Shocking Racial Bias in Therapy
Therapists more than most people are expected to have a level of personal awareness which is meant to give us an understanding of our own weaknesses and our skills as therapists should give us the a ability to work on these weaknesses. I am very sorry to have read that in research conducted by the University of Vermont that shows a racial prejudice when offering therapy services.
Researchers had made enquiry calls to licensed counsellors and psychologists in the East Coast of the United States looking for therapeutic services. There were two identities used “Allison” and “Lakisha”. 371 calls were made, 193 for Alison and 173 for Lakisha. Allison received 12% more invitations to start therapy. Whilst there are certain issues to this sampling, ie Alison having 20 more calls made as well as this being a very small sample to work with (as there are probably well over 100000 practitioners in the area surveyed) there does seem to be a therapeutic bias which falls on racial lines.
I think that one of the great strengths of British Psychotherapy is that part of our basic training is about diversities and equality. It is an opportunity for trainees to face their biases in a safe space and it helps us to be not only better therapists but also, in my opinion, better people.