In this episode we talk to Kristian Holmes, a therapist who is a person of color. We dive deep into racism and emotional and mental health, especially for people of color and/or disadvantaged people in general. We’ll discuss what these groups of people are up against in terms of seeking care, the kind of experiences they have and what they can do to potentially advocate for themselves and find resources to support them. We will also talk about what therapists can do to make sure that they are providing a safe space for them. 

How does racism impact people’s sexual health and wellbeing in general? 

Sexual health involves physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing. With systemic racism, biases are inherent in a lot of medical practices, and trying to seek quality care or resources in terms of sexual health becomes difficult for people of color. The stress brought about by racism on a day-to-day basis impacts people’s relationships and sex life. 

How do you advise people of color to seek out help that will be responsive? 

Communication is key. Do not hesitate to seek information in a community amongst people who are struggling or dealing with similar issues, regardless of whether it’s medical or therapy. It is important to ask questions and be transparent and open to people about what you’re seeking for in a doctor or a therapist. Kristian Holmes also recommends some groups that she considers to be safe spaces where black people can go to explore their sexuality and discuss issues that they may be having. 

How can therapists create a safe space for people of color? 

Therapists have to make sure that they are aware of their inherent biases or stereotypes. It is necessary to educate yourselves outside the office and self-reflect to know who you are comfortable dealing with and the different issues that you are comfortable talking about. If you are struggling in dealing with clients who are of color, seek supervision and consultation. Holmes also goes into dismantling specific stereotypes associated with black people in general. 

How can therapists make it clear that they are offering a safe space for people of color? 

There are a number of factors that can help convey this message. It could be the training that you are attending, what you are posting on social media, and just really showing that black lives and black people’s mental health matters. 


Kristian A. Holmes is the founder of Stepping Stones Counseling & Wellness Center. She is a licensed mental health counselor, National Certified Counselor, qualified supervisor for registered mental health interns and certified Florida School Guidance Counselor with experience working with adults, children, adolescents and families in various settings such as schools, day treatment programs, the criminal justice system, and as a private psychotherapist. Kristian obtained her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist degrees from the University of Florida. 

A holistic, strength-based, and sexological approach that is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual is utilized in therapy along with other techniques and approaches that are complementary to the client’s presenting concerns. Kristian is fully dedicated to helping her clients realize their potential through support and empowerment. 

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