Race & Cultural Identity Challenges

Challenges around race and cultural identity vary enormously, including topics of discrimination, racism, and intergenerational trauma.

For example, a person may be discriminated against on the basis of their racial or cultural identity, or they may experience conflict between their own desires and the expectations of their culture.

While these aspects of identity are often sources of strength and support, they can also contribute to stress or pain in an individual’s life. In some cases, they can cause common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Prevalence of challenges around race and cultural identity

Because these issues are not clinically defined mental health conditions, there is little research on their overall prevalence. They are also tied to such basic aspects of individuals’ lives that it can be difficult to trace how frequently concerns around identity develop into worrisome mental health patterns.

However, the fields of psychology and social science generally acknowledge that racial and cultural identity are common contributors to mental health challenges.

Symptoms associated with racial and cultural identity issues vary widely, but some common examples are as follows:

Racial and cultural identity issues come in many forms, but a few common scenarios include:

What to do if you’re experiencing challenges around race and cultural identity

If any aspect of your racial and/or cultural identity is causing you stress, worry, or pain, you might consider the following courses of action:

How to find a therapist for challenges around race and cultural identity

Determine which therapy type(s) appeals to you

Therapists differ in their approaches to treating challenges around racial and cultural identity. Common approaches include:

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Find therapists specializing in race and cultural identity near you

Find therapists who specialize in race and cultural identity issues on Zencare, below. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.