Racial Trauma

Racism and psychological unwellness.

Racial Trauma Resources & Research

Racial trauma is the traumatizing psychological impact of experiences of racism. Dr. Williams' scholarly works include racial trauma, PTSD and cultural diversity, historical trauma, cultural trauma, and related materials.

Below are some resources and articles that address this issue that have been published in the academic literature. Many of these demonstrate the very long-lasting effects of oppression, institutionalized racism, and violence on individuals, and others are trauma readings with a cultural diversity focus.

Video Learning Resources by Dr. Williams

Being the Change: Embracing Antiracism in the Therapy Room

Race-based stress and trauma have always existed in our practices, but do we know how to identify it and truly address it? Whether or not you’ve felt the traumatic wounds of racism or experienced race-based stressors firsthand, I will help you learn how to embrace an antiracism stance in your practice that will help clients find safety and healing in your work together. Save 29% with me through my affiliate link (1 CE).

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The Trauma of Racism: Assessment and Treatment Techniques for Trauma Rooted in Racism

Racism is a weight that people of color must carry that can leave them feeling powerless, anxious, restless and afraid. This is the trauma of racism – it’s real and it’s in your community. You want to open the door to address racial issues in therapy so you can move clients toward greater hope and healing. But without the proper clinical tools to recognize and work with the traumatic wounds of racial injustice, your treatment will fail to be its most effective. In this eye opening 3-hour webinar you’ll discover the various facets of racial trauma and the get:

  • New clinical assessment tools to identify hidden race-related traumas
  • DSM-5 framework guidance for race-based traumas
  • Practical interventions to address racial trauma and improve treatment outcomes

Order this critical resource through this website with my affiliate link below (3 CE's).

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The Racial Trauma Treatment Protocol: A 12-Session CBT Approach for Therapists Working with Racial Wounds

Learn my 12-Session CBT Protocol, an essential step-by-step blueprint to identify racial stress and trauma and achieve optimal outcomes in treatment. Get the tools you need so you'll never need to feel like your clients’ race-based wounds will go unaddressed again. You’ll get the essential components of treatment for racial stress and trauma based the most up-to-date empirical evidence so you can:

  • Better validate clients’ race-based experiences
  • Combat clients internalized racism and self-blame
  • Help clients process their traumatic race-based experiences
  • Increase clients’ feelings of agency toward racism and reduce their feelings of helplessness
  • And much more!

Don’t spend one more day worrying if clients who’ve suffered traumatic racial experiences, bias and discrimination are getting the best treatment you can provide. Save over 20% with me for only $199.99 through my affiliate link (6 CE's)

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Racial Trauma Readings by Topic

Overview and Literature Review

Williams, M. T., Khanna Roy, A., MacIntyre, M., & Faber, S. (2021). The traumatizing impact of racism in Canadians of colour. Current Trauma Reports, 8, 17–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40719-022-00225-5 [invited]

Williams, M. T., Osman, M., Gran-Ruaz, S., & Lopez, J. (2021). Intersection of racism and PTSD: Assessment and treatment of racism-related stress and trauma. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 8, 167–185. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40501-021-00250-2

Williams, M. T., Haeny, A. & Holmes, S. (2021). Posttraumatic stress disorder and racial trauma. PTSD Research Quarterly, 32(1), 1-9.

Measures and Assessment

Holmes, S. C., Williams, M. T., Zalewa, D. & Wetterneck, C. T. (2023). Development of the Oppression-Based Traumatic Stress Inventory (OBTSI): A novel and intersectional approach to measuring traumatic stress. Frontiers in Psychology: Psychopathology, 14(1232561), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1232561

Williams, M. T. & Zare, M. (2022). A psychometric investigation of racial trauma symptoms using a semi-structured clinical interview with a trauma checklist (UnRESTS). Chronic Stress, 6, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/24705470221145126

Williams, M. T., Osman, M., Gallo, J., Printz, D., Gran-Ruaz, S., Strauss, D., Lester, L., George, J., Edelman, J., & Litman, L. (2022). A clinical scale for the assessment of racial trauma. Practice Innovations, 7(3), 223–240. https://doi.org/10.1037/pri0000178 APA Award for top-downloaded journal article published in 2022.

Williams, M. T., Metzger, I., Leins, C., & DeLapp, C. (2018). Assessing racial trauma within a DSM-5 framework: The UConn Racial/Ethnic Stress & Trauma Survey. Practice Innovations, 3(4), 242-260. http://doi.org/10.1037/pri0000076

Williams, M. T., Osman, M., Gran-Ruaz, S., & Lopez, J. (2021). Intersection of racism and PTSD: Assessment and treatment of racism-related stress and trauma. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 8, 167–185. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40501-021-00250-2

Williams, M. T., Pena, A., & Mier-Chairez, J. (2017). Tools for assessing racism-related stress and trauma among Latinos. In L. T. Benuto (Ed.), Toolkit for Counseling Spanish-Speaking Clients. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-64880-4. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64880-4_4

Williams, M. T., Printz, D., Ching, T., & Wetterneck, C. T. (2018). Assessing PTSD in ethnic and racial minorities: Trauma and racial trauma. Directions in Psychiatry, 38(3), 179-196.

Williams, M. T., Printz, D., & DeLapp, R. C. T. (2018). Assessing racial trauma with the Trauma Symptoms of Discrimination Scale. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 735-747. http://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000212

Treatment Approaches

Williams, M. T., Holmes, S., Zare, M. Haeny, A. H., & Faber, S. C. (2023). An evidence-based approach for treating stress and trauma due to racism. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 30 (4), 565-588. . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2022.07.001

Bartlett, A., Faber, S., Williams, M., & Saxberg, K. (2022). Getting to the root of the problem: Supporting clients with lived-experiences of systemic discrimination. Chronic Stress, 6, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1177/24705470221139205

Carlson, M. D., Endsley, M., Motley, D., Shawahin, L. N., & Williams, M. T. (2018). Addressing the impact of racism on veterans of color: A race-based stress and trauma group. Psychology of Violence, 8(6), 748-762. http://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000221

Sawyer, B., DeLapp, R. C. T., & Williams, M. T. (2016). Community Violence Exposure, Racial Discrimination, and Barriers to Treatment: Implications for African American Males in Counseling. In W. Ross (Ed.), Counseling African American Males: Effective Therapeutic Interventions and Approaches (pp. 33-60). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Case Studies

Halstead, M., Reed, S., Krause, R., & Williams, M. T. (2021). Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD related to experiences of racial discrimination. Clinical Case Studies, 20(4), 310-330. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534650121990894

Williams, M. T., Malcoun, E., Sawyer, B., Davis, D. M., Bahojb-Nouri, L. V., & Leavell Bruce, S. (2014). Cultural adaptations of Prolonged Exposure therapy for treatment and prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder in African Americans. Behavioral Sciences — Special Issue: PTSD and Treatment Considerations, 4(2), 102-124. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs4020102

All Publications

Racism, Trauma & Youth

Steketee, A., Williams, M., Valencia, B., Printz, D., & Hooper, L. M. (2021). Racial and language microaggressions in the school ecology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(5), 1075-1098. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691621995740

Saleem, F. T., Anderson, R. E., & Williams, M. T. (2020). Addressing the "myth" of racial trauma: Developmental and ecological considerations for youth of color. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 23(1), 1–14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10567-019-00304-1

Sawyer, B., Williams, M.T., DeLapp, R. C. T., & Davis, D. M. (2016). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In A. Breland-Noble, C. S. Al-Mateen, & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Handbook of Mental Health in African American Youth (pp. 237-247). Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-25501-9.

Racial Trauma Resources by Dr. Monnica Williams

PESI video

Racial Trauma

Assessment and Treatment Techniques for Trauma Rooted in Racism


Racial Trauma Treatment

A 12-Session Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Protocol


Transforming Therapy

Being the Change: Embracing Antiracism in the Therapy Room


Managing Microaggressions

Addressing Everyday Racism in Therapeutic Spaces

More Information


Book a presentation or workshop on racial trauma.


Research showing psychedelics can relieve racial trauma.


Research Studies

Visit the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities.