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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

571 - Race-Based Trauma and White Ally Development: Implications for Counselors

Apr 27, 2018 4:00pm ‐ Apr 27, 2018 4:30pm


This poster session will examine how White allies have attempted to address racism and discrimination. Considering the current sociopolitical climate, the lived experiences of White allies is important to continue discussions on race-based trauma. Recognizing the factors associated with the White ally community can be helpful for White counselors as they communicate inclusive and multiculturally sensitive environments that recognize race-based trauma and support posttraumatic growth.

To provide competent services, counselors must be exposed to the worldview of diverse populations in the United States. We conducted a phenomenological study to examine the ways in which White Allies have attempted to address racism and discrimination. Themes from this study will be presented to assist counselors to conceptualize ally development strategies into practice. Racism is traumatic and should be treated with sensitivity by counseling practitioners (Evans, et al., 2016).Race-Based Trauma describes reactions to racial discrimination that potentially lead to emotional pain, inability to cope, physical harm and/or an overwhelming sense of helplessness (Bryant-Davis, 2007). Cultural competence extends beyond knowledge, skills, and awareness because counselors must recognize forms of oppression and privilege and work to dismantle them (Sue & Sue, 2013). The purpose of this study is to examine privilege and ally development. The examination of ally development will help to extend conversations of racism in the U.S. Understanding ally development can help White counselors to communicate their ally status to Individuals of Color.

Learning Objectives:

  • Continue a dialogue in the counseling community that centers on race-based trauma, inclusivity, appreciation of differences, and the provision of counseling services.
  • Discuss our current research findings related to race-based trauma and White Ally development.
  • Demonstrate how counselors can incorporate discussions of race-based trauma and ally development into their professional practice and selection of counseling interventions to aid clients.


  • Amanda M. Evans, PhD, Associate Professor, CMHC Program Coordinator, Auburn University
  • Laurie M. Craigen, PhD, Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program, Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Jessica M. Tyler, PhD, Assistant Professor & Private Practice, Auburn University & Self-employed
  • Marina Green, Med, PhD Student, Counselor Education and Supervision, Auburn University

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