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Description: This workshop will examine the long-lasting and painful impact of historical, intergenerational and community trauma on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) individuals. These three types of traumas are like scar tissue that forms externally and internally after skin has been cut, the wounds may appear to be healed, but never go away and can cause a person pain throughout their entire life. BIPOC individuals may experience negative psychological effects related to these three types of traumas, such as, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide, anger, and unresolved grief. The study of epigenetics, in particular epigenetic inheritance, offers scientific support on how traumatic events experienced by our ancestors can be passed down to future generations and affect us today. When we think of the root causes of physical and mental health disparities of BIPOC people we must journey back in time and acknowledge the enduring and detrimental impact of settler colonialism, chattel slavery, government sanctioned removal of Indigenous people from their homelands, and removal of children from their families to live in boarding schools and other acts of structural violence against black and brown bodies. While the scars of historical, intergenerational and community trauma are likely to remain a painful presence in our BIPOC clients’ lives; clinicians can learn practices that may reduce the lingering effect and pain of these traumas. April provides resources to help clinicians commit to seeking more education on these types of traumas to deepen their understanding of the impact on BIPOC lives. She encourages clinicians to critically reflect on their own issues with blackness, white supremacy, and settler colonialism. April offers strategies from the literature on culturally centered practices that clinicians should consider implementing when working with BIPOC individuals.

Learning Objectives:

By end of the workshop, participants will be able to

  1. Define historical, intergenerational and community trauma.
  2. Identify at least 3 events or experiences that led to the development of historical, intergenerational and community trauma.
  3. Describe how not addressing these forms of trauma can potentially harm clients.
  4. Develop a plan for increasing awareness and knowledge of historical, intergenerational and community trauma in the lives of the BIPOC people you serve.
  5. Identify at least 1 culturally centered practice you can integrate into your direct practice with BIPOC individuals.

April Parker, LCSWTrainer: April S. Parker, MSW, LCSW, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, where she teaches courses in direct practice and serves as the 3 Year Chapel Hill MSW Program Field Education Coordinator.  April has a clinical practice background in inpatient and outpatient behavioral health settings and has worked as a child, adolescent, and adult therapist.  In January 2021, April was awarded the Dr. John R. Larkins Award by Governor Cooper.  This award recognizes commitment to justice and equality in the workplace and in the community.  April’s practice and research interests include maternal mental health, anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice and education for healthcare workers and innovative ways of supporting BIPOC students at historically white colleges and universities.  April serves as a board member of the International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) and the Pro Bono Counseling Network (PBCN) of North Carolina.


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