My Experience as a Black Therapist with Lyra

My Experience as a Black Therapist with Lyra

Persistent barriers often prevent people from finding the right mental health care provider for their unique needs. This frequently means struggling to find a therapist who takes your insurance in your area, but it can also include being unable to find a provider who understands your life experience–especially for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. At Lyra, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our members have fast access to the care that is a good fit for them, whether it’s seeing a therapist with experience treating a specific mental health condition, or one who has shared many of the same lived experiences.

Lyra therapist and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) Briahn Badelle (she/her/hers) has long prioritized providing culturally competent care to her clients from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds. We sat down with Badelle to learn more about why culturally competent care is so important to her, and how this intersects with her experience as a Black therapist at Lyra.

Why did you join Lyra?

As a community-based LCSW with a social justice framework, I am very intentional about making sure that those who would most benefit from working with me have access to my services. I initially joined Lyra because of my previous experience working with clients who had mental health benefits through their employer. I assumed that Lyra would be like a typical employee assistance program (EAP) that only covered three to four sessions; however, I quickly learned that Lyra provides a substantial number of sessions for clients from various backgrounds. These sessions are tailored to meet clients’ needs, while also being grounded in evidence-based practice.

As a provider of color and given the type of practice you wanted to create, what stood out about Lyra?

I knew that it was important for me to open a practice that would do three things:

  1. Align with my values.
  2. Focus on the populations I wanted to work with and serve.
  3. Be financially sustainable, for both me and my clients.

In working with Lyra, I could be intentional about the types of clients I saw in therapy, all while receiving market-rate compensation. Additionally, as a Lyra provider, you can write a profile that allows clients to get to know you better before selecting you as their therapist. If you enjoy working with specific populations–for example, queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC), immigrants, or teens, or you specialize in treating particular disorders such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), you can make that clear in your Lyra profile. 

Working with Lyra, I have yet to receive a referral who I didn’t feel was a good fit for my practice. I have had the chance to work with everyone–from BIPOC tech workers to first-generation college students, including those struggling to navigate the pressures of working part-time while attending school. 

With Lyra, I am able to provide care to those who may not have had access to BIPOC providers before, which is important to me as a Black therapist. As we know, many BIPOC communities have not always been open to therapy as it was not seen as something that was “for us.” It has typically been very hard for clients seeking care to find a therapist with shared experiences, which is why so many BIPOC therapists are entering the field. Whether I am working with an Indigenous barista who is a first-generation college student, a non-binary LatinX tech manager or a Black engineer, we all have some shared experiences in society, which allows my clients to be their full selves in our work together. This has given me the opportunity to continue my work as a change agent in my community without having to worry about whether I will get appropriate referrals.

What are the benefits of working with Lyra?

Lyra has some great benefits for providers. In addition to perks like minimal administrative burden and fast, fair payment, as a Lyra provider, you have access to some amazing free continuing education opportunities. Some of my favorite trainings so far have been the free trainings on dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)  and presentations on working with intersectional identities of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation in therapy

Aside from offering frequent learning opportunities for providers, one of the greatest benefits is the consistently strong client referrals. These clients are from traditionally under-served backgrounds and now have access to mental health services through Lyra. As a Black female therapist who works with women from all backgrounds, men of color, and teens, my practice quickly filled up after I joined Lyra and clients could book their first session with me directly through the Lyra platform.

In addition to the helpful benefits for providers, I’ve seen how Lyra also constantly finds new ways to provide meaningful support to clients that other companies generally don’t offer. As a former social worker at a county hospital, I often saw how some of my patients fell through the cracks, and I wanted to make sure to avoid that whenever possible in my private practice. In working with Lyra, I know that I can rely on the Lyra Care Team if I have a client who needs a referral to a specialized provider. For example, if you have a client who might benefit from medication management and their employer offers the Lyra medication benefit, they can be matched with a medication provider who can likely see them well before a provider through their insurance can. 

As a therapist who was initially unsure about opening a private practice, working with Lyra made the process very easy. I know that I will be able to work with the populations I am most passionate about, I know that I will be paid a fair rate, and I know that if there is a client who may be a better fit for another therapist, Lyra will help them find someone so they don’t fall through the cracks. 


If you are a BIPOC therapist who is interested in joining the Lyra provider network, please contact us here.

If you want help connecting with a therapist, Lyra can assist you. You can get started today if Lyra is offered by your employer. Sign up now.

For employers who want to learn more about how Lyra’s enhanced EAP addresses network adequacy and quality issues, download our whitepaper on quality or get in touch.

And check in frequently here or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for more insights into supporting employees’ mental health.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Briahn Badelle is a licensed clinical social worker with over 10 years of experience working with adolescents and adults in the Bay Area. An Oakland native, Briahn has worked as a trauma medical social worker at a local county trauma center as well as at other Bay area hospitals and has also worked at various nonprofits and schools in the Bay Area. To address the need for therapists from traditionally oppressed communities, Briahn opened Thrive Oakland, a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, LGBTQ+ affirming therapy practice in Oakland.

By The Lyra Team
21 of October 2020 - 6 min read
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