Afternoon Workshop 2

Micro-Aggressions: Making the Invisible Visible in the Therapeutic Setting

Presented by Debra Chatman-Finley, MA, DVS, LPC & Gliceria Perez, MSW, LCSW


Micro-aggressions are everyday occurrences which reflect a person’s internalized stereotypes and prejudices. These verbal or nonverbal interactions are often unconscious and unintentional, and are difficult to recognize because they are subtle and appear innocuous.  Therapists often bear witness to clients’ experiences of micro-aggressions that leave them feeling inferior, dismissed or devalued.  But what happens when therapists are the ones committing the micro-aggressions?   While there are several types of micro-aggressions, this workshop will focus on micro-aggressions committed as a result of race and class.  The workshop will provide a safe venue to encourage participants to examine their own beliefs (in terms of race and class) and how they may manifest as micro-aggressions in the therapeutic relationship and/or treatment.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:
1. Understand the concept of micro-aggressions and identify three forms of micro-aggressions (micro-insults, micro-assaults and micro-invalidations)
2. Increase understanding of the clinical implications of one’s own micro- aggressions when working with clients.
3. Gain at least two practical tools that can be utilized to help assess one’s own beliefs regarding race and class.

Presenter Information

Debra Chatman-Finley
Debra is a therapist in private practice in Somerville, where she provides therapy for individuals, couples and families. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is also a National Board Certified Counselor. She earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Seton Hall University and her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the College of Saint Elizabeth. Debra is also a graduate and former Associate Faculty of the Multicultural Family Institute. In addition, Debra has facilitated numerous workshops on the topic of children and divorce, the impact of domestic violence, blended families and interracial/ intercultural families.

Gliceria Perez
Gliceria Perez, LCSW is a psychiatric social worker at the Office of George J. Otlowski, Sr., Center for Mental Health Care (formerly known as the Raritan Bay Mental Health Center) where she works primarily with individuals, groups and families of Latino descent. She is the lead clinician for the Families Fit Program at the Raritan Bay YMCA working with at-risk pre-teen, teens and their parents. Gliceria also co-facilitates a bi-monthly Women of Color Group in Somerville, New Jersey. She earned her Bachelors degree in Sociology from Rutgers University and her Masters of Social Work degree from Fordham University. Gliceria is a graduate of the Multicultural Family Institute and is currently training at the Trauma Center at JRI. Additionally, Gliceria is trained in EMDR and Family Systems Therapy.

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