3 Reasons Why The World Should NOT Be Your Therapist

At this point the Kanye interview has been seen and  heard around the world. As a Kanye West fan and an admirer of Charlamagne the God’s interviewing style, the anticipation was real.  After his trip to TMZ, the anticipation was pretty much dead. I was not interested in hearing anything Kanye related for a few days. I did my best to scroll past any mention of it on social media, but finally I listened to the segments of the interview with Charlamagne on The Breakfast Club podcast.  Please keep reading my friends, this is not an analysis or my “woke” thoughts on Kanye, Charla, or the interview. This is about the very first thing I heard that made me pause and give a side eye like I was sitting next to Ye.

Kanye West, a musical genius to some, confidently told  Charalamage “I use the world as my therapist, anyone I talk to is my therapist…” .  He goes on to say how he pulls people aside to talk to and to get their perspective. He also mentioned how he will keep friends and family on the phone for 45 minutes at time to “talk through things”.

There are many reasons to NOT use the world, your friends or even your mama, as your therapist.  I know many African-Americans were taught that “therapy is for white people” or we were told “you will be OK” and we even tell our kids “what goes on in this house stays in this house!” , but when there has been mental or emotional trauma there has to be healing and our friends and family cannot heal us and here’s why:

They don’t have time.

Most therapist want to see their patients weekly 45-50 minute sessions and many won’t take on a new patient if they cannot commit to every other week at least .  Does your mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, co-worker, boss, spouse have an hour a week (for a few months) to sit and listen to your issues and give you  “advice”? Our loved ones want to have conversations, exchange thoughts, opinions and jokes. Yes your loved ones can be the one you turn to when you have had a stressful day and need to vent, but time with a professional gives you the “you time”  that you may need.

They don’t have your trust.

Who is the one person you can share anything with, and not be afraid of being judged?  Which one of your friends can you talk to that you know won’t tell another friend or their significant other?  Is there a family member you can talk to that won’t go back to tell your mom, dad or grandmother? A professional therapist is a person you can and should be totally open and honest with.  It was interesting to hear Kanye also say what a lot of people say”I don’t trust anyone, you can’t trust people.” With a therapist and patient there is a level of trust that is developed over time.  They trust that you will be honest with them and really make an effort to do the work and in turn you trust they will be honest with you and help to improve your life .  Therapy does not, will not and cannot work without trust.

They don’t have the training.

Have you ever tried to get someone the change their behavior or way of thinking without force?  Without giving them an ultimatum? Have you ever tried to change a person’s perspective on something they have known to be true since a child.  Would you know how to to begin? Do you know how to recognize PTSD or abandonment issues? Chances are if you don’t know how to do any of the above neither do your friends and family, unless they a licensed therapist.  No matter if you see a LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor, LCDC – Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist  or a Licensed Psychologist all, at a minimum, have a Masters degree and had to meet strict licensing requirements for their state.

If you are interested in finding a therapist start by finding out what your health insurance covers.  If you don’t have health insurance, determine what your can afford to pay weekly. Below is a list of websites that can help you locate a professional in your area.

Therapy for Black Girls

Psychology Today

Open Path Collective

When we aren’t feeling 100% physically we go the the doctor.

When we aren’t feeling 100% mentally or emotionally, go see a therapist.

Once you have found the right one, you will wonder why you waited so long.

Christina Lattimore is a Mental Health Advocate and  founder of Speak Away the Stigma.  Christina believes that by speaking our mental health experiences, the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness can be erased. If you’d like to share your story please email Christina@speakawaythestigma.org

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