Black mental health client's preference for therapists: a new look at an old issue

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 1985 Winter;31(4):258-66. doi: 10.1177/002076408503100403.


Thirty black clients from a community mental health center in the Los Angeles City were interviewed to determine whether black Clients prefer black therapists or therapists from other ethnic backgrounds, and the factors associated with their preferences. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were employed. The results indicated that 60% of the respondents preferred black therapists. With the small sample size this difference between responders and non-responders was within the normal range expected. However, preference of blacks for blacks is an important finding. When a black client preferred a black therapist, the major reasons depended on the therapist's professional competence and attitudes, not just the cultural, race, and linguistic compatibility.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychotherapy*