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MEET ABCT'S FEATURED THERAPISTS
Janie Hong

Janie Hong Dr Janie Hong (she/her) received her PhD from the University of British Columbia and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a founding partner at the Redwood Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Research, where she maintains a small private practice for adult clients. Dr. Hong is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. At Stanford, she provides individual therapy for adults through the Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic and supervises and trains postdoctoral fellows and psychiatry residents in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). With her patients, she works to establish an individualized CBT model of how a patient's problems relate to one another, identify treatment goals and interventions, and monitor treatment progress in response to the interventions. She currently works exclusively with patients in California via telehealth.

Dr. Hong's research and clinical work has focused on expanding our templates of mental health to include diverse populations. From the start of her career, she has wanted to understand the ways a person's ethnic and/or cultural background shapes beliefs and behaviors. She aims to incorporate a person's cultural beliefs into treatment (without inflating stereotypes) and prevent feelings of shame for not meeting Western mental health models. Over time in her practice, she has found the work she has done with culturally diverse individuals can also apply to neurodiverse individuals and those with other diverse identities. She is deeply committed to helping diverse individuals articulate how they may differ from prevailing behavioral and emotional norms, teaching them skills to work within these norms and showing them ways to advocate for their differences.

First, we would like to know a little about your practice.

What are your personal strengths as a practitioner?

I see every patient as someone who deserves the time to be understood as more than just a diagnosis or set of diagnoses and to have a treatment plan that is transparent and has clear goals. In therapy, the patient and I work to not only target symptoms and problems but also consider cultural context and how they are wired to think and navigate the world. I also adapt the way treatment is delivered to meet the learning style of my patients (e.g., visual-spatial learner vs someone with auditory strengths) and often incorporate different technologies to meet this need. It is also important to me to remain evidence-based and use standardized measures to track progress and to gain feedback on how to improve the treatment plan. My hope is every one of my patients feels truly seen and leaves therapy feeling clearer about their needs and more resilient.

How do you remind your patients of their strengths during the therapy process?

One of the first things I teach my patients is problems, symptoms, even pain are all data to help us understand the obstacles blocking them from their goals. They are not signs of how the person is weak or broken. We then take a curious stance to understand why the person may be vulnerable to these obstacles and how the very vulnerabilities they have can also be tied to their strengths. For example, someone who is high in anxiety sensitivity may be prone to panic symptoms but may also be someone whose strength is their sensitivity to their emotional needs and ability to experience a depth of emotion that many others cannot appreciate.

Are you involved in other types of professional activities in addition to your private practice?

In addition to my private practice, I see patients at and am helping to grow the new Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic at Stanford University School of Medicine. There, we serve neurodiverse adults, particularly those who are on the autism spectrum, who are struggling with high anxiety and/or low mood. I am passionate about training and am in the midst of developing opportunities to train postdoctoral fellows and other trainees in evidence-based treatments for this underserved population.

I am also on the steering committee for the Northern California CBT Network, leader of the ABCT Asian American SIG, and most recently joined the ABCT CE committee.

We would also like to know a little about you personally.

When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?

Well, since the pandemic started, like most working parents, we are just trying to survive "shelter-in-place" orders, distance learning of 2 young kids, and managing work responsibilities in a virtual context. I am cherishing the moments of fun I have with my family (rather than specific activities) and I have learned that a "dance party" with a 6 year old can be fun.

We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.

What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?

What makes CBT stand apart is that it teaches patients how to approach problems. Patients learn to develop and test hypotheses about their problems; they learn to gather and monitor data; they become experts in assessing the data and iterating on the process based on the data collected.

Where do you see the field of the behavioral therapies going over the next 3-5 years?

My hope is behavioral therapies will evolve to focus more on individual factors (e.g., identity, neurodevelopmental differences, learning style) and we will become more creative in how to help our patients learn and meet their therapy goals. I would like to see us step further away from single diagnosis treatments and focus more on strategies that reinforce new learning and help patients better understand their unique learning needs and strengths.

Finally, we would like to know your opinions about ABCT.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

I joined ABCT as a student member in 1998- so, 22 years. I have gone to the conference nearly every year since then.

How has ABCT helped you professionally?

I have distinct memories of being in the hotel lobby at my first ABCT conference and pointing out all the different people I had read about in my abnormal psychology textbooks. At that point, the thought of having a conversation with anyone of them felt out of reach. Then, at every milestone of my training and career, I had the fortune of being mentored by incredible people who cherished and are still actively involved in the ABCT. Now when I go to the ABCT conference, I am surrounded by beloved colleagues and past mentors. I am no longer an outsider looking in. ABCT is my professional home.

Chandler Chang

Chandler Chang Dr. Chandler Chang (she/her/hers) is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Los Angeles since 2008. In addition to her work with individual therapy clients, Dr. Chang owns and manages two group practices, Golden Hour Therapy and Therapy Lab. Golden Hour Therapy is a group practice offering evidence-based treatments to children, teens, and young adults. Specialties include anxiety, depression, tic disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and oppositional behaviors that call for family intervention and parent training. In this setting, Dr. Chang focuses on anxiety and mood disorders, and she enjoys educating families in how to use brief interventions for long-term, sustainable impact. Golden Hour Therapy offers telehealth sessions for individual and families, and in-office services will be available when safe.

In addition to her work with families and children at GHT, Dr. Chang launched Therapy Lab in 2018 as a way to reimagine the traditional format in which therapy is offered. By creating a "menu" of science-based therapy packages (e.g., the Unified Protocol for anxiety, mood; CBT-Insomnia, etc.) from which clients can select, Therapy Lab is able to inform clients about evidence-based treatments in a way that feels manageable and relevant. The locus of control, which has traditionally been granted to the therapist, is thereby shifted to the client, such that the treatment can begin with self-efficacy and momentum created by the choice itself. Of course, the trained psychologists and therapists at Therapy Lab collaborate and guide in this process when a more nuanced approach is needed. Clients at Therapy Lab report enthusiasm for the time-bound therapy format and transparency about the ultimate cost. Therapy Lab has a physical location in Los Angeles and offers virtual services to California, Texas, and Kansas, with plans to expand to ten states by the end of 2021.

Dr. Chandler Chang is proud to be a female psychologist founder of a fast-growing startup. In a business climate in which (non-clinical) business professionals are launching and/or investing in mental health companies, she sees a unique role for the clinically trained entrepreneur. She seeks to create a culture in which therapists have professional support, flexibility, and empathy for the demands of the role, along with amazing benefits as befitting the position. In addition, she actively seeks to recruit and hire therapists who bring lived experience, knowledge, and appreciation for cultural and gender and sexual diversity.

In addition to her practices, Dr. Chang serves as a clinical associate at University of Southern California where she works with doctoral students in the clinical psychology program. She serves on the advisory board for the Partners in Caring for American Youth study (PCAY). Dr. Chang earned her undergraduate degree (in English, with minors in Women & Gender Studies, and African-American Studies) from Princeton University and her Ph.D. at The University of Georgia, and she completed clinical training at UCLA Resnick Neurospsychiatric Hospital. To learn more about Therapy Lab (www.therapylab.com) and Golden Hour Therapy (www.goldenhourtherapy.com), click on the embedded links.

We would also like to know a little about you personally.

Who was your mentor?

Dr. Mark Davis at the UGA Regents' Center for Learning Disorders supervised and mentored me for several years of my graduate school experience at University of Georgia. In addition to being an expert clinician with a deep passion and commitment to excellent clinical and neuropsych testing, Dr. Davis was an outstanding boss. Despite his exacting attention to detail and modeling of punctuality, exquisite report-writing, and expectations of the same from his team, he was respected and loved for his sense of humor, kindness, and flexible thinking and good temper in the most "testing" of situations. Although he has since left Georgia for worldly adventures in China and Australia, I think of Dr. Davis often when I'm faced with a difficult business decision or sensitive employee matter. What would Mark do? is a question I often ask myself, and I am extremely grateful to have had an apprenticeship with this thoughtful leader.

When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy urban hiking in the hills of Los Angeles with my two sons (11yo and 7yo) and my labradoodle Lisa. I usually invite only one of them per excursion so I can enjoy one-on-one time with that "child" outside of our home where we're spending the pandemic together. I also enjoy baking sourdough bread and cooking, preferably from a complicated multi-step recipe and rarely by instincts.

We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.

What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?

I appreciate CBT because it's deceptively simple but, often and usually, surprisingly effective for so many types of people and clinical presentations. I love surprising people with how much relief they might feel with a brief CBT approach, as many people come to believe that problems like theirs will require an inordinate amount of time. This widespread belief has become a barrier to treatment for too many people.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

I've been a member for most of my career beginning as a graduate student.

How has ABCT helped you professionally?

I've always enjoyed the conferences and come away inspired, informed, and excited to be a psychologist.

What service(s) are missing from ABCT in your role as a practitioner?

The more we can educate the public about the value of evidence-based practices over other approaches, the better. I'd like to see ABCT contribute and/or lead the way with this effort of educating people about their choices!

Listen to Chandler Chang on YouTube

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions!

 

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