204/304 Racial Trauma and the Polyvagal Response

Mind-Body Healing for African American Clients

Not only have African Americans been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to rampant socioeconomic disparities, but other brutal reminders of systemic racism continue to erupt across the country. Daily microtraumas and a feeling of not being physically safe or valued in our society lead to a state of stress, anger, hypervigilance, mistrust, shame, and fear. This workshop explores how neuroceptions and Polyvagal pathways shape the adaptive reactions of African Americas to race-based stress and trauma—and what clinicians can do to address them and the related emotional burdens we all carry. Discover how to:  

  • Create a safe, healing space for African American clients  
  • Identify triggers and symptoms of racial trauma, and learn how it’s processed in the brain  
  • Use mind-body techniques to deregulate the stress response and promote feelings of empowerment and safety  
  • Explore how therapy is affected by the emotional reactivity of both Black and non-Black clinicians when treating Black clients  

Candice Richardson Dickens, MAC, LCPC, LCADC, CCTP, has been in clinical practice and addiction counseling for more than 26 years. She’s the owner of CRA Counseling and Consulting Agency. 


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