There has always been a stigma attached to seeking help in the black community. That is nothing new, and unfortunately, the stigma of seeking help prevails. Although it prevails, it is getting better.
Some still believe religion is the answer to seeking help for emotional and mental guidance. When spiritual guidance is needed, I believe seeking those types of services are warranted. However, there are times when services more specific to certain issues require professional intervention. In those instances, a certified therapist should be the only consideration.
All stigma aside, I am an advocate of ALL black people getting therapy in general. That’s due to the trauma of just being black. Specifically, I’d like to see black people view therapy as a way to gain additional assistance to problems they are ill-equipped to handle. None of us are therapists. We haven’t been trained to handle a lot of situations that we will face in life that will be beyond our scope of knowledge. Let the professionals handle that.
Would you try to perform open-heart surgery on yourself? Of course not because that’s crazy. So why then would you try to handle issues of the brain or emotions? Just face it, we are ill-equipped to handle the complexities of the brain and emotions. So for me seeking therapy was a no-brainer.
I started thinking about grief counseling before my father’s health declined too much because I knew I would need help after he passed. So I contacted three counselors. One I emailed, the second I emailed then called and, the third didn’t have any open slots. I was strongly leaning toward the third because her focus was in all of the areas I wanted to discuss. I added my name to her waiting list.
Unfortunately, my father’s health declined quickly. So, I wasn’t able to get ahead of the grief counseling as I’d planned. I had to put aside my plans to pursue therapy. Instead, I had to focus on my dads declining health and, consequent demise.
More than four months later, the therapist that I was leaning toward emailed me that she now had space for new clients that were on her waiting list. I was super excited because I needed to circle back to it, so the email was timed perfectly.
I spoke to the therapist by phone for about fifteen minutes. We discussed the things that I needed help unraveling and decided to move forward with scheduling a more formal session. I loved her vibe and her energy, and I am looking forward to the formal session we have planned.
So, I’m canceling the stigma of black people and therapy, starting immediately.
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