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An Interview with Ms. Brittany Boudreaux, MS, LPC-Associate, NCC, CTP

This week’s blog is our kickoff for BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month so we decided to change things up a bit! Our clinician, Amy Zulko, interviewed Ms. Brittany Boudreaux, MS, LPC-Associate, NCC, CTP, to understand her experience as a Black female counselor working in academia.


Ms. Boudreaux is a Certified Trauma Professional (CTP) and is a counselor at the University of Houston- Downtown campus. Brittany is an incredible human being and I value her insights and expertise as a therapist as well as her advocacy within the BIPOC community to destigmatize mental health.


How can white counselors be more supportive of BIPOC counselors (as peers or in leadership roles)?
The first thing that came to mind was microaggressions. There have been so many times when I have been in predominantly white professional spaces and my white colleagues have expressed microaggressions that made me uncomfortable. While there was no ill intent, I think that’s where checking your privilege and being self-aware come into play. 

Secondly, I would say not assuming we can speak for all. Consultation is very important and BIPOC counselors can be helpful resources for learning more about BIPOC clients, but we cannot speak for everyone and some are not even comfortable doing so. I would say when approaching your BIPOC colleague for advice about BIPOC clients, first ask if they are okay with helping you out in that way.

Additionally, I would say get to know us as people too! Don’t just use us as a knowledge bank for all things BIPOC (lol). Our identity is important, but as colleagues, we are also human too. Lastly, I will say, that members of the BIPOC community experience a lot of hardships. Whether that be in our specific community or as a whole. Allows us to feel or celebrate when our communities are experiencing things. Whether they be good or bad. 


How do you navigate mental health stigma in your community personally and professionally?
Professionally, my community is fairly diverse. The university I work at is extremely diverse so I do not often feel like “an oddball out” like I may have in other professional spaces. That has been a blessing because it has made my transition here rather smooth. I think this is helpful for the students as well because they are able to walk around campus and see peers, faculty, and staff who look like them and can relate to them but in a lot of these BIPOC communities, mental health is still not normalized. The students can still face mental health stigma in their communities, at home, among peers, etc. I think that’s where I play an important role as a BIPOC counselor. Me, someone who looks like them or is also a minority, telling them it’s okay to get help and it’s okay to not feel okay despite what the stigma says. I think my presence alone in this field helps me navigate the stigma. Seeing people who look like you, in spaces you never thought were for you, can do wonders. 


In my community personally, mental health stigma is still around, especially coming from a lot of older generations. This can make it hard for people in my community to seek help. While I cannot be everyone’s therapist, I try to talk openly about my experiences with personal counseling, share mental health tips on social media, and make more posts about normalizing therapy. Basically, I try to spread the word in a way that helps break the stigma rather than staying quiet or adding to it. 


In what ways can white counselors be more culturally sensitive to serving the BIPOC community? 
I love this question because I think it’s such an important conversation. The fact of the matter is, there are not enough BIPOC counselors to go around. So, there will be several times when white counselors have clients who are a part of the BIPOC community. Our #1 rule as a therapist is “do no harm” but when you come from a completely different background as your client you may accidentally do harm simply because there are things about the client’s culture you may not know. So just ask! That’s my first tip on ways to be more culturally sensitive as a white counselor. I cannot speak for all members of the BIPOC community but I can say it’s usually better to ask than to assume and be wrong when dealing with a sensitive topic like culture, ethnicity, and identity. Additionally, I would say stay aware and do the research. 


When I say stay aware what I mean is try to keep up with what’s going on in the communities you’re serving. And when I say do the research, keep in mind that not all research is good research so I suggest seeking out research by people who are a part of the community. I think it’s important to note that this not only goes for white counselors but also for counselors who just share a different background from their clients. For example, I am a black woman with Louisiana roots but if I have a client who is South Asian, I don’t know their experience and I cannot assume. We are both a part of the BIPOC community, yet our experiences can be so different. 


What are some resources you recommend when working with the BIPOC clients? 

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health  By: Rheeda Walker PhD
Author – David Archer 


Clinicians of Color (they have a lot of good trainings and seminars open to clinicians of all backgrounds)

For referral purposes, is a great site to find black women mental health professionals.


Therapy for black girls (can be a relatable source for black clients as well as a way to stay aware in the community)


What are some final words of advice that you have for me and other white counselors who want to advocate for our BIPOC clients and community members?
I think the one thing I would like to add is a saying that sticks with me: “If you do not see my color you do not see me”.  A lot of times people like to say they do not see color or they just look at a person as simply human. However, I think in the field of mental health we must look at the client as a whole and if the client is a part of the BIPOC community, we must make a note of this and consider it in their treatment because it will make a difference.