'Don't Show Weakness:' Black Americans Still Shy Away from Psychotherapy

By Leland, John | Newsweek, July 14, 1997 | Go to article overview

'Don't Show Weakness:' Black Americans Still Shy Away from Psychotherapy


Leland, John, Newsweek


DR. ALVIN POUSSAINT remembers clearly a visit to the housing project s of Boston in the late 1960s. A public-health nurse had directed him to a woman in need of help. When he identified himself as a psychiatrist, says Poussaint, who is black, the woman refused to open her door. "She told me there were two individuals who could have her locked up. One was the police. And one was the psychiatrist." The experience taught him a lesson about the power relationship between his profession and the black community. "I realized that in poor black communities, the psychiatrist was seen as someone who had the power to say you were crazy, to have you committed"--or to take your children away.

When Mike Tyson announced last week that he planned to seek psychiatric treatment, it was something of a watershed. African-Americans have traditionally tended to avoid openly talking about their psychological problems or seeking treatment for them. "This whole notion of therapy is not really embedded in the African-American culture," says Bertha Holliday, who runs the American Psychological Association's office of ethnic-minority affairs. Many can't afford it or don't have insurance; others fear the stigma or prefer alternatives--mostly clergy, but also astrologers or psychics. Black men especially remain wary of therapy, with possibly dire consequences. The suicide rate for young African-American males has risen more than 50 percent in the last decade. Dr. Linda James Myers of Ohio State contends that untreated depression, "particularly among [black] men, is why drug use and alcohol levels are so high and homicide is so high--people are trying to mediate themselves."

Middle-class people of all races are more likely to seek therapy. But some of the obstacles for blacks cross class lines. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Don't Show Weakness:' Black Americans Still Shy Away from Psychotherapy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.