Despite the leaps and bounds mental health has experienced in becoming completely accepted, we still have a way to go until all stigma around caring for your mental health is eradicated. For many, the fear of being seen as crazy or weak for going to counseling is all too real.
Facing destructive thoughts, emotions, and habits is already a huge testament to your strength and courage. Add on top of it the monster of social construct and opinions, and Thriveworks Pooler truly believes you should be proud of taking the small steps toward a happier, healthier you. It’s far from easy after all!
As widespread as the stigma of mental health counseling is, it bears heavier on some people over others. A research study found that “54.3 percent of adult Black/African-Americans with a major depressive episode received treatment in 2011, compared with 73.1 percent of adult white Americans.”
Fighting the Stigma by Cultivating Trust
What causes this disparity? And what can be done to improve it? It’s a result of many different factors and will of course be different for every person! For one, many African Americans have a strong cultural base in family, friends, and faith. These are overwhelmingly positive traits. But they can get in the way of seeking care by cultivating the belief that all problems can be solved by talking with family and community, or maybe going to church and participating in a religion.
It’s a grounded thought—after all, why would you pay a stranger to talk about your personal struggles when you have people who care for you at home?
There’s a lot of worth in having an unbiased, outside, empathetic outside perspective that is on your side. Talking to someone a little bit removed from the situation can take away some inhabitations and fear of breaking family or community norms.
Also, some issues go deeper than being able to just talk through them. When true mental illness takes hold, getting professional help fast can better the prognosis by leaps and bounds. The final piece is quite simply that the medical (both for physical and mental health) communities haven’t earned the respect from many African Americans. There’s a lot of history that understandably plants mistrust, which is why Thriveworks Pooler’s first goal is to always establish a basis of trust.
Thriveworks Pooler counselors believe in a holistic therapy model that reaches beyond just the counseling room. It’s important for us to integrate important aspects of your life in the healing and growth process. If family, community, or faith is a big part of your life, we want it to be a big part of counseling too! The most effective counseling will create a home environment where you feel you can thrive, long after you stop seeing a Thriveworks Pooler counselor.
Many of our counselors also offer spiritual and religion-based counseling. If you are interested in incorporating aspects of your faith in counseling, we are more than happy to meet with you.
Finally, Thriveworks Pooler always practices a judgment free and completely confidential counseling practice. We are a safe spot where anyone can come and work on techniques, heal from the past, and prepare for the future.
What Does Counseling for African Americans Look Like?
In some ways, it’s very similar to counseling across all ethnic groups. And in some ways, it’s very different.
Thriveworks Pooler understands the importance culture and ethnicity can play in your life, and it’s important for us to value that in a counseling session. Research has even pointed towards and upward of 60% of your personality and psych comes from the environment you grew up in and the one you surround yourself with now. Culture and heritage don’t go away when you step into a counseling session.
Thriveworks Pooler is here to address anything you want to. It can be wide and ever-changing, or maybe you have one specific issue you want to work though. There is never a too-small or too-big reason. If it turns out you will have more growth elsewhere, we can help you get there.
Some of the more common topics addressed with a Thriveworks Pooler counselor includes:
- Discrimination, Racial Trauma
- Grief counseling
- Career counseling
- Child and adolescent therapy
- Anger management
- Couples and marriage counseling
- Substance use and abuse
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Life coaching
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
It’s not easy to seek out professional help, and it may be even harder for the African American community. But Thriveworks Pooler believes that the courage and strength you demonstrated by reaching out is just the tip of the iceberg and will be what takes you to a healthy, fulfilling life