Bio and Areas of Expertise
Dr. Chou was born and raised in Taiwan. After obtaining her Master’s Degree and the license as a clinical psychologist in Taiwan, she moved to London to pursue her Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology at University College London (UCL, world rank No. 4).
Dr. Chou’s doctoral research focused on psychological mechanisms associated with trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dr. Chou came to San Francisco, CA, in 2014 for a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she obtained extensive experiences and expertise in treating Hoarding Disorder.
Dr. Chou’s areas of expertise include:
- Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Hoarding and cluttering challenges
- Attachment and relationship issues
- Grief and loss
- Self-worth and self-compassion
- Anxiety and depression
Dr. Chou is a scientist practitioner in private practice since 2017. Dr. Chou has been involved actively in research that examines ways to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hoarding disorder (HD). Her clinical work has therefore been well informed of the latest scientific findings. Dr. Chou provides consultations and training workshops to clinicians who are interested in developing expertise in treating HD. She also offers talks and webinars on this subject.
Besides her professional backgrounds, Dr. Chou is a lay Zen practitioner. She appreciates the benefits of her spiritual practice on her development as a clinician. Buddhism has influenced her approaches to psychotherapy profoundly.
Words from Dr. Chou about her approach:
I believe that lasting changes happen when the willingness to change, on an intellectual level, is supported by the agreement and readiness to change on an emotional level.
Clients arrive at our work together at varying stages of the process of change. My focus in the early phase of the therapy is to help them get a clearer picture of where they are, the direction they want to be headed, and be truly excited about this journey. It has been inspiring to be able to help my clients get in touch with the part of their heart that has been there for their best interest all along, and has encouraged them to step on the path of positive change.
One of the therapeutic approaches I apply is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I apply CBT, for example, to help my clients identify patterns of thinking that tend to be in operation under certain situations, and the effects of these thinking patterns on their emotional or behavioral responses to these situations. Most of my clients have found this process illuminating and freeing, as it shows that there is possibility to feel or act in different ways, and the key to change is within us.
To develop the needed emotional strength to make changes happen, I often couple CBT with Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and other emotion regulation-focused therapies. These therapeutic methods support clients to increase awareness of the psychological states they are in, and to develop the ‘psychological muscles’ to flexibly direct themselves to an internal place, where they feel more safeness and calm. There are challenges in any process of change, and my commitment is to help my clients develop the psychological strength needed for the journey they choose to step on.