More resources and training are needed for graduate psychology students on racial trauma, which can be critical in diagnosing and treating clients during therapy.
That was the indication of research conducted by four Wright State University School of Professional Psychology (SOPP) students and their faculty supervisor, Jeff Cigrang, Ph.D., professor and director of clinical training, the results of which were discussed at a national conference.
Artesia Dunbar, a student from Atlanta, said racial trauma is pervasive in the United States, made evident by media coverage on racial injustices between law enforcement and communities of color.
“Considering widely available documentation of the pervasive experiences of racial violence can be impactful for those who witness them and amplified by personal experiences, we feel that racial trauma training is an important competency to have as trainees,” she said. “Looking into how well different programs are addressing it, we think there is room for growth.”
Dunbar said racial trauma training is often not included in some clinical psychology programs and only lightly covered in others.
“Here we have a trauma course, and like other programs it is an elective,” she said. “One direction that could be impactful may be expanding current trauma training to cover this aspect of trauma in more depth and introducing it earlier to ensure our graduates feel comfortable working with clients around issues of race base trauma and bringing it into the conversation.”
Dunbar said psychologists need to be able to ask their clients how much of their difficulty might be related to racism.
“Helping us to become more comfortable in having these conversations and more confident that we have the tools, skills and insight needed to do so would help us engage with clients around this difficult topic and support the healing and wellbeing of clients that have experienced racial trauma,” she said.
Vanessa Prosper, of Palm Bay, Florida, said some mental health care providers are put in situations where they are not sufficiently prepared to deal with problems facing their clients.
“Clients are coming in with some …….