My approach to therapy is client-centered, strength-based, and solution-focused. I understand that each client has a unique story and therefore, therapy should be personalized to best fit that individual’s needs. My goal is to help cultivate my clients’ strengths to navigate through life stressors and develop the best version of themselves.
I believe a therapist’s role is not to “fix” someone’s problem(s) but rather to empower the individual to make changes that are best for him/her, to explore discrepancies in current ways of thinking, to confront issues that have been a barrier to finding effective solutions in the past, to encourage healthy coping skills, and to instill a greater sense of hope. I intend for the therapeutic process to be a collaborative one as the client is the expert of his/her own core values and life experiences while I may be able to add more insight to what he/she already knows.
My Professional Background
I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work at San Diego State University, where I received extensive training in Motivational Interviewing. I had the opportunity to collaborate with social work professors in a pilot study that involved using Motivational Interviewing skills to evoke discussion about end-of-life planning. During my early years of social work practice, I primarily worked at school settings where I provided counseling and case management to elementary and high school students as well as parents.
In 2013, I began working with older adults who were homebound, socially isolated, and had symptoms of depression. I found it rewarding to hear stories of aging individuals from all walks of life, to witness their capacity to stay resilient despite long-term trauma, and to learn how perception, as opposed to circumstances, is what truly transforms their outcomes and determine their quality of life. I am experienced with providing grief counseling to individuals who have difficulty moving forward due to grief and loss.
Being a bilingual therapist, I have provided counseling and advocacy to Vietnamese clients who have language barriers, lack of access to services, and/or have endured injustices. I also have experience working with individuals with challenges such as cognitive or visual impairment and have found interventions such as mindfulness to be useful in improving mental well-being.
Education, Training, and Certifications
- Bachelor of Arts in Social Work – San Diego State University
- Master of Social Work – San Diego State University
- Motivational Interviewing
- Mental Health First Aid
I love the beauty of nature and the freedom of expression through handmade art. Outside of being a therapist, I am also a part-time calligrapher.