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So You Need a Therapist Who Identifies As (And Specializes In) Disabled, LGBTQ+, POC, or Religious Minority

This #WorldMentalHealthDay, I posted a social media status about how imperative it is for folks from minoritized communities to support therapists from underrepresented backgrounds – counselors and psychologists who identify as people of color; queer, trans or non-Christian folks; and/or as individuals who have mental illness or other disabilities. Suddenly, I received 12 inbox messages from Facebook friends, all of them inquiring about how to find a therapist. If this doesn’t speak to underrepresentation in the field, I don’t know what does.

Unfortunately, little has changed during the 40 or 50 years since the mental health field first opened its doors and ivory towers to folks besides white men – starting with middle and upper-class white women. A number of professionals in the mental health field, much like many educators in the field, believe that clients from minoritized communities gain no exceptional benefits from working with therapists who share with them a certain identity and community. 

Today, more than any other demographic, white women still dominate the field, constituting upward of 75 percent of therapists and social workers. Correspondingly, a 2013 study found that White Americans comprised 83.6 percent of psychologists, while the representation of Black Americans stood at 5.3 percent, Latinx at 5 percent, and Asian Americans, a mere 4.3 percent. Native Americans were not even accounted for.

I’ve also found no estimates, to date, of the number of LGBTQ therapists, which means that queer, Black therapists like me are essentially erased and invisible. This poses a huge risk for the millions of queer people of color out there, who desperately want and/or need to know if therapists like me even exist.

A number of professionals in the mental health field, much like many educators in the field, believe that clients from minoritized communities gain no exceptional benefits from working with therapists who share with them a certain identity and community. Yet, research on race-matching suggests that for some clients, sharing a minoritized identity with a therapist may reduce guardedness, mistrust, and self-consciousness. The converse idea – that representation is only surface-deep – isn’t backed by any evidence, and is quite frankly rooted in greed.

People deserve to have their needs met. Simple as that. So, my professional ethics and integrity mean that I never let clients settle for a therapist who isn’t a good fit, including myself, possibly.

Still, I felt compelled to raise awareness about the overlooked issue of minority therapists needing support. Institutionalized bias often drives us into private practice, but we also experience discrimination in the competitive race of the Psychology Today job market. Oftentimes, without any reciprocity from the communities we aim to serve and advocate for, we can’t get our businesses off the ground or claim our stake in the field. Moreover, when our communities don’t know how and where to find us, the potentially mutual benefit that could happen, can’t happen.

Enter: this directory of directories.

Please feel free to share this resource guide with others who may need it. I hope that it answers the many questions that I’ve received. For more culturally relevant information on how to navigate the mental health system and tips on how to find a therapist, you can check out “Therapists for Women of Color and Queer People: How to Find One,” follow me on Twitter @Fight4TheYouth, or visit my website, jeffbaker.org.

Sending light and love,

Jeff Baker, M.Phil.Ed.

 

Culturally Specific Directories/Search Engines

AfricanAmericanTherapists.com

African American Mental Health Providers

Asian American Psychological Association

Association of Black Psychologists Directory

Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network

A3PCON DACA Mental Health Project

Bay Area Muslim Therapists

Black Mental Health Directory

Therapy for Black Girls

Black Therapists Rock

#BlackCreatives Black Mental Health Resources List

Deaf Counseling Center

Ethnic Counselors

Gaylesta: The Psychotherapy Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity

The Jewish Board

LatinxTherapy

LGBTQ-Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild of Utah

LGBT-Affirming Therapist Guild

LGBTQ+ Therapist Network

LGBTQ Therapist Resource

I-am Shakti

Melanin Mental Health Therapy

MentalHealth4Muslims

Muslim Mental Health

Muslim Wellness Foundation

National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse

National Association of the Deaf

National Deaf Therapy

National Jewish Health

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

OURSELVES BLACK DIRECTORY

Psychology Today African American Therapist Directory

* In the Psychology Today directory, you’ll see that therapists of diverse backgrounds may appear in search results, even after filtering for specific cultural groups. That’s because the system lists cultural groups as skills, not the identity of therapists. Use discretion, but don’t lose morale. The Psychology Today directory is arguably the most cohesive and robust therapist directory. You’re able to filter by counseling issues, cultural issues, psychological disorders, and even insurance plans and virtual therapy providers; and you’ll also be able to view each therapist’s credentials, and sometimes even their fees.

Psychology Today Asian American Therapist Directory

Psychology Today Latino Therapist Directory

Psychology Today Native American Therapist Directory

New York Association of Black Psychologists

The Safe Place App

Society of Indian (Native American) Psychologists

General Directories/Search Engines

American Psychological Association

*Be sure to check the psychological association for the state in which you reside (e.g. New Jersey Psychological Association).

GoodTherapy

MentalHelp

MyTherapistMatch

National Board for Certified Counselors

National Directory of Marriage and Family Counseling

NetworkTherapy.com

OnlineCounseling.com

PsychCentral

PsychDirectory

TalkToIVY

TalkSpace

The Therapists Directory

Theravive

TherapistLocator

TherapySquare

TherapyTribe

Image via Getty


Jeff Baker

Jeff Baker is a Black, genderqueer activist, educator, therapist, and writer. Jeff received a M.Phil.Ed. in Professional Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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