3.00 CE Credits Available
Counseling African American Men, Volume 2: Anger and Identity
by Darrick Tovar-Murray
Appreciating what it means to be Black in a racialized society and the pernicious impact of racism on emotional development and identity is essential for therapeutic success with African American clients.
Basic multicultural training and awareness may not sufficiently prepare clinicians to work with African American clients. By closely looking at the complex issues of anger and African American identity, you will bring depth to your clinical practice. Clinicians who have not personally experienced or fully acknowledged the sting of microaggressions or the pain of feeling invisible because of the color of their skin may miss opportunities to ask critical questions, instead avoiding uncomfortable conversations with Black clients around topics such as anger and identity. Furthermore, focusing on presenting problems rather than exploring their possible roots in racism can be detrimental to the therapeutic relationship.

Watching these masterful, race-informed sessions with two African American men and the detailed analysis that follows will help you to sit with your own clients’ pain, creating a safe therapeutic space for growth and healing. Darrick Tovar-Murray, PhD, demonstrates how to build a strong working alliance and promote change in his clinical work with Christopher, a young man whose anger has become disruptive, and Chad, whose Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and homosexuality further complicate his identity as a Black man. See how exploring the stories your African American clients were born into will help them strengthen their sense of identity and develop self-empowering counter-narratives to racism. And learn to recognize your own relationship with racism and stereotypes like that of the “angry Black man,” work that will help you to provide skillful and supportive race-sensitive therapy.

This video will give you essential tools for breaking down the complex dynamics of race, anger, and identity and deepen your clinical awareness of the needs of your African American clients so that you can build a foundation for trust, insight, and healing.    

What therapists are saying…

“Dr. Tovar Murray intentionally offers a therapeutic space for Black male clients to narrate their intersections of identity without fear of judgment, criticism, or skepticism. Salient examples of tackling the complex issue of historical and contemporary racism many Black male clients face in daily life is provided. The therapist skillfully examines race, identity, strength, and resiliency while navigating the importance of self-disclosure, connection, and agency within session. This timely demonstration can be a foundation for some therapists, students, and professors or a key reminder for others within our racialized society.”
—Sam Steen, PHD, Associate Professor School Counseling, George Mason University  
“Dr. Tovar-Murray encourages clinicians to bravely explore the realities of race, racism and stereotyping, as well as the stories Black men are born into, in order to help their clients connect with their humanity, which is so frequently overlooked by society.”
—Javier F. Casado Pérez, PhD, Director of the Community Counseling Clinic, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education, Portland State University
“As a minority female therapist, I identified with some of the emotions that Dr. Tovar-Murray and his clients worked with in session. I was particularly impressed by how the course presented strategies for helping Black men reconcile their multiple identities and understand how anger often masks fear.”
—Dr. Debolina Ghosh, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Stephens College
In Depth
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Christopher may simply appear to be what some refer to as an “angry Black man,” but his lifelong struggle with trust, connection, and self-esteem have contributed to a deep sense of isolation and fear, masked by the anger and hidden beneath alcohol abuse. Significant earlier life stressors, including parental divorce and difficulty adjusting to the racial and social challenges in school, the military, and workforce ,have wounded him. Angry, depressed, and lacking direction, Christopher’s is a narrative of insecurity, self-doubt, and oppression. We meet him at this pivotal juncture in his life ready to take a closer and more painful and honest look at himself.

Now in his thirties, newly out of a long-term and unhealthy relationship and reflecting on his career, Chad is trying to solidify his identity in the shadow of family of origin experiences and a lifelong struggle with racism and invisibility. His tenuous sense of self reflects the fragile balance between being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, being Black, feeling developmentally out of step with peers, and being gay. We join him and Tovar-Murray as they unpack the painful legacy of societal racism and his early experiences to create pathways forward for him at work, in relationship, and in his Black body.

Glimpses into their unique therapeutic experiences will focus on:
  • Working with Anger
  • When Anger Masks Fear
  • What Does it Mean to be Black?
  • Managing Multiple Identities
  • Identity and the Outside World
  • Religion and the African American Community
  • Challenges In the Workplace
  • Walking Around in a Black Body
  • Staying Out of the Spotlight
  • The Good Enough Self
  • Being Fully Present
  • Talking About Racism

Length of video: 2:57:03

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-584-X

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-584-7

Darrick Tovar-Murray, PhD, is an associate professor of counseling in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at DePaul University in Chicago, where he teaches a wide range of graduate-level clinical and counseling courses. He is the author (with contributions from Jan Louis Gaetjens) of Basic Therapeutic Counseling Skills: Interventions for Working with Clients’ Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior (Cognella, 2017). Dr Tovar Murray’s primary area of scholarship is multicultural counseling, and his research interests include identity development, African-American well-being, and counseling and spirituality. 

CE credits: 3

Learning Objectives:

  • discuss the clinical importance creating a safe therapeutic space for African American men
  • explain the impact of racism on career development, relationships, and identity formation
  • describe some of the dominant racial stereotypes of African American men, including that of the “angry Black man,” and their effects

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2021

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