Case Examples

Dr. Chen is a good therapist.  He has helped me clarify perceptions that have blocked my growth and development.  I have been able to resolve the feelings that have grown from the misperceptions.  In counseling, I have learned new attitudes and language to help improve my marriage and family relationships.  The barriers I have built up over the years are being removed.  This process takes a long time, but I think it has moved at an appropriate pace.  Other counselors have taken much longer to help me even begin the healing process.  I have made great progress while working with Dr. Chen.


Dear Dr. Chen,

I am writing to express my appreciation for your knowledge and understanding in helping us deal with our teenager’s issues. We were very distraught when we learned about our child’s problems. As with any parent, we were concerned for our child and feared for the worst. We didn’t know what to expect or how to help our child.

Your extensive knowledge and expertise helped us understand what was going on and provided comfort and reassurance. Your expertise and ability to relate to our situation helped us get through a very difficult time.

Thank you for the competence and calm demeanor you displayed as you helped reassure us during this critical time. I firmly believe that others facing similar problems would greatly benefit from your services.

Thanks again,
Bruce L.

Dear Dr. Chen,

After suffering with trichotillomania for 15 years, I felt trapped by my constant urges to pull my hair.  3 weeks after seeking professional help from you, I was able to greatly reduce the amount I pulled my hair.  By using the tools I learned in therapy, I can go several days at a time without pulling and am continually improving.

Thank you!

Alcoholic Alan

Not long ago a client (Alan) came in seeking help for drug and alcohol abuse. He was in his mid 30’s and had been using marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine since his late teenage years. He started drinking alcohol before he was a teenager.

Alan finished high school and began working in retail. He changed jobs or was fired every couple years but was able to work his way up into a manager position. He was married and had three children. His drinking had a negative impact on his family and occasionally he yelled at his wife and kids. Often he spent time by himself at home watching T.V. or surfing on the Internet.

He wasn’t very satisfied at work and occasionally got into arguments with his assistant manager.  During therapy, it became evident that Alan used drugs and alcohol to cover up his feelings of anger, frustration and at times low self-esteem.

He was able to learn new coping skills and reduce his use of drugs and alcohol. His marriage improved and he enjoyed his kids more. Even his relationship with his assistant manager improved.

Co-dependent Cathy

Cathy had been married for 14 years to her high school sweetheart. Things started out good but as their family grew to four children the first five years, their marital relationship gradually deteriorated. Her husband, a sales manager traveled almost every week. When he was home, he tended to ignore her and the kids.

Cathy would occupy herself with housework, church duties and helping neighbors and other relatives. Most people thought Cathy had a good marriage, but inside she felt empty and trapped.

Feelings of frustration and anger would occasionally rise to the surface, but most of the time she just kept it all inside.

When Cathy started therapy, she had just discovered her husband had an addiction to pornography. She was surprised, hurt, angry and didn’t know whether she wanted to stay in the marriage or leave. She was concerned about the kids.

The therapy focused on a pattern of behavior called co-dependency. Cathy discovered that her husband was in many ways like her father, who was an alcoholic. She tried to control her family growing up and now she was trying to control her husband.

Gradually Cathy developed a healthy mental separation from her husband and as she began to get healthy, her husband admitted he had a problem with pornography and decided to get help himself.

Anxious Ann

Ann was in her late 20’s and had been working in a secretarial position since graduating from high school. She was nervous and anxious most of the time. She rarely dated but desperately wanted to get married.

However, Ann was afraid to socialize and had few friends. Most evenings she would read a book at home or talk on the phone to her parents or other relatives.

By the time Ann came to therapy, she had begun to have panic attacks and at times she thought she might die. Therapy began by exploring why Ann was not dating. It was discovered that she had been sexually abused by a baby sitter when she was 7 years old. This abuse continued over a two year period. She had never told her parents. Later she was also sexually abused by an uncle.

Ann had strong feelings of anger toward men but also wanted to develop a relationship with a man and eventually get married. Her feelings of ambivalence had developed into anxiety which lead her to isolate and
avoid men.

During therapy Ann was able to work through the trauma of the two different periods of sexual abuse. Her anxiety disappeared and then therapy focused on helping her develop appropriate social skills. Ann began dating and recently became engaged.

Depressed Donna

Donna was in her mid 40’s, a typical mother of 4 children, married for over 16 years and active in the community and church.}

She had her first depression with the birth of her first child, and her family doctor prescribed an anti-depressant.

Her husband was supportive and made a decent income, yet money always seemed tight. It was a challenge taking each of the four children to music lessons, dance, football practice and the like, not to mention all the church activities.

Donna never felt like there was any time for herself. In fact, if she did take time to do something she enjoyed, she felt guilty.

She tried to talk to her church leader once, but that didn’t seem to help. She knew there were other women who were depressed and taking medication, but she still felt like no one understood what she was going through.

When she finally came to therapy, she felt hopeless but wanted to change her life. In therapy, she learned to develop some positive thinking skills, not just think happy thoughts, but really challenge some of her long held beliefs that kept her from finding the peace and happiness she knew she had always sought.

She began to enjoy life more and her husband even commented how much happier she seemed. The best compliment was from one of her children who said “mommy, you don’t seem like you’re mad at me anymore”. Donna almost cried. The mixture of joy and sadness she had; joy that she could connect better to her husband and children, and sadness that she hadn’t sought help sooner.

Career Confusion

Tom was in his late 40’s and ready for a new challenge in his life. He had worked in the computer industry for over 20 years and was recently let go from one of the major computer companies.

He first got into the computer industry because it was exciting and new developments were happening all the time. But over the years he became upset by the lack of loyalty that large companies showed their employees.

This was the third time he was a “victim” of a downsizing and he was ready to bail out of computers. But he didn’t have a clue what to do.

When Tom came to career counseling, the first question he asked was “What else am I good at?” He took a battery of assessments and found that he had natural abilities in the science and technology areas. The
more he explored, the more interested he became in fixing scientific devices. He enrolled in a course designed to help technicians fix medical devices.

During this course he met another entrepreneur and together they developed a business plan. Tom had found a new challenge and was ready to move forward.