Beginning therapy is often the right choice, but it is rarely the easy choice. Social stigmas can make reaching out for mental health care more difficult than it should be, and some feel that stigma more than others. For example, African Americans receive therapy for their mental health needs at half the rate as Caucasian Americans, according to a 2010 study. Many dynamics factor into this disparity. Accessibility is a big contributor—many African Americans do not have physical or economic access to mental health care. Quality of care is another contributor. For example, in a radio interview, Psychologist William Lawson recounted how he was taught that African Americans do not become depressed—a gross fabrication. Dr. Lawson went on to explain, “Part of it is that many professionals simply don’t know how to diagnose properly African-Americans.” However, many are noting that a cultural shift is occurring. Mental health professionals are seeing where their profession has failed African Americans in the past and are working to improve the quality of care offer, and many within the African American community are responding and receiving the therapy they deserve.
Take Jinneh’s story as an example. Her journey was chronicled in a 2013 article published in The Washington Post called, “Therapists say African Americans are increasingly seeking help for mental illness.” In high school, Jinneh suffered from depression when a doctor prescribed an antidepressant for her. She never filled that prescription. Skeptical of its purpose, Jinneh’s family and friends talked her out of it. Years later, Jinneh was in college and still depressed when her roommate encouraged her to try again. With treatment, her depression, and now Jinneh works in the mental health profession. Jinneh is not the only one—she is one of many African Americans who are reaching out and receiving mental health care.
The counselors at Thriveworks Peachtree City offer therapy that accounts for our clients’ cultural context. We offer accessible and quality care to our African American clients.
A Community Effort for Mental Health Care
For many African Americans, their community provides a rich and wonderful support system. Religious leaders offer guidance. Family and friends play a vital role in an individual’s well-being. The mental health profession has not always respected the value that community support can offer. Too often, these support systems have been set in opposition to mental health care. The best-case scenario for mental health is that an individual’s support systems—in all its forms—are integrated and working toward the same goal. When, this happens, people often flourish. At Thriveworks Peachtree City, we work hard to ensure that our clients’ family, community, friends, and religious leaders are all pulling toward the same target.
Religious leaders can often offer support in a way that family and friends and therapists cannot. Family can often offer support in a way that religious leaders and friends and therapists cannot. Friends can offer support in a way that religious leaders and family and therapists cannot. Therapists can often offer support in a way that religious leaders and family and friends cannot. Each is important. Each has a role.
The Importance of Trust for Mental Health Care
Trust between a client and a therapist is of utmost importance. Trust can be built before the therapeutic relationship event begins. At Thriveworks Peachtree City, we are transparent about what future clients can expect from their counseling sessions. Transparency goes a long way in building trust. This is what it looks like to go to therapy at Thriveworks Peachtree City…
Our clients receive personalized care. Therapists are guides, not task-masters. In many ways, clients set the pace of counseling. They also set the goals. Each client’s situation is unique. The counselor’s goal is to make a space where their clients feel safe. When clients trust their therapist and when they feel safe, they often feel free to name their strengths, weaknesses, joys, traumas, challenges, stories, and wounds with honesty. Our therapists encourage their clients to also speak freely about their context—including their ethnicity and culture. People are whole people, and their context matters. Our professionals reject a “colorblind” approach that minimizes the importance of people’s context. Instead, we emphasize understanding and empathy.
As respect is shown and trust is built, African American clients often begin to explore topics such as…
- Grief counseling
- Career advancement
- Racial trauma
- Sexual identity issues
- Child therapy
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Substance use
- Anger management
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorders
- Suspected abuse of a child
- Psychiatric testing
- Job loss
- Couples and marriage counseling
- Executive coaching
Making an Appointment for Therapy at Thriveworks Peachtree City
As you read through this list of challenges that can be discussed in therapy, did you recognize anything? Many people will. Know that you are not alone. Many people will not. Mental health challenges do not always fit into a neat label. Know that you are not alone either. Mental health professionals are Thriveworks Peachtree City are ready to help. We have appointments available.
When you contact our office, a real person will answer your call and help you make an appointment. Your first session may be the following day because many new clients have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not put our clients on a waitlist. Our therapists are able to accept many forms of insurance as well. Call today for an appointment.