Cultural competence in trauma therapy: Beyond the flashback

Cultural competence in trauma treatment: Beyond the flashbackWriting this book allowed me to integrate two topics about which I’m passionate, working with trauma survivors and practicing culturally competent psychotherapy. In it I hope to invite readers to become more culturally competent via strategies that reduce shame, enhance self-awareness, and increase understanding of peoples’ multiple and intersecting identities. I then describe how dynamics of identities and cultures become intertwined with experiences of trauma. The book is aimed at advanced graduate students and practicing psychotherapists alike.

Where to find


  • Trauma: Critical, Contemporary, Culturally Competent (pdf) – published in PsycCRITIQUES
  • Author links trauma to culture in groundbreaking work – published in New England Psychologist
  • Cultural Competence in Trauma Therapy represents a tremendously welcome and long overdue corrective to a significant gap in the trauma literature. This volume provides a comprehensive account of the crucial role of cultural competency in accurate understanding and effective treatment of trauma survivors. Brown transcends the commonplace approach to multicultural studies of cataloging typical characteristics of various subgroups. Instead, she provides a sophisticated perspective on cultural competency that views each individual as a unique confluence of intersecting dimensions of self, influenced by the multiple reference groups with which a particular trauma survivor identifies. The ways in which traumatic experience is shaped by and filtered through these dimensions are considered in exhaustive detail. Ample case examples woven throughout the narrative render the concepts she presents vibrantly accessible. For many readers this work will facilitate a paradigm shift that will lead to a markedly greater level of conceptual complexity and clinical effectiveness.
    Steven N. Gold, Ph.D.
    Center for Psychological Studies
    Psychology Department, Nova University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Past-President, APA Division of Trauma Psychology
    Editor-in-Chief, Trauma Psychology
  • Dr. Laura Brown has written an exceptional book that addresses numerous contextual issues surrounding trauma response that must be understood and integrated into trauma treatment. Cultural Competence in Trauma Therapy significantly advances the trauma treatment field and rectifies what has been a glaring omission, namely, attention to client factors that impact trauma response and healing. This book should be required reading for all psychotherapists.
    Christine A. Courtois, Ph.D., ABPP
    Psychologist, Independent Practice, Washington, DC
    Past-President, APA Division of Trauma Psychology
  • One of the goals of this very impressive and readable books is to connect the fields of trauma studies and cultural competence. It is simply excellent and long overdue! This is a “must-have” resource for all practitioners who work with trauma survivors and who wish to increase understanding of the unique meaning that arises from the multiple, intersecting identities that define each survivor’s individual sense of self. Students as well as seasoned practitioners will benefit from this very clearly written text.
    Melba J.T. Vasquez, Ph.D., ABPP
    Psychologist, Independent Practice, Austin TX
    Past-President, American Psychological Association


Brown, L.S. (2008) Cultural competence in trauma therapy: Beyond the flashback. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

See also