Why Is A Culturally Responsible Therapy Experience Important?
Updated: Mar 2
Despite it being 2023, our world still has a lot of issues. Within the past year, the news has been filled with stories about the loss of innocent black lives, police brutality, questioning same-sex marriage, and revoking women’s rights. Our world seems to be taking 3 steps forward and two steps back. Despite positive changes being made in the past, some of these topics are still being questioned.
Thankfully, mental health is becoming a more prominent topic in today’s world. But people aren’t just looking for someone to talk to or to listen to them. They’re searching for someone who understands and can help them navigate what they’re going through. This is why a culturally responsible therapy experience is important.
What Does it Mean to be Culturally Responsible?
So, what does it actually mean to be culturally responsible, especially when it comes to the world of therapy? Each person has their own beliefs, culture, values, and history. There’s not one single therapist out there that will be able to speak to what every single one of their clients is going through on a personal level. A therapist who is culturally responsible is able to acknowledge certain differences like culture between themselves and their clients. Therapists who are culturally responsible are able to better understand each of their clients’ backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities. Incorporating this learning in their therapy practice allows them to speak to clients who have different attitudes, opinions, and values.
Why is This Important During Therapy?
A culturally responsible therapy experience is extremely important, especially when it comes to meeting the therapy needs of marginalized communities – like people of color.
Everyone Needs Access to Mental Health Care
There is often a cultural stigma to seeking therapy. Seeking therapy is often seen as a sign of weakness. On top of that, people of color don’t have access to a lot of therapists that are also a person of color. When there are more culturally responsible therapists, it changes the way that healthcare clients and providers perceive mental health disorders as well as changing the way clients think and act toward healthcare professionals.
Creates a Better and Higher Quality Relationship Between the Client and the Therapist
Therapists who are culturally responsible are able to improve the relationships between themselves and their clients. Being culturally responsible is as simple as making a client feel safe and secure. When clients feel more comfortable and understood, they’re more likely to trust their therapist and the treatment process.
Helps to Overcome Challenges that Marginalized Groups Face
No matter what your community or culture is, there’s a good chance that you want what everyone else wants: to be emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually happy and healthy. When it comes to marginalized groups, it can be difficult to determine what that actually looks like due to the stigmas surrounding mental health. When therapists and clients are able to work together, they can work to overcome and improve the challenges that some of these marginalized groups are facing.
How to Find a Culturally Responsible Therapist?
Everyone who starts therapy should determine what they’re looking for in a therapist before starting treatment. Finding a therapist can often feel like dating someone. You need to have some type of idea of what you’re looking for, test a few out, and determine what type of therapy and what type of therapist works best for you, your wants, needs, and goals.
Make a list of what you’re looking for and don’t settle for anything less. Take the time to research different therapists online. Schedule an initial phone consultation and address and questions or concerns you may have to ensure you’re on the same page.
If you’re interested in learning more about why we value culturally responsible therapists in our practice, reach out to us today to set up a consultation with a BIPOC Therapist or one of our other culturally competent therapists.