When looking for a therapist, it’s a good idea to choose someone who you feel comfortable with, and who understands your culture.
Black marriage counseling can help you and your husband/wife improve your communication skills, increase trust and respect, and help to answer intimacy-related questions in a safe space.
In this guide, we’ve looked at the three best places for African American couples to find black marriage counseling.
Black Marriage Counseling
Black marriage counseling services
Below, we’ve looked at three of the best African American marriage counseling services for black couples.
ReGain is a service that connects you with a relationship counselor over the internet, helping African American couples overcome a range of different marriage issues.
Finding an African American marriage counselor is easy with ReGain. After making an account, you fill out a short questionnaire, where you specify your need for a counselor from your culture. ReGain will match you with a black marriage counselor who meets your needs, so you can quickly start treatment.
Only board-licensed and accredited marriage and family therapists are employed by the service. ReGain counselors all have master’s or doctoral degrees, and have a massive amount of hands-on experience (at least 3 years/1000 hours), ensuring they know how to support you and your partner in the best way possible.
The therapists at ReGain can help you improve your relationship in a few different ways. They provide online video calls, live text messages, and phone sessions, allowing you to get support from the comfort of your own home. Your therapy sessions are accessible on all devices, including your computer, tablet, or smartphone, and using ReGain is very intuitive and easy to get used to.
It’s also quite simple to invite your husband or wife to join the therapy sessions. You simply send them an invite, which allows your partner access to the therapy room from their own device. From this moment on, both partners will be able to read all text messages. You can always ask for private sessions with your relationship counselor if needed.
One limitation of ReGain is the phone/video sessions are only accessible from one device. Consider looking at Talkspace (which we’ve discussed below) if you and your partner are in different locations, or you’d prefer to use your own devices rather than sharing during video calls.
On the plus side though, you can connect with your therapist whenever you need to. Video sessions can be booked at basically any time of day, because ReGain has plenty of counselors available in different timezones, and you can text your counselor at any time. As a result, you and your husband/wife won’t need to reorganize your daily agenda to connect with a counselor.
When comparing the price of in-person marriage counseling to ReGain therapy, you’ll find that ReGain is much cheaper, in most instances.
This is partly because in traditional therapy, you normally pay per person. On the other hand, with ReGain, marriage counseling is the same price as individual therapy sessions, sometimes making it a cheaper alternative. However, the service might not be covered by your insurance provider, unlike in-person counseling.
Talkspace provides access to African American marriage counselors, including individual and couples therapy sessions.
At Talkspace, they match you to a black marriage counselor after you make an account and have a chat with one of their matching agents, who is a licensed therapist. Unlike with ReGain, you don’t fill out a basic online form – you have a conversation instead.
This onboarding process works great if you want to discuss your needs with a professional counselor before beginning therapy. However, ReGain’s questionnaire is a bit easier to complete at your own pace, since it’s just a simple online form.
Once you’ve found the right African American or black marriage counselor, you can contact them via live chat at any time of day. You can also schedule phone/video call sessions at regular intervals, depending on your subscription plan.
Fixing a relationship is something that you need two people for, which Talkspace understands. Inviting your partner is very easy – they can make their own account and be added to your chat room, or you can both use one account. Then, they can join in the therapy sessions on their own device.
The African American relationship counselors available on Talkspace are all licensed and accredited by the boards of their respective states. The main difference is, Talkspace’s black therapists don’t all take a special interest in relationships or intimacy – Talkspace provides more than just relationship counseling.
Basically, finding a great match on Talkspace might be more difficult for this reason – there are more psychologists to filter through. However, you can still change therapists at any time if need be. Plus, unlike with ReGain, Talkspace gives you a choice of counselors to begin with, rather than matching you with a specific person to start the therapy process.
Black Marriage Counseling
Black Marriage Counseling
Inclusivetherapists.com is a website that provides therapy resources especially for people of color. They are focused on providing a safe space for black/African American people to find an appropriate therapist.
This website is a great choice if your focus is not so much on your marriage first but more on your race. They provide a directory of relationship therapists and licensed marriage and family therapists that can help you and your African American partner heal and improve your relationship.
The advantage of using this website is it allows you to find all appropriate therapists in your area, or those focused on your specific issue. You can also find a clinical psychologist who is in the black community themselves.
Unlike with an online provider, you’re not limited to the therapist(s) that the online service matches you with – with this website, you can make a direct appointment with a counselor. inclusivetherapists.com provides each psychologist’s contact details – it’s basically an open online directory for people of color seeking a psychologist.
The disadvantage is that these counselors do not provide the same services as the above online platforms. They are all independent professionals that choose their own format of therapy, including virtual or face-to-face sessions – there is no specific program they have to follow.
It can also be a bit more difficult to assess quality with this website. There are no therapist reviews on the platform, unlike on ReGain, and since there is no technology system, you have to set up your own communication channels with your counselor, or meet them face-to-face during the day. Also, you might struggle to find a good counselor near you if you’re not in a major city like New York or LA.
How can African American couples counseling help my relationship?
Marriage counseling or couples therapy is useful for those who want to strengthen or rebuild their relationship. It can help you to overcome a critical issue that has recently arisen, or it may just be that the strength of your bond has declined over time and you want to fix this.
Some people also go to relationship counseling individually, either before they get married, or to figure out if they really want to divorce their partner. This does not necessarily require seeing a marriage counselor specifically.
Common issues that marriage counseling helps to address include:
- Rebuilding trust after infidelity
- Attachment issues
- Communication issues (arguing, for example)
- Difficulties with sex/intimacy
- Consequences of infertility or child loss
- Conflicts regarding child rearing, paternal/maternal involvement or blended families
- Substance abuse
- Anger management issues
- Domestic violence
These issues may trigger your anxiety, and can be quite difficult to talk about. Marriage counseling can help by providing you with the tools to manage the situation, so that your relationship does not need to end up in divorce.
If you or your partner makes you feel unsafe or if you are in a crisis situation, you should contact the emergency services immediately. When your situation is significantly impacting your mental health or physical wellbeing, it’s often best to make an appointment with a provider in person. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 800.799.7233 for advice if your partner is abusive towards you.
What happens during marriage counseling?
Visiting a counselor for the first time, especially a marriage counselor, may seem intimidating. Here’s what the process involves, to help put your mind at ease.
At the start of your first session, your therapist will likely go over the basics, and prepare you and your partner for future counseling sessions. They will ask for your emergency contact information and inform you of how their counseling will work.
Together with the psychologist, you and your partner will outline the basics of the problems you’re facing. This is also known as an intake interview, and will also occur during the first session.
Your counselor might ask:
- What you/your partner are experiencing
- How long this has been going on
- How you have tried to manage it
- What your goals or expectations are from marriage counseling
Your therapist might also ask if you and/or your partner have been to therapy before. Essentially, the first session is a way for the counselor to gather information, and for you to learn more about what therapy will involve.
The following sessions help you and your partner work on your issues together. In general, couples counselors expect both partners to participate in the sessions.
If you or your partner have any other personal mental health-related issues, you may be referred to an individual therapist to work on this problem in private, or depending on the context, your counselor might invite you to a private session. When using online therapy services, you can normally message your counselor privately if you want to talk.
A good couples counselor will study your behavioral and communication patterns and help you with some tools to overcome your relationship problems. Couples therapy is an interactive process – a therapist might give you and your partner homework to help you to work on the topics you discuss during the session.
Choosing a neutral marriage counselor
It’s perfectly normal to be worried about the potential biases of your therapist. There should be no bias from your counselor against being black or being part of the LGBT community, as a few examples.
Health care professionals study for years to ensure that they offer a neutral and objective point of view – they are trained to listen, rather than judge, no matter who their clients are.
They are not there to point fingers, however some therapists can become biased over time. It’s a good idea to read reviews of each counselor before making a decision to use them, and it’s also best to change to a different therapist if you ever feel uncomfortable.
Black couples can face issues in communication, respect, or appreciation for each other, just like in any other relationship.
There are ways to save your marriage – a first step forward is to find a black or African American couples therapist who understands your relationship challenges. A professional therapist can provide you with tools for better communication, help to resolve conflicts, and can address intimacy issues. Couples counseling basically creates a comfortable space to address your relationship problems.
If your mental health is in a place where you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, or you are in immediate danger, you should contact the emergency services at 911. If you are a victim of domestic violence, but are not in immediate danger, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 800.799.7233.
About the author
I’m a registered psychologist in Belgium, with a BSc and MSc in clinical psychology. I also have an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training certificate, which is a form of cognitive therapy that utilizes a mindfulness and value-based approach.
My focus is on helping people who feel stuck or don’t know what they want anymore in life. I hope to provide tools and information that people can use in their day-to-day routine to reach a higher level of autonomy and improve their overall wellbeing.