“If you have Black clients, you can assume they have stress or trauma around their experience of race,” explains Monnica Williams, associate professor at the University of Ottawa. For white therapists, then, it’s important to broach the topic appropriately.
That asking about race-based trauma requires such a delicate approach says S. Kent Butler, president-elect of the American Counseling Association, is testament to the fact that, regrettably, conversations about race are considered taboo. “Let’s have that difficult dialogue,” he says. "If we don’t deal with our own understanding of what that is, we can’t find our way to asking those types of questions.”
S. Kent Butler, PhD, is president-elect of the American Counseling Association and the interim chief of equity, inclusion, and diversity officer at University of Central Florida. Gail Parker, PhD, is clinical psychologist, president of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, and the author of Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma. Monnica Williams, PhD, is associate professor at the University of Ottawa, the Canada research chair for mental health disparities, and the coauthor of Eliminating Race-Based Mental Health Disparities. Zachary Taylor, MA, LPC, NCC, is director of CE at the Networker.
Read more from this panel in our September/October 2020 issue, here.