A therapeutic relationship is a real relationship that requires thoughtful consideration.
Mental health is finally being taken more seriously. Around 42.5 million Americans have a mental illness, and LGBTQ+ people are 3 times more likely to experience a mental illness, such as depression or general anxiety disorder.
With mental illness being such a prominent issue in the QTPOC community, many people are turning to therapists for support through depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders.
Going to therapy can be a rewarding, fulfilling experience whether you have been diagnosed with a mental illness or not. Actually looking for and choosing a therapist can be anxiety inducing. A therapeutic relationship is a real relationship that requires thoughtful consideration. After all, you will be revealing intimate details about your life with this person.
There are several factors to consider, and it’s completely normal to speak with a few therapists before you find your right fit. And as you grow and go through different stages in life, you might need a new therapist to help you reach new life goals. If you’re just starting out on the journey of finding a therapist, use this list as a guide for things to consider and questions to ask yourself.
Characteristics of the Therapist
Because therapy is such an intimate relationship, the personal characteristics of your therapist is likely to impact your willingness to open up to them. When I was seeking therapy, I knew I would only feel comfortable talking to a Black person. Do you want someone who is the same race or gender? I made sure I asked my therapist if they identified as Black because I knew that was important to me. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential therapist these types of questions. Unfortunately, there are not as many QTPOC therapists as there are QTPOC who are seeking therapy. You may be able to connect with someone who doesn’t share your specific traits.
Cost can be a huge deterrent when deciding whether or not to seek therapy. A single session can cost over $150. Most folks can’t spend that much money for an hour session each week. As you’re looking for a therapist, make sure to check and see if they accept your insurance. If you don’t have insurance, many therapists offer their services on a sliding scale based on your income and other circumstances. If you find a therapist who looks like they’ll be the perfect fit for you but they’re not in your insurance network, don’t despair. Check and see if your insurance provider offers out-of-network benefits. You’ll have to pay a little more per session, but it might be worth it if this person is a really good fit for you.
Type of Therapy
Therapists often have specialities that are stated on their profile or website. There will be therapists out there who are used to working with QTPOC clients. These therapists are less likely to say something that is racist, homophobic, or transphobic. You’ll also notice that some therapists usually work with certain age groups — children, teens, adults, and elderly are the common groups. Not all therapy is the same.
The most common therapy is cognitive-behavioral, which helps patients work towards develop healthy beliefs about life and learn to take healthier actions. There’s also family therapy, play therapy, art therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and many more. Research which type of therapy will allow you to reach your goals and ask potential therapists if they use that method.
“What do you want to get out of therapy?” Your new therapist is likely to ask you a variation of this question. Are you questioning whether you should come out to certain people? Do you want to gain confidence? Are you interested in communicating better with the people in your life? Even if you don’t have a four-page list of what you want to get out of therapy, it’s a good question to ask yourself before your therapist does. This will allow you and your therapist to check in and see if you’re closer to your stated goals. You’ll also be able to ask a potential therapist about their track record with helping people with similar goals.
Most major cities have an LGBTQ+ center. Gaylesta offers resources for QTPOC in the Bay Area, including help finding a therapist. The National Queer and Trans Therapist Network offers resources for QTPOC and features therapists from every region in the U.S. If you’re a QTPOC looking for a therapist, there are resources out there for you. It’s definitely possible to find a therapist who can help guide to your therapeutic goals.
Do you have any other tips for QTPOC looking for a therapist? Please share in the comments!