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MA Psychological Counseling, NYC, Chinese

September 14, 2017

As a Chinese woman, an international student, and a Psychology major at XXU, I have been especially intrigued by the fact that I have witnessed several of my Asian friends and acquaintances suffering from depression and/or anxiety. I look forward to continuing to explore how Asian immigrant populations in the USA, as with many other immigrants, have worked very hard to blend into society and the way that this process can often lead to very high and sustained levels of stress, having a negative impact on one’s mental health. The stereotype of being a “model minority” also put tremendous pressures on many Asian adolescents. To make matters still worse, mental health issues are largely ignored and are often considered as a taboo, even bringing shame on the family. Mental health issues tend to be repressed rather than dealt with and worked through in the Asian-American community.

My goal, therefore, is to become a mental health counselor dedicating myself to changing Asian individuals’ mindsets, seeking to overcome the false stigma suggesting that mental illness is suggestive of weakness or even moral depravity. I want to help Asian immigrants to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Life, for me, is not only about surviving but also about thriving. I want to help my clients, including those who are underserved and financially disadvantaged, to achieve that level of mental health in which they can thrive and enjoy life, helping them to develop those successful coping strategies that work best for the kind of challenges that tend to present themselves to populations of immigrants to America who are struggling to build new lives and families. I want to design treatment programs for and develop counseling skills that are tailored to these Asian populations.

While volunteering at the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Program, I conducted intake and follow up interviews in Chinese as well as English. Those one-hour intake interviews went a long way to hone my skills at building trusting relationships with patients, especially since much of the information that I gather is highly personal and requires the development of trust: monthly income, medical history, and other personal information. Many Chinese victims of cancer and other chronic diseases speak little to no English and are desperately in need of community support; particularly low income immigrants and the underserved. I was the only speaker of Chinese in my office, at least while I was there, with my co-workers all speaking English, many of them more or less bilingual Spanish. Thus, my Chinese language skills helped me to feel unique and quite valuable, because I was the only one there capable of providing a much needed, even life-saving service. I look forward to a lifetime of service to the Chinese-speaking community as part of our efforts to provide human services in increasingly culturally and linguistically sensitive and appropriate ways.

I hope to learn more and more at XXXX concerning how to best provide enhanced services to underserved Asian populations, particularly in the NYC area, helping them to adjust to the system, and receive the services they need to the extent to which they are available. Great counselors, in my opinion, are the ones who not only care about patients themselves, but are also willing to advocate for their patients and give of themselves even in their free time. I am excited to find that the psychological counseling program at XXXX has a focus that is similar to my own, with a very heavy interest in underserved populations. I am especially excited by the way that your program includes a conceptualization of all course and program material in the context of a social justice and also a racial-cultural framework to so as to better align our efforts with broader movements towards greater social equity.

As a research assistant helping with a study of Chinese Family I had the invaluable experience of helping to collaborate with universities in both Shanghai and Nanjing, working on a longitudinal study investigating how changing social, economic and cultural factors have been influencing parenting practices by studying the development of Chinese children in both China and U.S. The difficulties we have gone through such as frequent reluctance to release interview video and audio recordings due to politically sensitive conversations point to some of the great challenges that I hope to contribute to overcoming in ongoing research in the area of Chinese family issues and cross-cultural research collaboration.

Another highlight of my experience as a Research Assistant were the weekly meetings that we had via remote hookup with Chinese faculty members at XXU’s Shanghai’s campus. This audio communication helped me to see more clearly the many ways that there is room for progress in terms of overcoming or making the most of cultural differences in cross cultural research. As an international student growing up in Shanghai before coming to the US for college, I feel strongly that my experiences, curiosity and dedication to research provides me with a great deal to offer to XXXX as a student, especially as a research assistant in cross cultural issues in mental health.

My dream is to become a licensed counselor and dedicate my professional life to the promotion of mental health and especially the wellbeing of minority members of my local community, most particularly Asian populations. The Master’s Program in Psychological Counseling at XXXX. XXXX College is my top choice for graduate school because of the sheer diversity and thoroughgoing nature of your program as well as your location in New York City—not just Asians, but Asians in a fully international urban context. XXXX is simply the ideal location for a thoroughgoing examination of the unique challenges faced by Asian immigrants to America. I look forward to spending my career engaged in research and practice in this area, particularly in the design of prevention and treatment programs for depression and/or anxiety tailored to immigrants from Asian cultures. I could not be more in love with my location in l9ife, especially NYC. Thus, I hope to remain in NYC as I train for the next professional level.

I especially admire the XX’s spirit of working towards greater social justice and equality, which resonates perfectly with my own professional vision.  The XXXX is the optimal graduate program in the world for preparing me to complete my central mission: making psychological counseling in the USA more accessible to mandarin speaking clients, more acceptable within the community, and more developed under the efforts of licensed counselors who are passionate about making progressive changes in our society, especially for the underserved. I look forward to a broad ranging education in emotional disturbances – especially among Asian immigrants - and design culturally appropriate counseling programs so as to better serve the Asian community.

Setting my heart on the XXXX has grown out of many conversations and interactions that I have with numerous people, including many people from XXXX Columbia, and some students in the XXXX College. XXXX who taught my “Social Entrepreneurship” class earned a PhD in Astrophysics and an MBA, both at XXXX. He encouraged me to think about the population we want to serve, specifically, what their unmet needs are. Thus, as a class project, I created an online, non-profit, therapy website, with proceeds going help homeless veterans to receive free counseling services. Sending out many emails and putting a great deal of effort into this project enabled me to communicate with many people and all sorts of professionals, learning a great deal from the many suggestions that I received.  My supervisor Prof. XXXX graduated from XXXX and she was a major inspiration for my deciding to work with immigrant cancer patients. Shadowing her interviews with Spanish speaking patients, I came to deeply admire her great ability to gain the trust of her patients who treated her as if she were a family member. She also taught me how to better build connections with the staff in the hospital and at donating organizations. I keenly look forward to a lifetime of service, especially to minorities and I thank you for considering my application to XXXX.

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