Racial Trauma Therapy
Does Racism Make It Hard To Get Through The Day?
Have you ever felt unsafe in the world or feared you would be mistreated because of the color of your skin? Are you a parent who worries that you won’t be able to protect your child from experiencing the uncomfortable feelings and experiences of racism? Have you observed disparities in the quality of schools, access to financial means (wealth), and healthcare, when compared to white communities?
Maybe you’ve experienced microaggressions, or subtle digs against you as a Black person. You may even feel the weight of oppression in various settings. And because of it, you might silence yourself or worry about asserting opinions because you feel like your voice doesn’t count. You might also worry about being killed, judged or discriminated against.
Race can be an exhausting subject. And in a racist experience, it can be painful trying to reclaim the parts of yourself wounded by the poison of racism.
Even with an optimistic, can-do spirit, you probably still have trouble ignoring the influence of race on your life, given that fact that Black people have lower life expectancy, poor quality in healthcare services, and a long history of fighting for justice and equality.
This overall effect of racism on one’s physical and mental selves can be referred to as racial trauma, and without the tools to cope and a safe space to process, you’re likely often left feeling inferior and invalidated. The stress of it all can leave your health in shambles with fatigue, irritability, headaches, fibroids (for women), and chest, heart, or back pain. Moreover, you may have stopped trusting others, or perhaps you feel helpless and blame yourself for letting things get to you.
Nevertheless, you are human. And if you feel depleted, racial trauma therapy can help by giving you the tools needed to rebuild your spirit and be your authentic self.
It’s Time We Gave A Name To What We Feel
The United States was built with the blood, sweat, and tears of enslaved Africans. And for Black people, in particular, issues with healthcare, education, policing and mass incarceration, prove this reality has yet to dissipate. Some of us choose not to see it because we desire a happy life and to earn our keep in the world. Yet in the reality of a racist society, earning one’s keep means looking at the role that race has played in our lives. And if we’ve experienced racial trauma, this also means dealing with the impact.
The translatlantic slave trade, slavery, Jim Crow Laws and Mass Incarceration are historical events that lead to the oppression of Black people though evidence dates as far back as the US Constitution and further when enslaved people were named three-fifths of a person. For centuries, the pain inflicted on Black individuals has continued and been consistently dismissed. And this lack of justice and accountability has been triggering for many of us. Black people are simply asking for equality and equity.
Not to mention, we are living with trauma from the generational wealth gap between black and white, mass incarceration, abuse, violence, high infant mortality rates for black women, emasculation of black men, defeminization of black women, and adultification of black children. As a result of our trauma, we experience poverty, unemployment, health disparities, and single-parent homes at higher rates than other populations.
Yet, we struggle to deal with race trauma because until recently, it didn’t have a name–we only felt its inescapable presence. This presence can lurk, for example, in our social media feeds, where we are often forced to scroll through yet another traumatizing video of people of color being brutalized with no trigger warning. Overcoming the trauma of this reality requires that we name it and begin to develop the tools to target and conquer it.
Its name is racial trauma and therapy can help you confront these race realities so that you can experience a better quality of life, no matter your challenges.
Racial Trauma Therapy Can Give You The Tools To Thrive In Your Daily Life
A therapist specializing in racial trauma can give you the tools to courageously address your experiences with racism. One thing that connects many of our clients is their desire to work with someone from their cultural background so they can feel more comfortable opening up. While therapists at Quality Counseling work to build an authentic bond unique with each client, being Black therapists gives us an extensive understanding of the cultural values and perspectives often shared among Black communities. And a number of our clients of color have noted that this has helped them to express themselves more freely.
Ours is a compassionate, honest, and self-reflective environment where you can work through difficult racial experiences, break unhealthy generational patterns, and ultimately thrive despite obstacles.
Treatment starts with the intake process, during which, we will ask you to fill out forms on a secure online portal and complete a diagnostic screening for PTSD and racial discrimination. These screenings will help your therapist learn more about your personal experiences with racial discrimination and other forms of trauma.
We use a trauma-informed approach and techniques using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to provide racial trauma therapy and we will look at the deep rooted traumatic experiences that we often avoid because they are too uncomfortable to sit with.
As such, we will identify factors that may contribute to your experiences, including generational patterns, history of trauma, family background, microaggressions, racism, bias, and/or prejudice. Then we will find healthy ways to address issues and minimize their impact. Finally, we’ll look outward to see how we can also apply these tactics in a wider context, advocating for others along the way.
Additionally, with racial trauma therapy at Quality Counseling, you can learn the skills and tools that will help you to:
- Develop a healthy daily practice to remain calm and address racial trauma
- Become an active participant in your healing
- Become present to your experiences rather than avoid them
- Ground yourself with introspection
- Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
- Normalize anger and use it to fuel a new and improved reality
Trauma of any kind can be shameful. You may internalize emotions that can be debilitating and keep you from moving forward in life. Therefore, we may use different interventions and tools to unearth your experiences so you can build the coping strategies you need to thrive.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you work through traumatic memories using eye & body movements as guided by a therapist. Somatic exercises allow you to reconnect with your body by relieving tension and stored energy. Medicinal cannabis can help calm your nerves so you can reflect on your experiences and facilitate healing more easily. Clients experiencing symptoms of PTSD qualify for a medicinal marijuana card, as PTSD is a qualifying condition. We provide clients who are interested in Cannabis use with a free Cannabis Consultation with Kevnesha, Certified Cannabis Consultant and referrals for medical marijuana certifications.
Therapy can equip you with tools to navigate the sometimes shifty waters of Black life so you can assert yourself with ease and cultivate a network of supporters who can help you chart a new, authentic path for yourself.
Our ancestors endured so we could begin to heal some of the battle scars, giving us the gifts of rest and self-care. Racial trauma therapy has helped many of our clients start this healing process. And we think it can help you too.
But you may still have questions about racial trauma therapy…
I wouldn’t call what I experience “racial trauma”.
We will never tell our clients what to call their experiences, and if you say that you don’t experience racial trauma, then we will take your word for it. However, we do first ask you to think deeply and make sure your words don’t stand on a shaky foundation since only in recent years has traditional psychology recognized the impact of racial trauma on mental health. As such, we are happy to do a diagnostic screening to ensure that you haven’t experienced racial trauma. And if on the off chance that you have, then racial trauma therapy could be especially useful for you.
Will this work for me?
We can’t guarantee anything because therapy isn’t a hard science. However, many of my clients have given positive feedback. Therapy has helped them to advocate for themselves and others, draw boundaries at work, ask for a raise, or assert themselves in medical settings to improve the quality of their healthcare. This qualitative data shows that for many, racial trauma therapy has been effective.
I don’t have the time.
Like many of our clients, your schedule is likely packed. Luckily, we offer online therapy so that you can save time from the commute to work through your experiences from the convenience of your home, office, or car.
Are You Ready To Heal Your Wounds And Break Generational Patterns?
There is support for the experience you might have trouble putting into words, despite the fact that society doesn’t always give us permission to name our racial experience. But if you’re ready to take the next step toward identifying race-specific challenges and finding solutions for them, I invite you to schedule a free 15-minute discovery call to see how we can help.