Author Archives: Alex Wang

Speaking Out Against Sexual Violence

student graduationWith June comes the anticipation of the end of the school year for many hard working high school and college students eager to start the next phase of their lives. For many, graduation offers the chance to celebrate achievements but also to reflect on lessons learned both in and out of the classroom. I’ve been impressed by a recent example of a courageous Pomona College student and many of her graduating peers for using their graduation ceremony to highlight the school’s mishandling of her sexual assault.

Recovery from past sexual abuses can be encouraged by the victim taking action against the perpetrator when appropriate and also speaking out to change a system that may facilitate the offender getting away with their crime.

Here is a link to the Yenli Wong’s reflection of the incident: I was lucky: It wasn’t rape. and another mother’s perspective after attending the graduation.

Here is another example of Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carrying a mattress to graduation to mark the culmination of her year long visual art project raising awareness of sexual assault and her school’s lax response after her rape by a fellow student.

Memorial Day

Arlington_National_Cemetery_gravesIn therapy, we often look at the various aspects of our past to make sense of them and to look at the impact of past experiences.  I’m thankful that today is Memorial Day, the holiday to remember those who died serving in our armed forces.  You would think the act of commemorating would be a pretty straightforward but it turns out to be a rather complex nuanced process both individually and socially in terms of what is worth remembering and how our past should be honored.

Story corps is a perhaps one of the most popular among many efforts to preserve individual stories.  Here is their collection of individual stories commemorating the experiences of war for soldiers as well as those affected by their service.

Here is a research article looking at differing styles of commemoration in two war museums and how they shape the “proper memory” of war.


100 Days of Rejection

thumbs downOne of the fundamental treatments for anxiety is exposure: doing the very thing you fear the most. In therapy this is the difficult but rewarding task that usually takes place in small steps, over time, with gradually more and more exposure to the fear.  Steps are taken to learn skills, to diminish the emotional “weight” of an irrational fear, to rewire neurological memories in our brain’s fear circuits, and the change our emotional experience or ourselves in the world.

Here is an example of a young business entrepreneur taking steps to overcome his fear of rejection by playing a game to spend 100 days getting rejected.

Here is a Youtube video of his Ted Talk , the Rejection Therapy game he used, and an interview with him on You Are Not So Smart.

Nobel Economist Recommends Giving Money Away

credit-squeezeRobert Schiller is an economics professor at Yale University and 2013 Nobel Laureate in financial economics for his work on predicting stock market trends and pricing assets.  In this video he highlights the improbable goal of becoming part of the super wealthy.  After covering basic expenses, he recommends giving away your wealth and investing in relationships as a better source of happiness.

Happy Mother’s Day

Smiling daughter with her motherIn honor of mother’s day, here are some articles that continue to highlight the important influence of mother’s on our psyche in different ways.  Both positive and negative, the impact may be subtle initially but long lasting.  May we give thanks for all the ways our mothers have done the best they knew to impart to us what they hoped would be for our benefit.

A mom’s impact on body image and social relationships.  Here is an article suggesting that the  “tiger mom parenting method doesn’t work.”


Top 5 Mental Illness Myths in Chinese American Communities

Portrait Of Multi-Generation Chinese Family Relaxing In Park TogetherReducing the stigma associated with mental illnesses continues to be a concern in spite of parity laws and community service agencies tasked with trying to improve access to services.  Cultural stigmas may even add to the burden for clients seeking to address mental health concerns.  Here is an article from a Harvard Medical School instructor addressing some common myths.

Letting Go of Uncontrollables and Unchangables

Close up view of an attractive young woman floating on a spa's swimming pool, smiling.Anxiety is often the underlying reason that many people feel the need to take control of a situation.  Part of helping to overcome our anxiety is to practice letting go of certain areas of our lives that we may hold onto too tightly or accepting that there may be truly things that we will not be able to change.