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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anne YJ Hsu

Who am I?

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Hello! My name is Anne YJ Hsu, Ph.D., I am a bilingual, licensed psychologist in Taiwan and the state of Colorado. I relocated to Denver, Colorado in June of 2019 where it feels uncannily like home. Prior to landing here, I lived in Utah county, Salt Lake county, and the Bay area, each place in this nation gifted me with friendship, learning, as well as diverse spiritual and cultural encounters. My Bay area chapter was one of a personal sabbatical; I detached myself from my previous workaholic life in Asia, to fully immerse in my doctoral studies in existential- humanistic psychology. In Utah, I grew as a therapist in my APA predoctoral clinical training. In public mental health, the work is centered on persistent and severely mentally ill clients. I later transitioned to a private group practice in my postdoc, focusing on autism evaluations and working with individuals on their human conditions, many of which focused on their cultural, spiritual and or religious transitions. Now I call Colorado home because this is a land that always hugged me. I am also supported by wonderful friends that feel like family, in both my personal life as well as professional life. I am deeply blessed.

What feels like a life time ago from now, I was based in my birth land, Taipei city, for little over a decade. I spent my twenties there, obtaining my masters of science degree in clinical psychology from National Taiwan University, while running a training and consulting company. The company later evolved into a psychological clinic when I became licensed as a clinical psychologist there. This clinic by the way, is still serving the community! When I was active in that clinic, I worked mostly with ex-pats, and among other clinical issues, I focused on the concept of home. I enjoyed my work as a clinician both in the clinic as well as in the at the National Taiwan University counseling center working with mostly international students. In the public sector, in community health centers and universities I enjoyed giving workshops, and lectures. I was also granted a wealth of opportunities in the corporate consulting world in Asia, coaching mid management and execs on personality issues and communication styles, as well as providing psycho-education and EAP. Overall, in that phase of my life, I reflected on what it meant to be culturally not-at-home; I learned to travel alone for professional and personal work to near and far foreign lands, where I journaled, practiced yoga, ate beautiful food and fell in love with the world through the lens of solitude. My biggest blessings in my twenties had to be the regrets, heart breaks, and disappointments; as they led me to encounter mindfulness and Vipassana. Funny that just when I thought I found my spiritual footing, I stumbled yet again, this time on Existentialism. Ultimately, my curiosity guided me to my next chapter in life, leaving the world I had built in Asia behind, in order to further pursue my intellectual appetite. When seeking to learn more about existential psychology, all signs pointed to Saybrook university, where I obtained my doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

When you meet me, you may not know where to place my nationality; after all, I was born an immigrant and have since lived with that status in several countries. This status is conducive to awareness of one's identity politics and sets me up for an attitude of "ah... that's interesting!" But home was Canada for me at one point. It now feels so close yet so far, a common feeling for people who have left what they called home for way too long. I will always be grateful to that land though, it was the land where the passion for psychology was planted. My bachelor degree from Simon Fraser University taught me more than psychology as a liberal art. It also gifted me a fondness for critical thinking, which completes The 5th agreement.

I don't know what identity means to you, or what constitutes home in your heart. I know I've felt more like a tourist on neighborhood streets where I was "supposed" to blend. Yet I have felt more at home as a stranger in an no-name ashram. I know that who I am is situated on so many paths, and blended by a plethora of ingredients. In terms of societal roles, I am a daughter to the most free spirited and courageous parents, a spouse to someone who makes me feel more free in a marriage than I ever imagined marriage could be, a sister to my one loving brother. Children are important to me, I am blessed to be an aunt to my nephews and nieces, a step-grandma to two little dumplings. What keeps me most challenged and fulfilled is my role of being a new mother. In terms of cultural identity, when in the East, people look to me and see the Wes;, when in the West, the opposite takes place. I am in between, an amphibious being or sorts. In terms of intellectual lineage, I am grounded in liberal arts, cultivated in sciences, but seemingly a full circle, I am immersing myself in Existential East and West thoughts. In terms of spiritual practice, I am a girl of faith, a yogini, a poet. My religion is this life.

I am at home, now. This means I am comfortable in the discomforts that come with my becoming, being as the pilgrim I am, on this journey, this precious human life. If you so willing, I would be pleased to accompany you on your journey too.

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