Recognizing and Responding to Racial Microaggressions During the Counseling Process : VFHY
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Empower Series

Recognizing and Responding to Racial Microaggressions During the Counseling Process

Provided in Partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)

July 15, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET

Workshop Description

Microaggressions are daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental messages (whether intentional or unintentional) that communicate that a person’s identity or social group (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, class, religion, educational level, etc.) is less valued or perceived negatively. Many microaggressions are so subtle that neither the target nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is happening. Numerous research studies have found that the process of encountering microaggressions can be psychologically and physically draining, often leading to higher levels of stress, lower job satisfaction, hostile and invalidating work environments, and poor mental health outcomes. This interaction will help participants learn how to identify microaggressions and respond when they occur.

In this one and a half hours workshop, you will learn to:

  1. Identify various forms of microaggressions
  2. Understand the harmful impact of microaggressions on counseling related outcomes
  3. Respond to microaggressions during counseling sessions and in everyday situations


Joseph Williams is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Virginia. He is a faculty affiliate with Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development and with the Center for Race and Public Education in the South. His primary research line focuses on resilience-based interventions and policies at the micro and macro levels that neutralized or offset the detrimental effect of racism and poverty on the academic, personal/social, and career development of K-12 students. His second inquiry line focuses on social justice and anti-racist training practices for (K-12) counselors, educators, and other helping professionals.

Besides publishing scholarly articles and book chapters in these areas, he also consults with school districts, communities, associations, and corporations. In 2019, he started Affirm Consulting, LLC to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and engage people in productive dialogue and action. His most sought-after workshops address topics such as racism, anti-racism, microaggression, implicit bias, privilege, intersectionality, and prejudice. Dr. Williams earned his Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Iowa and his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Minnesota State University.


This Empower Series event is presented in partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services (DBHDS).


Register below for the first of four webinars in the Promoting Racial Literacy Among Behavioral Healthcare Professionals: knowledge, skills and dispositions to address issues of race and racism series. A certificate of contact hours from DBHDS will be provided to webinar participants, if requested. Instructions for requesting a certificate will be provided following the webinar.

Recognizing and Responding to Racial Microaggressions at During the Counseling Process - Registration Form
This Empower Series event is only available for Virginians.

Upcoming Empower Series Events

Thursday, Jul. 22, 2021
Addressing Race-Based Stress/Trauma in Therapy 

Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021
Addressing Racial Prejudice in Counseling Sessions

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021
Applying Advocacy Strategies for Client and Community Empowerment


July 15, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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Virtual Meeting