Colorado # 1882
Certified Addictions Counselor, Department of Regulatory Agencies. 2011
MSW, University of Denver (Master in Social Work) 2009
B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder (Psychology) Minor Italian, 2007, Dean’s List
Fluent in English, Mandarin & Cantonese
A relationship is the best way for us to grow up to heal from the past and to become the person we want to be...
• Level I, II, & III Gottman Method Couples Therapy Training, and on the Certification Track to become a certified Gottman Method Therapist
• Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, 5-day Externship
• Certified EMDR Therapist
• Certification in Interpersonal Trauma from the University of Denver
• Certification in Interpersonal Trauma Studies
• Certified Grief Recovery Specialist through The Grief Recovery Institute® 2011
• Clinical Supervisor: The Gender Identity Center of Colorado
• Member of the LGBTQIA Healthcare Guild
• Working towards Certification as a Sex Therapist through AASECT
I’m really passionate about working with couples and teaching them the various skills I have learned. Once I realized the tricks to making and keeping relationships healthy, fun, connected, and loving, I wanted to share them with as many people as I could.
YY has worked in a variety of settings, including detoxification programs – drug and alcohol treatment facilities, domestic violence agencies, an Autism Center, and behavior treatment programs for adolescents. She also has worked in mental health organizations, and as a supervisor to graduate students who are in psychology and social work programs.
She also provides supervision to clinicians who are seeking hours towards their license and developing competencies to strengthen their work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. In addition, she provides supervision and consultation to interns, supervisees and colleagues around the areas of sex, sexuality, and their work with clients who have alternative lifestyles and sexual interests.
She has extensive experience working with those managing trauma, and has Certifications in EMDR and Grief and Loss.
She has completed training in both Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and all three levels of Gottman Couples Therapy Training, and training in the Crucible Model® of Sex Therapy, as well as Divorce-busting® with Michelle Weiner Davis.
She is working toward certification as a Sex Therapist via AASECT.
YY has experience in providing family therapy using attachment based, strength-base and systemic models.
Through my personal and professional experiences, I have come to know that relationships are important, as they feed our soul and keep us energized. We all need skills to feel heard, understood and loved to maintain the passion and keep the intimacy alive. We all need to learn how to communicate our thoughts and feelings openly but not making our partners feel attacked or criticized. We also need to have the skills to be able to have disagreements and come to a compromise together. We all need help getting what we want and need from those we love.
What I know is that with some strategies and skills and the help of an unbiased third party, you can learn how to understand each other and connect with each other again. You can learn to trust each other again and feel connected so you don’t have to live in fear and walk on eggshells anymore.
I'm passionate about working with my couples from a non-judgemental, compassionate place, to create a safe space for them, and to allow them to explore their feelings and share their experience with each other.
I also work with clients who are engaged in an alternative relationship like open relationship, polyamorous relationship, BDSM/Kink, etc.
My style of working with my clients helps empowered them to be their authentic selves in their relationship. My therapeutic style is to encourage my couples to be more open and understanding with themselves and more compassionate with their partners.
I treat couples and conduct sex therapy. Many are stuck in their usual fights and communication patterns, and struggling to heal from infidelity due to emotional affairs or porn/sex/gambling addictions. I also do a lot of work with couples who have discrepant desire and/or intimacy levels, or just couples who love each other but don't know how to get the sex engine going and want to spice up their sex life to have a more satisfying relationship. I also work with interracial couples and couples in the LGBTQIA population and those who want to explore alternative relationship styles.
I really enjoyed working with men to help them find their voices and strengthen their sexual and mental health. Don't get me wrong - I like working with women to find their sexual voices but I found men need more support as there aren't as many books and resources out there for them.
In my work, I focus a lot on body based work and internal work, integrating Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a body & attachment based model, and Internal Family Systems (IFS). I believe in the wisdom of our body and the power of humans' inner potential. It's not about adding more stuff to our clients' plate. It's about removing all the unhealthy crap that has been put on our clients. Hence, the "Subtraction" model rather than the "Addition" model.
I believe in the wisdom of our body and the power of humans' inner potential."
I found the "Divorce Busting" model by Michele Weiner-Davis helpful in my practice. I incorporate a lot of David Schnarch, Terry Real's work and other sex therapy related work (i.e. Stella Resnick, Esther Perel, Barry McCarthy, Douglas Braun-Harvey, etc.), integrating these models when appropriate with my clients.
Why is it so very important?
Relationships are the best way for us to grow up and heal from our past and to become the person we want to be and are supposed to be.
Where do you do therapy?
My first instinct for this question was "I do it in my office." After I put some thoughts into it however, I realized that I was doing "relationship therapy" everywhere I go. I talk to whoever I meet about couples and sex therapy, about the importance of relationship, and about the painful but wonderful healing power of couples and sex therapy. I love what I do! I want everyone everywhere to have the opportunity to have the relationship that they want but most importantly, to be the person they want to be and be happy with themselves. I want everyone to feel that internal satisfaction and self-validated intimacy and happiness. I want everyone to be empowered to be their "True Self" and show up in different relationships in their lives.
What problems do couples have that make other people cringe, but you smile and rub your hands together?
Infidelity, high conflicts couples, couples who are stuck in their ways, discrepancies in sexual desire/intimacy levels, couples on the brink of divorce, men and women who want to explore and rekindle with themselves.
What difference does it make to your couples that you enjoy this type of work?
The difference is that my couples get a therapist who believes in her work and talks the talk and walks the walk. My clients can see that I embody my work, and they can feel my authenticity and passion. Having me as their therapist gives them strength, hope, and anchor because they can tell that I care and I truly care.
Having all the above experience really gives me a systemic way of assessing my clients and not being so tunnel vision or get sucked into their dynamic. I can bring experiences I've had working with children and family into the room to help them untangle and better understand their situation. I have a lot of tools in my therapeutic toolbox. Moreover, I have also encountered so many wonderful, ethical, competent therapists, and some have become my mentors. They have inspired me to be a better therapist every day. It's great!
These trainers have inspired me. I think my parents have also inspired me as they were doing an international, long distance relationship when my siblings and I were young. My dad was in the USA working, and my mom was in China taking care of us. Somehow, they made their relationship work.
I have seen their ups and downs, but their commitment to each other and their relationship have always kept them going and seeing the big picture. I have seen how they were stuck in their dynamics just like other couples and how they unstuck themselves. I see how they care about each other in their own ways. I have also seen certain things that I don't find helpful so a good reminder of not doing it in my own dynamic.
I'm passionate about working with my couples from a non-judgemental, compassionate place, to create a safe space for them, and to allow them to explore their feelings and share their experience with each other...
James, my beloved partner, has inspired me to be a better person and a more attuned, passionate partner. James shows me in every way how much he loves me and cares about me, but he also has his values and boundaries clearly stated and set in the relationship. I respect his self-respect and self integrity. I respect his honesty with himself and with me and does not let me get away from doing my part. He has such a moral standard that he does not back down when he sees power- and game playing. He is also playful, goofy, intelligent, and handsome. We are a great team together because we are truly best friends and intimate partners. We have ourselves in our relationship as individuals, and we have a place for "us" as well. James always lets me know his opinions and stands but he always supports me even if my decision is different from his. (He also knows how stubborn I can be too. I always tell James and this will be part of my wedding vows too that "Thank you for loving me conditionally because your expectations and love have made me more complete and more healed than I can ever imagine."
Why were they such a source of inspiration?
The trainers/therapists that I have encountered showed me their passion and commitment to what they do. They were quirky, creative, out of the box, and authentic thinkers. They show up as who they are as individuals and as professionals. They integrate who they are personally and professionally together while maintaining clear boundaries. More importantly, they show their integrity and dignity when they work with their clients. I respect them. They also hold me accountable to push me to grow and be better.
James always inspires me to be a better person because of his enthusiasm when it comes to life and his curiosity when it comes to searching for answers. I never know what he's going to share with me because he's like a trivia master. He inspires me to be a better partner because of his understanding, love, passion, attentiveness, attunement, and just being him. (As a man and an engineer, James is probably one of the most emotionally attuned people I've met. I have to ask him to turn off his emotional attunement at times.
Can you tell us something interesting about your Dad and Mom?
They are humble and open. My mom is a firecracker and a fighter due to her upbringing. My dad is quite but inquisitive and perceptive. He doesn't say much but when he talks, he's funny and hit the point. It's a show watching my mom and dad.
What are your hobbies?
I love baking and cooking. It's like my sanctuary. It's putting love and passion together and sharing them with my James. Lying on the couch watching Food Network is another guilty pleasure. James and I love strolling in our neighborhoods and exploring new stuff - food, parks, plants, etc. I love traveling as it always humbles me, pushes me out of my comfort zone, and brings in more ideas and more appreciation for life. I love my friends who are fun, supportive, perceptive, and awesome. It's nice to have friends who know themselves well, have the courage to speak up for themselves, which allows for honest talks even when we disagree with each other. I love reading books but just need more time.
Tell us something interesting about your hobby.
When I'm reading, I put sticky notes and index tabs on different pages so I can go back and review them. When I'm cooking or baking, I don't always follow the recipes. I want to make them delicious and Healthy at the same time. James gets excited and frustrated when I cook because I just cook with my heart, my instinct, and my taste buds. I will put stuff in based on my feelings. James knows that they will taste good so he's happy about that. He also knows that he might not eat it a second time because it can't be reproduced. Why? Because I don't follow recipes.
How do you spend your free time?
I can get so sucked into watching TV shows at times that I don't pay much attention to James. Sometimes my traveling hobby makes me want to quit everything I've been doing, just pack up and go, and leave everything behind.
Not that I love sleep but my body loves sleep and needs a lot of it. I'm not a pleasant partner to be around when I don't get enough sleep. Organizing and cleaning the house is a nice escape for me too, especially combined with cooking and baking so the whole house smells so warm and nice.
Having dinner or tea or doing stuff with my friends is great too. Talking to my family can be fun but also stressful depending on the topic.
Do you have a favorite aunt, uncle, niece?
I love my nephew Nic. He's a corky little fellow. Chubby cheeks and very stylish. My Mom's younger brother is my favorite Uncle. Chinese people don't call their uncles or aunts by their names but for this instance, I will call him Uncle Rong. He always has my best interests at heart.
I would say I can be obsessed about finding interesting places to travel and explore. I can also be obsessive about finding the right recipes.
Denver is a place of new ideas and adventure. So many different types of people move in. Neighborhoods are developing and transforming due to people's risk taking and creative ideas. It's an interesting town mixing rich and the poor, the old and the new, and the integration of different generations. There are always things to do - either indoor or outdoor. We have 300 days of sunshine so it's great especially because the weather is not humid. It smells wonderful when it rains. I don't use an umbrella when it rains because I just dance or walk in the rain. It feels so lovely and refreshing. You can always see the mountain and the open space. You can still see snow in the summer sometimes because of the high mountain. It's like having 4 seasons all the time.
Are you involved in any projects in your hometown?
I'm part of the Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I love my people there - so open, inclusive, and quirky in their own ways.
I hold myself to a standard of integrity, respect, and honesty. I'm friendly but firm. I'm open but know my stand and values. I'm persistent but flexible as rigidity just doesn't get along with me. I'm curious but not intrusive. In fact, I was so curious and asked so many questions in High School that my teachers had to put a limit on how many questions I could ask per class. I figured out a way around it - I gave my friends the rest of my questions, and they asked them for me.
I'm constantly hungry for new knowledge and integrate them with what I've already known...
I'm constantly hungry for new knowledge and integrate them with what I already know. I want to share what I know with as many people as possible. I love new things and new challenges. They energize me instead of scare me off.
I can stay grounded in the face of obstacles or high intensity situations. I have a great sense of humor. I can stay logical and empathetic at the same time so my clients know that I care but my emotions don't take over my work with them.
Why do these qualities make a difference?
My qualities have made me much wiser, more experienced, more knowledgeable, more attuned and better trained than peers in my age group.
I can be stubborn, which can be very helpful because I don't give up easily. When I am facing a problem or a stuck point, I don't just let it bug me. I take it as a new challenge and something that I don't know. I have fun with it and stick with it. I do research. I ask people. I Google until I get something.
What is a persistent objection to hiring you as a couples therapist?
I would have to say the way I look. I look young and even younger compared to Caucasians. I think my race and ethnicity are also barriers too. I have had colleagues and friends who told me that when they first met me they thought I was young and a green therapist until they started talking to me. They were shocked with how wise and experienced I was! Now, many of them come to me for consultation and guidance for their cases.
How would you remove that objection?
Not really very much I can do with my look. I try to dress more professionally.
My office has a view of the skylines of Denver. You get to see the city but it's also so quiet and calm, it smells wonderful too.
Denver is a place for new ideas. It’s filled with adventure, and you can always see mountains and open space.