Racism-Related Stress and Trauma

Workplace Stress & Trauma

When disadvantaged minorities present for treatment, it is not hard for most therapists to understand difficulties that may be linked to low income, such as lack of higher education, crime-infested communities, and unemployment. However, therapists may not understand all the layers of difficulty ethnic minority professionals face who have a secure job and/or successful career.

Work stress due to minority status is one underacknowledged way that people of color continue to suffer in our not-so-postracial society. Social psychology research has shown that majority group members often attribute minority success to luck, racial hiring policies, or other external factors, while attributing failures to laziness, stupidity, or negative character traits. A minority person's performance may be evaluated in a negative or hypercritical fashion, involving intolerance for even small mistakes, and a tendency toward denying such individuals respect or the presumption of competence. People of color may struggle with the stress of these attitudes in the workplace, yet be unable to effectively communicate their concerns to others out of concern (rightly or wrongly) that others may share the same views. This might also be a concern for people of color working with a white therapist.

Finding a Therapist

If you are a person of color, you may prefer services from a therapist of your same ethnic background. One problem is that ethnic minority therapists are underrepresented in the field of psychology, especially those with the highest educational rank (doctorate). A person with a complex issue may not be able to find a similar therapist with the necessary expertise in their geographic area. And, just because a therapist is a person of color does not automatically qualify them to best address a specific issue. A white therapist with specialized training may be qualified to best help, and if so, it will be important to determine if that therapist is able to work effectively with an ethnic minority client, despite possible stumbling around issues of race.

We understand the cultural, social, and spiritual issues that shape the whole person. At BWC every therapist is dedicated to providing culturally-competent services to diverse clients, whether or not that therapist identifies with an ethnic or racial minority group. Our therapists are professional, open-minded, flexible, and will make you feel understood and validated as a person of color.

Experiences of racism and discrimination can lead to stress, anxiety, traumatization, and depression. Even low-levels of discrimination experienced on a regular basis can result in psychological unwellness. Anyone suffering as a result of such experiences can contact us to schedule an in-person evaluation or phone consultation for treatment at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic.

Contact Us & Directions

Behavioral Wellness Clinic &
Delaware Valley OCD Clinic
225 Wilmington West Chester Pike
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Phone: (484) 324-2749

Contact us by email  

Clinical Director: Monnica Williams, PhD
Office Manager: Jasmine Terwilliger
Business Manager: Matthew Jahn