Asian American and Proud!
As a Filipina American — a child of immigrants, I am especially interested in working with Asian Americans and other people of color.
Prior to my current profession as a psychotherapist, I worked in publishing — as an editor on several technology magazines in San Francisco and London, and later as a trainer of journalists and other professionals in the use of technology. I know what it is to hold down a corporate position, balancing the pressure of work with a life beyond my job. I also know what it is to be a person-of-color in a predominantly White culture, having experienced this living in the U.S. and in Europe.
I traveled to Mexico and Europe as a teenager. As a college student, I lived and studied in France, and as a young adult living in San Francisco, I met and married a British citizen. Together we made a trans-Atlantic move to live in England for almost two decades before returning to the Bay Area.
Many years on, I still have vivid memories of chasing after red double-decker buses to get to my office along the Thames each morning, and of descending into the bowels of the city to take the Tube. Nostalgia washes over me when I recall living in a metropolis where the new and the old meld into one dense, chaotic, and exciting tapestry of experience. Yet it was always changing, and so was I. After many years spent under the English clouds, we returned to live in the sunshine of the Bay Area.
After 20 some years in publishing, I found my true calling and retrained to become a psychotherapist. In 2006 I earned my M.A. in Counseling Psychology. I went on to varied internships, working mainly as a counselor in schools in Oakland and Berkeley, as well as East Bay community counseling centers. I co-facilitated groups for Survivors of Suicide at Crisis Support Services of Alameda County; was trained in Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) to intervene with families who had a youth in the Juvenile Justice System, and eventually became licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
In addition to the historical context of having Asian immigrant parents, many of the big events in my life have a theme of movement across cultures: my own process of endings giving way to new beginnings has a back story of trans-oceanic moves and the theme is a current that flows through my life. My husband and I adopted our daughter from China, and so our family mix has members from 3 continents. We have 3 skin tones, and at least 3 ethnicites between us.
The legacy of having my own Asian mixed heritage (Filipinos are a mixed people — Malay, Spanish, Chinese, etc.), growing up in a family where my parents’ country-of-origin was not my own, combined with the experience of my own travels and living in other countries has had a profound impact on me. It is at the core of my focus on the experience of people of mixed heritage, and mixed families because of their unique strengths, challenges, and my compassion for the deeply traumatic losses that are often experienced between parent and child when a family moves from familiar context to foreign shores, when people move between cultures, between worlds.