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Donna F. Edwards is a Post contributing columnist.


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It is not a substitute for professional medical, psychotherapy, or counseling advice. You acknowledge that we are not health professionals nor trained to provide psychotherapy or any medical care, and that we are not holding ourselves out as such. If you have felt the nudge, call, or Universal shove to take your self-care to the next level — and be open to getting a little uncomfortable — consider enlisting the help of a therapist. That said, there are three major therapy modalities and one that is starting to gain more awareness. Talk Therapy: Also known as psychotherapy, this is the one you tend to see portrayed on television shows or in the movies.

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Picture a therapist seated in a stately Eames chair and a patient sitting across from them or perhaps even be reclined in a couch, facing away. Cognitive Behavior Therapy CBT : Not to be confused with CBD, CBT practitioners will work with a patient on specific behaviors, thought patterns, fears, or compulsions and give them the tools to help break or better manage their thoughts and actions. They can often be trained to help with substance abuse disorders. EMDR therapists access specific, triggering memories and have the client process them through rapid eye movement and the use of hand tappers.

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Therapy is nuanced and a person could technically benefit from more than one type but, for the sake of this article, here are some generalizations of which style could be best for you. There are a lot of titles and abbreviations within the world of therapywhich can all be a bit overwhelming. Here are the basics to help you feel more confident.

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A therapist will listen, provide tools, and walk you through the therapy styles mentioned above. They cannot prescribe medication, though therapists with PhDs, also known as psychologists, can provide diagnoses i.

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Here are the common ones:. A psychiatrist has a medical degree, and you would work with one if you needed medication for anxiety, depression, etc. This source and this source from Human Services Edu do a great job breaking down the differences.

This is dependent on the reason a person chooses to seek therapy.

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Women who have ongoing mental health challenges might always stay in therapy to help manage and process the symptoms. From my own personal experience, I chose to go from weekly to bi-monthly meetings after a particular issue I came in for was more-or-less resolved and it felt like I was really having to dredge up things to talk about for an hour. You can always ask what the therapist suggests for a course of action and work with them to step down or ramp up when necessary.

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With the help of a therapist, we can start to break down that ideology and learn that we can be strong and vulnerable. Sadly, many black women carry racial traumas from verbal harassment, daily microaggressions, watching the news on any given day, and, in some cases, physical violence. Talk about freeing! Through their posts and episodes, you can learn about different therapies and glean quick, useful tips. Start by contacting your insurance provider to learn what the sessions will cost and how many you can have a year.

The ultimate guide for women of color seeking therapy

Yes, it can feel like you need a Ph. This is the method I used to find my therapist. I reached out to one office a few times over the course of a month and could never get someone.

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Luckily, another woman I contacted got back to me immediately with an appointment time that week. However, you should always feel supported, safe, and respected. Therapy for Black Girls also has a wonderful directory, and this resource is especially useful for black women who do not live in overly diverse states or cities.

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Her suggestions:. Again, this can all be overwhelming, so remember this: When all is said and done, work with whoever makes you feel comfortable.

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Connecting with bosses, mentors, Step sponsors, and therapists who share your complexion can be so valuable and healing, but the black community is not monolithic and every black therapist will have their take on things that you might love or bristle at. But therapy lets us go in, break down, and rebuild with the help of another person who truly wants to see us succeed, and we have every right to be chilling on those couches. When we aren't posting here, we build programs to help people quit drinking. Photo via Shutterstock.

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What are the main types of therapies? Talk Therapy is great for you if: You want to dig into your past You are struggling with a breakup or death You have anxiety or depression CBT is great for you if: You have or are struggling with substance use You are dealing with an eating disorder or disordered eating You have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, or other mental health challenges though you would likely also need to see a psychiatrist EMDR is great for you if: You have PTSD from sexual, physical, military, or emotional trauma.

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This also includes racial trauma, which many black women have experienced What is the difference between a therapist, psychologist, and a psychiatrist? How long does a person stay in therapy?

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More people of color are seeking mental health services, but finding a therapist of color can be difficult.