Xuan Wang 王璇, LMSW
Areas of specialty: trauma, EMDR, highly sensitive population (HSP)
Greetings, I am Shawn, a licensed master social worker (LMSW) specializing in mental health. Some brief info about myself. I completed my undergraduate degree in statistics in mainland China. Subsequently, I pursued my graduate studies at Texas A&M, where I earned my PhD in statistics about ten years ago. I am married with two kids and work a quantitative research job in a national renowned hospital network. While my life may look typical and smooth until I decided to pursue a graduate degree in social work. I started the program right at the beginning of COVID19 and graduated in August 2022 with a master in social work and got licensed later that year. I worked so hard that I graduated much earlier than I anticipated. After all, it is not an easy job to handle a full-time job, full time school and two kids attending virtual schooling for two years.
So, why social work? Well, I want to be a therapist and social worker is one of the occupations allows me to practice, no matter it is with the general population or people with mental health conditions. Then why therapist? Firstly, I am interested in learning more about psychology, to better understand me, heal myself and helping raising my kids. Secondly, there have been many challenging moments that I was on the edge. I experienced anxiety, distress, helpless and wondering the meaning of existence. I was lucky I survived eventually, with many helps from my significant others. But I also know that there’s chance that I can not make it, with so many hurdles along the way– language and cultural barriers, professional development challenges, job related constraint, legal status obstructions, on top of marriage and family issues. Worrying about job security and out of status if laid off all the time, I was jumping through endless hoops without a safety net set underneath. I have been feeling exhausted without a break. That’s why when I heard the news that a Silicon Valley high-tech employee ended his life after being laid off on a H1B visa, leaving a wife and a baby behind, I had a heartfelt pain. I could have been him. People like him deserve a better resource to help with coping, even when the systematic safety net is not in place. I would like to become such a resource, and I believe I am a great candidate because I was raised in the eastern culture, went through the western higher education system and survived the challenges. My personal experience, my desire to help, lead me to the path of becoming a mental health professional.
I have witnessed many marginalized populations during my internship and practicum, including homeless, mentally developmental delayed, distressed, suicidal ideation, substance misuse, traumatic, abused/neglected, schizophrenic, psychotic and etc. Every manifestation can be traced back to early childhood. It is quite a personalized thing to raise a kid well but it is quite universal about how to ruin a child. Yet, there is hope for healing. No matter it is robust social network, self-taught emotional regulation skills, community group activities such as AA, spiritual pursuit or seeking professional help, people should have strategies in place when they are in crisis.
There are many schools of psychotherapies with different theories, perspectives and techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed by Aaron Beck in the 1970s and is a current main stream approach in the United States. For me, my main technique is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR was firstly developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s as an exposure and desensitization technique. Shapiro later administered the initial protocols to veterans with PTSD and demonstrated comparable efficacies if not superior than CBT via published double blinded trial. In its development, EMDR has integrated many therapeutic modalities, including hypnosis, psychodynamic, CBT and so on. Since 2000, more and more psychotherapists and clinicians have been trained and successfully applying it to treat other psycho-conditions, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, OCD, substance abuse, somatic pain and etc. EMDR is also beneficial to treat clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Dissociative Disorder.
Why choosing the trauma-focused treatment scheme? It is because trauma is so common in our life. Almost everyone has experienced big or small traumas in the life journey, such as loss of loved ones, being sexually assaulted, surviving domestic violence, bullied by peers, humiliated by authorities, car accident, robbery and so on. If these traumas accumulate and stay unprocessed, eventually they will cluster into knots to affect our core beliefs regarding worth being loved, self-value, control, safety and other themes. They will affect our functions,
our relationships in many profound ways. With sufficient stabilization preparation, EMDR utilizes many spikes such as image, emotion, belief, somatic sensation to grasp the traumatic experiences, process the targets belong to the same cluster consecutively in a safe and contained fashion. My own experience and my clients’ response all lead to the conclusion that it is a therapeutic approach gifted to mankind to heal.
My other theoretical training background include psychodynamics, CBT, narrative therapy. I also have personal immersion to imagery dialogue, sand play, Jung’s analytical psychology, family dynamics, self-psychology and existential psychotherapy. These various therapeutic approaches complement each other and provide me a holistic capacity for treatment. Yet ultimately, I appreciate what Heinz Kohut says, “Firm but not aggressive, and loving but not seductive, empathy as the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person, is the ultimate healing power in a therapeutic setting.”
So, my potential client, if you happen to finish reading the above text, I believe our encounter is not purely random. I sincerely encourage you to reach out, making a call or emailing to get a short conversation possible. I will be glad to accompany you for the incoming exploring and healing journey. I will dedicate all my expertise to engage with you, to understand you and to become a good object for you. We will work together, holding the faith that the darkness and fog will fade away, and the warmth will come in with light shed on your heart.
Hi 你好，我是王璇，一个持照社工LMSW。2006年在国内读完本科后，我申请到 A&M的统计并拿到PhD，结婚，生子，工作，我的生活一直都看起来简单而主流。 在医疗领域做科研工作数年之后，我开始了一段不同寻常的旅程。从COVID19伊始，我开启了临床社工硕士的求学之路。2022年秋天我从UT Arlington的社工学院顺利毕业，比我自己预想的要提早了不少，因为在全职工作，孩子网课，全职读书的两年多的时间里，我坚持的很辛苦，曾经以为毕业的时限会是遥遥无期。但是我的一位女性mentor鼓励了我，她说如果你不去做自己想做的事，你永远也不会毕业；如果你去做，即便慢也都会达成。不管做与不做，你都会老，岁月的流逝都不曾慢下来。
心理治疗有很多的流派，很多的视角，很多的技术。CBT是一个很主流的技术，认知情感行为三角，这个由美国精神科医生Aaron Beck在70年代发明的技术，很符合美国人的特征，简单直接明了。而我个人主要采用的技术流派是创伤治疗中的 Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing（EMDR）眼动脱敏再加工。EMDR是Francine Shapiro博士在80年代末偶然发现的一个暴露脱敏技术。 在EMDR发展的过程中，它整合了多种心理治疗模型，包括催眠，心理动力学，认知行为等。EMDR首先被应用用于治疗PTSD，它在PTSD的治疗效果可以媲美甚至超过CBT. 伴随着它在越来越多心理和精神科的从业人员中的普及，自新千年以来，它在抑郁，焦虑，创伤，强迫行为，成瘾行为，躯体疼痛等多个领域的疗效都得到了实证验证。对于边缘性人格障碍和解离障碍的来访，EMDR也展示了它的作用。