Challenging current definitions of trauma, Kevin L. Nadal distills the latest research on the effects of microaggressions, looking at how regular exposure to subtle discrimination can, over time, elicit similar symptoms to severe trauma.

Previous research on trauma has suggested that it results from experiencing or witnessing actual or threatened death, or serious injury, but this view has been expanding in recent years. New research has focused on the relationship between persistent, often casual social discrimination and trauma.

In a changing world where discrimination seems to take center stage on the news, more and more individuals are able to put a name to the daily microaggressions that may plague their lives. These stressors can act as trigger mechanisms that impact their ability to cope with life stressors, affecting self-esteem and relationships.

This brief but comprehensive volume includes illustrative case studies that will help practitioners understand and treat clients with trauma resulting from persistent but otherwise subtle and difficult-to-identify microaggressions.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword




  1. A Review of Trauma Literature and Approaches
  2. What Are Microaggressions?
  3. Racial Microaggressions and Trauma
  4. Sexual Orientation Microaggressions and Trauma
  5. Gender Microaggressions and Trauma
  6. Gender Identity Microaggressions and Trauma
  7. Conclusion and Future Directions



About the Author

Author Bio

Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal, PhD, is a professor of psychology at both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

From 2014 through 2017, he was the executive director of the CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and he was the first person of color to hold this position in 25 years of the organization.

From 2015 through 2017, he was the president of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA); he was the first openly gay person to serve in this role in the organization's 45-year history. Within AAPA, he cofounded the Division on Filipino Americans in 2010 and the Division on LGBTQ Issues in 2012.

He is a National Trustee of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and coordinated the FANHS national conference in New York in June 2016. He is also the cofounder of the LGBTQ Scholars of Color Network — a national network committed to academics and researchers who identify as LGBTQ people of color, which has been funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Arcus Foundation.

For seven years, he served as a training psychologist with the New York Police Department — advocating for mental health awareness toward citizens with a range of psychological disorders. He is the CEO of Nadal and Associates — his consulting firm which has allowed him to facilitate trainings and workshops with corporations, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations, as well as serve as an expert witness for various court cases.

Dr. Nadal received bachelor's degrees in psychology and political science from the University of California at Irvine, a master's degree in counseling from Michigan State University, and a PhD in counseling psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

He is one of the leading researchers in understanding the impacts of microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination, on the mental and physical health of people of color; LGBTQ people; and other marginalized groups.

He has published more than 90 works on multicultural issues in the fields of psychology and education. He is the author (or coeditor) of numerous books, including Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice (2011), Women and Mental Disorders (2011), That's So Gay: Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (2013), Filipinos in New York City (2015), and The Sage Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender (2017).

In 2011, Dr. Nadal received the Early Career Award for Contributions to Excellence from AAPA. In 2012, he received the Emerging Professional Award for Research from APA Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race). In 2015, he received the Outstanding Filipino Americans of New York award for Excellence in Education and Research. In 2016, he won the Faculty Scholarly Excellence Award at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 2017, he won the APA Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest.

For more information, visit his website or follow him on Twitter (@kevinnadal).

Reviews & Awards

The book's strength lies both in its summary of trauma and microaggression research for underacknowledged members of our population and in its normalization of intersectionality...Highly recommended.