Living in a society that practices discrimination regarding certain groups can be an underlying cause of trauma and depression. It may come with not being understood, isolation, and unfair treatment—which can affect mental health. For many, discrimination can lead to a life of trauma. The trauma resiliency model, a somatic alternative therapy, can help people understand and heal their trauma.
People who experience discrimation are exposed and re-exposed to discrimation stress regularly. It’s a collective experience. This type of trauma is triggered by micro-aggressions (unjust targeting by police, being followed in stores, lack of upward mobility in the workplace), hate crimes, second-hand trauma felt in community after heinous tragedy (targeted group massacres, police brutality), institutionalized discrimination (housing sector, disparities in wealth, access to resources), harassment, and humiliation. The trauma may look like hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, nightmares, and flashbacks.
Minority Groups and Therapy
Minority groups have the highest rate of PTSD and other mental health issues. In fact, Black teens have the highest rising attempts in suicide. This may be because the history of horrific acts such as slavery, colonization, displacement, and genocide are still ingrained in the communities, passed on through generations, and very much still part of the people’s present existence. Gay and transgender youth may be targeted by bullies and face social discrimination. Additionally, systematic oppression and lack of access to resources, along with pressures from communities can make the minority experience an upward battle. Whether its gender and sexual orientation, race or religious beliefs, many minorities find themselves being targeted at times.
Although there is a prevalence in trauma throughout minority groups, it’s often overlooked or misunderstood. In general, the consensus is that there is a lack of representation in the mental health sector. People who seek care may not find counselors who are of their in-group or who can relate to their experience. It’s noticeable when many mental health professionals fail to notice more subtle discrimination and only focus on major incidents like hate crimes, making it difficult for minorities to get the help they desire. Because of this, minorities may also feel a sense of distrust in treatment of their clinician. If a patient can’t find a provider from the same culture, it’s beneficial to seek out a culturally-informed therapist, who practices TRM, that understands trauma in various cultural contexts.
What is Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM)
The Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) is a somatic approach to treating trauma. It is neuroscience-informed and body-based, meaning it tackles body memories of the trauma. The mind-body modality focuses on dealing with the biological responses a person has when they perceive threats, and learning how to restore balance in the body once it’s determined the threat isn’t real. This type of resiliency creates awareness of the body’s inner state, helping people manage their emotions and self-regulate. With TRM, feelings of self-blame and shame are decreased or eliminated. People who endure racial trauma can help manage symptoms of the trauma with TRM. With TRM, a person will learn skills such as tracking, resourcing, grounding, pendulation, and more. Working with a professional, and learning TRM skills, will help a POC, impaired by racial trauma, develop new neural circuits in a gentle way.
For more information on how TRM can help you, call Trauma and Beyond Center ® at (818) 651-0725.