My name is Hiedi Chan (陳美美). I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Registered Art Therapist (ATR). I immigrated to the US from Hong Kong in 2000. It was an exciting and challenging experience moving from the opposite side of the globe to this new country. The exciting part is that I was a newlywed, enjoying my new married life. What also helped is that San Diego is such a pleasant place to live and I love the fresh air, the open space and the big blue sky. The challenging part is the feeling of isolation and disconnectedness. Moving away from family and friends was not easy.
When I was settling in this new country and finding my career directions, I was asked to help out as a church secretary at a small Chinese church. This experience changed my life.
As a church secretary, I got a chance to experience church more deeply. People who are in need come to the church during the week for prayer and other support. I had the opportunities to witness the challenges some people experienced and was honored to be able to help some. Issues could be related to common challenges that many new immigrants face, such as learning to drive, finding a job, applying for a social security card; other issues could be dealing with marital problems and mental health issues. One time, I was asked to interpret for someone at a mental health facility. I experienced first hand the impact of mental illness on the patients and their families.
Observing the hurt and despair planted a seed in my heart to become a therapist to help those in need. After years of education, thousands of hours of clinical experience and passing a board exam, I am now a licensed marriage and family therapist, equipped to help people overcome their life challenges and to enjoy lives to their fullest. I see this as my response to a divine calling.