The Importance of Trauma-Informed Counseling Modalities for Racially Diverse Individuals

Sponsored - This month is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. For this reason, TICC wanted to highlight the importance of trauma-informed counseling for racially diverse groups of people who have experienced trauma. The benefits of trauma-informed care for individuals who are or have experienced trauma can be significant. Trauma-informed care was designed to improve clinical practice and service delivery to individuals in need. Contemporary research suggests the ways in which trauma can be conceptualized and how individuals respond to clinical treatments for their mental health are heavily influenced by cultural factors. Therefore, culturally responsive clinical approaches to treating trauma is of significant importance. An exploration of the complex terrain of cultures and social backgrounds can promote healing and growth when treating racially diverse groups who are or have experienced trauma. By employing culturally responsive trauma-informed treatment when working with racially diverse groups, mental health providers can help address personalized experiences of trauma more fully and adequately.

Furthermore, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is highest among Black Americans, intermediate among Latin Americans and White Americans and lowest among Asian Americans. Such large disparities in the prevalence of PTSD indicates a need for an investment in accessible and culturally sensitive and responsive mental health and trauma-informed treatment options for racially diverse groups of people. Upon exploration of the evidence-based treatment modalities that are designed to effectively treat symptomatology of trauma and PTSD (i.e., Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)), targeted research regarding the use of culturally responsive practices remains largely insufficient. Additionally, the call for clinical practitioners to utilize culturally responsive evidence-based treatment modalities are of great importance and significance in the effective treatment of trauma for racially diverse groups.

Practitioners’ clinical understanding for the need of trauma-informed interventions to an extent has deepened but there remains a significant deficient. Nevertheless, early research in trauma began with the publication of the Kaiser Permanente’s (1998) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. This study found that childhood experiences result in increased risk for many health disparities in adulthood. In addition, neuroimaging studies have validated the impact of trauma on brain development (Leitch, 2017). These advances are meaningful as they have led to further studies on intergenerational and multigenerational trauma.

Racially diverse individuals and communities are three times more susceptible to experiencing trauma because of the great disparity between trauma-impacted culturally diverse communities and provision and access to appropriate trauma-informed care, the professional ethics of cultural competence and responsiveness are incumbent upon mental health professionals treating trauma. Based upon the tremendous empirical support, the trauma-informed applications of TF-CBT, CPT, and ACT demonstrate significant usefulness in treating trauma and exacerbated co-occurring symptomatology. If you are someone you know consider themselves a minority and would benefit from trauma-informed counseling, they can contact TICC to find out how to begin a meaningful counseling journey.

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