Assistant Professor of Public Health
University of Michigan
Healing racial trauma: Focusing on racial socialization as a therapeutic strategy for Black youth
For Black youth and adults, prolonged exposure to racial discrimination has resulted in debilitating psychological, behavioral, and health outcomes. To help their children prepare for and prevent the deleterious consequences of discrimination, many Black parents utilize racial socialization, or communication about racialized experiences. And, while racial socialization strategies correspond with several general therapeutic strategies widely used by clinicians, there is a critical gap between what Black families do to mitigate discriminatory distress and what clinicians and providers offer Black youth. As such, training clinicians to more effectively utilize racial socialization processes and develop such skills to help Black youth and parents heal from the effects of past, current, and future racial trauma is important. Greater racial socialization competency is proposed as achievable through intentional and mindful practice, thus, this discussion will explore theories and practices important in the healing processes of racial trauma for Black families, clinicians, and researchers alike, especially in times of exceptional stress (e.g., COVID-19, racial uprisings).