My journey of becoming a mindfulness-based psychotherapist is a story of interconnection, compassion and courage. I grew up with a Buddhist Vietnamese mother and Presbyterian psychologist father who embodied the delicate merge of Eastern and Western culture in daily life. My mother immigrated to the United States in 1975, fleeing her war torn homeland of Vietnam to seek peace and prosperity in the West while my father, a Stanford-Law-dropout-turned-psychologist, was forging a powerful path in the mental health field. Both were committed to living a spiritual life characterized by compassion and altruism. The lesson of consciously living in the present moment was a gift I received from my parents during childhood, and it was my mother who introduced me to Buddhist meditation at the age of 9.
But far from the zen practices of meditation, the first part of my life was focused on the physicality of being a high-level athlete. I eventually earned a scholarship to play soccer the University of Georgia, bringing me back to my father’s home state. Graduating with a BS in Psychology, I knew I wanted to embark on the journey of becoming a psychotherapist so I entered into the Masters of Social Work program at UGA. During my first year of graduate school, my mother suddenly passed and my spiritual awakening began. In an instant, I sensed a greater, cosmic meaning for our interdependent human existence with the Universe, laying beyond the physical. The meditation practices my mom taught me years ago became the portals through which I returned home to the refuge of peace within. These spiritual seeds of mindfulness flourished into a deep passion to share Eastern healing wisdom with those seeking greater inner peace, emotional balance and a sense of wholeness. It’s been through my own personal and professional journey of East/West integration where I’ve experienced the transformational power of presence ~ both within myself and the beings who I serve. Presence is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world. When we come home to presence, we transform.
Philosophy for Healing & Transformation
I believe that we all possess our own Mindful Healer within -- your innate power for calm, compassionate, meaningful living beyond the constrictions of stress and fear. It’s through the portal of our presence that we begin to unearth our boundless inner capacities. Integrating Buddhist Psychology, Mindfulness Meditation, Yin Yoga, Chinese Energy Medicine and Neuroscience into therapeutic healing and personal growth, I invite you to step onto the Path of Awakening with me. Whether you work with me individually, join me on retreat or attend a talk I’m giving, I will be your guide on the great journey inward.
My daily meditation practice continues to be my greatest teacher in this life -- creating fertile ground for the growth of self-awareness, self-regulation and self-efficacy. The foundation of my philosophy for healing and transformation is the Art of Presence, which is the antidote to our perpetually busy, stressful lives. The Art of Presence is a daily practice of coming home to the refuge of the present moment through the breath, body, mind and heart. When we call upon the ancient Eastern healing practices of yoga and meditation, we learn how to show up for ourselves on the meditation cushion or yoga mat without expectation or agenda. Then, we’re able to take the wisdom and insight we’ve gained in our practice onto the path of life, allowing us to live with elevated levels of love, compassion, peace, abundance and joy. To accept and love ourselves for the essence of who we are -- divine light, power and presence -- is the catalyst for tapping into our highest human potentiality.
My life path led me from Northern Virginia, where I grew up, to Georgia, where I’m currently cultivating my life’s work as a Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist, Meditation Instruction and Speaker. After earning an undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Georgia while playing Division 1 Women’s Soccer, I became a “Double Dawg” and received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from UGA. During graduate school, I was awarded a graduate assistantship where I worked closely with the director of the Title IV-E Child Welfare Education Program, promoting the professionalization of child welfare in the State of Georgia.
Following graduate school, I worked for Pathways Transition Programs, a private mental health center based in Decatur, GA. As a community-based individual and family therapist at Pathways, I provided counseling to children & families – gaining experience treating clients with trauma, attachment issues and working with families, systemically. Over four years of this in-the-trenches social work gave me invaluable perspective on human resilience and wisdom walking the earth with a compassionate heart. Then, I became Director of Counseling at Cumberland Academy where I managed and trained school counselors to deliver therapeutic services to children with spectrum disorders. Additionally, I created a mindfulness / yoga emotion regulation group for middle school boys.
Each step on The Path guided me to this moment. Today, I own an internationally recognized mindfulness-based business where I see individual clients, guide mindfulness retreats, teach yoga and meditation trainings and provide personal growth workshops.
Master of Social Work, University of Georgia, 2010
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Georgia, 2007