Dr. Monnica Williams

Dr. Monnica Williams

Event Speaker

Dr. Monnica Williams


Monnica Williams, Ph.D. is a board-certified, licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapies. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities, and Director of the Laboratory for Culture and Mental Health Disparities. She is also the Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic, LLC in Tolland, Connecticut, and she has founded clinics in Kentucky, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.


Assessing the Mental Health Impact of Racialization

Speaker: Dr. Monnica Williams Ph.D.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) describes the constellation of symptoms that may occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Anyone exposed to traumatic event is at risk to develop PTSD, and this typically includes survivors of violent acts or disasters, emergency responders, abuse victims, and combat veterans. However, many other events can be traumatic as well, particularly to people of color, including police harassment, workplace discrimination, community violence, distressing medical experiences, and incarceration. Immigrants and refugees may suffer racial trauma from experiencing or witnessing torture, ethnic cleansing and persecution, destruction of cultural practices, living in a war zone, immigration difficulties, or deportation. This presentation will provide an overview of the cultural factors relevant for stigmatized ethnic groups, with an emphasis on understanding and assessing PTSD caused by experiences of racism, or racial trauma. The various facets of racial trauma will be described, including the experience of historical, cultural, and individual trauma, and how these may or may not fit into a traditional mental health framework. The presentation will include case examples and Q&A.

Key Take-aways

  1. Learn about the various causes of racial trauma and understand the clinical implications of racial experiences leading to trauma symptomology.
  2. Communicate how historical, cultural, and individual trauma may or may not fit into a DSM-5 framework.
  3. Identify tools for assessing stress and trauma symptoms from experiences of discrimination.