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Asian Americans hold a unique place in society. We are able to enjoy all the benefits of living in America while still enjoying our Asian culture. Asian Americans, in general, are really good at fitting in, assimilating and becoming adaptable to our circumstances. And yet there is a keen awareness of differences in culture, communication styles and outlook from our other-ethnic counterparts.
Maybe you are looking for someone who can understand these differences. Maybe it’s understanding the complex and complicated relationships we have with our parents. Maybe it’s understanding the intense pressure we have to achieve . Maybe it’s understanding the more indirect ways we communicate.
Counseling can help you
If you’re looking for someone who can understand your unique ethnic perspective as an Asian American, while guiding you towards healing, I can help. Counseling is a safe space for you to process your thoughts and feelings. It is also a place where you will get guidance and learn tools to manage your symptoms to become yourself (or a better version of yourself) again.
Many Years in the Field
When I did my program back in the 1990’s, I was the only Asian person in my MFT program. I went to SF State which is very diverse, and yet there were very few of us studying counseling. This is no longer the case. However, I am proud to say that I have many years of counseling under my belt, that I started before many other Asian Americans came into the field, and that I continue to grow as a professional.
I am passionate about my work. I continue to study it, be engaged and am excited to practice. As a result, I feel this makes me effective. I was lucky enough to have found my passion at an early age. Even though my family always encouraged me to take the “safe” route by studying business, I followed my dreams to study psychology, which I discovered in high school. I have never regretted this decision. I am excited every day to see my clients and feel that my work is an adventure and a wonderful challenge. This will benefit you as a client. Who doesn’t want a therapist (or doctor, or teacher, etc.) who is genuinely passionate about what they do and excited to serve you?
I attended two wonderful schools for psychology (undergrad) and Marriage Family Therapy (graduate school). UCLA and SF State prepared me for the diverse populations that I would be working with through the years. Both of those schools were fortunate to house some of the forerunners in Asian American psychology. I was lucky enough to work under some of them at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
I am worried about the stigma of psychotherapy.
Mental health treatment holds a stigma in American culture. It’s safe to say that in general, this stigma is exacerbated in Asian culture. Many of my Asian American clients have hid the fact that they are going to counseling from their parents. Sometimes that stigma comes not from the parents but from our own views of counseling. Some may feel like something is “wrong” with those who need counseling.
Nothing is further from the truth. Seeking treatment takes courage and maturity. Facing your problems and talking about them takes bravery. Changing long held habits takes resilience and discipline. I don’t believe in “gritting one’s teeth” and keeping things inside. Research has shown time and time again, that reaching out and sharing issues in a safe space is the healthiest thing a person can do.
I am afraid that you will judge me or make me feel ashamed.
I provide a safe space for you to process your problems. My goal for my clients is to leave feeling empowered. Every client has a story, a journey that they are going through and I am not in a place to judge. I see my role as a path-clearer to cut through the confusion you might be feeling. I also see my role as a guide to help you in the areas where you feel stuck.
Therapy is expensive and time-consuming
Like all things of value, we need to invest time and money into them. Your mental health and your relationships are no different.
Therapy won’t change my bad circumstances
One of my favorite quotes is “it’s not what happens to you but how you react that matters.” A negative situation is often an opportunity for growth. However, oftentimes, in the midst of a crisis, we make reactive decisions and do more damage to ourselves.
This is why some people spiral out of control with drugs, get into a toxic rebound relationship after a breakup, or spend hours and hours binge watching on Netflix. A lot of us may not have the life experience to know how to cope in healthy ways or a safe and wise person to process our feelings with.
Having a therapist can help ground you and help set a good path for how to move forward. You can turn your negative situation into something that helps grow you into a more mature, resilient and deeper person.
You may be still debating whether or not to seek treatment. Give me a call, email or text with any questions you have. I provide a free 20 minute consultation for you to ask any questions you’d like, or to just chat with me about what you’re going through. I’m here to help. Contact me today!
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Lia Huynh, MS, LMFT