Get to know Stephanie Chen, Ph.D. - Full-Time Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program

See Dr. Chen's professional biography here.

Shayna Quilty (SQ): How did you first hear about the Wright Institute, and what inspires you to stay?
Stephanie Chen (SC):
I’m a newbie. I was searching for another opportunity to teach and increase my teaching capacity. Dr. Torrez was a classmate of mine in graduate school, so I talked with her and it made me even more interested in the Wright Institute. The school has a great reputation, and I fell in love with the students, faculty, and administration after I taught my first class in the fall of 2015.

I love teaching at the Wright Institute because of the emphasis on educating students well, and on promoting collaboration and commitment amongst the faculty. We’re all here for the same reason: we want to teach and mentor the next generation of counselors. I love the social justice focus, and I’ve been able to teach courses that I always wanted to teach like Multicultural Awareness and Sensitivity (MAS), Diagnosis and Empirically Supported Treatments (DEST), and Child and Adolescent Counseling (CAC).

SQ: What has been your most memorable moment at the Wright?
Coming to the new building for the Counseling Psychology program in February of this year. Finally having a space that’s dedicated to this program feels like a really meaningful and symbolic experience.

SQ: You’re especially dedicated to working with children and adolescents, and people who are grappling with the impacts of immigration. What draws you to these populations?
It’s my own history. I came to the United States at the age of six with my sister, joining our parents who had emigrated from Taiwan several years earlier. It was a struggle to figure out how our family could come back together as a family unit and how to establish my own sense of self amidst these changes and transitions. I lived these immigrant experiences, including struggling with internalized racism and wanting to be accepted and seen as “American.” It took a lot of personal work, and I want to help others who are living their own experience as immigrants and/or the “Other” in this country.

On the other hand, my interest in children and families came out of the blue! I worked with children at my first practicum site, and I was surprised by how challenging it was. I found the work incredibly rewarding as it taught me humility and silliness. I value the philosophy of being playful and playing that I’ve gained from working with children.

SQ: Can you tell me about someone or something that motivated you to get involved with mental health work?
I’m really motivated by the existing stigma of addressing mental health within Asian and Asian American communities. Even now, especially the older generation has a limited understanding of mental health. My grandfather, to this day, is still confused by what I do as a psychologist. I want to continue to have an impact and to increase knowledge and acceptance that mental wellness is a fundamental concern within our community.

SQ: What do you do when you’re not teaching at the Wright Institute?
I have a small private practice in Rockridge, where I mainly work with transitional aged youth and a few adolescents. Recently, I’ve been seeing adult clients which has been an exciting expansion of my practice. I’ve learned that in order to stay energized, I need to have fun when I’m not at work. I love traveling, eating good food, and reading for pleasure. I am also game to try out new workouts. I’m currently boxing and cycling.

SQ: Do you have any sage advice for the Counseling Psychology students?
Practice compassion for others and for yourself. We all have our own journeys. We all have our own individual stages of development and learning. As therapists and counselors, we are so good with being empathetic to others and rarely the same for ourselves.

SQ: That’s so important to keep in mind! Thank you.

Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program.
Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Master of Counseling Psychology program.