Press Releases | California Therapists Disavow Racial Injustice

California Therapists Disavow Racial Injustice

California Therapists Disavow Racial Injustice, Voice Concern over Mental Health Impacts of Racial Trauma

San Diego, CA — The death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck is heartbreaking and infuriating. This latest injustice has led to protests in Minneapolis and in cities across the country, including Los Angeles and Oakland, around structural racism against black communities. Floyd’s death came shortly after the fatal shooting of EMT Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and the release of a video documenting jogger Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down in Georgia. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) grieves these unnecessary and violent deaths. 

“Witnessing police brutality, even vicariously through videos and news stories, can be deeply traumatizing,” says Cathryn Leff, LMFT, President-Elect of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “People in ethnic minority communities often experience racial trauma from witnessing racial violence. This trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, or post-traumatic stress disorder that can have substantial negative consequences for individuals, families, and their communities.” 

CAMFT asks our state and federal lawmakers, as well as law enforcement agencies, to assess training and internal review policies and take needed measures to decrease the implicit and explicit bias present in our government systems that lead to these tragic deaths. “Only by addressing the systemic racism in our country will we as a society have a chance for justice and healing,” says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE, Executive Director of CAMFT. 

CAMFT encourages members and all mental health professionals to be both culturally competent and culturally responsive and to consider the impact of these prejudicial incidents on ethnic minority clients. As a best practice, mental health professionals should directly address racial trauma in the clinical hour. “When a clinician opens conversations about race, socialized injustice, and violence, it provides opportunities to validate the experiences and feelings of clients of color, where they can process their grief and trauma.” says Katie Vernoy, LMFT, President of CAMFT. CAMFT wants to empower therapists and clients to talk openly about the profound mental health consequences that racial traumas may have on people within historically oppressed populations.

About the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
CAMFT is an independent professional organization representing the interests of over 32,000 Marriage and Family Therapists and mental health workers who are experts in diagnosing and treating mental health issues. CAMFT is dedicated to promoting mental health, advancing the MFT profession, and maintaining high standards of professional ethics.