Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The story behind the headlines: "A dying mother's plan: Buy a gun. Rent a hotel room. Kill her son."

When initial headlines came out in 2015, an immigrant family's tragedy seemed puzzling.


Recently, investigative reporting helped to fill in the gaps of how lack of awareness regarding mental illness might have led a loved one to search for desperate measures for how to care for their family members.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Business of Psychotherapy: An Interview with BJ Kang (of the Asian American Voice podcast)

Special thanks to Mr. BJ Kang for allowing me to think out loud about "The Business of Psychotherapy."

Thanks to BJ for the various formats:
  • YouTube ( 
  • Itunes Podcast ( 
  • Google Play Music Podcast ( 
  • Episode Show Notes Page ( 
If you have any questions/comments, BJ and I would both enjoy continuing the discussion with our audience members.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

And then there were 6...on the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

First 6 of the 20 stepped down on Inauguration Day, then another 10 released a powerful letter to the President less than a month later.

The resignation letter shared concerns of how history of discrimination and exclusionary acts may repeat themselves given the current president's "portrayal of immigrants, refugees, people of color and people of various faiths as untrustworthy, threatening, and a drain on our nation."

What are the potential implications of such actions of the current administration (or of the commissioners) and how might they affect the mental health of Asian Americans and allies to the Asian American community?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Is an A- an "Asian F?"

San Francisco based psychotherapist Nicole Hsiang, LMFT blogs about the "Shadow Side to Being an Asian American Over Achiever." Unfortunately, it's also one of the reasons a segment of my private practice is providing psychotherapy to adolescents at competitive bay area high schools who experience academic distress (e.g., I've learned from some of my teens which train tracks are notorious for finding a quick end) and those who identify with Asian values of saving face (e.g., I'm currently working with someone in their 40's who has been having difficulty finding motivation to get back into the job market after being laid off - over four years ago).  What are some ways you think society should deal with such pressures?

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Asian American Literary Review have released a special issue on Asian American mental health.  "Open in Emergency" is a creative and interactive kit that features poetry, prose, artwork and photography from Asian American voices related to mental health. 

"Guest-edited by Mimi Khuc...this special issue works to reimagine what counts as unwellness and wellness in our communities through a dynamic mix of writing, visual art, and interactive mini-projects. It includes:
  • a deck of tarot cards— featuring original art and text that work to reveal the hidden contours of our Asian American emotional,
    psychic, and spiritual lives;
  • a foldout testimonial tapestry— a collectively woven tapestry of written and visual testimonials, a process-oriented art piece that reimagines community care & healing.
  • a “hacked” mock DSM: Asian American Edition— a new catalog of “definitions”/reflections, with alternate understandings of un/wellness and critiques of Psychology as field, discourse, and industry,
    featuring fiction and essays on neuro-diversity and race; a queer mixed race WOC self-care package; a play excerpt examining conceptions of mental illness as demonic possession in Lao communities; and poetry on the lasting psychic rupture of Partition, among many other pieces.
  • a “treated” pamphlet on postpartum depression— a redaction/erasure/annotation of existing postpartum depression info-literature that centers lived mother of color experience;
  • a stack of daughter-to-mother letters— handwritten letters that rethink intergenerational intimacies
    and violences, Asian American daughterhood and motherhood."
For more information regarding this special issue,

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Wealth Gap Among Asian Americans

A recent report from Center for American Progress (CAP) highlights the economic disparities among groups of Asian Americans. 

When looking at the average for the entire group, it may appear at first glance that this group is indeed the Model Minority. However, this continues to be a myth that is perpetuated if only reviewing aggregated data. While some Asian American groups are catching up to wealth levels of their white counterparts, other groups are struggling with poverty or near-poverty. This points to the continued argument of why disaggregated data offers a more accurate depiction of various Asian American groups.

Please thank our friends at the Huffington Post for their recent article that explores this wealth gap in relation to the recession, home ownership and retirement savings. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Why is it that some people don’t receive help that can benefit their mental health?

The National Institute for Mental Health (via Psychology Today) has found that Asian Americans in particular experience barriers preventing them from accessing mental health care. “According to a 2011 study from the National Institute for Mental Health, Asian Americans are less likely to reach out for help with emotional difficulties than white, Latino, and Black ethnic groups. In fact, only 17% of all Asian Americans have sought professional help, and only 6% sought this help from a mental health provider.” (Psychology Today, 2016)

To read more about how stigma affects Asian American males, refer to Erin Chew’s review of a recent Psychology Today publication:

The original Psychology Today article refers to the work of a therapist who specializes in 2nd and 3rd generation Asian Americans in the Bay Area of California.

Seeking the assistance of a mental health professional early on is an important part of success in treatment. Therefore, encourage yourself or your loved ones to consider speaking with a professional to see what options are available.