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Sept 21, 2020, 12-2pm, Monday


Continuing Education:
2 Hours (details)


**Current UNC-SSW students, staff, faculty, field instructors, and task supervisors**
Fee Waived


Our first pledge as professionals is to do no harm. While this may feel like a low bar, professionals committed to enhancing life quality still can and do engage in micro-aggressions with clients that undermine the therapeutic alliance and contribute to re-traumatization.  This workshop will provide strategies to guide work from the very first session to build allyship and strengthen rapport, trust, and authenticity demanded for deeper therapeutic work. Participants will gain greater understanding of micro-aggressive practices that can operate in session that can signal racism and other invalidations of client’s lived experiences, as well as ways to name and skillfully engage with micro-aggressions as they apply in and beyond the session.


TrainerMonnica Williams, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, associate professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities, Director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities, and the Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic, LLC in Tolland, Connecticut. She is a leading expert in race-based stress and trauma, an authority on obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was named one of the top 25 thought leaders in PTSD. She is an active practitioner, licensed in the US and Canada, along with an Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate, and has founded clinics in Kentucky, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Her practice includes functional analytic psychotherapy and prolonged exposure, and she researches and practices culturally-informed treatment adaptations that also target racism-related trauma. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and scientific reports, with research funded by the National Institutes of Health and other competitive grants. She teaches courses on multicultural psychology, psychopathology, and multicultural counseling skills; speaks and trains nationally; and works with organizations and business to improve the racial climate, increase cultural competence, and reduce racism. She contributes to public scientific discourse, through media contributions to PBS, CTV, NPR, The New York TimesThe Huffington Post, and Slate. She maintains a blog on Psychology Today called Culturally Speaking. She also serves on national boards for organizations, including NAMI, and has served as a diversity council member for numerous associations.

Slides | Video

Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe at least 2 effects of micro aggression on mental and physical health.
  2. Identify and describe at least 3 common forms of inadvertent micro aggressions by psychotherapeutic practitioners.
  3. Name and apply at least 3 practice to build trust and allyship with clients who are most vulnerable to micro-aggression, due to racism and intersectional forms of oppression.



  • Akoury, L., Schafer, K., & Warren, C. (2019). Fat women’s experiences in therapy: “You can’t see beyond horizontal ellipsis unless I share it with you.” Women & Therapy, 42(1-2), 93-115.
  • Anzani, A., Morris, E. R., & Galupo, M. P. (2019). From absence of microaggressions to seeing authentic gender: Transgender clients’ experiences with microaffirmations in therapy. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 13(4), 258.
  • Kattari, S. K. (2020). Ableist microaggressions and the mental health of disabled adults. Community Mental Health Journal, 56(6), 1170-1179.
  • Moody, A. T., & Lewis, J. A. (2019). Gendered racial microaggressions and traumatic stress symptoms among black women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 43(2), 201-214.
  • Owen, J., Tao, K. W., Imel, Z. E., Wampold, B. E., & Rodolfa, E. (2014). Addressing racial and ethnic microaggressions in therapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(4), 283-290.
  • Thompson, V. L. S., Bazile, A., & Akbar, M. (2004). African americans’ perceptions of psychotherapy and psychotherapists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35(1), 19-26.
  • Williams, M. T. (2020). Microaggressions: Clarification, evidence, and impact. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(1), 3-26.
  • Williams, M. T., Chapman, L. K., Wong, J., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). The role of ethnic identity in symptoms of anxiety and depression in African Americans. Psychiatry Research, 199(1), 31-36. /
  • Williams, M. T., Malcoun, E., Sawyer, B. A., Davis, D. M., Bahojb Nouri, L., & Bruce, S. L. (2014). Cultural adaptations of prolonged exposure therapy for treatment and prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder in African Americans. Behavioral Sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 4(2), 102-124.
  • Williams, M. T., Beckmann-Mendez, D. A., & Turkheimer, E. (2013). Cultural barriers to African American participation in anxiety disorders research. Journal of the National Medical Association, 105(1), 33-41.