Group therapy found beneficial for black men dealing with social injustice, CSUDH psychologist says

Improved access to therapy for African American men is necessary following the in-custody death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, according to a California State University Dominguez Hills professor and psychologist.
CARSON, Calif. (KABC) -- Improved access to therapy for African American men is necessary following the in-custody death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, according to a California State University Dominguez Hills professor and psychologist.

Continued oppression and history repeating itself are contributing factors that are driving demonstrators to take to the streets, Dr. Michael Laurent said Monday. Those issues are also why more people have reached out to him for help.

"This whole week, my phone has been blowing up. People are just coming, they're trying to de-escalate, they're trying to calm down," Laurent said.

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Dr. Laurent said he has a support group for African American men that has been running for 30 years.

"They don't know what to do because they're at a point that they're going to pop. Where their anxiety and the depression and they don't know how to deal with being targeted," Laurent said.

He said the stress of inequities faced by people of color shows itself in many forms. It can manifest itself in families begging grown men to stay home, afraid their husband or father will be attacked because of the color of his skin.

Laurent said it's a reality for black men - one he lives with daily. Laurent found group therapy is best when it comes to African American men. He said mentorship is also a healthy outlet for this traumatizing experience.

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"They work better in group format. Something about the brotherhood or something about the camaraderie or unity," Laurent said.

The psychologist said the trauma and unrest coming after Floyd's killing is so significant, improved access to counseling is necessary.

"We're gonna have to have hotlines like we did fot the pandemic. We're gonna have to have different types of chat groups," Laurent said.

Dr. Laurent said he is working on just that, with members of his support group running a hotline or chat group to help others in need in their community deal with this trauma.

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