For most teenagers in an ethnic minority group, issues around one’s race and ethnicity are important aspects to consider in teen therapy. When all parts of a teen’s identity are acknowledged in a safe space, it can make their mental health journey feel less daunting. It creates more room for understanding. Having a mental health therapist who identifies with your teen’s race or ethnicity does not always mean a perfect match. However, it can have the potential for a greater positive impact on your teen’s mental health healing.
Here are some ways that building a relationship with an Asian American therapist in Los Angeles and New York City can be important when looking for a therapist for your teen.
Understand and Validate Your Asian American Experience
When a therapist is able to understand or can at least resonate with a teen’s Asian-American experience, a connection is possible. There can finally be a willingness to begin teen therapy. On top of that, Asian American teens can reduce the amount of mental energy spent in sessions. The teen doesn’t have to worry explaining experiences related to their racial and ethnic identity. This is the power of having an Asian American teen therapist!
When a therapist resonates with the teen’s experiences, they feel comfortable. The teen feels relieved that an Asian American professional can understand what they have been through.
One study showed that “95 percent of people of color will end therapy prematurely, usually after the first session, because of the cultural mismatch with the therapist” (Souter, 2020). Why does this happen? Perhaps the therapist did not understand the individual’s experience. And, so, could not provide empathy. This results in the therapist imposing their own values and beliefs. And often, those don’t align with the teen client and their family. There can even be a language barrier when discussing concerns with the client.
A client’s Asian-American experience can present some privileges, but more often than not it can shed light on many disadvantages. Which, can greatly impact your teen’s mental health. However, an Asian American mental health therapist who can understand a teen’s experience. And this can provide so many benefits. Proper acknowledgment, tailored treatment plans, coping strategies, and even a closer therapeutic relationship.
Awareness of Race and Racism
#stopasianhate has been prevalent during this current pandemic. However, it’s not the only time in American history where there has been extreme hate, prejudice, racism, and discrimination against the Asian and Asian American community. Having a therapist who shares similar emotions, feelings, and experiences with the recent hate crimes matters! It can provide a safe space for teens to express their emotions and feelings about the matter. Resonance or shared experiences of mistrust can create a connection. Or, feeling unsafe in society can be better understood by those who have walked in the client’s shoes. An Asian American therapist can also be a healthy and helping model for your teen. In teen therapy, your child can learn helpful coping strategies and acknowledge feelings and emotions.
Acculturation and Assimilation for Asian American Teens
Race, ethnicity, and cultural identity are heavily considered in our Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York-based therapy practice. So, our Asian American therapists remember their acculturation and assimilation journey. This shared experience is another point of connection where a teen client can share their struggles. They can have a safe person to process these difficult emotions with. And, explore options tailored to their cultural experience.
Acculturation is the process in which Asian Americans adopt some parts of the dominant cultures, but still hold onto customs, traditions, religion, thought processes, beliefs, and values of their own culture. Assimilation is when Asian Americans get absorbed completely into the dominant culture. Our Asian American therapists are fully aware that Asian Americans ebb and flow within the spectrum of these two realities. Having a mental health therapist who understands this process can provide a sense of understanding. An acknowledgment for the struggles dealt with. And, help your teen reconstruct their identity to celebrate their cultural, racial, and ethnic identity.
Start Online Teen Therapy with an Asian American Therapist
Your Asian or Asian American teenager does not have to go through these struggles alone. It is essential that they not only have the support of their parents/guardians and extended family. But, it is also important for your teen to connect with a professional like an Asian American mental health therapist. If you are looking for a therapist who is culturally informed, will tailor their treatment plan to your teenager’s needs, collaborate with them, and partner with the family members for the overall success of the client, reach out to one of our therapists here at your Los Angeles, CA and New York City, NY-based therapy practice. Follow the steps below to begin.
- Fill out our contact form
- Connect with a skilled Asian American therapist
- Begin exploring and processing how your experiences have shaped you
Yellow Chair Collective: The Podcast | Why Therapy Matters and Who It’s For with Robyn Tamanaha
Yellow Chair Collective: The Podcast | Discover the Benefits of Therapy and Coaching with Dilia Morales