Deactivating Psychology Today & Moving Forward
Updated: Aug 12
Psychology Today is a common referral site for finding a therapist. It does not vet clinicians other than to request license & liability information. As a huge source of referrals, I often get at least 5-15 emails & phone calls each week from individuals seeking treatment. That despite a statement on my profile that says I am only accepting clients seeking gender affirming surgery evaluations. I still respond individually to each of these emails, because I know how hard it is to find a therapist who feels like a good fit, and even more difficult to find one who is trans competent, anti-racist, and socially aware.
Therefore, the decision to discontinue is a tough one due to worries that some folks might not be able to find me as easily, and also because I am still establishing my practice near Providence, RI in addition to continuing telehealth in MA. Regardless, this decision feels like the right one. And I need to stick with my values.
You may or may not be aware of some of the past issues with Psychology Today in terms of the way they sensationalize and sometimes minimize mental health, their very thin-white-cis-centric view of beauty in their magazine/articles, and questionable missing discussions about racism, anti-Blackness, & white supremacy.
I found out today about an article that was published about a month ago about "vilifying Karens" that was removed after the Medium website posted a response piece - https://email@example.com/psychiatrists-stance-on-the-vilification-of-karens-exposes-the-inequities-embedded-within-c76a35622aee. Perhaps coincidentally (or not), Psychology Today posted a new article the next day that spoke to white privilege, as if pretending it didn't happen would be a healing solution. (Update as of 8/4/20 - when I emailed to cancel my Psychology Today membership, this was the response: "We can assure you, the views expressed in the article are not our views but those of the author’s. We have subsequently removed the article and apologize for the hurt and frustration it may have caused." I responded promptly to explain why that response is both unacceptable and dismissive, a common response of those who aren't actively doing anti-racist work and feel offended that they might be considered racist, focusing on distancing from the person who did harm, without taking responsibility for the larger problems in the company).
If I'm going to be part of the solution and continue to engage in anti-racist activism, seek to educate my friends/family/colleagues/clients etc. about why these issues are crucial, then I need to put my foot down when organizations are actively contributing to harmful ideas and use their power to amplify oppression. I will be removing my Psychology Today profile and instead will seek to list my practice on sites that are more intentional about doing anti-racist work, who seek therapists that are mindful of equity & inclusivity, as well as having cultural competence.
Are you open to considering a change? Check out some of these general search site options (feel free to suggest additional sites, or provide feedback about any of the sites I've listed):
1) Therapy Den: Apparently, there is a free directory called Therapy Den that purposely seeks to add culturally competent clinicians to serve marginalized populations - doesn't take too long to create & activate your profile, and they just ask for a suggested donation to support their mission. https://www.therapyden.com/benefits
2) Inclusive Therapists: I found out about a new therapist search site that requires an application for membership and has different tiers of involvement - they ask therapists to speak to their training, interest, and experience in creating an inclusive, anti-racist, and culturally competent referral service, and it is reasonably priced (less than Psychology Today). I am most excited about becoming a member here!!! https://www.inclusivetherapists.com/ - www.instagram.com/inclusivetherapists
3) Zencare: This site grew out of Providence, RI, is growing in popularity and offers a much more professional presence for your profile, though is definitely a bit more expensive (while still worth the value if you have a full-time practice). They go through a vetting process with clinicians who apply and ask detailed questions about the therapist’s approach to treatment to verify their stated expertise. Zencare has also published quite a few pieces in recent months around working toward anti-racism as well as providing gender affirming care. www.zencare.co
4) Open Path Collective: Free to list your practice - serves clients who don't have health insurance, whose insurance doesn't adequately cover mental health, or for clients who cannot afford $80-200 for out of pocket. Asks clinicians to accept at least 1 sliding scale Open Path client for $30-60/session (with a $59 lifetime membership paid by client). https://openpathcollective.org/open-path-therapists/
Consider listing your practice on these sites:
a) If you're a BIPOC therapist, Innopsych: https://www.innopsych.com/joindirectory
b) For Black therapists: Therapy for Black Girls: https://providers.therapyforblackgirls.com/
- Also, Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation: https://borislhensonfoundation.org/resource-guide/
- For Queer & Trans BIPOC therapists: https://www.nqttcn.com/directory
c) For queer/LGBTQ+ affirming clinicians: www.outcarehealth.com
-For trans competent clinicians who write surgery letters: The Galup Pledge (free to join) - asks clinicians to commit to 1 free evaluation/letter a month to reduce the felt gate-keeping for trans and nonbinary folks seeking gender affirming procedures. https://thegalap.org/
f) For generalist clinicians:
- Social Workers - NASW Match Referral Service - https://www.naswma.org/page/TMprovider
- All Providers - https://www.thrivingcampus.com (free to list, work with local college students)
Since there are so many search options as well as the good ‘ole fashioned’ word-of-mouth, I will just hope that my reputation precedes me, work to create a professional network, and think creatively about ways that trans and gender nonbinary clients can find ways to connect to myself and other clinicians who are affirming and trans competent.
What’s the saying? Something about the road less traveled? As clinicians, I believe it is our responsibility to decolonize therapy and move our care toward social liberation. Let’s take the less traveled path together!
As a final note, here are some insta page recommendations with decolonizing therapy content!!
(And a selfish-not-selfish plug for my personal page: www.instagram.com/megan.wholehearted.psych)