A new study suggests that psychotherapists are human beings in a society, subject to the same influences as other people in that society.
"Psychotherapists are not immune to the stereotypes that influence the decisions of other professionals," Heather Kugelmass, the author of the study, said. "Moreover, because therapists in solo private practice have high levels of professional autonomy, they have a lot of latitude to make decisions that are consistent with their biases."
"Among those who were called back, however, Kugelmass found a disturbing trend. Once reached, white patients who sounded like they were middle-class were offered an appointment 30% of the time, while middle-class black women were offered an appointment 21% of the time and middle-class black men received such an invitation only 13% of the time. The offer for psychotherapy appointments also seemed to depend on gender and class divisions."
“For those [potential clients] who do persist in their search for care, every instance of blocked access means additional time and effort spent placing numerous phone calls to identify a psychotherapist willing to respond and accommodate their schedules. This is time and effort that those suffering from mental [health issues]—especially those of low socioeconomic status—do not have to spare.”