Racial Identity

Racial identity is a multifaceted construct, the development of which is a lifelong process that involves how a person interprets messages about racial groups. Racial identity has been described as the significance and meaning of race in one’s life. Our racial identity is an important part of how we see ourselves and how others see us. Racial identity development is relevant to all racial groups – but typically plays a larger role in the experiences of minorities. Many things can influence an individual’s racial identity, including pop culture and current events. If you are working through issues related to racial identity, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today.

Meet the specialists

I'll never forget the first time I filled out a standardized test in school. I was in elementary school and I remember the words "Choose One" being written in bold under the heading "Race." Biracial was not an option. I remember choosing white because I was the only nonwhite student in my class and I didn't want to be different. Thus began a long and complicated relationship with my racial identity. It's hard when you are forced to choose a box and it's hard when others automatically put you in a box. I enjoy helping clients explore the complexities of racial identity and the very real stress that it can cause.

— Anne Rice, Licensed Professional Counselor in Decatur, GA

I specialize in working with multi-racial individuals and those from multi-racial, multi-cultural families.

— Loretta Staples, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Haven, CT

Racial identity and the effects of racial oppression was an area of focus in my undergraduate education. I also graduated from a graduate school of social work that required integration of racial oppression and racial justice in every scholarly paper, as well as a competency that was required to be demonstrated in foundation and advanced year practicums and internships. As a biracial (African American and Korean) person, I know all too well the the pain of racial inequity.

— Brian Prester, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

I am a nationally recognized expert for my research and work with biracial, multi-ethnic/racial, and interracial families. I am biracial, Austrian-Hungarian/African American.

— Dr. Patricia D. Johnson, Marriage & Family Therapist in Encino, CA

I love working with multiethnic/multicultural clients. Examples of that are Third Culture Kids, mixed ethnicity, POC, and second generation immigrants. Blending of different worlds passport to different world views. I appreciate my clients' personal stories as valuable to the work, and I connect from my own lived experience.

— Deva Segal, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Being a biracial (Black and Filipino) clinician, I have a natural passion for journeys of self-discovery and the complexity of claiming your identity. I love working with individuals on not feeling like they have to place themselves in a box (whether racial, sexual, gender, cultural, etc.) and finding out who they are as an individual. I want people to know that a journey starting with insecurity can end with acceptance of self.

— Shavonne James, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Beverly Hills, CA

Cultural beliefs, expectations, norms, taboos and upbringing…influences who we are, how we think and therefore the mental health care system for people of color need to be examined within that context. as an Afro-Caribbean American woman I understand that the intersections of race, ethnicity, culture and sexuality needs to be considered in the therapy process. finding a licensed mental health professional that has the knowledge to help people of color engage, explore and evolve is essential

— Jennifer Elve, Counselor in Seattle, WA

One's racial identity is a complex component of who their are. People of color must navigate a world that increasing is pushing them to reject their own culture, while internally containing their sense of self. If you work with me I promise to help you navigate the minefield of self-identity, mass culture identity, and your culture's views on your racial identity. Together I know we will be able to find the You that you want to be; not the you society claims you should be.

— Austin Knight, Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI