Guest Contributor: Tiffanie M. Trudeau
Licensed Mental Health and Professional Counselor
Qualified Clinical Supervisor
Owner of Counseling Alliance, LLC
President of Space Coast Mental Health Counselors Association
Adjunct Professor at the University of Central Florida
How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?
For too long, mental health has been a taboo subject in the Black community, with trauma-based, hyper-self sufficiency being normalized. As a woman of color and mental health professional, I strive to change the conversation surrounding mental health by acknowledging and validating the pressures Black people face when it comes to being vulnerable and seeking help. Additionally, I assist individuals, clients or otherwise, in recognizing the positive intent behind their emotional defenses, as I walk along side them in reflecting on how those same behaviors may no longer serve them. Because faith is often at the heart of many people of color’s resistance to addressing mental health and seeking treatment , I also incorporate faith into the conversation, highlighting that we can have faith AND a therapist.
Tell us about your educational and/or professional training, and current area of expertise related to mental health and wellness?
Tiffanie is a licensed mental health counselor, and holds Master’s of Art degree in mental health counseling. In addition to her graduate course work, Tiffanie has advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Gottman Method, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT). Though Tiffanie strives to support all who come across her path, her primary areas of expertise and focus is assisting client in processing and healing from trauma, as well as those in recovery for compulsive and maladaptive behaviors.
Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?
As a mental health professional, I have sought and participated in my own personal therapy on many occasions. However, many of my counselors were non-people of color. While those clinicians were skilled and assisted me in processing the issues of that season, it was not until I was treated by a therapist of color that I realized how I was showing up inhibited in other counseling experiences due to the unspoken responsibility to represent the black community well, even in the amidst of my struggles. This realization served as a greater reminder of the importance of having representation in every profession, and potential clients having a truly safe space to show up authentically before a therapist who can see them, hear them and hold space fully.
How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?
In my practice, I often explain self-care as being reflected across domains and as pivotal in putting the P.I.E.C.E.S. (Physical, intellectual, Emotional, Creativity, Existential/Spiritual and Social) of one’s life together. My own wellness is represented as physical self-care, when I run, walk or cycle indoors 2-3 days a week, my intellectual self-care is practiced when I make time to read 30 minutes at least 4 days a week, and I practice emotional self-care by participating in my own therapy, journaling and engaging in pleasurable activities. Additionally, being creative in my work is a form of self-care, as I can bring my personality into the my work while being of service.
Tiffanie Trudeau is a Licensed Mental Health (FL) and Professional Counselor (VA) and Qualified Clinical Supervisor, with more than a decade of experience working with youth, families, adults and couples in various clinical settings. Tiffanie is the owner and operator of Counseling Alliance, LLC, a private psychotherapy practice in Melbourne, Florida specializing in the treatment of mood disorders, addiction, and compulsive and problematic sexual behaviors, as well as facilitates counseling groups to include Recovery from Intimate Betrayal, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills building and Black Girls Heal. Tiffanie also serves as the current President of the Space Coast Mental Health Counselors Association, and sits on the executive board for Counselors for Change and Club Esteem.
As a United States Air Force Veteran, Tiffanie has had the unique opportunity and privilege to walk with and support many individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences as they learn how to carry and release that which burdens them. Tiffanie is passionate about empowering individuals to embrace their stories, grow through pain and live life in the present. Tiffanie is also an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida, and takes great pride in her ability to guide and mentor the next generation of counseling professionals.