design / UX

Empathy in design, leadership, and pretty much everything else / Evenings at the Loft – Santa Monica, CA

Here’s the talk I did at Headspace Headquarters as part of the Evenings at the Loft event with my friend Bernadette Irizarry of Velvet Hammer Design.

parenting / education / race / spirituality

Being Asian Pacific Americans in the Age of Coronavirus / The Gathering – A Space for Asian American Spirituality, April 2020

The month of May is both Mental Health Awareness Month as well as Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. It is also happening in the midst of all of us living through an unprecedented time, finding ways to struggle through keeping ourselves and others safe, dealing with the economic impact of staying at home, and experiencing the feelings associated with such drastic changes in our lives. On top of that, Asian Pacific Americans have been targets of racism because of scapegoating, false assertions of blame, and other people’s fear, anger, and hatred.

I had the honor of being on a panel hosted by The Gathering, a group associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, along with the esteemed Russell Jeung. Dr. Jeung has recently been featured in multiple media outlets as his organization ( has been gathering data on the hate crimes against APA during this pandemic. He is also a professor of Asian Pacific American studies and an author.

Please find the time to listen to this timely conversation that intersects APA history, APA experience, and mental health.

Collaborative Parenting: ACEs, Race, and Inequality / Happily Family Conference, Winter 2020

Happily Family Conference 2020 – I speak with Jason and Cecilia Hilkey of Happily Family about resiliency, but from a social, collective, environmental perspective, rather than the typical self-oriented or individualistic lens.

We speak about how the context in which most kids grow up creates not only real-time stressors for children and their caregivers, but also how hardship, neglect, and abuse in childhood leads to lifelong challenges in physical and mental health as well as limitations in school and work across the lifespan.

In addition, I shared a model of Collective Parenting that integrates a familiar approach to parenting from developmental psychology along with intersectional justice advocacy. Like Lev Vygotsky’s developmental psychology approach to parenting, we must consider what a child is able to or unable to do for themselves and what is fair or unfair to ask of them. When talking about children growing up in certain Adverse Community Environments leading to Adverse Childhood Experiences in the home (the pair of ACEs you don’t want to have) we must consider that things we’ve taught about “growth mindset” or “grit” are an unfair burden to be placing on children, to have to overcome environmental burdens that they did not choose for themselves.

Parenting Forward Podcast / Cindy Wang Brandt, June 2019

Cindy Wang Brandt is a pioneer in the space of progressive parenting in the context of faith shifting from fundamentalist religion. She is the author of the book Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy, and Kindness and hosts the Parenting Forward Podcast. She is also the founder and moderator of the popular Facebook group Raising Children Unfundamentalist. In addition, she’s also my friend.

A while back we had a casual conversation in which I mentioned that conservative Christian parenting is often in opposition with mainstream mental health research. She latched on to that statement and asked me to come on to her show to talk about some of these things. It was a rich and nuanced conversation about none other than parenting and progressive faith. We also manage to talk about theology and science in the same breath. Sound fascinating? It was!

Click here to listen

Click here to listen on iTunes

Anxiety – Help For Kids and Their Parents / Happily Family Conference, Spring 2019

What is normal anxiety? When should I be worried? Jason and Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family talk with me about anxiety in the context of emotional development of children and when parents experience it themselves.

Raising Toddlers Courageously Conference, Fall 2018

I speak with parenting coach and founder of the Raising Toddlers Courageously Conference Devon Kuntzman from a developmental and relationship perspective, helping to make sense of the challenges of the transition from babies to toddlers.

We discuss a broad range of topics, including how young children learn and grow, how toddlerhood fits into a lifelong developmental arc, and how focusing on relationships is more important than focusing on behavior. 

Asian America – The Ken Fong Podcast, July 2018

I had the honor of being a guest on the popular podcast Asian America: the Ken Fong Podcast, speaking on some familiar topics such as mental healthiness and parenting. However, what was different about this experience was that I was able to also share from the perspective of some important aspects of my personal identity as an Asian American and as a Progressive Christian.

LISTEN HERE: Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast, Episode 157

The Power of Parenting – Why We Don’t Punish / Happily Family Conference, Spring 2018

We talk about how parenting styles can both positively and negatively affect future predisposition for aggression and violence. Positive strategies to use instead of corporal punishment are also discussed. We also discuss traditional gender expectations, toxic masculinity, and social emotional development.

Why Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is best for children (and adults) / Happily Family Conference, Fall 2017

Jason and Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family and I have a historical and science based conversation as to why a social-emotional approach to parenting and education is best. We also discuss why a behaviorally focused approach isn’t.

Going through adolescence is the way to wellbeing / Hermosa Beach, CA

Here’s a one hour talk I did for the P.S. I Love You Foundation, talking about the purpose of adolescence (and there is good reason we all go through this). Specifically, I talk about how understanding this important phase of life lays the foundation for social and emotional intelligence, for creative and critical thinking, and for positive relationships in the future.

It’s not raging hormones, but deliberate brain changes.

How to help when kids are mad / Redondo Beach, CA

After Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family and I talk about the purpose and value of emotion, we dive deeper into one of the most challenging emotions to master – anger.

Being a good enough parent is really good enough / Happily Family Conference, Spring 2017

Thanks to Jason and Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family for letting me share our conversation from the Happily Family Conference in May 2017. The focus of the conference was “the Heart and Science of Parenting.”

In our talk, we cover a wide range of topics from neuroscience, nurture vs nature, the importance of warmth of relationships, how self-worth is not the same as self-esteem – and how they all are related to being a “good enough” parent.


PsychRally Podcast with Dr. Martin Hsia, January 2018

How much is psychotherapy really evolving? My friend and colleague Dr. Martin Hsia and I debrief our experience attending the world’s largest psychotherapy gathering, the 2017 Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference.

Most notably, tune in for reflections on presentations by:

  • Relationship expert, Esther Perel, on infidelity and the unique strains on marriages and other committed relationships of this era.
  • The “Godfather” of Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck, and his criticisms of manualized treatments in psychotherapy.
  • The research of Drs. Paul and Eve Ekman on the expression and experience of emotion, cultivating emotional balance across and between cultures.
  • Dr. Scott Miller’s research on efffective psychotherapy, and why the field and practice of therapy is not more successful than it is.
  • Dr. Martin Seligman, leading researcher in the field of Positive Psychology, and his historical and theological commentary on the importance of Free will.
  • Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, Dr. Derald Wing Sue, on the Psychology of race and microaggressions.
  • Links to all of the above are on the PsychRally Podcast Website

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