I am Hmong and American. I was born in Laos during the Vietnam War, fled to Thailand with my family when Laos fell to the communist regime, and resettled as a refugee in the United States of America in 1976. As a 1.5-er born overseas but raised in the United States, I am fluent in the language and social customs my parents brought to this country AND in the language and social customs of the host country that took us in. In my college admissions essay, I wrote that I felt like a bridge between two very different generations of Hmong, which meant that I could understand both sides but not truly align with either side. As I get older, this reality of being a cultural broker has only intensified.
I am Christian. My father converted from animism (and specifically, shamanism) to Christianity when he was a young man, and my mother’s family became Christian when she was a teenager; therefore, I was born into and was raised in a Christian home. I have also personally chosen to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and I am deeply committed to living out my faith on a daily basis.
I am a woman. This biological distinction and its subsequent social genderization have profoundly shaped my experience of life. I have long grappled with issues of gender, power, authenticity, and self acceptance. The struggle continues.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and I am a professor in this field. From my earliest years I have been fascinated by human behavior and interpersonal relationships. I went off to college with the grand plan to become a lawyer in international law, but two years into my studies I found that both my interest and aptitude were in psychology—and not in political science or economics. In my private practice, I see primarily couples. It is fulfilling for me to walk with people during their times of deep pain and deeper healing.
I am married. My husband, Greg, and I met in college and have been together ever since. While we have no biological or adoptive children, we are surrounded by young people whom we mentor, love, and do life with. Our lives are full and richly blessed.