It’s more important than ever to Google Your Therapist.
If you’re being proactive about your mental health, of course you want to google your therapist. But with recent changes to state and federal legislation, it’s crucial that you really know who your chosen mental health care providers are. Do they share your values? Will they defend your right to affirming care? Here’s why you should Google your therapist, and deep dive into research of professionals you might work with.
When The Government Interferes In Our Healthcare We Must Be Diligent.
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse the reproductive rights of American citizens, it’s an excellent time to head on over to the Google Machine and check out how your therapist’s values align to yours if you don’t already know what they are. Let’s unpack why!
There’s been some talk on Reddit about whether or not to discuss Roe with one’s therapist. While it’s up to each psychotherapist to set boundaries within the therapeutic relationship, and many are not “political,” it may be helpful for clients to know they can access information that helps them feel safe with their psychotherapist. That is okay.
In a white-dominated profession in the United States, it’s particularly important that people learn about who they entrust with their care.
When you Google your therapist, you can see what they stand for.
Especially as during the weeks leading up to the fall of Roe, quite a bit of the “Discourse” on Twitter amongst licensed, practicing, and white psychotherapists – regarding race – was undeniably racist. Some of the accounts belonging to professionals who are Ivy League lecturers, I might add.
White psychotherapists on Twitter often use their platform to incorrectly equate being “apolitical” at this time with “ethics.” If you don’t find this concerning, you can stop reading here. You won’t find anything agreeable.
The Personal Is Political
I am a feminist-based counselor, and I believe “The personal is political” is the best way to describe feminist-based therapy. Feminist therapists are ideally intersectional; aware of the gender, sex, race, national, religious, and other biases they themselves are likely to hold (as we are mostly a white group of professionals). Additionally, feminist therapists seek to advance the quality-of-life for the most systemically marginalized.
There is a very clear acknowledgement on the part of the individual accountability for a person in power within an oppressive system.
As a practice, psychotherapists who consider themselves “feminist based” do not exclusively treat femme or women patients only. “Feminist-based” a signal that this person, this professional, who you are about to walk through your own mind with, understands that racism, classism, violence, and prejudice exist in our society on a systemic level.
We recognize that the system in which we work intersects and contributes to these systems, and we work to either dismantle the system or minimize its harm. We’re also able to see our own privileges exist as well as biases in this intersection as an individual. And we acknowledge our own biases and the fact that they exist even on an unconscious level.
“Psychotherapy” in this context, is an umbrella term for how psychologists, counselors, social workers, or anyone else provides mental health treatment. As graduate students, we learn t a whole lot about “multiculturalism” as it’s a required course. Back when I took these courses, the main drive of the curriculum was to understand and unpack white privilege and biases within ourselves, centering white people.
I can’t stress enough how different I am as an individual now, than I was in grad school then – despite the curriculum, which I hope has also changed. It’s an ongoing effort: a series of conscious decisions on my part over the last decade or so, to become antiracist in a way that feels true when I use the term to describe myself. I can claim this word for myself because I understand how harmful I’ve been individually, and how I benefit from the systems I live in and build my life.
My whiteness affords me this choice.
Because of my skin color I don’t have to accept the realities of others if I don’t want to. And I make the choice to recognize this again and again, as my life and career continue to move forward. Doing a google search on your therapist will reveal if they understand their own social privileges, or whether they’re flippant about it.
All Therapists Are Not The Same
This past weekend, I found out unequivocally that not all (white) therapists resonate with this framework. While this is something I knew, I didn’t expect that when I reached out to my fellow licensed counselors in Ohio to build up a resistance to the fall of Roe — (in addition to anti-trans hate speech disguised as legislation) — that I would receive a lot of anger directed at me personally.
I wasn’t even mindful of that. My motivation was reaching the licensed professionals who could hear me, and I gave it little thought other than being intentional, ethical, and to organize literally anything.
I received back a great deal of reactive, angry, responses. I got a lot of pontificating throughout a thread (because everyone always hits, “reply all” as if this is some power move), and also had the Bible quoted to me. The replies told me what I’m proposing is wrong. They told me why I’m unethical and unprofessional and racist.
Some directly questioned my ethics in an email thread which could have thousands of my peers on it. “How would this do any good?” Intentionally, there was even discourse within this thread amongst others. It felt as if I were being shunned, but they wanted to know that I was there. It was demeaning, shaming, and intentional.
Let me tell you something, this was something that I felt very discouraged by. I’m not going to lie. I wish I were a duck, and it just rolled off of me, but it occurred to me that many of my fellow professionals are literally glad that these things are unfolding, and are willing to be hateful when there’s opposition to them.
I don’t understand how that could be beneficial to anyone. It feels like a literal weight in my body to let this settle in. It’s a lot of acceptance, recognizing this. And even when there were good faith questions regarding an action, these also were largely angry. Disrespectful even. It was as if these people didn’t even know that I am a therapist like them, a supervisor! How dare they!
My Title Does Not Dictate My Behavior
Well…that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? My title does not dictate my behaviors, and neither do theirs. (Assuming the hierarchy of our field is also some wicked inner colonizer thinking, and I see it). I am owed nothing because of my license, in the end. Some respondents outright accused me of, “abandoning my clients” instead of “being there to support them through this” when I used the word “strike” to propose action.
Could I have communicated better with strangers? Absolutely. AND It is absolutely WILD to me how black-and-white thinking and learned helplessness and shaming took hold of this email thread.
I am not a counselor to assist people in managing a continuing series of human rights violations and the removal of their personhood without also simultaneously doing something to stop these abuses from happening. Period. Sometimes, we can literally do more than one thing at a time. If our values are aligned, anyway.
For those of you who are Black and interested in therapy and don’t know where to start, check out
At TherapyforBlackMen.org, we want to break the stigma that asking for help is a sign of weakness. With a rapidly…
If you are Asian and seeking a therapist and don’t know where to start: https://www.asianmhc.org/
Indigenous, mixed race, or a person of color? Try https://www.inclusivetherapists.com/
Am I missing a good place? Please link it below!
*Transparency note: I am listed on Inclusive Therapists, and I only speak for myself. I do not represent any organization, board of licensing, or any individual except myself. I am not endorsed or sponsored by any of the links included.