According to a 2015 study by the American Psychological Association, 83.6 percent of psychologists are white, while only 14.6 percent combined are Black, Latinx and Asian (and that doesn’t even account for Native Americans and other underrepresented communities). While therapists specialize in a variety of areas regardless of their background, stats like this can be so disheartening. Identity is important, and it’s hard to speak up and communicate about the struggles plaguing our society (aka racism, economic disparities and microaggressions, to name a few) to someone who has had the privilege of not experiencing those issues.
"The largest benefit of having a therapist who reflects your identity is that there may be a greater understanding based on some shared experiences. While every person’s experiences are different, there is no mistaking that walking in the world with darker skin informs your perspective," said Jor-El Caraballo, founder of Viva Wellness and Shine contributor. "Sharing that identity has been well-demonstrated to create a deeper sense of trust between therapists and clients and that’s incredibly important when you’re sharing intimate details of your life."
While it may seem like a mountain to climb, Caraballo shares a few tips for BIPOC to get started on a positive mental health journey.