African Americans
Internalized Oppression
Racism/Racial Justice
Violence-Prevention, Conflict Resolution

Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. Her seminars have been lauded as the most dynamic and inspirational currently being presented on the topics of culture, race relations and contemporary social issues. She is a tell-it-like-it-is ambassador for healing and a voice for those who’ve struggled in search of the past, and continue to struggle through the present.

Dr. DeGruy is the author of the groundbreaking book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing which addresses the residual impacts of trauma on African descendants in the Americas. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can use the strengths we have gained to heal.

The book incorporates her research in both America and Africa, as well as her twenty years of experience as a social work practitioner and consultant to public and private organizations. In the book and her presentations, Dr. DeGruy examines the conditions that led to the Atlantic slave trade and allowed the pursuant racism and efforts at repression to continue through present day. She then looks at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that African Americans faced as the result of the slave trade. Next she discusses the adaptive behaviors they developed—both positive and negative—that allowed them to survive and often even thrive.

Dr. DeGruy concludes by reevaluating those adaptive behaviors that have been passed down through generations. She explores replacing behaviors which are today maladaptive with ones that will promote, and sustain the healing and ensure the advancement of African American culture.

Dr. DeGruy’s Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: The Study Guide revisits the topics she covers in PTSS and provides a detailed mapping of how one can begin the change process in your personal life, employment, family and in your community. She illustrates how — with thoughtful self–exploration — each of us can evaluate our behaviors and replace negative and damaging behaviors with those that will promote, ensure and sustain the healing and advancement of African Americans.

Her clients have included academic institutions such as Oxford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Fisk University, Smith College, Morehouse College, University of Chicago, and Portland State University where she is currently an Assistant Professor. She has keynoted at a number of national conferences including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education and the White Privilege Conference.

Dr. DeGruy has also presented to federal and state agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Probation and Parole agencies, Juvenile Justice Judges Association, and Police agencies. Major corporations and companies such as Nordstrom, Nike, the NBA Rookies Camp, and the renowned G-CAPP program all have experienced Dr. Joy's expertise and charisma.

A highly sought-after expert, she has appeared on CNN, ABC, NPR, Pacifica Network stations nationwide and in The New York Times, Essence Magazine, The Journal of Black Psychology as well as numerous other publications.

In addition to her own books, she has chapters in Should America Pay: Slavery and The Raging Debate on Reparations (Harper Collins Publishing, 2003) and in Impact of Genocide & Terrorism Post Slavery Syndrome: A Multigenerational Look at African American’s Injury, Healing and Resilience (2010).

Dr. DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications; two master degrees in Social Work and Psychology; and a PhD in Social Work Research. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives a practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society.



"Thank you so much for the outstanding lecture Dr DeGruy gave recently. The event was a great success with more than 440 people in the audience – we had to turn people away because the auditorium reached full capacity. The event was impressive not only because of the size of the audience, but because the students were fully engaged during the entire program. We were also pleased to see that the students bought books, which they general do not … this was a memorable occasion for all who attended and we greatly appreciate Dr Joy’s passion and generosity … We would love to bring her back in the near future."

— Loretta Parham, Library Director, Atlanta University Center

"Without question Dr. DeGruy’s presentation was the best experience I have had thus far in school. This program should be mandatory. Thank you!"

— Social Work Graduate student, Clark Atlanta University

"Dr. Joy Leary's mesmerizing, riveting book is vital reading for our time...With Dr. Leary's potent words we can and will heal."

— Adelaide Sanford, Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents for the State of New York

"Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a master work...Her book is the balm we need to heal ourselves and our relationships. It is the gift of wholeness."

— Susan Taylor, Editorial Director, Essence Magazine

"Dr. DeGruy was amazing. Very insightful. It was fabulous. Need more presentations like this."

— Morehouse College student


The workshops, seminars and lectures conducted by Dr. DeGruy are reflective of her commitment to the healing and well-being of all people.

The Theory of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome suggest that centuries of slavery followed by systemic racism and oppression have resulted in multigenerational adaptive behaviors—some of which have been positive and reflective of resilience, and others that are detrimental and destructive.
In brief, Dr. DeGruy presents facts, statistics and documents that illustrate how varying levels of both clinically induced and socially learned residual stress related issues were passed along through generations as a result of slavery.

This seminar couples evidence-based practice models and culturally responsive intervention approaches. Thus the values, customs and traditions that characterize and distinguish different groups of people become the tools through which providers can determine how to proceed in assisting, supporting and strengthening individuals, families and groups from a particular cultural group. Informed by an anthropological familiarity with the pertinent behaviors, ideas, attitudes, habits, beliefs, and so forth that are peculiar to that group.

Healing begins by simply telling the truth. Dr. Joy believes that “truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtue.”
Workshops aim at guiding us toward unlocking our own truths by critically evaluating history, medicine, science and education. Dr. DeGruy shares her strategies for healing as well as encouraging others to disoover their own. Dr. DeGruy has the keen ability to meet her audience where they are and inspire us to rise above our fears.

This workshop examines the relationship between current and historical stressors unique to economically disadvantaged African American male youth. Dr. DeGruy investigates issues of violence victimization, violence witnessing, urban hassles, racial socialization, issues of respect and the presence of violence among these youth.