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。

          至于为什么会去读这样一个学位,是因为我想未来从事心理咨询,而临床社工的执业方向既包含了普通人群来访者的心理问题,行为偏差,也包含了精神科的病人的咨询需求。而我为什么想要从事心理咨询,一个是因为我对心理学感兴趣,这种兴趣来自于我想要了解自己,治愈自己的需求,也来自于我想成为一个足够好的母亲,来养育我的一个不同寻常的孩子的需要。第二个是我明白在我看似顺遂简单的求学找工的路上,经历了数不清的激流险滩,至暗时刻。在那些我曾经以为困难又孤立无援的时刻,我抑郁无力的同时也承担自我和超我的激烈冲突。也许是上天的眷顾,经过了很多年的坚持后我顺利上岸。但是再来一次,我一定还会有那么好的运气或者坚持到好运来临么?每当看到新闻里讲有着高学历的大厂马工或海归跳楼的新闻时,我忍不住想,也许那是平行世界的另一个我。我为另一个我感到惋惜,我想我的同类值得多一个出口。所以,我愿意努力成为一个出口,我也适合做这样一个出口,因为我的理工科的训练和我对心理学的理解,这样的背景让我有望成长为一个有别与传统训练背景的咨询师。

          在我的第二段求学和临床实习过程中,我接触了以前的我未曾触及的边缘人群,无家可归,智力迟缓,焦虑抑郁,自杀自伤,物质滥用,创伤虐待,依恋缺失,客体不稳,代际传递等。所有的东西都可以追溯到童年的养育,养好一个孩子是非常个性化的,毁损一个孩子却有一定之规。我们常听到,好的童年治愈一生,糟糕的童年需要一生来治愈,这听起来未免有些另人绝望。但即使是被伤害或损毁的童年,仍然有疗愈的希望。疗愈可以通过一段稳定健康的关系,一个亲密的社会支持网络,自学的情绪调节技术,有规律的团体活动,信仰上的灵性追求,或者是寻求专业的心理学或精神科帮助。

          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。

          我们每个人在成长过程中都会经历和累积大大小小未被完全处理的创伤,类似的创伤会抱团聚类成为情结或者负性核心信念,遮蔽我们认识自己和世界,妨碍建立健康的边界,阻碍我们的功能和发展。 EMDR正是通过图像,情绪,信念,躯体感受多维的锚点去推进和见证创伤的处理。我从2020年接触中文EMDR培训材料,2022年毕业后接受美国的EMDR培训与督导。我自己EMDR的体验以及我的来访的反馈进展,让我深深相信这个疗法神奇而深刻的治疗效果。我的其它理论受训背景包括精神分析,CBT,叙事疗法。我对意象对话,沙盘,荣格深度分析,家庭动力系统,自体心理学,存在主义疗法也有接触和感悟。我的这些训练和思考使得我的治疗取向是整合性的,一切的准备都是为了提供个性化治疗和服务于来访的受益最大化。但从根本来说,我赞同科胡特所说的,“不带敌意的坚决,不带诱惑的深情,同理心是那种可以深度思考和体会对方内心世界的能力,也是心理治疗能够起效的终极来源。‘’

          我相信每一段相遇都是缘分,期待收到你的致电或邮件。如果你选择了我开启这一程的探、索疗愈之旅,我会以我所能,成为一个好客体,看到你,照见你,陪伴你穿越迷雾黑暗,去往光明温暖,有山有水的新天地。