Reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, or simply need someone to talk to about the stresses of daily life, talking to a therapist can provide real benefits for your mental wellbeing.
However, finding a therapist that understands your unique needs can be challenging, especially if you come from a marginalized community.
Inclusive therapists are therapists with the cultural competence and professional training to help people with marginalized identities in need of mental health care.
Many inclusive therapists specialize in providing therapy for people with marginalized identities, such as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); victims of abuse and members of the LGBTQ community.
If you feel let down by conventional therapy, reaching out to an inclusive therapist may help you to get the care you need without fear of being judged, discriminated against or treated unfairly.
Below, we’ve explained how to find inclusive therapists in your area, either for offline, in-person treatment or online therapy.
We’ve also discussed what to look for when comparing therapists so that you can find a mental health professional who can offer personalized, culturally responsive care to help you make real, measurable progress towards your mental health goals.
Inclusive therapists are mental healthcare providers who specialize in providing care to people from marginalized groups.
An inclusive therapist may have specialized training, hands-on experience or specific approach to therapy that allows them to offer responsive, personalized and inclusive care to folks in need of help.
This could include individuals from a specific ethnic background, people with a certain sexual or gender identity, people affected by drug or alcohol abuse, or people with disabilities that prevent them from accessing mental health care.
The theory behind inclusive therapy is that by talking to someone more familiar with your unique needs and background, you’ll be able to accomplish better results.
There’s also evidence that having access to a diverse, inclusive range of therapy providers can help to improve access to mental healthcare for people from marginalized communities.
For example, research suggests that a more diverse mental health workforce lowers barriers to care and distrust for people from communities of color.
Other research has found that people from the LGBT community often enter into therapy with a range of negative experiences from previous healthcare providers, and that specific training can help mental health providers achieve better outcomes with LGBT clients.
Put simply, inclusive therapists focus on providing professional counseling and support, all with an understanding of the unique difficulties that people from marginalized communities face.
An increasing number of therapists are becoming aware of the importance of providing inclusive care. As such, you can now find inclusive mental health professionals not just in large cities, but also in many mid-sized cities and towns.
You can find an inclusive therapy provider by searching online, reaching out to organizations in your area, or asking your primary care provider for a referral.
Many online therapist directories include options to filter for providers that offer inclusive mental health care, including therapists that specialize in treating people from specific communities.
For example, Psychology Today’s directory includes options to filter therapists by sexuality, faith, ethnicity services and language. It’s also possible to search for therapy providers in your region by gender identity, including non-binary therapists.
Filtering your search this way can help you find a therapy provider that’s suited to your personal needs, whether you’re searching for Black therapists, therapists that offer social justice-focused care, or therapy providers who understand intersectional identities.
Another option is to search for inclusive therapists in your area using Google. Try searching for “therapist near me,” then adding keywords based on the specific type of therapist or treatment you’re looking for (for example, “LGBT therapist near me”).
Searching this way can help you find therapy providers in your area, complete with reviews and other feedback from existing clients.
If you live in a medium-sized or large city, you may be able to reach out to local organizations for people with marginalized identities to see if they can help you find a therapist.
Many large cities have community centers and other organizations for people from marginalized groups. There are also national organizations that provide advice and assistance for individuals with specific needs who face difficulties with access to quality mental health care.
These organizations include:
Trans Lifeline. Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) provides emotional and financial support for trans people in crisis.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) provides support and assistance for members of the LGBTQ+ community, Black youth and adults, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives and people with neurodivergence.
Lines for Life. Oregon-based organization Lines for Life provides a racial equity support line (503-575-3764), which operates from 10am to 7pm Pacific Standard Time for people who need help with the emotional impacts of racial aggression and violence.
Finally, if seeing a therapist in your area isn’t practical for you, or if you simply don’t have many options for inclusive therapy in your region, you may want to consider consulting with a therapy provider online.
Using our online therapy service, you can find a professional counselor that suits you and take part in talk therapy when you need it, all without a trip to your therapist’s office.
You can read our blog on 4 signs of a bad therapist for extra help.
Finding a therapist that understands the unique challenges you face can be difficult, especially if you come from a marginalized community.
To find an inclusive therapist, use the tips and techniques listed above. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask therapy providers in your area if they have experience providing inclusive care, as many may specialize in providing culturally competent therapy.
If you’d like to participate in therapy from home, or if you have specific mental health issues you would like to address, you can access help using our online mental health services.
You can also learn more about successfully coping with chronic stress, anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues using our free mental health resources and content.
Dr. Vicky Davis is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, leadership and education.
Dr. Davis' expertise include direct patient care and many years working in clinical research to bring evidence-based care to patients and their families.
She is also an active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
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