It is difficult to find a color therapist. These websites want to change that.
Other organizations go further and help patients make treatment appointments. The association Black men heal, for example, offers up to eight free online counseling sessions. About 70% of clients choose to pay for additional sessions, said executive director Tasnim Sulaiman, a psychotherapist in private practice in the Philadelphia area who founded the organization in 2018.
It can be difficult for people of color to find a therapist with a common cultural background. According to the Census Bureau, about 18 percent of people in the United States identify as Hispanic and 13 percent as black, but a American Psychological Association Report found that only 5 percent of psychologists are Hispanic and 4 percent are black – 86 percent are white. A similar disparity exists between social workers and psychiatrists.
Eric Coly, former finance officer, founded Ayana therapy in 2020, about eight years after he hit “rock bottom” while dealing with anxiety and depression.
At the time, he struggled to find a therapist who could understand the intersection of his different identities as a black man and immigrant from Senegal who lived in different parts of the world.
“This product was almost meant to cure my old self,” he said.
Ayana, which means ‘mirror’ in Bengali, asks users to fill out a questionnaire intended to capture “your many nuances,” Coly said, then connects you with a culturally competent therapist. The cost for each online session is currently $ 60.
Suppliers are vetted through a process that includes two interviews and reference checks.
While Ayana has been created for a multitude of races and cultures, as well as for those who identify as LGBTQ, some websites cater to a more specialized set of users like LatinxTherapy, Therapy for black girls, Therapy for black men, the Asian Mental Health Collective and the National Network of Queer and Trans Therapists of Color. Melanin and mental health offers a directory of color therapists, many of whom are in Houston. the Black collective for emotional and mental health, a nonprofit wellness organization that trains people to respond to mental health crises, has an online directory with a variety of black practitioners, including therapists, yoga instructors, doulas, and mediators.
Employers are also beginning to recognize the need for culturally competent providers. The companies Indeed, Thumbtack and Critical Mass, part of the Omnicom group, have recently joined forces with Therify, which uses artificial intelligence technology to match employees with their state’s vendors. Half of Therify’s roughly 300 online therapists are people of color and 20% specialize in serving clients who identify as LGBTQ, said company chief executive James Edward Murray, who interviews each provider.