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The Experience of Trauma among Racialized Youth
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Moncure Daniel Conway argued in 1864 that every race has its strengths and every race has its weaknesses. Trauma might at times look different in the Black community and be chocked up to “bad behaviour” but it is indeed a “survival strategy.” Nene Kwasi Kafele in “Trauma in the Afrikan Community,” states “Trauma survivors in the Afrikan community have adopted a set of survival skills that have helped them manage their trauma in the past.”
Research on the impact of Intergenerational trauma on Indigenous peoples and survivors of the Holocaust is well-documented. In a similar manner, African Americans/Canadians have histories of trauma as a result of slavery and continue to suffer racism, oppression and sustained poverty in the present. In addition to traumatic life events experienced by so many children and youth involved in children’s services, Black children may also experience this invisible trauma. Sometimes referred to as racial trauma, it is often not recognized by mainstream therapists who have little knowledge of the experiences of their clients and worse – because of fear of saying the wrong thing – often fail to ask questions to further their understanding.
If we don’t take into account the impact of past cultural abuses and ongoing micro-aggressions, we risk not fully understanding the context of the behaviour of Black youth and fail to support them. When we are not able to validate their experiences, we often resort to the blame game. When our differences are acknowledged, the therapeutic process is a more authentic one. It is essential for anyone involved in a helping relationship to develop skills which allow them to foster culturally specific approaches which ensures that the individual’s experience is not diminished.
This workshop will be of interest to social workers and supervisors who do trauma work with racialized populations.
• Develop awareness of the existence and impact of trauma on racialized populations
• Explore general principles of trauma-informed practice and consider similarities and differences when working with People of African descent.
• Review key concepts of racial trauma such as systemic helplessness and micro-aggressions and their impact
• Learn how to ask questions and maintain respectful dialogue around difficult topics such as cultural difference and racism
• Foster resilience among children and youth from racialized groups and maintain own self-care practices
GROUP DISCOUNT: 20% Discount for groups of 4 or more. Contact (905) 889-5030 x121 to register your group.
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