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To provide trauma-focused diversity training to psychologists, counselors, students of psychology, and other mental health professionals in the best practices in working with African American clients of domestic violence and other forms of trauma.  In addition, to facilitate cultural competence, credibility, and racial awareness when working with this under-served and under-represented population.

Objectives: About Me


African Americans seek mental health treatment at lower frequencies than White Americans and other racial groups for many reasons, which include but are not limited to: cultural mistrust; contextual barriers of institutional, cultural, and individual racism; and in part because of the Eurocentric nature and values of the fields of counseling and psychology. According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) in a 2016 study, African American adults (29.3%) in the U.S. received mental health treatment compared to White American adults (48.7%) who received mental health treatment (NIMH, 2017), confirming the low-frequency rates of seeking mental health treatment.  According to the Black Women’s Imperative, domestic violence was identified as the number one health issue for African American women.

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Objectives: About Me


Reach Your Highest Potential

This presentation aims to educate and inform mental health providers on 1) the impact of trauma on African Americans in general, 2) the complex elements of the African American Woman’s mindset as it relates to mental health issues and domestic violence, and 3) express best practices for working with African American victims of domestic violence (DV). The presentation is divided into five parts:


Overview of DV and Abuse, which is presumed to be basic knowledge among mental health professionals;


Provide an overview of noteworthy considerations why African American women may hesitate to seek help;


Examine African Americans’ unique and complex attitudes about mental health;


Discuss effective advocacy for African American victim of DV; and


Discusses approaches and interventions that contribute to the success of treatment.

Objectives: Lessons


“Racial discrimination and racism have remained significant operative factors in the health and health care of blacks over time” (National Institutes of Health, 2014, p. 30).  For the African American client, White therapists by and large will represent the larger White society with both its historical and contemporary discriminatory influences.  Because race and racial issues will be discussed in this presentation, mental health providers and attendees are encouraged to explore and examine their own racial identity and cultural biases. 

Preview (Sneak Peek) of Session Content (Video) – “Elephant in the Room”

Objectives: About

Relevant College Courses Impacted:

Social Bases of Behavior; Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior; Violence and Risk Assessment; Trauma, Crisis, and Interventions; Family/Intimate Partner Violence; Diversity in Forensic Psychology; Forensic Assessments; Theories of Treatment and Intervention; Clinical Interviewing

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