“In sessions, I create an open, empathic, and safe space for you to share your experiences, thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and bodily sensations as much as you feel comfortable.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a clinical social worker/psychotherapist parallels my journey of making sense of who I am. I always knew I wanted to connect with and help others, so with my family's support, I came to the US to train and become a clinical social worker. To a degree I didn't expect, the transcultural experience of growing up in China and coming to the US fueled the spark in me to investigate my identity, values, and desires in life. I know the richness of the adventure would not have been possible had I not received help from many teachers, especially my psychoanalyst. I'm passionate about offering what I've learned to young adults, 18-40 years old, who are in the process of finding their life paths so they can create the lives they want to live.
What should someone know about working with you?
In sessions, I create an open, empathic, and safe space for you to share your experiences, thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and bodily sensations as much as you feel comfortable. I might use drawing, painting, collage, or body movement to help you access your feelings. We will sit with your stories, recognize the contexts, identify the central themes, and understand and work on the conflicts, all while I support where you want to go. Progress happens when you suffer fewer symptoms, improve work or school performance, have better relationships, and feel empowered to make your own choices. I will not assign homework, although I believe therapy happens in and outside of the sessions. Our work is most effective when you tend to your thoughts about our conversations even after leaving the session.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
To provide the best quality care, I participated in training in depth psychology for two years at the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association. I continue to study depth psychology one-on-one with Dr. Bill Baker and Dr. Mark Winborn. I'm also acquiring body-oriented skills and techniques through training in somatic experiencing. At the same time, I'm committed to self-reflection by engaging in intensive personal psychoanalysis, which is complemented by a Zen meditation practice.
How do your own core values shape your approach to care?
Having sat on both sides of the therapeutic dyad, I regard self-reflection as a core value that has shaped my approach. A wise teacher once said that we could not help our clients explore those places we have not explored ourselves as therapists. Thus, I commit to continuously examining myself to help my clients create desired change effectively. I have noticed that "self-awareness" often stays on an intellectual level as an idea, as though knowing our patterns and complexes is enough. However, genuine self-reflection opens us to being touched by our thoughts, feelings, and choices. As a therapist, I hold and cultivate the reflective space to facilitate encounters where my client and I can understand the client's experiences as much as possible. This is a vulnerable yet rewarding process where my clients can bring knowledge of themselves to life and actualize changes in how they relate to themselves and the rest of the world.
“I might use drawing, painting, collage, or body movement to help you access your feelings.”