According to data collected by Zippia, 198,811 therapists are working in the United States. Of these nearly 200,000 professionals, 76.4 percent are white and a mere 4.1 percent are Black.
For many Black individuals, it’s more comfortable to attend therapy sessions and work through mental health challenges with a Black therapist rather than a white therapist. However, because there is such a small number of Black therapists in the United States, this can be difficult to do.
Answered below are some frequently asked questions regarding Black therapists, therapy for Black people, and how to search for a therapist who meets all of one’s needs.
Table of Contents
(click on a question to be directed quickly)
Is it hard to find a Black Therapist?
Why are there a lack of Black Therapists?
Is it important for me to have a Black Therapist?
Where can I look to find Black Therapists Near Me?
Is It Hard to Find a Black Therapist?
It can be very hard to find a Black therapist in the United States, especially for those who live in predominantly white areas.
The data from Zippia referenced above shows that there has been a slight uptick in the number of Black therapists working in this country over the last few years. However, there is still a need for BIPOC therapists and counselors.
Also, some agencies and clinics do not allow you to select your own therapist. So, even if there are Black counselors working in an area, you may not get them as your counselor.
In addition, of the Black counselors in your area, not all of them may be an in-network provider with your insurance company. This may present a significant financial barrier to you accessing therapy.
They may also not be able to take on any more clients when you are seeking care, or they may practice a type of therapy you do not need (e.g. they only work with children and you are an adult).
So, the lack of Black counselors, coupled with the general challenges of finding a therapist that you can see, may make finding a Black therapist particularly challenging.
You can also use this website to help find a Black therapist in your area: FindBlackTherapist.com
Why Is There a Lack of Black Therapists?
This article published by Ayana Therapy (which was founded by Eric Coly, a Black man and mental health advocate) explains that a lack of exposure to the therapy field is one of the primary reasons why Black therapists are so few and far between in the United States. A key contributor to this lack of exposure is the absence of financial resources.
The latest census data shows that the share of Black people living in poverty is 1.8 times higher than their share among the United States general population. Black people make up just 13.2 percent of the U.S. population, but they represent 23.8 percent of those living in poverty. Furthermore, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Black people also make up 40 percent of the United State’s homeless population.
Mental health services are not inexpensive, and a lot of Black people can’t afford treatment, even though they’re more likely to struggle with mental health challenges (including major depression, ADHD, PTSD, and suicide).
Another contributor to the low number of Black therapists in the United States has to do with a lack of mentorship for students considering careers in the psychology and mental health fields.
In an article published by Academic Psychiatry, a group of Black therapists wrote that Black students who are vulnerable to discrimination could benefit greatly from extra encouragement from counselors and instructors to pursue the training needed to become a therapist or another type of mental health professional.
Is It Important for Me to Have a Black Therapist?
Black people have long struggled with mental health challenges — often without adequate support. Over the last couple of years, though, in the wake of the COIVD-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a white police officer, these issues came to a head for many members of the Black community.
Some of these individuals fared just fine working with a white therapist. However, many others found that they were better served by a Black therapist who had a deeper understanding of their unique experiences and struggles.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to determine whether or not they would prefer to work with a Black therapist. For those who have been hesitant about going to therapy or who haven’t felt that therapy was effective in the past, it may be particularly beneficial to consider working with a Black therapist rather than writing off therapy altogether.
Where Can I Look to Find Black Therapists Near Me?
Although there is a shortage of Black therapists in the United States, it is also much easier to find them than it once was thanks to the internet.
It doesn’t matter if one wants to work with a Black female therapist, a Black male therapist, or someone who has a private practice. There are plenty of online directories that can help them find the right fit for their needs.
Ayana, for example, features a diverse network of therapists and offers a helpful Find Your Therapist feature that allows users to get partnered with a culturally competent therapist. Psychology Today also offers a therapist directory that allows users to narrow their search based on a variety of factors, including race and ethnicity.
Zippia: THERAPIST DEMOGRAPHICS AND STATISTICS IN THE US
Creamer, J. (2020). Inequalities persist despite decline in poverty for all major race and Hispanic origin groups. US Census Bureau, September, 15, 2020.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: African American Mental Health
Thomas, L.A., Balon, R., Beresin, E.V. et al. Recruitment of Black Men and Women into Academic Psychiatry. Acad Psychiatry 43, 467–470 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40596-019-01085-z
Hill, E., Tiefenthäler, A., Triebert, C., Jordan, D., Willis, H., & Stein, R. (2020). How George Floyd was killed in police custody. The New York Times, 31.
Written By: Natalie T.
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT
Edited By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik
Last Updated : 04/18/2023
Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
Filed under: Mental Health Resources by
All in therapy Clinic