Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Narketta Sparkman-Key

Committee Member

Shuntay Tarver

Committee Member

Alvin Holder

Committee Member

Amber Pope


Current literature explains that events resulting from instances of white supremacy and racism are traumatizing for Black individuals (Phillips, 2020). Prior literature illuminates the impact of racism and resulting race-based trauma on Black individuals but is lacking regarding the lived experiences of race-based trauma in Black individuals in the U.S. and Black individuals from Jamaica. The goal of this study was to fill a gap in current literature by providing counselors and counselor educators with information regarding the experiences of Black clients to better inform multicultural, trauma-informed counseling practices and counselor education pedagogy. This study explored the experiences of race-based trauma in Black individuals in the U.S. and Jamaicans identifying as non-white using phenomenological methodology through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Using a phenomenological methodology grounded in Critical Race Theory, semi-structured interviews were completed with 5 individuals identifying as Black Americans and 5 self-identified Black Jamaicans. Questions used in the interviews were aimed to explore (a) ways in which Black individuals have experienced race-based trauma as previously defined; (b) the impact of majority versus minoritized ethnic group status on the experience of race-based trauma; (c) resiliency factors employed by Black individuals to cope with race-based trauma; and (d) if and how race-based trauma impacts the daily functioning and behaviors of individuals self-identifying as Black. The findings of this study illuminate the experiences of these individuals as it relates to race-based trauma and the resiliency factors employed to facilitate coping. Furthermore, a cross-cultural examination of the experiences of racism when the individual is in the majority racial group in their nation, compared to when they are not within the majority racial group is presented, thereby providing the counseling profession with a broader illustration of the Black experience. Implications for licensed professional counselors, supervisors, and counselor educators are presented.


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