Assessment and Treatment of Racial Trauma
Monnica T. Williams, PhD, ABPP
Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event can put anyone is at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a constellation of symptoms that may afflict survivors of violence or abuse, emergency responders, and combat veterans. However, many other events can be traumatic as well, particularly to people of color, including police harassment, workplace discrimination, community violence, distressing medical experiences, and incarceration. Immigrants and refugees may suffer racial trauma from experiencing or witnessing torture, ethnic cleansing and persecution, destruction of cultural practices, living in a war zone, and immigration difficulties. This presentation will discuss current research on traumatization caused by experiences of racism, also called racial trauma, and how it may or may not fit into a traditional conceptualizations of PTSD. Dr. Williams will discuss measures she has developed to assess racial trauma and how this can inform treatment. She will also discuss assessment and nascent treatment approaches based on her work, including a cognitive-behaviorally based pilot study for racial trauma and psychedelic-assisted therapies.