- When searching for a health care provider, we consider education, years of experience, customer reviews… and perhaps whether or not that person is like us.
- For certain individuals, this last consideration can be an important one: Specifically for those in marginalized communities searching for a provider who truly understands what it’s like to be a person of color.
- We might also weigh gender and age or look for a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ and/or neurodiverse communities — why? We want to work with a provider we can relate to and trust, and sometimes that means finding one who shares personal life experiences.
- Needless to say, diversity and representation in counseling are essential; therefore, we hire clinicians with diverse backgrounds, experience (professional and personal), and specialties. And we’re always looking to add more diverse members to our team.
- It’s important to know that your counselor or psychiatrist does not have to share your background or life experiences in order to help you. Finding the right provider comes down to finding a provider you feel you can trust and work well with.
Think back to a time when you were “online shopping” for a new health care provider — be it a counselor, a primary care doctor, or a specialist. What did you look for? Who did you gravitate toward? Who did you trust?
You likely perused their education, years of experience, and customer reviews. But your assessment didn’t stop there. In fact, it probably started with their headshot. A photo of someone provides us with immediate information (whether accurate or not), which prompts judgments about their competence, trustworthiness, overall personality… and whether or not that person is like us.
Our appearance isn’t a telltale sign of who we are or what we’re like. But for certain individuals, one’s appearance may be an important consideration when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. Specifically, for those in marginalized communities searching for a provider who understands what it’s like to be… Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, or another person of color.
And considerations don’t stop there. Many of us also weigh a provider’s gender and age: A woman might prefer to work with another woman (who, again, gets what it’s like to be a woman and truly understands female-specific challenges), and a middle-aged individual might rather work with a provider who is of equal or older age for the same reasoning. Similarly, someone might look for a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ and/or neurodiverse communities.
This is especially true for those of us seeking mental health care. We want to work with mental health professionals we can relate to and trust — and, most importantly, who are positioned to truly help us. Sometimes, that means working with a provider who shares personal life experiences related to our race, gender identity, age, religion, etc. Needless to say: diversity and representation in counseling are essential.
Why Are Diversity and Representation at Thriveworks Important?
Diversity and representation aren’t just important at Thriveworks — they’re essential if we are to achieve our mission of helping people live happy, successful lives. We must continue to improve access to quality mental health care, and we recognize that a diversified clinical team is crucial to providing our clients with the help they’re looking for.
Therefore, we have clinicians with diverse backgrounds, professional and personal experience, and specialties (and we’re always looking to add more to our team). We have clinicians of varying races, ethnicities, and cultures. We have bilingual clinicians. We have clinicians of different ages and genders. We have clinicians who belong to the LGBTQ+ and/or neurodiverse communities. We have clinicians who have struggled with mental health challenges themselves.
We have clinicians who specialize in helping those with depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, addiction, and a plethora of other mental health challenges. We have clinicians who offer faith-based counseling. We have clinicians who utilize strength-based counseling, solution-focused brief therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and other evidence-based techniques. We have clinicians who can prescribe medication when needed.
We have clinicians who are uniquely qualified to work with an array of clients. We have clinicians who know how to help — not just from professional but personal experience. And we’re always looking to add more diverse members to our team so we can better serve you.
Diverse Perspectives: Connecting Through Experience
It’s normal to feel out of place — in the world as a whole and in starting your counseling journey. But you can find comfort in knowing that we likely have counselors or psychiatrists who have been in your shoes. While your stories aren’t just alike, you’ve endured similar challenges and experiences that shaped who you are today. As a result, you get each other, and your provider is able to offer the compassionate care you’re looking for.
Here are a handful of anecdotes from Thriveworks providers who would love the chance to get to know you and work with you:
“As a proud gay Latino immigrant, I acknowledge and foster the importance of multiple dimensions that shape our identity and connections.” – Oscar Flores, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
“As a young professional, I understand the younger generation’s culture today and some of the unique struggles they may be facing.” – Shannon Ritchie, Supervisee in Counseling
“As an African-American woman who comes from an immigrant family, I understand the need of mental health treatment within the community as it relates to depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment and relational issues, and loss.” – Bria Moore, Resident in Counseling
“As a woman of color who has experienced a plethora of medical issues, I understand the difficulties that come with exploration of the self and building the skills to cope with such a major life event.” – Chelsea Lightbourn, Licensed Professional Counselor
“As a heterosexual middle-aged man of color I feel that we all should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, age, sex, or sexual identity.” – Roderick Mills, Licensed Clinical Therapist
“Having been a first responder, I understand the unique issues and traumatic experiences that often go with police, fire, and military service.” – Laurel Custer, Licensed Independent Social Worker
“As a combat veteran, I realize the unique perspective of veterans, their families, and culture.” – Nicholas Fulks, Licensed Independent Social Worker
“As an immigrant from West Africa, I have endured a lot of trauma. My goal is to reach the immigrant population who are less likely to seek mental health treatment because they lack trust and believe professional mental health treatment is non-existent.” – Kadijatu Barrie, Resident in Counseling
“As someone who has been through the therapy process herself, I understand how difficult it can be to open up to someone when trying something new.” – Ashley Bass, Resident in Counseling
“As a person who never felt like she fit into the mold, I understand what it means to feel like you don’t belong, but maybe you weren’t meant to conform to societal norms.” – Silviana Capra, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
“As a recovering alcoholic, I understand many difficulties that one experiences and have a passion to help.” – Brian Ede, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“As a first-generation, queer, Black person, I understand the obstacles and intricacies to seeking out support for one’s mental health.” – Gahensha Pinckombe, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
“As a clinician living a life of recovery, I can understand and connect with my clients who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.” – Benjamin Lieberman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“As a Christian woman of color, I would like to challenge the stigma and cultural myths associated with certain religious groups and with people of color that discourage engagement in mental health treatment.” – Angela Ricketts Murray, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“As a young adult woman, I understand the stresses of managing work, relationships, and personal life.” – Julianne Lamb, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“As a Chinese American woman who moved to the US in my teenage years, I understand the stress and anxieties to navigate changes in life and to overcome the many demands of our complex world.” – Jane Song, Resident in Counseling
“As a Christian and Naturopath, I understand the need to approach therapy from a holistic and faith-based perspective.” – Charisse Staine, Licensed Professional Counselor
Finding the Right Provider at Thriveworks
It’s important to know that your counselor or psychiatrist does not have to share your background or life experiences in order to help you. In fact, you can succeed in counseling or psychiatry with a provider who is the complete opposite of you! In these instances, empathy (something mental health providers are well attuned to) can bridge the gaps and pave the way for success. Finding the right provider comes down to finding a provider you feel you can trust and work well with.
If you’d like to begin counseling or psychiatry at Thriveworks, you can call (855) 484-7483. Our support team would be happy to help you find a provider who meets your needs and preferences. Or, you can browse our providers — including their experience, background, expertise, and specialties — and schedule an appointment online here.