Asian Americans Are Sharing Why They Prefer BIPOC Therapists, And This Is So Valid

    "In general, white therapists tend to not understand that a form of boundary setting with my family that completely writes them out of my life is not in the realm of possibility for me. Writing off my family is not happiness-maximizing/self-actualizing."

    In the r/asianamerican subreddit, user u/Comfortable-Tank-822 shared that they switched to a BIPOC therapist and would highly recommend it. In the comments, Asian Americans began sharing their own experiences with therapists of color.

    A woman on her laptop with headphones

    Here are some of their thought-provoking comments:

    1. "A therapist that mirrors me (millennial, Asian American, female, child of immigrants) changed my life. I no longer felt like I had to explain exactly why it was hard to establish boundaries with parents, cultural obligations, etc. A shortcut I was able to use through databases was to search by language and ethnicity."


    A woman on her laptop with headphones

    2. "I specifically looked for a therapist with an immigrant background. I'm Chinese American, and the therapist I found is Indian American, second generation like me. It was a completely different experience, and the therapeutic relationship changed my life. She helped me address a lot of specific generational trauma that I wasn’t even aware of."


    3. "I love mine. She's been wonderful and helped me so much in growing as a person and being warmer to those around me. My only gripe is that, as another Asian American, they might themselves fall into the same Asian ways of thinking that could be causing you pain. We all have our frameworks of thought. For example, the 'put your community before yourself' ideal can manifest in a lot of subconscious ways. Just food for thought."

    "Overall, 95% wonderful. I think it's perfect, and you don't have to explain nearly as much."


    4. "My therapist is Black, and the biggest thing going on with me is waking up racially and really understanding that my experience is different. I couldn’t tell my white therapist that I was afraid of white people, haha, and I also couldn’t do another session where I was gently brought off the subject. I needed to talk about race, experience, and how to navigate harmful conversations and situations."


    A man speaking with his therapist

    5. "I tried therapy multiple times with white therapists, and I basically gave up on therapy. At the end of college, I was randomly assigned a Latine therapist at my university's mental health center, and it totally changed me on therapy. I've tried other white therapists since, but the only therapists I've been able to actually work with have been all BIPOC!"


    6. "I've heard a mix of emotions from my Asian American friends who have had Asian American therapists. Some have said it wasn't that helpful because sometimes it felt like a friend who would say, 'Oh yeah, me, too!' or would try to justify certain behavior because they knew the immigrant/Asian American experience. But for me, having a non-white therapist is so helpful. She's a Black woman who specializes in maternal health, which worked out for me."

    "And though she doesn't have an immigrant parent background and isn't Asian, she's been amazing at listening, support, and guiding me through my emotions."


    7. "I've had seven therapists throughout the years, and generalizations are hard even with that many. And the AAPI ones — or even the AAPI ones who've matched every possible demographic category of my own — were not all great. But even so, I think I've had enough experience to say that, in general, white therapists tend to specifically not understand that a form of boundary setting with my family that completely writes them out of my life is not in the realm of possibility for me."

    "Writing off my family is not happiness-maximizing/self-actualizing. This is not to say that boundary setting with family isn't an important issue with AAPI patients, but every white therapist I've ever had did not understand this."


    A family smiling

    8. "I started seeing a therapist last year only after I found a WOC therapist. It turned out she is Black/Asian, so it worked out perfectly as she has a pretty unique perspective from being biracial."


    9. "She inherently knew the struggles I was going through and was able to walk me through coping strategies. I had always felt a little closed off to older, white therapists because I felt like I had to justify and explain the way I was raised."


    10. "10/10 would recommend. My therapist is a Desi immigrant woman who is also a parent. I'm not an immigrant, but she spent a long time here. It is wild to be seen like she makes me feel seen."


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    11. "I don’t have to over-explain anything, and my Black therapist specializes in minority support and racism. In my experience, I learned that there are absolutely zero white people who can understand the mental health of a BIPOC, regardless of what color."


    12. "I'm a Korean adoptee and found a Korean adoptee therapist. It has been life-changing. Cannot recommend this enough (even therapy in general)."


    13. And finally, "I highly recommend this as well! It's a shame that mental healthcare isn't accessible to many, but for those who have access, it can be a major game-changer. I have a therapist of the same ethnic background, and it was very healing to hear affirmations/validation from her as someone with mother issues."


    A woman on her laptop

    Are you a person of color who goes to therapy? If so, have you found it beneficial to have a BIPOC therapist? Share your experience in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.