Are you Asian American and wondering whether counseling might be helpful to you? Are you dealing with stress, feeling stuck, or are full or worries and sadness? Or perhaps you are doing very well professionally or academically, but are not satisfied with your social life, close friends, family or romantic partners? You might consider counseling that is sensitive to Asian American culture.
Shame and Stigma around Counseling for Asian Americans
Seeking help for emotional difficulties is very difficult in Asian and Asian American cultures. We may have grown up with the message that to have negative emotions is something to be ashamed of. We may have been raised in families where expressing emotion brings shame on the family so we learned how to hide our feelings. We may have absorbed the cultural belief that not being able to deal with emotional stress is a sign of poor character.
However, having emotions is a natural part of the human condition. Emotions are ingrained in us. They are part of how we are built; they are ingrained in our physiological reactions. They are short-cuts that signal to our brains: “watch out, be prepared to fight or flee”; or “something is wrong here”, or “you can relax now.” Having emotions is not a sign of poor character or failure. How acceptable it is to express and communicate our feelings depends on what culture we are in, but having feelings is natural and universal.
Asian American Counseling
You don’t have to struggle alone and hide what is going on inside. Counseling can and does help. The fact that you are reading this is a sign of hope: there is something in you that seeks for something different, something better for yourself.
I can help you improve the problem areas of your life. I have worked with many Asian Americans around issues such as:
- identity (who you are)
- shame and fear of losing face
- family expectations
- family harmony and conflict
- career goals
- excessive worrying and anxiety
- life goals
- setting limits and boundaries
- difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships
- worries about what other people think of you
- challenges of parenting
- lack of happiness, of feeling at ease
My personal experience in Vietnamese, French and American cultures along with my professional experiences, first as a biophysicist then as a psychologist, give me a unique perspective to help people with an Asian background make changes in their lives. I am very familiar with many of the concerns that are common for us: the cultural stigma and shame around seeking counseling, conflicts within the family over what constitutes success and what are acceptable life goals, the occasional and at times frequent disconnect between values we’ve internalized from our families and the expectations of the outer culture. I know the challenges and opportunities that come with belonging to two or more cultures.
Questions? Want to know more? Ready to take the next step and explore the possibility of working together? Give me a call at (650) 327-3003. I look forward to hearing from you.