Lillian Comas-Diaz - Addressing the Roots of Racial Trauma

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Lillian Comas-Díaz is a pioneer in the field of ethnocultural approaches to mental health. She is both a clinical practitioner and multicultural feminist psychologist, writing numerous journal articles and books pushing the field toward more inclusive and less ethnocentric theories and practices.

She was recently awarded the 2019 American Psychological Association gold medal awardfor lifetime achievement and the practice of psychology, the first time a person of color has been recognized with the award. She credits the long-term, collective effort of professionals of color working on expanding psychology’s lens to include the perspectives of marginalized peoples’ experiences.

Comas-Díaz, along with her colleagues, recently introduced a special issue on the concept they call racial trauma (see MIA report). She describes racial trauma as “an insidious type of distress that many people of color and other marginalized individuals experience, where they are living in a society where racism, heterosexism, classism, and all those kinds of ‘isms’ are making the society oppressive towards those targeted groups.”

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