Radical Healing in Psychotherapy: Addressing the Wounds of Racism-Related Stress and Trauma

Hector Y. Adames, Nayeli Y. Chavez-Due˜nas, Jioni A. Lewis, Helen A. Neville, Bryana H. French, Grace A. Chen, Della V. Mosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a large body of research on the importance of addressing culture in psychotherapy. However, less is known about providing critically conscious and racially affirmative therapy for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) clients in the context of ongoing systemic racism and racism-related stress and trauma, especially in the sociopolitical context of the United States. This article introduces and illustrates the Keeping Radical Healing in Mind Therapeutic Approach using a sample therapy session. To contextualize the therapeutic approach, we outline the need for antiracist and liberatory approaches to psychotherapy and describe in detail the Psychology of Radical Healing theoretical framework. The clinical stance that underpins the Keeping Radical Healing in Mind Therapeutic Approach includes helping clients develop, internalize, and nurture (a) Critical Consciousness, (b) Cultural Authenticity and Self-Knowledge, (c) Radical Hope and Envisioning Possibilities, (d) Collectivism, and (e) Strength and Resistance. To better meet the needs of BIPOC clients, the stance requires clinicians to develop their critical consciousness of systemic racism and interlocking forms of oppression. The clinical case of “Brenda,” a Black woman experiencing the effects of racism-related stress while raising a young Black boy, is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalPsychotherapy
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

Keywords

  • intersectionality
  • liberation psychology
  • racial trauma
  • racism
  • radical healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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