As a teen, Jinneh lost her mom, and depression developed. Jinneh was going to counseling, but her friends and family members were skeptical of the therapist. When the therapist prescribed an antidepressant, Jinneh did not fill it—unsure of how it would help her. In college, Jinneh was still fighting her depression when a friend suggested she try therapy again. This time, Jinneh’s therapist built trust with her. Jinneh took her medication, and her depression lifted. Now, Jinneh dedicates her life’s work to educating others about mental illness and the benefits of mental health care. Jinneh’s experiences are not unique. The Washington Post told her story as an example of a greater trend. Their story, “Therapists say African Americans are increasingly seeking help for mental illness,” explains how many African Americans have been skeptical about mental health care, but progress is being made, trust is being built, and more African Americans are receiving the therapy they deserve.
Thriveworks Wilmington knows that many barriers can keep people from receiving mental health care. Our goal is to remove those roadblocks. We offer accessible, quality care that accounts for the unique needs of African Americans.
Building Trust in Therapy
African Americans experience mental illness at the same rate as Caucasians do, but they receive therapy at half the rate as Caucasians, a 2010 study revealed. There are a number of factors that contribute to this inequality, but two of the most egregious are access to care and quality of care. In an NPR interview, Psychiatrist Dr. William Lawson expounded, “Dr. Satcher in his surgeon general’s report noted that there was less accessibility of mental health services for people of color for a variety of reasons. Part of it is that many of the systems simply aren’t located proximity to where people of color are. Part of it is that many professionals simply don’t know how to diagnose properly African-Americans.” When Jinneh’s friends and family members were skeptical of her therapist, they likely had good reason. Mental health professionals have not always done the hard work of building trust with their clients by offering accessible, quality care.
What does it mean to offer mental health care that African Americans can trust? Many mental health care professionals and African Americans are working hard to build trust between the two communities and to get African Americans the care they deserve.
The therapists at Thriveworks Wilmington are doing their part to offer personalized care to each client that respects their cultural context. Some in the mental health community take a “colorblind” tactic in therapy, but this approach can downplay and minimize many important realities in a client’s life. Our counselors know that a client’s cultural context matters. People’s whole lives matter—including their race and ethnicity. Instead of taking a colorblind approach, our therapist advocate for understanding, respect, and empathy.
As therapists show they can be trusted and as clients feel safe, the therapists at Thriveworks Wilmington are able to offer individualized and holistic care. Each person faces unique challenges and opportunities, hopes and dreams, triumphs and traumas, struggles and fears. Each person need a safe place to process their experiences. As clients feel safe, they often dive deeply into emotional and psychological wounds, including wounds that are tied to their ethnicity and race. Therapists are guides on the healing journey. Every issue that a client may explore in therapy could never be listed, but a few examples of topics that African Americans often explore include…
- Grief counseling
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Racial trauma
- Executive coaching
- Sexual identity issues
- Couples and marriage counseling
- Child therapy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorders
- Anger management
- Career advancement
- Substance use
- Job loss
- Suspected abuse of a child
- Psychiatric testing
One psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, described how more and more African Americans are receiving care at his New York practice. He said he has “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.”
Scheduling a Counseling Appointment at Thriveworks Wilmington
If you are struggling and are considering therapy, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Wilmington. We understand that many barriers may be blocking your path, but we are committed to removing as many barriers as we can. Thriveworks Wilmington is ready to help, and we have appointments available. We offer therapy that is culturally sensitive and accounts for our clients’ cultural context.
When you call our office to make an appointment for counseling, we know that life is difficult. Setting up therapy should not be. Here is what you can expect when scheduling therapy at Thriveworks Wilmington…
- A scheduling specialist (that is, a real person) will answer your call and help you make an appointment.
- Your call will not be forwarded to voicemail or an automated response system.
- Life is busy, so we offer evening and weekend appointments.
- New clients often have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call.
- You will not be put on a waitlist because we do not have one.
- Our therapists are paneled with many different insurances companies so we can accept many different insurance plans.
The professionals at Thriveworks Wilmington are ready to work with you. When you are ready to take that next step, we are ready to take it with you. Appointments are available. Call Thriveworks Wilmington today.