Counseling Center Staff
- Staff Psychologist/Training Coordinator
- 409 Potter Hall
I was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. The choices that I have made about my education and career reflect my deep-seated interests in cross-cultural communication, healing arts and sciences, and the promotion of inclusion, equity, and unity in diversity. During my junior year at Kansai Gaidai University, I completed their international student exchange program at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Since then, I have realized I am living this life as a sojourner, choosing to live in cultures that are foreign to me from the standpoint of an outsider-within. Academically, I earned an M.S. in Women’s Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Professionally, I completed a pre-doctoral internship at the Ohio State University Counseling and Consultation Services and worked as a mental health counselor at the Morehead State University Counseling and Health Services for 5 years before I accepted my current position at the WKU Counseling Center in 2017. I am a licensed psychologist with the health service provider designation, a psychosynthesis practitioner trained at the Kentucky Center of Psychosynthesis, and a Level I MBSR teacher certified by the Brown University Mindfulness Center. I love counseling college students in support of their personal growth and pursuit of knowledge and vocation of their interests and helping them to learn how to nurture their own psychological well-being and mental health. Personally, I am an introverted-intuitive-feeler by nature, a translator by function, and a green witch. I love reading, ethnic foods, and yin yoga that nourish my mind and body; music and arts that touch my heart; plants, birds, and people with whom I resonate in this life and beyond; and places where I am reminded of who I am and why I exist.
I believe that anyone can benefit from counseling if they want to learn, heal, and grow. We all want to be happy, but many of us suffer from not knowing what really makes us happy or how to be happy while thinking that we do not have what makes us happy or do not deserve to be happy for some reason. Most of us muddle through such confusion, uncertainty, and faulty beliefs in adolescence through young adulthood. Some of us grow up in environments that seem unconducive to happiness or carry unresolved trauma from childhood into adulthood, which makes the process of learning more complicated but also more illuminating and enriching as we heal and grow. Healing is the process of unblocking, reconnecting, rebuilding, and becoming whole again. Growth is the process of progressive change, expanding in breadth, depth, and height. The same principles of healing and growth apply to the body, the emotional heart, and the soul. The mind can be our ally or foe, depending on how we relate to it. The soul knows what is true about us and evolves as we embody hard lessons that we learn from our lives. There is neither timeline nor shortcut for inner work. Your therapist can be one of those people who support and challenge you in being and becoming your authentic self, learning to use your mind wisely, walking your own path, and shining your light that is uniquely beautiful. It is painful to be misperceived, misunderstood, ignored, dismissed, criticized, or rejected. However, if you are trying to avoid the pain by fitting in with anything that is not you, meeting someone else’s expectations, or being accepted and liked by everyone, you are likely to be hiding, dimming, or distorting your light. It takes courage to keep your heart soft and open after you get hurt, face your darkness with compassion, and be vulnerable to let your light be fully seen. However, that is the way you can meet and connect with people who truly love and appreciate you. If you are envisioning social justice as I am, let us remember the personal is political, and the political is personal. You can be the agent of change in your way with your gift and manifest the change you want to see in the world instead of wishing the world to change for you.
I have been trained to be a generalist clinician who can respond to various counseling needs associated with a broad range of psychological issues and mental health problems, including: personal and social identities; interpersonal relationships; psychosocial and vocational development; attachment wounds; existential crises; cultural adjustment and adaptation; single-incident, complex, and collective trauma; grief and loss; addictions; most psychiatric disorders and some neurodevelopmental disorders listed in DSM-5. I take an integrative approach to therapy within a feminist-multicultural framework. When therapeutic interventions are called for, I tend to utilize those derived from Psychosynthesis, Interpersonal Process Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive-Processing Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy.
I conducted mix-method research to explore the relationship among forgiveness, self-compassion, and psychological well-being among Buddhists in the United States for my doctoral dissertation. I enjoy reading research that sparks new insights into enhancing clinical work or offers empirical evidence for what clinicians have known to be effective in practice. As a clinical supervisor, a group facilitator, and a guest lecturer, I enjoy teaching students in helping professions how to apply mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches and their psychological knowledge and skills for helping their clients. Currently, I am most interested in making the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group program more accessible, inclusive, and trauma-sensitive, and exploring ways to teach an 8-week MBSR course on college campus.
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