Racial Trauma, Neurons, and EMDR: The Path Towards an Anti-Racist Psychotherapy


Although race is a social construction, it carries great significance and dire consequences in our North American culture. This presentation will explore how Anti-Black racism, racial trauma, and White Supremacy can impact psychotherapy. Using Young’s Five Faces of Oppression model, we will discuss how Anti-Black racism affects clients and therapists. In addition to discussing how systemic racism impacts service delivery, we will also explore the impact that Anti-Black racial microaggressions can have on the nervous system (e.g. allostatic load) of our clients. Recommendations for conducting EMDR from an Anti-Racist perspective will be discussed and encouraged. Case examples will be provided.

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in October 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe 3 key aspects which relate to racial trauma
  • Define the concept of allostatic load
  • Identify three recommendations for conducting anti-racist psychotherapy
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: David Archer, MSW, MFT, Psychotherapist
Presenter Bio: David Archer is an anti-racist psychotherapist from Montreal, Canada. In addition to being trained as a clinical social worker, he is also a registered couple and family therapist. Though mindfulness, intersectional feminism, and critical race theory inform his philosophy, he works full time in private practice using EMDR, Brainspotting, EFT, and other strategies which utilize memory reconsolidation. Areas of interest relate to working with individuals who have suffered from PTSD, racial trauma, minority stress, addictions, and eating disorders. Mr. Archer is an ally of LGBTQ, Black, Indigenous, and oppressed people of colour around the world.

Available Credit

  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


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  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
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