BACKGROUND: There are many limitations with the evidence base for the role of race and ethnicity in continuation of psychotherapy for depression. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 242,765 patients >/= 18 years old from six healthcare systems in the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) who had a new episode of psychotherapy treatment for depression between 1/1/2010 and 12/31/2013. Data were from electronic medical records and organized in a Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW). The odds of racial and ethnic minority patients returning for a second psychotherapy visit within 45 days of the initial session were examined using multilevel regression. RESULTS: The sample was primarily middle aged (68%, 30-64 years old), female (68.5%), and non-Hispanic white (50.7%), had commercial insurance (81.4%), and a low comorbidity burden (68.8% had no major comorbidities). Return rates within 45 days of the first psychotherapy visit were 47.6%. Compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts, racial and ethnic minority patients were somewhat less likely to return to psychotherapy for a second visit (adjusted odds ratios [aORs] ranged from 0.80 to 0.90). Healthcare system was a much stronger predictor of return rates (aORs ranged from 0.89 to 5.53), while providers accounted for 21.1% of the variance in return rates. CONCLUSIONS: Provider and healthcare system variation were stronger predictors of patient return to psychotherapy than race and ethnicity. More research is needed to understand why providers and healthcare systems determine psychotherapy return rates for patients of all racial and ethnic groups.