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Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, specializes in working with African-American women in her practice, especially around relationships, breakups, divorce and work-life balance. Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, an Atlanta, Georgia, clinical psychologist, specializes in working with African-American women in her practice, especially around relationships, breakups, divorce and work-life balance, but she goes well beyond merely making herself available to her own clients.

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The creator of the website Therapy for Black Girls, Bradford provides an array of resources to introduce psychology to African-American women, who have typically been raised to handle their problems in the context of family, church and friends. Talking to a stranger about some very personal things has been taboo," says Bradford, an APA member.


Black women are often seen as strong and resilient, and Bradford says, as a general rule, that is true, but only part of the story. Black women have all the stressors other women have, as well as the additional effects of systemic racism to deal with. For example, black women are more likely to experience post-partum depressiona condition often linked to socioeconomic status, yet they are far less likely to get help in dealing with it.

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Bradford's outreach to black women dates back to her days as a college counselor, when she first noticed that African-Americans sought mental health services from the campus centers much less often than other students. She aims to make a discussion of mental health issues "accessible and relevant" for black women.

Her project, Therapy for Black Girls, is part of that effort, and it seems to be working.


The website hasfollowers, and Bradford's weekly podcast has had more than 2. The podcasts are deed to help black women become familiar with the objectives, terminology, possible topics and some of the processes of therapy. She date black women bradford other therapists, all black women so far, to analyze the issues that, say, characters from popular culture might discuss in therapy, like Molly from the HBO series Insecure, or Olivia Pope from ABC's Scandal.

Bradford lists books and other resources on the website as well. A new subscription service, the Yellow Couch Collective, has 65 members so far. The road to that objective is strewn with obstacles, though, Bradford says. For one thing, in her experience, most black women who are open to therapy say that another black woman is their ideal mental health professional.


But while more than two-thirds of psychologists are women, only 5. And those are not spread evenly across the country. Two years ago, Bradford began assembling a national directory of mental health professionals who are d and ostensibly culturally competent to work with black women.

The directory has grown to more than 1, therapists. Some nominate themselves; other names come from current or former clients who report good experiences. Most therapists in the directory are African-American women themselves. Bradford doesn't endorse the therapists on the list she's created, but she date black women bradford proud that it gives women a start on getting help.

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Trust-building is an important aspect of any therapeutic relationship, but especially when client and therapist come from different backgrounds. The importance of cultural competence may be on white psychologists' radar these days, and therapists are almost by definition well-intentioned people, Bradford says, but good intentions are just a start.

Black women may feel traumatized by a bad experience with a date black women bradford who, for example, questions the legitimacy of something the client is reporting that the client knows to be true, Bradford says. Or, black women may talk with fervor when they have strong feelings about something, but that doesn't mean they are habitually angry, as one stereotype has it.

On the other hand, white therapists absolutely do need to talk about racial issues with their black clients.

Top podcasts in health & fitness

You're not seeing all of who I am," Bradford says. Affordability is another roadblock. Black women are less likely to have health insurance than white women and, even when they do have it, therapists may not take insurance — Bradford herself doesn't.


There has been so much information about how mental health professionals are not reimbursed at the same rate as physicians," even though psychologists also go through several years of postgraduate training. The reimbursement rates are not up to par," she says.

The podcast every black woman needs to subscribe to: ‘therapy for black girls’

In rural areas, "there might not be a therapist within 20 or 30 miles, and sadly, a lot of community mental health facilities have closed," Bradford says. Telehealth options might be at least one answer in those areas. Growing up in Paincourtville, Louisiana, Bradford says she was the girl her friends would come to with all their problems.


It wasn't easy, as an African-American woman, getting all the way through psychology training, she says. In fact, they can be downright hostile.

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Luckily, Bradford was one of two black female students in her cohort, and a scattering of other black grad students were in the program as well. There were also a couple of faculty members who got it, who understood we weren't making things up. Support is the only way you can make it through," she says.


Now, she's gratified to find herself at the center of an "active and strong community" through Therapy for Black Girls. She's thinking about offering live events starting inperhaps some half-day or full-day intensives. I want to make sure that I'm giving them content they feel is useful, and helpful to their lives. Craig Haney advocates for criminal justice reform. Advancing treatments for methamphetamine addiction.


Mana Ali Carter wants to help eliminate health disparities. Purchase APA-branded items for yourself or someone special. Get answers from Laurel Road. Telehealth coverage included in policy. COVID resources for psychologists, health-care workers and the public.


Visit Resources ». Joy Harden Bradford wants black women to embrace psychology Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, specializes in working with African-American women in her practice, especially around relationships, breakups, divorce and work-life balance. Cite this. O'Hara, D. Joy Harden Bradford wants black women to embrace psychology.


American Psychological Association. Related and recent Craig Haney advocates for criminal justice reform Craig Haney, PhD, has researched solitary confinement extensively as part of the larger project of his career, which is using psychology to effect meaningful, humane reform of the criminal justice system.


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