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Trauma Therapy

Tired Of Feeling Like You Have To Manage Emotional Pain Alone And With Superhuman Strength?


Do you feel alone in your suffering or believe that you have to hide it from others? Are you often battling disruptive thoughts, disturbing memories, or an impending sense of danger? Yet were you brought up in an environment where it was unacceptable to ask for help?

For many Black men, there aren’t sufficient outlets for processing uncomfortable emotions and healing from the adverse effects of trauma. In fact, many of us were conditioned to stifle feelings of sadness, grief, and anxiety—even if we witnessed or survived something devastating.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma can result from any experience that causes us to feel out of control, unsafe, or chronically distressed. The term trauma is often associated with car accidents, military combat, and other catastrophic events. But the truth is that trauma exists on a spectrum, encapsulating any event at any point in life that compromises our overall sense of safety and security. 

And while we all have different responses to trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is especially common within the Black community. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the definition of PTSD is a “disorder that may occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, series of events, or set of circumstances. An individual may experience this as emotionally or physically harmful or life-threatening and may affect mental, physical, social, and/or spiritual well-being.”

If you are reeling from a violent, distressing, or traumatic experience, you may have developed a stress response that helps your body feel safe during times of perceived danger. Perhaps you disassociate or “tune out” by avoiding and numbing uncomfortable emotions. Or maybe you’ve developed symptoms of depression like sadness and guilt because you blame yourself for what happened. It’s possible you often revisit the traumatic memory through disturbing flashbacks or nightmares.

If you feel stuck in an unpleasant experience that you can’t seem to let go of, you are not alone—many Black men shoulder the burden of trauma without supportive avenues for healing. However, by working with a therapist, Black men from all walks of life can process trauma, enhance feelings of safety, and release the emotional pain holding them back. 

Rates Of PTSD Are Disproportionate Among Black Men


Because trauma is so widespread, it’s expected that most people will experience some form of trauma by the time they reach adulthood. Common traumas include childhood neglect and abuse of all kinds, assaults, accidents, serious illness, catastrophic events like natural disasters, and the sudden death of a parent or caregiver. Such events are survived by individuals across age, race, gender, and socioeconomic lines, but systemic disparities often cause the Black community to experience certain traumas more frequently and acutely.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that about 6 percent of the American population develops PTSD following a traumatic experience. However, when it comes to Black men, in particular, that statistic doubles. According to a 2018 study, “Rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [among Black males] ranged from 12 to 22 percent.” 

The reason for this is that beyond the individual level, trauma within the Black community occurs at both the systemic and generational levels. Systemically speaking, as Black men, we are more likely to be on the receiving end of racism, microaggressions, and violence, with very few structural safeguards in place to protect us. And since we come from a line of Black ancestors who bore the brunt of extreme brutality and oppression tracing back to the eras of slavery and Jim Crow, there is also an element of trauma that has passed down through generations. Furthermore, due to the ceaseless news cycle, many in the Black community are constantly exposed to disturbing images and reminders of the violent, racist society in which we live. 

At times, we may feel conditioned to deny ourselves of our humanity, but culturally competent therapists are uniquely trained to identify trauma and provide tailored care according to each client’s unique background, PTSD symptoms, and treatment goals. Going to therapy to address your trauma is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of immense strength and fortitude. And we are pleased to partner with clinicians across the country who can help. 

Therapy Is A Meaningful, Lasting Way To Address Trauma

Constantly under pressure to appear strong and competent, you probably feel exhausted and alone in your struggles. However, therapy is an opportunity to remove that superhuman cape you’ve been forced to wear and feel genuinely supported by someone who understands—and can identify with—your trauma.

To get started, we invite you to contact us to learn more about the benefits of therapy and what to look for when seeking a trauma specialist. To learn more about the qualified therapists of color with whom we partner, you can visit our clinician database.

The Therapeutic Process

Trauma treatment is intended to be a gentle, vulnerable, and healing experience. Throughout early counseling sessions, you are likely to learn about what trauma is and how it affects the mind and body. With this insight, you will have a better understanding of your threshold and symptoms.

From there, your therapist will likely work with you to trace trauma back to its source. You may have unaddressed wounds from your childhood, where the trauma originated, or perhaps you experience symptoms of anxiety and depression that have unprocessed trauma at the core. As you peel back the layers of your experience, you are likely to become aware of how your pain has translated to feelings of insecurity, conflictual relationship patterns, people-pleasing behaviors, substance abuse, and other trauma-related challenges.

Each therapist takes their own unique approach to treatment for trauma and PTSD, but some form of strength-based counseling will likely be used to empower your innate strengths and skills so that you can transform your self-perception from one of “victim” to “survivor.” Other modalities used in trauma treatment may include behavioral approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you adjust your thinking process. In addition, body-based approaches like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) heal trauma at the neurobiological level, especially when used in conjunction with self-soothing techniques.

Therapy encourages you to explore being rather than doing so that you can be more attuned to your emotional reality on a daily basis. In asking yourself, “How do I want to feel at the end of the day?”, you can develop the necessary strategies that will allow you to feel that way. Instead of being motivated by action, you’ll learn to be motivated by feeling.

Life has pushed you into survival mode, but you don’t have to remain there any longer. By meaningfully addressing your trauma with the counselor you find through Therapy For Black Men, you can restore a sense of peace, joy, and self-care in your life.

Still Not Sure If Therapy Is Right For You?

Counseling is for those who are weak and cannot process their trauma on their own.

It takes great strength and emotional maturity to recognize that symptoms of trauma and PTSD are unbearable and warrant therapy. By asking for the support you need, you are signaling to yourself—and others in your life—that you take your mental health seriously and are invested in making positive changes. Vulnerability demonstrates courage, and the therapeutic process will help you realize how strong you really are.

Therapy is too expensive.

Therapy is an investment in yourself, and you deserve to feel better if you are struggling with the after-effects of trauma. Fortunately, Therapy For Black Men offers sponsorship for free counseling for Black men nationwide. If financial obstacles are getting in the way of receiving effective trauma treatment, contact us to find out more about how we can help.

My traumatic experience happened so long ago—how will therapy help?

Trauma lives in the body, which is why you continue to feel dysregulated and uncomfortable even if your traumatic experience occurred in childhood. You may have become so accustomed to feeling anxious and depressed that you don’t believe there is another way to exist. But a therapist can help you trace trauma back to its roots so that you can heal the pain you experienced earlier in life. The deeper you go in the work of trauma treatment, the better you will feel in the long run.

Vulnerability Is A Sign Of Emotional Strength

The world can be a harsh and unforgiving place for us, but the trauma counselors available through Therapy For Black Men offer a safe haven. To find out more about the BIPOC therapists we partner with, please contact us or visit our provider database.

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