Racial Trauma Counselling

Have you been treated unfairly or with open hostility based on race?

Do thoughts of race or a specific incident dominate your thoughts?

Do you feel anger, depression, anxiety or confusion regarding your race or identity?

Racial trauma or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS) is a common experience among people of colour and other racial minorities. Racial trauma refers to the psychological and possibly physiological toll on the brain caused by ethnic or racial discrimination or mistreatment, whatever the source. Behaviour-focused therapy can be an effective way to manage symptoms associated with race-based psychological harm.


Though Racial Trauma and RBTS are not recognized mental health disorders, similar symptoms often appear for those people experiencing it. Those symptoms can be similar to those of people experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and can include:

  • Anger and angry outbursts
  • Frequent ruminating on an instance of discrimination
  • Flashbacks or constant reliving of a racially-charged event
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Physical reactions (headaches, chest pains, etc.)


It can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of racial trauma. Many black, indigenous and people of colour can experience racism, hate or discrimination in one traumatic event, or in subtle and accumulating ways over time. Sometimes the people who caused or worsened the racial trauma did so intentionally, and sometimes it was inadvertent. Often, for the affected person the pain is the same.

Some common causes or sources of racial trauma include:

  • Race-based bullying or slights at school, work, or elsewhere
  • Workplace discrimination, in the form of being treated differently from other employees for no other plausible reason
  • Discrimination at school or university
  • Interracial dating and marriage (either within the marriage or in reactions from friends or family)
  • Divorce in multiracial families
  • Culture shock experienced by recent immigrants, perhaps with a discrimination component
  • Being the victim of a hate crime
  • Being the victim of police brutality


Therapy can be a helpful way to manage symptoms by talking through the feelings and emotional implications of experiencing discrimination and racism. Some of our therapists are also people of colour, with lived experiences of racial suffering, and are trained in evidence-based therapeutic modalities like CBT, DBT, and emotion-focused therapy.

Through counselling we can help you to:

  • Notice and manage emotional reactions to facing racial discrimination
  • Understand and identify the emotions and feelings connected to racial trauma
  • Suggest strategies and actions you can take when faced with racial discrimination
  • Understand and cherish your personal identity and potential

We hope and expect you’ll notice:

  • More confidence and control in navigating the world with however much or little thought you would like to devote to race.
  • Fewer kneejerk or harmful reactions that may affect you or others.
  • Strategies to overcome, avoid, or confront instances of racism and discrimination.

Guelph therapist Tanisha Hall is available to start counselling. Feel free to book a free 20-minute consultation with Tanisha or any of our other therapists.


…with the option to stay for a full session right after if you choose  We offer in-person and telephone / online racial trauma counselling sessions.

We look forward to getting to know you.

Free no-obligation 20-minute consultation

...with the option to stay for a full session right after if you so choose.

We offer online, in-person and telephone coaching sessions and look forward to working together. You can also book your normal sessions online by clicking the button below.

Meet our therapists with experience in racial trauma counselling

Find the right therapist for you. Book your free consultation today.

Tanisha Hall, MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist

Tanisha Hall

MSW, RSW, PsychotherapistAbout TanishaBook Tanisha online today