Race-Based Trauma Counseling

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We understand that the cumulative and ongoing negative impact of racially charged discrimination, overt racism, oppression and microaggressions on the lives of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) is often a traumatic experience that can wear down the spiritiual, emotional, physical and psychological health and wellbeing of Black and Brown people.

Race-based trauma can be direct, indirect, interpersonal, instititional, societal, cultural or historical. It does not have to be experienced directly.

Intergenerational Trauma in black families is the condition that exists when a population has experienced multiple generations of trauma (ie, centuries of slavery) & continue to experience oppression & institutionalized racism today (J. Degruy)

Historical trauma can be understood as consisting of 3 primary elements:

  1. A “trauma” + wounding
  2. Trauma shared by a group of people vs. individually
  3. Trauma spans multiple generations; contemporary members of the affected group may experience trauma-related symptoms without having been present for the past traumatizing event.

The symptoms of Race Based Trauma may include (but not limited to):

  • Agitation
  • Hyperarousal
  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Hypervigilance
  • Rage
  • Substance use
  • Engagement in risky-behavior.

Our counseling approach to race-based trauma is to:

  • Teach grounding+somatic experiences to calm your body
  • Create a space for race to be affirmed+acknowledged
  • Connect through our shared experience
  • Convey a sense of openness+curiosity
  • Encourage racial storytelling+share racial experiences
  • Validate experience which acts a protective buffer against future assaults to your dignity+sense of self
  • Rechannel rage to prevent it from becoming all consuming & destructive to self & others.
  • Create a brave space to explore options and strategies that promote self-determination,  safety (physical and psychological), and security (economic and emotional)