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

Those of us who live in the United States often enact our racial traumas on others or ourselves. No matter what your racial identity is (or if you're still developing one), all of our lives and communities are shaped by the concept of race. Most people follow an arc where they may start out being naive to difference, then strongly conforming, then angry at and ashamed of themselves and society, then back again. Exploring your identity can help you cope better with yourself and the world.

— Marissa Lee, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

I am Latina, and in this country that makes me a minority. But I was not raised as one. In Puerto Rico we are Brown, most of us. I only had to contend with race & ethnicity after I left the island. I guess you could say I was lucky. But I can tell you, it was a rude awakening. I choose to put the awareness & sensitivity that I've gained to work –with people of all ages who are grappling with the reality of what it means to be a person of color in this country, visibly different, visibly "other."

— Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Clinical Psychologist in Asheville, NC

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

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

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