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6 Tips for Coping with Racial Trauma from an Asian American Therapist in Los Angeles

When it comes to dealing with racism and racist acts that happen against you, it is important to have a plan in place. You don’t know when racism is going to pop up in your life. But knowing what you will do and how you will work through it is extremely important. These five tips could help you be prepared to react in the best way for your own safety and peace of mind.

Image of an infographic titled "6 tips for coping with racism/racial trauma burnout." This infographic describes steps people can take to deal with racial trauma in Los Angeles, CA. You could also benefit from using trauma therapy in Los Angeles, CA. 90404 | 90503

Unplug: Give yourself a break

Where is racism occurring? Is it occurring around certain people? Or is it happening on social media? Is it happening at a specific type of event? No matter which of these things represents the catalyst for what you’re experiencing and feeling, the first step is to get yourself out of that situation. And you should make sure you stay away from that situation if it’s making you feel bad about yourself.

Pack Your Toolbag: Reaffirm your identity in your culture, skin, race, & background

Next, you want to make sure that you are gathering tools designed specifically to help you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin. You are a beautiful, unique, amazing person. And your culture, race, background, and more are what makes you that way. So, create a “toolbag” consisting of people who make you feel like the amazing, worthwhile person you are. Collect stories and things that make you feel the same way. Finding stories that remind you of the uniqueness and strengths of your culture, race, and background can be a great place to start. These are great to go back to when you’re struggling for any reason.

Rest: Find meaningful and relaxing activities

Once you’ve walked away and taken a little time to focus on the things that replenish you and build you back up, you’ll want to let your body and your mind rest and recover. This may mean physically resting through meditation or relaxing in a favorite spot. It might mean getting together with someone that you care about who will help you feel validated. Or it might mean going to get your favorite coffee or snack from a restaurant or a cafe. The important thing is to take time for yourself to recharge.

Organize: Find activities and people that make you feel like YOU!

You don’t need to go and organize your whole room. Instead, think of this organization as planning. Plan an event that brings you joy. And plan more time with the people who love and support you. You can plan for more sleep so you feel rested and ready for absolutely anything. Or, create a routine that will make you feel energized. Create a new organizational structure in some area of your life that is going to make you feel great and ready to do anything.

Be authentic: Empower yourself!

Finally, write down who you are and what you’re proud of about yourself. Write down what you’ve accomplished and where and who you come from. Those ancestors of yours are something to be proud of as well! Then, write down where you’re going and what you’re planning for your future. And certainly, write down all the amazing things about you that make you such a special person. This can also look like having an affirmation statement that reaffirms who you are as a beautiful human being. Then, return to those messages when you need them the most.

Image of a person holding up two finger for a peace sign. This image depicts how engaging in community activism can be a part of trauma therapy. A trauma therapist in Los Angeles, CA may encourage you to get out into the community to heal from racial trauma. | 91006 | 90071

Be empowered: Engage in community activism

Everyone’s capacity is different, and not everyone can march every weekend. However, being involved with community activism or a movement of your choice can be a very empowering experience. You will be surrounded by people who feel passionate about dismantling racism and you will be going through the actions with them.

Activism can look many ways, and most of the time, you can find organizations within your school, profession, community, civic or religious organizations, too. It can look like education, policy change, direct service, community organizing, etc. Do your search and find the form of activism that speaks to you.

Plan: Create a Racial Trauma Recovery Plan

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Review the 6 tips above to create your own unique racial trauma and burnout recovery plan. When it comes to experiencing racial trauma, it’s important to recognize the steps and paths that you can take to combat the negative emotions that come up for you. Think about what the 6 steps would look like in your life and plan to implement them for yourself.

When you’re experiencing discrimination and racism, it can be demoralizing. It can feel humiliating, painful, or any number of different emotions. It might make you angry, sad, scared, or anything else. And all of those emotions are perfectly valid and normal in that situation. But, please remember you deserve to be treated as a unique and amazing human being. So, utilize these 6 tips to see how they can help how to work your way through the emotions that you’re experiencing. Then, you can focus on getting back to being proud of who you are.

Trauma Therapy in Los Angeles, CA and New York City, NY Can Help

Creating and implementing these 6 steps can be helpful when facing racial trauma. However, everyone’s needs are different. And sometimes, we all just need some extra support when it comes to dealing with racial trauma. If you are in of need support and guidance when it comes to addressing racial trauma within yourself, the BIPOC and Asian American therapists at our Los Angeles and New York City-based psychotherapy practice can help. They work with individuals in trauma therapy to heal from all types of traumatic experiences. To get started, follow these steps.

  1. Request an appointment.
  2. Start meeting with one of our empathetic therapists.
  3. Process racial trauma and discover newfound empowerment about what makes you so unique.

Other Services at Yellow Chair Collective

At our Los Angeles, CA and New York City, NY-based counseling practice, we have BIPOC and Asian American therapists who are eager to help. Our therapists provide a wide variety of services to meet your mental wellness needs. These range from individual therapy to couples therapy and even support groups. Our support groups focus on healing from racial, intergenerational, and cultural trauma. And we have a group specifically for Asian American Experiences to help folks across the U.S. process and recover from racial trauma.

Our practice is culturally inclusive and LGBTQ+ affirming. And we can work with anyone in the state of California and New York using online therapy. Additionally, we can provide our services in English, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Khmer (Cambodian), Japanese, Hindi, Nepalese, Spanish, and Russian upon request. If you are interested in getting to know more about our practice, check out our FAQ page.

Relevant Resources

Yellow Chair Collective: The Podcast | Asian Racial Stress & Trauma with Sharon Kwon

Yellow Chair Collective: The Podcast | Healing From Trauma: Stanford Psychologist Dr. Christine Catipon Shares Tips to Nurture Yourself