain’t nothing wrong with praying” but sometimes that alone is not enough. God places people on this earth to be servants for what he needs to accomplish; this comes in forms of doctors, pastors, and oh therapists! There are many faith based Black therapists that will combine their knowledge and faith in their sessions including prayer. If my clients are comfortable with praying and inviting the Lord into our sessions, then we are making it happen! Yes, we were raised to take all our problems to the altar, God and nothing else and it may seem like our grandparents made it through life without therapy but look at the hurt and pain they transferred to us and now we are passing it to our children. Enough is enough! It’s okay to pray and see a therapist at the same time! Don’t believe me? Check this out!
4.Therapy takes too long
Therapy isn’t a quick fix solution so yes it may take several months to see some change. Your past didn’t happen overnight so don’t expect the healing to be either. In therapy, it’s not just about talking about your problems, it’s also about making changes and working through the problems so you gon’ put some work in. Don’t assume because you weren’t healed in the first session therapy is useless; give it some time!
Tips on finding a therapist:
- If you do call a therapist seeking information and wanting to schedule an appointment but they don’t answer LEAVE A MESSAGE on their voicemail! How can we call you back if we don’t know you called or who you are? If phone messages aren’t your thing, send an email.
- Have an idea of what you would like to talk about in session. We are great at helping you but we aren’t mind readers! Please feel comfortable telling us what is wrong and be truthful because that is the only way we can effectively help you. If you need help on knowing what questions may be asked here is a free worksheet I created to help you prepare for your first session.
- Try it out! Finding the right therapist is all about getting a feel about them so you have to go to the session, if it seems like it isn’t good fit ask for referrals or go on a search again. I know it may seem like extra work but improving your mental wellness is work!