Prevalence and perceived importance of racial matching in the psychotherapeutic dyad: A national survey of addictions treatment clinical practices

Author ORCID Identifier

Faisal Kalota:

Publication Title

Substance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy



Document Type



Background: Despite conflicting results in the literature concerning its efficacy in practice, racial matching has been identified as a component of culturally sensitive treatment. Methods: This study examined the perceived importance and prevalence of racial matching by surveying a national sample of substance use disorder (SUD) centers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Results: Using univariate statistical analysis, results for the prevalence of racial matching revealed that in 58% of the clinics, there was the potential to match a counselor with a racially similar client, while in 39% of the clinics, there was no potential to provide such a match. Among the agencies that displayed a potential for racial matching, 26% of the respondents indicated that they never racially matched clients and therapists, 71% reported that they sometimes practice racial matching, 15% indicated that they usually racially match, and only 7% purported to always racially match clients and therapists. Results for the perceived importance of racial matching revealed that in both situations where treatment centers had the potential for racial matching and did not have the potential for racial matching, supervisors reported that it was relatively important to provide culturally sensitive treatment but that it was not as important to match clients in SUD centers with racially/ethnically similar counselors. Conclusion: The topic of racial matching can be very complex and has shown variation amongst SUD centers; however, this study emphasizes the importance of providing culturally sensitive treatment and an appreciation of differences among members within each racial group.

Publication Date




PubMed ID



Addictions treatment, Cross-racial counseling, Culturally responsive counseling


School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions