5 Barriers to Therapy for Raza

  1. The mental health field is not responsive to the importance of connectedness in our culture.
    • The field continues to teach, train and operate from a predominantly individualistic, Western perspective. The mainstream approaches and theories are founded on an individualistic sense of “the self.” Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x populations are generally more collectivistic, valuing interdependence or pro-dependence.
  2. The mental health field is not responsive to the historical and contemporary marginalization of Raza
    • The mental health field struggles to make the process of therapy less foreign and less inaccessible. It is not responsive to the fact that Raza have a long history of not feeling welcome by the profession (as well as a long history of marginalization from U.S. society’s major institutions such as health care and mental health care). 
  3. The mental health field is not responsive to Raza who do not speak (or feel comfortable) speaking English. 
    • The field is not responsive to the language needs and preferences of many Raza clients. The amount of bilingual therapists is not proportional to the amount of bilingual Raza. In a nationwide APA survey, only 5.5 percent of psychologists, who may be Hispanic or another race or ethnicity, said they can provide services in Spanish.
  4. The mental health field is not responsive to the lack of Raza representation.
    • Representation matters and the field is not doing enough to recruit and retain Brown students toward a path in mental health. This includes recruiting and retaining Brown faculty and instructors in the field. Only 6.9% of all therapists are Raza.
  5. The mental health field is not responsive to existing cultural preferences and practices that complements contemporary therapy.
    • In a field that often champions “strength-based approaches”, they have not sufficiently utilized the strengths in Brown communities that can bridge the gaps in utilizing mental health services. Although there is real stigma associated with mental health treatment in our community, there are also many aspects of our culture that are very much in line with the process of therapy. We tend to prefer a focus on affect rather than cognition in our interactions. We value connecting with others (personalismo) and the notion of platica is firmly rooted in our ways of relating to each other. The field has not incorporated and responsively adjusted its approaches to actively include these aspects in mainstream therapy. 

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