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The COVID-19 pandemic, economic anxiety, and America's racial reckoning have taken a toll on the mental health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).  Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and the pre-existing conditions that put most people at higher risk of dying from the virus, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are more prevalent in communities of color, in part due to health disparities stemming from racial and socio-economic status. 

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a host of other African Americans at the hands of police has placed the spotlight on the ways systemic racism has pervaded institutions and gone unnoticed and unchecked. 

In his song, Inner City Blues, singer Marvin Gaye sang "Make me want to holler and throw up both my hands; Yeah, it makes me want to holler and throw up both my hands; Crime is increasing; Trigger happy policing; Panic is spreading; God knows where we're heading..."

Racial stress and trauma are real and encompass both the body and mind. Research has found that racism is associated with a host of psychological consequences including depression, anxiety and other sometimes debilitating conditions. Post-traumatic stress disorder and the stress caused by racism can also contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and other physical diseases. 

While I understand that it is often difficult for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to reach out for help as systemic racism and the lack of cultural competence and humility in mental health care has often resulted in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), I believe that therapy is both beneficial and necessary to treat our individual, generational, and collective traumas so that we can heal from our past and reach our fullest potential.


My name is Sharmaine D Barnes and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)and Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP) who specializes in treating racial stress and trauma as well as other mental health disorders experienced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). I offer counseling from an Afrocentric culturally sensitive perspective and utilize techniques that focus on the mind, body, spirit connection. Harmony, balance, interconnectedness, cultural awareness, and authenticity are the basic principles of the therapy I provide. 

I want to help you work through your emotional struggles in a compassionate, culturally sensitive, non-judgmental way.

Call me at (209) 475-8428 to schedule a teletherapy appointment.

Although I am licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have chosen to specialize in treating adult individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, life adjustments, racial stress and trauma, acute stress disorder, other specified and unspecified trauma-and stressor-related disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I am no longer providing marriage counseling. My cash rates are $125 for a 45-minute therapy session and $150 for a 60-minute session.

Although I specialize in treating African Americans, my clientele is very diverse. I see clients from various ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and other backgrounds. I am also a retired correctional officer and have a unique understanding of the needs of first responders. 

My therapeutic approach is very integrated and

tailored to each individual client's needs. I use techniques from various therapeutic modalities which include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical 

Behavior Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), Emotional Freedom Technique ("Tapping"), Schema-Focused Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, Meditation, Trauma-Informed Yoga, Tai Chi, and others. I also provide Christian counseling. 

I use Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Move Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Written Exposure Therapy (WET), Prolonged Exposure Therapy-- all of which are evidence-based treatments to treat trauma and PTSD. 

I am a proud member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

California Therapists Disavow Racial Injustice

May 30, 2020 | Press Release |

California Therapists Disavow Racial Injustice, Voice Concern over Mental Health Impacts of Racial Trauma

San Diego, CA — The death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck is heartbreaking and infuriating. This latest injustice has led to protests in Minneapolis and in cities across the country, including Los Angeles and Oakland, around structural racism against black communities. Floyd’s death came shortly after the fatal shooting of EMT Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and the release of a video documenting jogger Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down in Georgia. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) grieves these unnecessary and violent deaths.

“Witnessing police brutality, even vicariously through videos and news stories, can be deeply traumatizing,” says Cathryn Leff, LMFT, President-Elect of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “People in ethnic minority communities often experience racial trauma from witnessing racial violence. This trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, or post-traumatic stress disorder that can have substantial negative consequences for individuals, families, and their communities.”

CAMFT asks our state and federal lawmakers, as well as law enforcement agencies, to assess training and internal review policies and take needed measures to decrease the implicit and explicit bias present in our government systems that lead to these tragic deaths. “Only by addressing the systemic racism in our country will we as a society have a chance for justice and healing,” says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE, Executive Director of CAMFT.

CAMFT encourages members and all mental health professionals to be both culturally competent and culturally responsive and to consider the impact of these prejudicial incidents on ethnic minority clients. As a best practice, mental health professionals should directly address racial trauma in the clinical hour. “When a clinician opens conversations about race, socialized injustice, and violence, it provides opportunities to validate the experiences and feelings of clients of color, where they can process their grief and trauma.” says Katie Vernoy, LMFT, President of CAMFT. CAMFT wants to empower therapists and clients to talk openly about the profound mental health consequences that racial traumas may have on people within historically oppressed populations.

CAMFT is an independent professional organization representing the interests of over 32,000 Marriage and Family Therapists and mental health workers who are experts in diagnosing and treating mental health issues. CAMFT is dedicated to promoting mental health, advancing the MFT profession, and maintaining high standards of professional ethics.