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Why Latinos can benefit from a culturally competent therapist, and how to find one


Find a therapist who understands your cultural background. The first time Jacqueline Garcia sought therapy, she was in college. She’d lived in Tijuana until she was 12 years old, and she had struggled with the transition when her family immigrated to the United States.

She signed up for an initial therapy session with a mental health professional but never made a second appointment. She said she didn’t feel like her white therapist understood or validated her experiences.

“I felt a little bit disillusioned, but that experience helped me to understand that I needed to find someone I would feel comfortable with,” Garcia told The Times in Spanish.

Five years passed before Garcia was ready to search for a therapist again. She wanted to work with a bilingual mental health professional who could understand her childhood and its effects on her young-adult life.

“I could unravel myself really well [with the new therapist]. In that first session, I was comfortable enough to explain my feelings that I had buried inside me for so long,” said Garcia, now a Los Angeles-based clinical social worker.

“Having someone who is not culturally competent and/or informed can lead to experiencing microaggressions, feeling misunderstood or even perpetuating oppressive behaviors,” said […]

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