Cognella Author Spotlight: Priscilla Dass-Brailsford

Dr. Priscilla Dass-Brailsford

Trauma Psychologist, Chair of the Clinical Psychology PsyD Program – Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Adjunct Faculty – Georgetown University School of Medicine

Author of Trauma, Violence, and Abuse with Ethnic Populations

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What personal or professional experiences have shaped your current approach to teaching, or the focus of your research? 

I grew up in South Africa, a country with a history of apartheid and the oppression of Black people. Political trauma was an everyday occurrence, so very early in my life I was drawn to resolving the ravages that trauma inflicts. Conducting research to understand the stressors and coping mechanisms of stigmatized and marginalized populations was an inherent part of my professional calling.  I was fortunate to become involved with several well-known trauma programs in Boston, Massachusetts, that launched my career as a trauma psychologist. 

What motivated you to write Trauma, Violence, and Abuse with Ethnic Populations?

The changing population landscape of the United States, with an increase in the number of ethnic populations, has been the inspiration behind the book. My two decades of experience working with BIPOC populations have given me invaluable insight and understanding that is shared in this book via interesting vignettes. The chapters on racial trauma (George Floyd) and biracial populations (President Obama) are especially current and compelling given the transformation in U.S. society. 

Why do you feel this text is important for today’s students and practitioners? 

This text is very important for today’s students because of the current environment of racial and ethnic tension that permeates our national and global society. The book allows readers to grapple with significant and complex concepts of race, racism, culture and ethnicity. Further, it is critically important to introduce students to the growing literature that is available on the history and impact of immigrant groups on the economic, political, and societal systems of the United States during the past few decades.

How can readers benefit directly from this textbook? 

Readers will gain a strong understanding of cultural sensitivity, cultural awareness and cultural competence. The text improves the readers’ ability to connect with ethnic populations and understand cultural differences. The skill building aspects of therapeutic encounters, illustrated through case vignettes, provide the reader with opportunities to gain an understanding of how to provide ethnic populations with the best possible clinical and therapeutic support.

About the Book


Trauma, Violence, and Abuse with Ethnic Populations presents trauma-focused mental health approaches for diverse ethnic populations. The book features contemporary theoretical perspectives and evidence-based methods that not only offer a paradigm for culturally and ecologically appropriate interventions but also take into consideration the diverse needs of individuals affected by traumatic experiences.

The text is grounded in empirically supported trauma treatment techniques and adapted to the complexities of actual practice. Opening chapters provide foundational skills and knowledge about conducting culturally informed trauma interventions with ethnic populations.  Later chapters focus on specific populations and effective multicultural approaches and evidence-based trauma interventions for each primary ethnic group in the US. Throughout the book, case studies and real-life scenarios are presented to contextualize the materials and bridge the gap between theory and practice. The text closes with a chapter addressing vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, and the importance of self-care.

Trauma, Violence, and Abuse with Ethnic Populations is part of the Cognella Series on Advances in Culture, Race, and Ethnicity. The series, endorsed by Division 45 of the American Psychological Association, addresses critical and emerging issues within culture, race, and ethnic studies, as well as specific topics among key ethnocultural groups.

Learn more about the book, request a digital review copy, view a sneak preview, or purchase the text:

About the Author

Priscilla Dass-Brailsford holds a doctoral degree in psychology from Harvard University. She is a licensed psychologist, researcher, and PTSD expert. Dr. Dass-Brailsford is a professor and chair of the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University. She is the author of A Practical Approach to Trauma: Empowering Interventions and editor of Crisis and Disaster Counseling: Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina and Other Disasters.