“Black people don’t go to therapy.”
This is important because we do not take care of our mental health. Many black clients have stated, “I didn’t think I needed therapy. I’m not crazy.” Going to therapy doesn’t mean you’re crazy black people. Therapists can help you process your feelings, and can help you find your missing piece/peace. Many very renowned and respectable therapists, even have a therapist.
After watching this video on social media, I decided to discuss their three 3 reasons why black people do not go to therapy, in comparison to other races.
Therapy is definitely an investment in your life that brings a great return on investment. Mental health treatment can be costly for many. Licensed therapists go through extensive training, supervision, and continuing education to provide clients with advanced professional advice. Some therapists accept insurance, and some communities offer income based services that can be affordable. Mental health wellness should always be seen as a priority.
Some black people think going to therapy means they are crazy. There is an understanding in the black community that “we don’t talk about our business.” This is a very dangerous thought process. Going to therapy does not mean you’re crazy or will be hospitalized. Therapy can help you become more aware of your situation(s) by offering unbiased professional advice, and helping you gain coping skills and accountability. There are some who do not think other races can relate to their issues, stating it’s hard to find other black therapists. Black therapists are under represented in this field, but we exist. There are several non black therapists who provide exceptional service. Choosing a therapist is key. It’s important to choose a therapist who you think you can build a connection with. Not someone who will tell you what you want to hear. A quick internet search can help. Search for therapists in your area, be specific.
Many people in the black community practice some form of religion. The phrase “just pray about it” is used heavily in the black community. Whether someone has lost a loved one, or a job, they’re told to; “just pray about it.” Oftentimes when therapy is discussed, it’s viewed as a something that takes the place of one’s faith or religion. Therapy is not a replacement for religion. Therapy is a tool that can be utilized with religion. Black churches can help by addressing mental health realistically. Research shows that some black churches are addressing mental health issues, and hiring licensed counselors and therapists to help.
As an African American therapist, I understand both sides of these reasons why black people don’t go to therapy, which is why I do what I can to address issues. Everyone who goes to therapy does not have a mental illness. That’s right. Many people attend therapy for maintenance, relationship issues and situations relating to life changes. There are several black people in therapy, however, we must continue having realistic discussions concerning the mental health needs of the African American population and get rid of the stigma.