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How to Find a Black Female Therapist

A Black female therapist with box braids sits on a midcentury sofa upholstered in tangerine linen.

The therapeutic alliance — the bond and collaborative partnership between a client and their therapist — is fundamental to the success of the therapeutic process.

  • Research shows that those of us from marginalized communities tend to choose therapists who look like us.
  • A survey of over 200 clinicians named the therapist-client relationship as one of the top three markers of successful treatment.
  • One 2023 study found that a strong relationship was significantly impacted by shared racial or ethnic identity, especially in the context of teletherapy.

This alliance takes on heightened significance for Black women, who face unique challenges in navigating the mental health care system due to systemic barriers and cultural stigma. Some examples of this intersection:

  • Black communities face undue burdens to accessing mental health care.
  • Minority stress is shown to be linked to other health issues like high blood pressure.
  • Black mothers are disproportionately impacted by concerns like postpartum depression and anxiety compared to their non-Black counterparts.

On May 22nd, 2024, Alma and Therapy for Black Girls hosted a webinar where we checked in with Black clinicians on finding a therapist who gets you.

Here’s what we learned from Alma therapists Meaghan Hill, LPC and Joycy Lacombe, LMHC.

Takeaways from the event:

1. Culturally competent care matters

Being a culturally competent therapist goes beyond simply sharing racial or ethnic backgrounds with clients.

It requires demonstrating a nuanced understanding that even within a shared identity group, lived experiences can vastly differ. For a Black therapist, connecting with clients from the African diaspora means recognizing the diversity of cultures, histories, and perspectives represented.

However, seeing one's likeness reflected in a therapist can create a powerful sense of being understood on a deeper level. This connection becomes sacred ground where trust can take root for clients to feel embraced in their full humanity.

Embodying true cultural competence means creating a therapeutic container that transcends assumptions, honors each person's unique identity intersection, and cultivates an authentic bond of mutual understanding.

2. Shared context removes the burden of educating one's therapist

For individuals from marginalized communities, finding a therapist who can understand their lived experiences without excessive explanation or justification is invaluable.

Too often, the labor falls on them to educate someone from a different background on the nuances and realities they face. This additional burden within the therapeutic space can inhibit vulnerability and deplete energy that could otherwise go toward healing and growth.

We’re Black women in Black bodies. So, we can name things, and sometimes it’s good just to have an explanation for why we’re feeling a certain way.

Joycy Lacombe, Psychotherapy, LMHC

When a therapist and client share key aspects of their identities and lived experiences, it allows them to start from a place of mutual understanding rather than having to overcome initial gaps.

This commonality greases the wheels for establishing rapport and safety quickly. From there, the therapy can delve into deeper self-exploration at an accelerated pace, as less time needs to be spent laying foundational context.

3. Finding the right therapist isn't always easy

This is your journey, and you have the autonomy to decide what works, what's comfortable, what's uncomfortable.

Meaghan Hill, Psychotherapy, LPC

It isn’t always obvious where you can go to find a Black female therapist — or, even more broadly, a therapist who looks like you.

But, having that shared experience might prove to be one of the most meaningful parts of your therapy journey! Look to identity-specific directories like Therapy for Black Girls, or browse Alma’s directory of providers using identity-specific filters.

4. Therapy is a safe space to focus on you

The therapeutic space is a sanctuary crafted solely for the client's needs and inner work. It provides a rare opportunity to peel back layers, free from the relational dynamics that can make other spaces feel lopsided or draining.

Too often, we get cast into supporting roles — the sturdy friend, the steadfast family anchor — leaving little room to tend to our own depths. However, therapy disrupts that pattern by creating a dedicated container where the client's inner landscape takes priority.

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Within those four walls (or video call), the focus shifts wholly to you — your experiences, your reflections, your desires for growth.

It's a space of communion and self-exploration, unencumbered by the need to hold space for others. An invitation to come as you are and dive inward.

Finding a Black female therapist who gets you.

Navigating the confusing and often overwhelming process of finding the right therapist can feel daunting, but following these seven steps can help guide you towards a therapeutic partnership that feels attuned to your needs:

  1. Understand what your insurance covers.
  2. Calculate how much therapy would cost you.
  3. Reflect on what matters most to you:
    1. Gender identity
    2. Race, nationality, or ethnic identity
    3. Language
    4. Religion
    5. Therapeutic approach like CBT and psychodynamic therapy
    6. Specialty like PTSD or teen therapy
  4. Filter providers in Alma’s directory.
  5. Schedule consultation calls.
  6. Pick your provider.
  7. Schedule your first session.

You deserve to feel seen.

If you are on a journey to heal, grow, and navigate life's challenges, don't settle for just any therapist.

In this webinar, we learned just how vital it is to find a therapist who can hold space for all aspects of your identity and lived experience.

Though it may take time and patience, having a clinician you can connect with on a deep level is invaluable. They become the mirror that reflects your full self back to you without judgment.

Trust that you deserve a sacred therapeutic relationship that allows you to bring your entire self. Stay empowered in your search for the therapist who can be an affirmative, attuned partner on your path to wholeness. The right therapeutic bond awaits.

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A headshot of Kevin Doherty, content marketer at Alma.
Kevin Doherty

About the Author

Kevin Doherty is a marketer and storyteller at Alma, an online platform that aims to simplify access to high-quality, equitable, and affordable mental health care. An alumnus of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, Kevin specializes in bringing powerful entertainment principles into everyday, real-life communication.

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