How to find a Black therapist near you
By Lisa Savage | Nov 23, 2020
You finally decided that it’s time to do the work. You’ve been carrying the burden of your life’s experiences, and you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Perhaps you want to tackle your self-esteem issues or get a better understanding of why you continue to pick the same type of love interest. It’s time to take that first step and find a therapist. You know that you’d like to see a therapist who understands you, gets the nuances of your culture, and one you won’t have to educate about your life as a Black person.
Let’s start with identifying what skills you need in a therapist. Often, this depends on what issues you find most pressing. Think about –what keeps you up at night? What is your greatest struggle? What would make your life easier? What’s something that you’ve had a hard time letting go of?
Depending on your answer to these questions, you will want to find a therapist specializing in the concerns that trouble you the most. You might not realize this, but some Black therapists specialize in a variety of issues. I’m sure by now you’re heard a lot of therapies such as trauma treatment, CBT, EMDR, etc. I’m going to explain some of these to help you understand what might best meet your needs.
Trauma training: Trauma is a general term used to describe negative and harmful childhood or adulthood experiences. Some examples of trauma are—childhood abuse, witnessing violence in your home or community, a significant loss, a natural disaster. If trauma isn’t adequately addressed, it lingers in the body and mind. It can cause anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and other difficulties.
Many Black therapists specialize in treating trauma. They could use EMDR (eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing), Brain Spotting, Dialectical behavioral therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy. These techniques can be used with children as well, depending on their age.
What if you’re having relationship difficulties? You might decide to do your therapy first and then invite your partner. Find a therapist who says they specialize in relationship difficulties. Additionally, they could have training in different techniques such as Gottman or Emotionally focused therapy. Please note there are many types of training for couples, so be sure to ask.
Are you experiencing sexual difficulties? If so, you should seek a therapist who is a trained sex therapist. More Black therapists have this expertise, so it shouldn’t be challenging to find one near you.
What if you have anxiety, depression, or both? Most therapists have lots of experience treating these disorders. They can teach you ways to find lasting relief.
So how do you find these fantastic Black therapists? The first thing to do is to ask in your circle for a recommendation. Try not to be ashamed. Let’s normalize seeking help! If that doesn’t work, find an online directory such as www.cliniciansofcolor.org. There are lots of Black therapists who specialize.
Read the profiles and select the one who seems to speak to you. Keep in mind that during the pandemic, most therapists are working virtually. You can either reach out by email or call their office. It’s reasonable to expect a call within 24 hours.
If you plan to use insurance, that should be one of your first questions. Even if the therapist doesn’t accept your plan, there may be ways to work around it. You might also decide to pay out of pocket because you feel confident the therapist can help you.
During the initial phone call, the therapist will ask you questions to make sure they are a good fit. If all goes well, you are set to make your first appointment.