• Black Therapist

    Are You A Person Of Color In Need Of Mental Health Support?

    Do you suffer from “racial battle fatigue”your body and mind’s natural response to the pervasive mental and emotional distress you endure each day? Are you resentful toward God, yourself, and others? Have you become overly sensitive to your surroundings and perceive hidden dangers because of your ethnicity, race, and culture? 

    As a person of color, you have different life experiences and perspectives than many of your counterparts. The breadth and depth of your trauma and anxiety is indescribable and often times your emotional pain feels unbearable. You may have grown increasingly concerned about your ability to cope with the daily stressors of life.

    Racial Trauma impacts your thoughts, mood, feelings, and behaviors in more ways than you can imagine. This, and other stressors in your life, may be affecting your physical health with conditions such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, higher blood pressure, or even panic attacks.

    You May Not Be Aware How Much Racial Trauma Affects You

    Because you are strong and resilient, you may not realize the full impact of coping with racism, and the ongoing fight for social justice, on your psychological health. Over time, daily microaggressions that occur at work—like inappropriate jokes, hurtful comments, or barriers to advancementhave taken an emotional toll. 

    Maybe over the years, you have learned unhealthy ways of coping with trauma and toxic stress and turned to substances or other unhealthy patterns of behaviorsuch as people-pleasing, workaholism, or toxic relationshipsthat only serve as temporary fixes to mask your unresolved pain.

    Fortunately, seeking treatment with a Black therapist can be a healthy outlet for working through your challenges. Finding a POC therapist who will empathize with your pain, affirm your identity, and remind you that you’re not crazy can make the therapeutic experience more meaningful and productive for you.

    Racism And Social Injustice Negatively Impact Mental Health In Communities Of Color

    Racism is pervasive and plays an intricate role in the mental health of people of color. Research indicates that African Americans are “more likely to suffer from prolonged, chronic, and severely debilitating depression with heavy consequences on their level of daily functioning.” Although not everyone is racistthe world is full of individuals, businesses, and organizations who love and support people of colorwe, as people of color, must acknowledge how the long-lasting negative impact of racism affects our mental health and wellbeing.

    There is no escaping the fact that racial trauma—”the emotional impact of stress related to racism, racial discrimination, and race-related stressors”—contributes to our mental health challenges. In fact, racial trauma can involve threats, injuries, and various types of violence among other events that can lead to the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).2

    The Stigmas We Hold Onto Prevent Us From Receiving Help

    For many Black people and other POC, we don’t see therapy as an option. By seeking help, we fear we may be perceived as weak, out of control, or having a victim’s mentality. And because we have often been raised to be resilient and mistrustful of the mental health industry, therapy in the Black community is often frowned upon. We often feel hopeless, wondering what’s the point of speaking up if it’s not going to change the systemically racist culture in which we live.

    Although improving your mental health cannot eradicate the racism you’re exposed to, working with a Black therapist can minimize the negative effects the resulting trauma has on you. Therapy that is tailored for men and women of color offers tools and resources that can improve your relationships, career, and overall quality of life.  

    Working With A Black Therapist Can Help Validate The Impact Of Racial Trauma 

    As therapists of color, we understand the nuances of the Black experience in today’s America. We can empathize with the daily micro and macro aggressions you encounter. We can also understand how you might internalize the ensuing emotional pain rather than address the cumulative effect of racism on your mental health.  

    Working with a black therapist allows you to establish a genuine connection and receive culturally responsive care from someone who empathizes with your unique experiences and struggles. You can let your guard down and speak honestly about the harsh realities you face every day as a POC. Through increased self-awareness, you will gain spiritual and psychological insights, tools, and resources to help you better cope internally and externally with systemic racism. 

    What To Expect In Sessions

    Our first goal will be to gain your trust and build rapport. Because we have walked in your shoes, an implicit understanding already exists that won’t require further explanation on your part. We also encourage you to take the time to complete all of the required intake documents so we can help you gain clarity around the core issues you want to address.  

    We will take a hard look at every aspect of your lifepast, present, and futurewith the goal of increasing self-awareness of how your experiences have impacted your life. Together we will courageously address unresolved issues in your past so that you can have healthy closure and move on with confidence. 

    If the coping mechanisms you have chosen have been unhealthy, we will help you replace them with more beneficial ones. By offering strategies that foster healthy relationships and empower you to express and advocate for yourself in ways that are safe and non-threatening, you will begin to feel more hopeful and in control of your life and circumstances.

    Further, we will provide you with a safe space to explore your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about racism and people in general. Through this process, you will learn how to regulate your emotions as you identify triggers that may be grounded in racismsuch as non-verbal cues, conversations, news stories, or policies. We will take a multi-ethnic and cultural approach to help you cultivate a healthy support system and discover ways to strategically give back to the community and make things better for the next generation.

    The Modalities We Use

    Our relational, results-oriented approach to counseling integrates spirituality and principles of recovery with current research and best practices in psychology. We utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you identify unhelpful thinking patterns and develop more desirable outcomes in moments of distress. 

    The struggle is real and your lived experience as a person of color is uniquethe pain and suffering you experience is worthy of proper care and attention. You can benefit immensely from working with a Black therapist who empathizes, understands, and supports you. Together we can help you show up each day feeling empowered to live a life of love, freedom, and responsibility to yourself and others. 

    But You May Wonder Whether Choosing A Black Therapist Is Right For You…

    I don’t need a Black Therapist. I believe in God and go to Church—I can pray and ask God to fix it.

    Your faith and spiritual discipline are arguably your most valuable assets and we can build on these strengths. God may be answering your prayers by providing you with a highly trained therapist of color to help you reach new levels of spiritual maturity, emotional stability, and relational health. If your mental health problems are negatively impacting your ability to fulfill daily tasks in your life then you should consider seeking support from someone who is effective in providing therapy for people of color.

    Is POC counseling available both in-person and online—and which is better? 

    While therapy for POC is available online and in person, there are pros and cons to each. Online therapy can be more confidential, convenient, and productive for the client-therapist relationship. Other benefits of online therapy for BIPOC include the ability to screen-share in real-time, longer therapy sessions55 minutes instead of 45and secure messaging. However, if you prefer the human connection of attending sessions with a Black therapist in person, we would be glad to help you with that. 

    Your practice is called Central Valley Christian Counseldo I have to be a Christian to attend therapy with an African American therapist?

    You do not have to be a person of faith or subscribe to Christianity to benefit from the therapy we offer for the Black community. Although we also offer Christian-based therapy, we do not engage in proselytizing. Our commitment is to treat every client with love, dignity, and respect. Providing you with the time and space needed to experience the healing, personal growth, and transformation needed to become a healthier version of yourself is a role we take seriously. 

    The Empathy Of A Black Therapist Can Aid In Your Healing

    As part of the BIPOC community, you deserve therapy where you will be fully heard and validated in your experience. If you would like to find out more about working with a Black therapist, please contact us today.