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279. ACT for Healing Black Racial Trauma with Jennifer Shepard Payne

Racial trauma has been caused by centuries of discrimination and violence against African Americans; a legacy of injustice that has had a long-term impact on mental, emotional, and psychical well-being. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing Black racial trauma; transformation and change are still possible. A powerful tool to help those who have been impacted by racism is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

We talk with Research Scientist and Clinician, Jennifer Shepard Payne who in her book, Out of the Fire: Healing Black Trauma Caused by Systemic Racism Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, offers a thorough examination of the application of ACT to the unique problems that African Americans face. Jennifer describes how she is culturally adapting traditional ACT practices, and how this therapy can help African American communities heal from generations of oppression.

Listen and Learn:

  • What motivated Jennifer to specialize in culturally tailoring Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for African American communities
  • Why Jennifer wrote a book on healing Black Trauma 
  • Jennifer’s personal experience with racism as a Black woman in America
  • What Jennifer thinks about the disparity in the current mental health system for African Americans
  • Jennifer’s perspective on resilience in relation to Black racial trauma 
  • What inspired Jennifer to pursue ACT, and how beneficial it can be in assisting African Americans who have suffered racial trauma
  • The concept of Racial Battle Fatigue
  • The importance of collective black values for the future

Resources:

About Jennifer Shepard Payne

Jennifer Shepard Payne, Ph.D., LCSW, is a Research Scientist and Clinician for the Kennedy Krieger Institute in the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress (CCFTS) and theCenter for the Neuroscience of Social Injustice. She is also an Assistant Professor in the John Hopkins University School of Medicine with a primary appointment within the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She serves as the coordinator of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Clinical Services within the adult segment of CCFTS.

Dr. Payne received her doctorate from the UCLA School of Public Affairs and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with many years of experience in mental health clinical practice and administration. Her research interests include developing culturally tailored community-based depression and trauma interventions and addressing minority mental health disparities. 

For several years, Dr. Payne has been working on culturally tailoring Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for African American communities experiencing racial trauma. She developed a culturally-tailored ACT intervention called POOF® and is training and consulting on the model: www.POOF-PullingOutOfFire.com. Additionally, she is a board member of MEND, an international organization of clinicians of color who are trauma-trained to help oppressed communities (www.mendminds.org).

Her new book is called Out of the Fire: Healing Black Trauma Caused by Systemic Racism Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

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Episode 279