Marietta, GA—Counseling for the African American Community
An unfortunate social stigma often inhibits people from seeking the mental health care they need, but what is even more unfortunate is that some feel this stigma more acutely than others. A 2010 study discovered that African Americans receive mental health care from a counselor or therapist at half the rate that Caucasians do. Another study, conducted in 2008, surveyed African Americans who participated in therapy. One third of participants said their own family members and friends would see their symptoms of anxiety or depression as “crazy.” The African American community has many reasons not to trust a health care system, in light of past abuses, and many within the community see going to therapy as airing dirty laundry. These are just a few of the many factors that can make it more challenging for African Americans to receive the therapy or counseling they need; however, attitudes are changing according to more recent studies. African Americans are currently seeking mental health care at increasing rates.
The Washington Post explained the trend. They chronicled Jinneh’s story their 2013 article, “Therapists say African Americans are increasingly seeking help for mental illness.” Jinneh’s mother passed away when she was a teenager, sending her into a deep depression. Jinneh was prescribed as an antidepressant, but her community advised her not to fill the prescription. Four years later, Jinneh was in college, still struggling with depression. A friend convinced her to begin therapy again and take her medication. Jinneh’s depression lifted, and she is now telling her story to others.
And others are experiencing similar care that Jinneh did. Her experience is very much a piece of a larger trend. Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist in private practice said, “I’ve seen an increasing number of African Americans who feel increasingly less stigmatized about coming in and seeking therapy and who also recognize the healing power of therapy.” Dr. Gardere recounts how, over the past ten years, he has seen an increase in African American clients at the rate of 20-25 percent.
This trend may be fueled by a variety of factors, including increased awareness about mental health and increased access to mental health care. Another factor may be an increasing sensitivity within the mental health care profession about what kind of support African Americans need in therapy. The staff at Thriveworks Marietta seeks to offer therapy that accounts for these needs. We provide counseling for African Americans.
Family, Community, Religion, and Therapists: A Community Effort
Community and religious support is a rich aspect of African American culture. Unfortunately, the mental health community has not always aligned itself with these other forms of support. Thankfully, these hurtful attitudes within the mental health community are changing. The professionals at Thriveworks Marietta understand that good mental health care requires a community effort. Our staff wants to work with their clients’ community—not against it. We know that many clients receive vital care from family members, religious leaders, and friends.
African American communities can provide support for individuals in ways that mental health professionals cannot. Mental health professionals can care for individuals in other ways that their community cannot. We are all on the same team, working toward the same goal.
Another vital aspect of therapy is trust. Many abuses by the US medical system throughout history have given African Americans many reasons to be skeptical of therapy. In addition, many people are unfamiliar what mental health care looks like. Establishing trust takes times and trustworthy behavior. A peek into what mental health care involves may help as well.
When clients begin therapy at Thriveworks Marietta, they receive individualized treatment. Clients often set the pace and goals for counseling. Therapists work hard to establish safety within the relationship. Everyone needs a place where they can share their setbacks and challenges, their traumas and wounds, their joys and hopes. Many people find therapy to be that safe place.
A big piece of safety is respecting a client’s cultural context—in particular, their ethnicity. Some counselors may advocate for a colorblind approach that does not recognize the realities of an individual’s race. Context matters, however. Race matters. The issues that prompt an African American to seek therapy may involve their race, and these clients need the freedom to speak freely. Further, the therapist’s race matters. The staff at Thriveworks Marietta work hard to acknowledge their own bias and cultural background. We are dedicated to empathy, trust, and respect within the counseling relationship.
When therapists prove their trustworthiness, clients often feel comfortable sharing more and more. Many African American clients have decided to address major issues in their lives, including…
- Career advancement
- Grief counseling
- Racial trauma
- Child therapy
- Sexual identity issues
- Anger management
- Substance use
- Executive coaching
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suspected abuse of a child
- Job loss
- Psychiatric testing
- Couples and marriage counseling
Setting Up Therapy at Thriveworks Marietta, GA
What is happening in your life right now? If you are considering therapy, Thriveworks Marietta wants to support you on that journey. If you reach out to Thriveworks Marietta, we want you to feel care for from the moment you dial our number. When you call for an appointment, a real person will answer (not a voicemail) and help you set up an appointment. You may have our first appointment within 24 hours. Weekend and evening sessions are available, and we accept many insurance plans.
Call Thriveworks Marietta today.