Finding a therapist is a lot like looking for love. It takes a few tries before you find the right fit - someone who understands you and appreciates you just as you are. What’s even tougher is finding a culturally sensitive therapist who takes into account your unique background and experiences and how they may have shaped you. America has only about 17% of ethnic minority therapists which means that culturally sensitive therapy is hard to come by. You might think that all therapists are culturally sensitive, but in fact, many are not.
Culturally sensitive therapy understands your background and how your culture affects your experiences with mental health and well-being. It's about making sure a therapist treats their patients with the respect and dignity they deserve, no matter what their culture or background is. It’s not just learning about different cultural practices and norms — but also paying attention to how people feel about the things around them. It's about being aware of how words might impact clients and being mindful of what those words mean to them.
Benefits of culturally sensitive therapy include:
An increased sense of safety and comfort in your relationship with your therapist. You'll feel more empowered and in control which will help your healing process.
A better understanding of yourself and your past experiences will help you make better decisions about your future. Your therapist will be there for you throughout the entire process, guiding you every step of the way and helping you reach successful outcomes.
When you're looking for a therapist, it can be hard to know what to look out for. You want someone who's not just skilled in their field, but also sensitive to the issues that might arise for you in therapy. Here are some tips for finding the right culturally sensitive therapist:
Ask the therapist if they have experience working with people from diverse backgrounds. If not, does their background seem appropriate for the job? Do they have any training in cultural competencies? If not, that could be an issue — but if they do have experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, then maybe this isn't as big of an issue as it seems at first glance.
Look for a therapist who is willing to learn about the cultural background of their clients and client's families. A good therapist will be able to identify what kinds of concerns are important to their clients and how to address them. They will also be able to explain cultural differences in terms that are easy for their clients to understand, so they can better connect on an emotional level with them.
It's helpful if your therapist takes the time to get to know your specific needs and expectations in therapy. For example, if you're looking for someone who understands how being Black affects your life, they should be able to explain why this is so important — and how they plan on helping you work through those issues.
It’s important to gauge if you feel safe opening up to the therapist. How do they speak to you during a consultation? Do they make you feel seen and heard through the things they say? Do they seem indifferent or welcoming of your cultural background? Feeling safe is important because that’s what therapy is about - creating a safe space for you to make sense of your struggles, process them, and heal.
Ask for referrals from people you trust. Most referrals are genuine so if you know BIPOCs who attend therapy, ask them to connect you with their therapists. You may also look at google and website reviews of potential therapists to see what people say about their services. Here at Gabby Cares, we are committed to ensuring that you feel comfortable enough to voice your struggles no matter your cultural background. If you ask around, your referral might lead back to us.
Book your free consultation today.