Spirituality and Complex Trauma in African American Women

Spirituality and Complex Trauma in African American Women
with Joan Blakey, PhD, LMSW

Increasingly, traumatic events, particularly among Black women, are all too common. The recognition that ongoing racial trauma is prevalent and pervasive in the lives of women of color only increases the need to draw on a higher power to navigate and make sense of the world. Often we get hung on spirituality versus religion and what we call a power greater than ourselves. The more Dr. Blakey works with Black women, the more she has come to understand the need for some kind of spiritual practice that helps women find their purpose. Finding one’s purpose is the key to healing from and moving beyond trauma. Together, we’ll explore spirituality, religion, God, personal power, and purpose as the building blocks to healing from complex trauma.

Joan Blakey, PhD, LMSW, is the Director of the School of Social Work and a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Dr. Blakey’s research primarily focuses on Black women who have histories of substance abuse often resulting from complex trauma and become involved with the child protection and criminal justice system. Dr. Blakey’s research agenda also focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive practice. Her work consistently has been about transforming systems to recognize and embrace peoples’ full humanity with the goal of creating and fostering a sense of belonging where Black and other marginalized people can excel and thrive. She also works as an equity consultant with universities/colleges, public school systems, for-profit and non-profit organizations.



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