If you are in crisis please call 988

Make an Appointment: (336) 837-4499 |   [email protected]

  • Racial Trauma

    Have you ever found yourself in a group where nobody shares your background or physical characteristics? How did that make you feel? Have you ever experienced exclusion, isolation, or discomfort because you were the only person of color in a setting? Have you been subjected to verbal or physical attacks due to your race? What thoughts and emotions arose from those experiences? How did your body react during those times? Perhaps there have been moments when you questioned your own perceptions regarding racial undertones.

    Racial Trauma, also known as Race-based Traumatic Stress, Race-based Traumatic Stress refers to the cumulative impact of racism on individuals, families, and communities. Emotional and physical symptoms can be triggered by personal encounters, exposure to violent media, or witnessing racism affecting someone from a similar background. These experiences can be subtle over time or occur as a single instance where you felt your basic needs, safety or well-being was threatened. Numerous studies have demonstrated the detrimental effects on the bodies, minds, and overall quality of life of those targeted.

    Common reactions to racial trauma include:

    • Avoidance (hesitancy to engage in social or professional situations due to fear of exclusion, harassment, or physical harm).
    • Anger/resentment
    • Distrust
    • Hopelessness/helplessness
    • Hyper-arousal (staying on guard, inability to relax, defensiveness, tension)
    • Nightmares
    • Physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pains, and insomnia
    • Challenges with identity and self-esteem (feeling ashamed of racial characteristics, experiencing humiliation)

    Racial Trauma inflicts emotional and mental wounds that undermine one’s quality of life, sense of safety, and self-worth. Often, these perceptions, experiences, and reactions are invalidated by others. Therapy provides a safe space to share honestly, free from the fear of dismissal. Counseling can help you identify triggers, increase awareness, and develop strategies for healing and empowerment.

    If you would like to explore your thoughts and emotions with an affirming African American therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.