A man sits with his therapist, hiding face in shame, anxiety, and stress.

Tips to Help You Move Past Cultural Stigma Attached to Therapy

Seeking mental health support in and of itself is very challenging. It’s difficult to be vulnerable and reach out to friends and family, let alone a professional, and there’s no denying the role of cultural and social stigma in making it even harder.

For many, especially POC, there is an added layer of guilt and shame when it comes to therapy. Whether we look at Afro-Caribbean cultures, Arab cultures, Asian or South Asian cultures, many cultures tend to stigmatize mental health in different ways, making it nearly impossible to seek professional help.

If you’re struggling, here are some tips to help you get through these challenges:

Acknowledge, understand and accept that it’s okay

It’s okay to struggle and find yourself in need of a little help and support. There’s nothing wrong with you needing to take a little time off, seek help from a licensed and qualified professional, and get the support you require. Everybody has mental health struggles at some point or the other.

Remind yourself that you are not crazy or ungrateful

Having mental health issues doesn’t make you ungrateful or crazy, contrary to popular misconception. You can appreciate and acknowledge all the blessings in your life while still struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition.

A therapist offers her client support as she cries and lowers her head.

Educate those closest to you—but don’t strain yourself

If you have the emotional, intellectual, and mental energy to educate loved ones about your mental health struggles and general concerns, do so. But never at the expense of your own boundaries. It’s going to be uncomfortable; there’s no denying that, but it’s so worth it.

Find support from individuals in similar situations

Support groups are going to become a saving grace for you in these trying times. Connecting with those from similar backgrounds and situations or with relatable struggles can help you feel less isolated and lonely.

Nobody should have the power to disempower you.

If you’re looking for help and assistance and would like to work with a therapist who understands difficult socio-cultural contexts, reach out to us. Azizeh E. Rezaiyan is a Farsi-speaking therapist and psychologist heading our counseling and therapy services in Palo Alto. Contact us today to know more about our work and how we can help you overcome these barriers to mental health and wellness.

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