The question of if your potential therapists’ race or ethnicity matter is a question that is often posed. This is a very complex question, and there is no specific correct answer. Therapists are all trained to provide a safe space for their client with empathy and active listening skills as well as only work within their competency training. Also, as a client, you have the right to choose whomever therapist you wish to have.
I would love to list some factors that may be considered that impact whether you prefer the ethnicity or race of your therapist, or not. It’s no doubt that humans share many similar lived experiences! Especially if we live in the same country, and there is the similar lifestyle of attending school then going off to work! But on the other side of things, there are many specific differences that make us each unique .
These differences are our age, gender, socioeconomic status, cultural identity, heritage, and belief systems. These may shape us at a conscious and unconscious level. This means, that we may be aware of how the different factors influence us, or we may feel the differences without necessarily understanding the reasons behind them.
Many researchers claim that there may be an automatic understanding that can be achieved with a client of your ethnicity, because they have a similar lens with commonalities in culture, upbringing and values. There was a metaanalysis conducted on 7 studies, and found clients matched with therapists of the same ethnicity were less likely to drop out of therapy, and more likely to attend more sessions. The idea here is for your therapist to be culturally responsive, whether they are of your similar background, or not.
Therapy to many people can feel as a vulnerable relationship and for some, finding someone they can really connect with may take time. It is our goal at Life Cycle that you feel recognized and understood.
To conclude, the ethnicity or race of a potential therapist, can matter, depending on the person, but it is not the only factor that determines the effectiveness of therapy.
Hello my name is Sarah! I am currently in my third year of of study. I am working towards my BAs in Psychology and a diploma in General Arts and Science. Psychology as a discipline has always intrigued me. Seeing how different factors of life influence our mind and body may teach us so much of ourselves, and those around us.