After graduating with a degree in Applied Psychology from NYU, I worked in finance in a 44 story building in midtown.
I remember the distinct moment where I decided to change everything in my life - I sat in darkness in my room with only the moonlight shining through my windows, the distant sound of passing cars carried whispers of the wind past the elevator and doorman, past my balcony and through the central air unit. I sat up, stressed about the workload I faced the next day and for a moment a feeling of calm spread over me. I looked around in my apartment, thoughts wandered from my childhood in China, the English as a Second Language classes I took, the poor shared apartment my parents lived in, moving up the socioeconomic ladder to our first house, then a bigger one, and a bigger one.
I asked myself, "Am I not living the dream? Wasn't this the American dream?" and if I was, "Why don't I feel happy?" I sat on my bed, surrounded by my nice suits and ties, electronics, and I realized what I yearned for was meaningful conversation, helping people with their personal problems, motivating my peers and intellectual debate - my job was my career, but I also wanted to work on my "calling." So I decided right there and then to make changes.
I paid off my student debt, traveled all over the world (Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Netherlands, Japan and China), hiked sacred mountains in the dark to watch the sunrise, volunteered at a panda reserve, skydived in the US, paraglided in Austria, and scuba-dived in the Cayman Islands. I felt the generosity and kindness of strangers and learned the meaning of true gratitude.
But life didn't provide me enough education to help my clients, I knew that my clinical and coaching skills needed to be refined. So I took Harvard Positive Psychology classes, got certified by UNC in Positive Psychology. In 2015, I went back to school and got my Masters from University of California (at the time, 7th ranked in the nation for therapists). I studied trauma-informed therapy with a sub-concentration in Military.
I have learned the top-down approach (using the mind to heal the body, manage emotions and change unhealthy behaviors) through school, and learned the bottom-up approach (using the body to ease the mind and release emotions) in my 13 post-grad certifications in Somatic Experience, Internal Family Systems, Domestic Violence, Addiction, Crisis Prevention and the American Red Cross. Now I use mixed, holistic, client-specific methods in my sessions with my clients. I take into account: race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, LGBTQ issues, culture, while accounting for social biases, dominant culture, patriarchy, discrimination and previous trauma.
Today I am a Georgia licensed Master of Social Work, a California licensed Associate Social Worker and a life coach in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. My adventures started when I learned to ask the right questions, "What makes me happy? What kind of legacy do I want to leave?" and using the tools I learned from two decades of research to apply to my own life and now I want to apply it to yours.