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Hanna Y. Chang, Ph.D.
My name is Dr. Hanna Chang and I am a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of California. I received my masters degree (M.A.) in mental health counseling from Boston College, and my doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago. I have had more than 10 years of clinical experience, and have worked at a wide range of clinical settings, such as a residential community mental health center, 24-hour crisis line, substance use/addictions care in a hospital, and multiple university counseling centers. In addition to private practice, I currently teach at University of San Francisco's Marriage and Family Therapy program, and I provide clinical supervision for doctoral students at Palo Alto University's Gronowski Center.
One of the areas I specialize in is issues related to acculturative stress and bicultural identity development. As an Asian American immigrant who grew up in the U.S. (Bay Area) and struggled with bicultural identity issues, I, too, faced difficulties navigating Eastern and Western cultural values. My research experience includes examining east Asian adolescents' ethnic identity development and cultural integration, and interrelations of patriarchal beliefs, gender, collectivism/individualism and mental health. My doctoral dissertation explored the impact of cultural factors (model minority stereotype, acculturative stress, ethnic identity) on academic stress, performance, and mental health among Asian Americans. I focused extensively on working with diverse populations throughout the duration of my clinical career, with my predoctoral and postdoctoral training site having a multicultural emphasis in the provision of psychotherapy.
My therapeutic approach is integrative and typically dependent on my clients and their needs. I recognize the importance of attending to cultural factors and practice through a systems and relational cultural framework, incorporating techniques from evidence-based practices grounded in research such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy (IPT). I find significant value in understanding my clients' cultural beliefs and attitudes and the impact on their well-being. I believe it often creates a stronger therapeutic alliance and provides a safer environment in my clients' process of healing and self-empowerment.
Authenticity and vulnerability are especially important to me in my work with clients. I recognize that issues of power imbalance and oppression in society often lead to feelings of frustration, disempowerment, isolation, and disconnection from others. Therefore, I work to empower my clients as much as possible through mutual authenticity and vulnerability. Together with my clients, we form a safe and trusting space to examine experiences of chronic disconnections in relational dynamics that have shaped the client to who they are today, and work to help them feel reconnected again, both with themselves and with others.