My Therapy Review from a Black Woman with a White Male Therapist

My first day of therapy was not what I thought it would be. I walked into CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services for non-Mason folks) with a head full of tears. I was distraught in my mental state and needed help desperately. I knew this was a big step for me coming from a black family who dealt with their mental health issues on their own terms. 

My mother deals with depression but doesn’t see a professional. My sister went to therapy a couple of times and shut down so her therapist recommended she didn’t come back. My father found other ways to deal with his issues. I was the first person in my family to actively seek help and I wanted to embrace it as much as possible.

When I walked into the office, I was greeted by the receptionists. Since I didn’t have an appointment, I had to wait for a walk-in appointment with the next in office counselor available. 

I was so anxious.

What if my therapist and I didn’t connect? What if I didn’t get anything out of the session? What if this was not the best option for me and I was just completely crazy?

I just wanted to go into my first therapy session with an open mind, and to my surprise that’s exactly what I did and more.

My therapist, who I will call Tom for the sake of his privacy and my own, welcomed me in his office with warm arms. We begin with basic questions about myself and my family history with depression. I knew if I wanted this to work I had to be vulnerable with my therapist and expose my deepest dark secrets. I had to be willing to want to accept help which would make this experience successful. 

I will definitely say by the end of the first session I was in tears. Tom opened up another side of me that I never knew existed. I was able to admit exactly what was bothering me including things I had held back for years. I was able to face the worst fear I thought I could hide from myself and because of that, I fell into the trap of therapy.

Now many of you may ask, what race is Tom? Well, Tom is a white man and I see him no different because of it. When I told my friends and family he was white, they automatically recommended I see someone who was black and could relate to me more emotionally. I thought about it for a second, even when Tom and I talked about it in our first session, but with Tom, I could automatically feel the connection. His race didn’t matter, but his way of getting me to open up and empathize with my troubles made him more than perfect for me in this situation. He holds me accountable and that’s the best thing for me moving forward right now. 

As far as the whole therapy experience, I believe it was the best decision I’ve made in my life. It’s taught me to forgive. It’s taught me that it’s okay to not be okay and experience every emotion that my body feels. I see Tom on a weekly basis and because of that, I feel much better than I did at the start of this semester.

I’m evolving during this journey, even with my white male therapist who truly understands me. If it wasn’t for Tom I don’t know where I’d be at the current moment. I was very lost and because of him, I’m finding myself again.