My name is Laura Chang and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I am committed to building meaningful therapeutic relationships with clients and helping them learn how to make better choices in their lives to increase fulfillment and achieve their goals. It is surprisingly easy to “get in our own way” in life. When bad things happen, many people deal with their pain by choosing suffering rather than choosing thoughts and behaviors that eliminate suffering. My goal in therapy is to empower clients to recognize and drawn upon their strengths and values to build lives free from self-limiting beliefs or destructive patterns. I incorporate mindfulness and acceptance-based cognitive behavioral strategies within the context of a secure therapeutic relationship, while maintaining flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of each individual.
I believe that life is a combination of determinism and free will. There are undoubtedly events that happen in life that are painful, sudden, and unwanted. Our free will is involved with how we choose to respond to the inevitable pain of life (as well as the joy). I believe that we are all fully responsible for our behaviors, even though we often “didn’t ask for” many of the individual obstacles that we must overcome. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) tells us that while we didn’t ask for many of our problems, it is still up to us to solve them. By integrating principles of DBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and mindfulness practices into therapy and providing self-guided resources for clients and the community at large, I hope to encourage the ongoing process of becoming more “present” and cognizant of the freedom to choose alternative behaviors that may lead to greater joy and meaning.
Like most people, I have had my own set of hurdles for which I never asked. I haven’t always responded well to the inevitable pain of life, which has led me to create a great deal of unnecessary suffering for myself. The more that I continue to learn about mindfulness and acceptance, the more I realize that it’s up to me to mindfully respond or mindlessly react to whatever life brings. No matter what happens, I have the freedom to choose how I let it affect me… my attitude and the meaning I ascribe to events is entirely up to me. I don’t choose everything that happens to me, but I will always be able to choose my response. So can you.
I graduated from St. Edwards’ University in Austin, TX magna cum laude in 2007 and received a Faith and Charity in Action Scholarship for my active role in community service at For the Love of Christi and the Center for Child Protection. I attended the M.A. program in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College, graduating with a 3.84 GPA in the spring of 2010, and passing my Masters Comprehensive Exam with distinction. I completed a yearlong internship in the second year of my M.A. program at Fitchburg State University, where my passion for a future career within a university counseling center setting began to bloom. I commenced my doctoral studies in the APA-accredited Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in the fall of 2010. I completed my second year of advanced practicum training at UNC’s Counseling Center in the spring of 2013. I am the recipient of a recurring Graduate Dean’s Scholarship for an essay that I authored on the impact of the stigma towards people with mental illness. In the fall of 2013, I worked as a psychology extern at Kansas State University’s (KSU) Counseling Services and obtained licensure as an LPC in the state of Kansas. I successfully defended my dissertation in the spring of 2014, which explored the impact of mindfulness on the relationship between attachment style and trait emotional intelligence (TEI). In 2015, I worked as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Specialist for Optum, the Health Services platform of UnitedHealth Group. In this role, I provided telephonic counseling support from a brief, solution-focused approach. Currently, I am happily married and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, I am a Doctoral Psychology Intern at the University of the Pacific’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and anticipate completion of my Ph.D. in 2018.
While I feel fortunate to be in a profession that doesn’t usually feel like “work,” I’ve learned that taking thoughtful breaks from one’s work serves as a source of revitalization and creativity. I view the maintenance of work/life balance as a necessity, rather than a luxury. Over the last decade, I’ve become increasingly interested and involved in yoga, an excellent form of self-care. I enjoy Ashtanga Vinyasa and Bikram styles of yoga, and have found yoga to be a natural accompaniment to maintaining internal balance and physical well-being.
Thank you for visiting MindfulnessMuse.com. I hope you enjoy exploring the articles I’ve written about ways to apply mindfulness-based principles, therapeutic techniques, and research to your life.