Growing up in Northeast Los Angeles in the 1980s and ’90s felt like trying to navigate without a roadmap. My migrant family and neighbors struggled to survive a system that didn’t make much sense to us nor afforded us much power. What I did have were disempowering messages about what it meant to be a woman, Asian American, and working class. I tried to conform to others’ expectations but, deep down inside, it never felt right.
I ended up with romantic partners and friends that weren’t good for me. Some were abusive. I had deeply internalized racism and sexism that were only amplified when I went to the mostly-white UC Santa Cruz to study psychology and education.
Things started to click for me when I found books, organizing communities, and counselors who could speak to my experience. I finally felt affirmed exactly as I was. I was exposed to more intentional ways of communicating and relating.
I began to see that I had choices about my existence.
I came to embrace my identities as a woman of color, trauma survivor, child of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees, and eventually someone gender nonbinary. I started creating spaces with folks where we could authentically express ourselves, challenge social norms, and heal our wounds.
I found where I shine — collaborating with people to create change in our lives and communities.
In 2008, I co-founded an intersectional queer youth organizing group called Equal Action, which ran LA’s longest-running LGBTQIA+ open mic night, OUTspoken Sessions.
I am a co-worker-owner of the Los Angeles Worm Farm Collective. We farm worms who produce nutrient-rich fertilizer that local gardeners and farmers then use to grow food and medicine. We also practice cooperative ownership (the workers are the owners of the business) and collective governance (the worker-owners lead together) as part of our mission to grow the cooperative economy.
I’m also grateful to be part of progressive Vietnamese, people-of-color meditation, and trans/queer APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) communities.
After working in research, education, and social services, I earned my Master of Social Welfare degree in 2010 from the University of California, Los Angeles. I’ve provided counseling, crisis intervention, case management, and psychoeducation to people of color who are abuse survivors, immigrants and refugees, trans and queer, disabled and ill, youth and young adults, children, parents, older adults, and families in community, nonprofit, K-12, and higher education settings.
I am also a social work educator, most recently lecturing at California State University, Los Angeles, on culturally-grounded practice, community organizing, and social welfare policy and history.
I draw upon a variety of clinical modalities, including the Trauma Resiliency Model and Internal Family Systems. Many current body-mind therapeutic modalities like these are based on communities of color’s meditation and mindfulness practices that have long been dismissed by the mainstream healthcare system.
My practice is centered on reflection, compassion, and the interconnectedness of all things.
I am honored to walk alongside people on their journey to become their best selves.
I work with individuals, couples, and families on issues of depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, and oppression.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I currently offer teletherapy sessions as well as in-person sessions at parks in or near Northeast LA.
My standard rate is $180 for one 50-minute session. Clients who pay my standard rate make it possible for me to offer reduced rates to those who would not otherwise be able to access therapy due to socioeconomic inequities.
I take Kaiser Southern California insurance and offer superbills to clients who have other types of health insurance.
TRAINING, SPEAKING, AND CONSULTATION
I facilitate workshops and trainings, speak, and consult on the following topics:
- culturally-grounded practices in mental health and community work with those who are LGBTQIA+, people of color, womxn, immigrants, refugees, youth, and trauma survivors
- abuse, violence, trauma, and survivor healing and liberation
- communication, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and organizational and program development
I offer these services to community members, students, professionals, and organizations.
If you’d like to explore the possibility of working together, reach out and we can set up a free 20-minute video or phone consultation.
Call or text: (213) 986-6229
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California (LCSW #85796)