Psychologists

Annie Ahn, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Annie Ahn, Ph.D.
Annie Ahn, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, UC Santa Barbara

Bio

Hello and welcome to the Counseling Center! College can be an exciting time personally, academically, socially and spiritually. I feel fortunate to be part of students’ journey of self-discovery and growth. I am passionate about assisting students overcome challenges and attain lifelong skills. Working at three UC counseling centers and being UC undergraduate and graduate alumni, I am familiar with the quick pace of the quarter system and invested in helping students lead a balanced life that fits their values and priorities. I have special interests in multicultural counseling, Asian American mental health, child-parent intergenerational conflict, identity, intimate relationships, trauma and resilience, family concerns, anxiety, depression, and mindfulness. As the liaison for Graduate Division, I am also committed to enhancing the wellbeing of graduate students.

Liaison: Graduate Division 

Publications

  • Kim, B. S. K., Ahn, A. J., Lam, A. N. (2009). Theories and Research on acculturation and enculturation experiences among Asian American families. In N. T. Trinh, Y. C. Rho, F. G. Lu, & K. M. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of mental health in Asian American families (pp. 25-43). New York: Humana Press.
  • Kim, B. S. K., Ng, G. F., & Ahn, A. J. (2009). Client adherence to Asian cultural values, common factors in counseling, and session outcome with Asian American clients at a university counseling center. Journal of Counseling and Development, 87, 131-142.
  • Ahn, A. J. (2008). Bridging Intergenerational Gaps among Korean American Families. Germany: VDM Verlag.
  • Ahn, A. J., Kim, B. S. K., & Park, Y. S. (2008). Asian cultural values gap, cognitive flexibility, coping strategies, and parent-child conflicts among Korean Americans. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 353-363.
  • Kim, B. S. K., Ng, G. F., & Ahn, A. J. (2005). Effects of client expectation for counseling success, client-counselor worldview match, and client adherence to Asian and European American cultural values on counseling process with Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 67-76.

Sheva Assar, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Sheva Assar, Psy.D.
Sheva Assar, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Pepperdine University

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! As a UCI alum, I am thrilled to support you during this exciting, yet potential stressful time in your life. I am devoted to empowering you to reach your full potential- academically, emotionally, and interpersonally. As a first generation Iranian-American, I understand myself and others within a multicultural context. I am passionate about helping students navigate their intersecting identities in a meaningful manner. I believe that healing occurs through authentic connection with another, as well as through drawing upon one’s inherent strengths. I hope to provide a safe and warm space for you to discuss the beauties and challenges of your current experiences. My areas of interests include: adjustment and life transitions, emotional vulnerability, relationships, social anxiety, trauma, and identity development. I have a special interest and experience in working with Middle Eastern and Muslim identified students, as well as Student Veterans. I look forward to collaborating with you to help make your experience at UCI what you would like it to be!

 

Liaison: Women’s Hub

Cynthia R. Canul, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychologist, Washing State University

Bio

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I am a bilingual/bicultural licensed clinical psychologist and have worked with children, adults, and college students in community mental health and counseling center settings. I specialize in working with clients who have experienced various forms of trauma, PTSD, anger management, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and couples counseling. Stop by and visit the Counseling Center and make an appointment. It always helps to speak to someone who will understand your adjustment on campus and/or struggles in your personal life related to family or other relationships. I try to create a place of warmth, acceptance and support where students can share and feel safe. I believe counseling should help you create your own personal empowerment and emotional wellness. I would like to learn more about you and how your experiences have made you the person you are today.

Recognition: Latina Business Woman of The Year –Recognized by the County of Orange, City of La Habra, and the Senate for the strong commitment to the Latina/o community.

 

Diana Chan, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Diana Chan, Psy.D.
Diana Chan, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles

Bio

When working with a student, my goal is to understand how that student’s unique life experiences and past relationships have influenced the student’s overall sense of well being. My clinical interests include depression, trauma, relationships, self-esteem, identity, family or intergenerational conflict, Asian American mental health, multiculturalism, and the assessment of learning disabilities. I am bilingual in Mandarin Chinese/English, and enjoy working with students from diverse background.

Liaison: UCI Law School and Disability Services Center 

Yuri Choi, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, Ball State University

Bio

Hello and welcome to UCI Counseling Center! I have had the honor of working with college students at several university counseling centers and community clinics across the U.S. as well as South Korea, and I am so excited about having the opportunities to be part of your journey at UCI. In psychotherapy, I use an integrative approach, combining client-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and interpersonal theories, within a multicultural framework. My professional interests include multiculturalism/social justice, acculturation, adjustment difficulties, identity development, eating disorders/body image concerns, training/supervision, group therapy, outreach programming, anxiety, trauma, depression, and career concerns. I very much enjoy working with international students, students of color, LGBTQ students, graduate students, and first generation students. In addition, I can offer clinical and outreach services in both English and Korean languages. For my self-care, I enjoy traveling, knitting, practicing yoga, painting my nails, watching movies, going to art museums, taking walks, and being connected with my family and friends.

 

Liaison: Graduate Division

 

Publications and Presenations 

Pillow, M., Bauer, C., Choi, Y., and Tallent, C. (2019, May). Creating and Maintaining Eating Disorders Treatment Resources on Campus: Navigating Challenges and Tips for Success, Panel Discussion at the Chicago Area College and University Eating and Related Disorders Symposium, Chicago, IL.

Bellare, Y., Michael, R., Gerstein, L. H., Cinamon, R. G., Hutchison, A., Kim, T., & Choi, Y. (2018). Future perceptions of U.S. and Israeli young male adults, Journal of Career Development https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845318763956

Sahai, N., Choi, Y., Hu, T., & Li, F. (2018, September). Considerations for working with international students in the current political climate, Workshop presentation at the 25th Annual Dennis H. May Conference on Diversity Issues and the Role of Counseling Centers, Champaign, IL.

Frances Diaz, Psy.D Director

Frances Diaz, Psy.D
Frances Diaz, Psy.D
Director

Clinical Psychology, Pepperdine University

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the Counseling Center! As a licensed bilingual psychologist I have had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life through a number of settings. As an alumnus of UCI, I feel honored to return and have the opportunity to work with the diverse student population of this university. While I enjoy working with individuals facing a variety of challenges, my special interests are in addressing personal development, impact of family on academic achievement, first-generation college students, acculturation, international students, issues of adjustment, and Latino mental health. I recognize that higher education, whether it is undergraduate or graduate school, can be a difficult yet rewarding time in your life. Know that there are resources available to help you reach your full potential and goals. I look forward to meeting you!

Milo L. Dodson, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Milo L. Dodson, Ph.D.
Milo L. Dodson, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Graduate Program: University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign

Bio

Greetings! It is an honor and privilege to serve the UC Irvine community as a Senior Staff Psychologist after completing both my internship, as well as my Post-Doctoral Fellowship here at the Counseling Center.

I describe my clinical work with clients as theoretically integrative and technically eclectic. My approach to psychotherapy is grounded in multiculturalism and integrates interpersonal, person-centered, and CBT theoretical perspectives. Like a trained musician, I use myself as an instrument for change by cultivating a strong therapeutic relationship with clients. I adopt a strengths based approach to empower clients to arrive at their own “answers” by collaboratively helping them create short-term and long-term goals.

My outreach efforts include collaborations with and advocacy for the African American/Black community and serving as the Counseling Center liaison to the Athletics Department.

I genuinely look forward to the possibility of working with you! Peace and Blessings.

Liaison: Athletics Department and e-Sports 

Publications and Professional Presentations

  • Dodson, M. L. (2016) A mother’s love and a mother’s language. Published in Ryan, A. (2016). At mama’s knee: Mothers and race in black and white. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Dodson, M. L. (Writer/Director/Producer). (2012). Counseling psychology: Beyond “the couch” [Video]. Created for Division 17 of APA; presented at the 2012 APA Convention Division 17 Business Meeting, Orlando, FL.
  • Neville, H. A., Flores, M., & Dodson, M. L. (2012). Being an ally: Learning from and respecting the contributions of ethnic minority psychological associations, The Counseling Psychologist, 40, 738-745.
  • Turner, B. L, Henderson, R., & Dodson, M. L. (2012). At the top of the game: Providing relevant support for African American male athletes. Presentation at the annual Black Male Summit, Akron, OH.

Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D.
Jessica Eldridge, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles at Alliant International University

Bio

Hello and welcome to the UCI Counseling Center!   In my work with students, I believe that the therapeutic alliance that develops between the client and the therapist is very important. I put effort and energy into developing a relationship that is caring, trusting, and collaborative. In this way, I think the best work can be done and you can get the most out of your therapy experience.  I enjoy working with a variety of concerns, and my areas of special interest include multiculturalism, identity and interpersonal relationship concerns, the incorporation of art into therapy and self-care, managing stress, anxiety, and depression, LGBTQ issues, and adjustment to transitions and new circumstances. I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: UCI Medical School 

Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D.
Jonathan Flojo, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Oregon

Bio

I want to help us live with purpose and meaning. Students and I focus on developing understanding, acquiring pragmatic skills, and experiencing compassion. My work centers on the intersection of connection and belonging. I build spaces where we can live authentically in community. In those places, we reinvent our family’s cultural traditions for our evolving world. My interests include educational equity, career and talent development, supervision, mentoring, contemplative spirituality, mindfulness, first generation college students, the LGBTQIA+ experience, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. I have experience teaching in a variety of settings from early intervention to graduate level and I have a background in large-scale implementation and policy research and evaluation. Outside UC Irvine, I am an indoor kid that spends time in mountains, forest, deserts, and tide pools.

Liaison: Middle Earth Residence Hall 

Meladee Garst, Ph.D. Director of Student Educational Programming and Outreach/ Assistant Director

Meladee Garst, Ph.D.
Meladee Garst, Ph.D.
Director of Student Educational Programming and Outreach/ Assistant Director

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! Working with the college student population has been my passion since graduate school. I have had the pleasure of working at several college counseling centers all over the United States, recently coming from Kansas! I am proud and excited to be in Califorinia and join the UCI Anteater family. My goal as a psychologist is to help clients reach their academic, social, and emotional goals by providing support, advocacy, coaching, and therapy. I find it very important to have a strong therapeutic alliance in working with clients and provide a space where they can feel safe and comfortable in exploring their presenting concerns. I enjoy working with a variety of presenting concerns but have areas of emphasis in working with LGBTQ identifed students, first-generation college students, students from diverse or marginalized backgrounds, identity development concerns, and relationship issues. I also have a special area of interest in providing outreach and educational programming to the campus community. I find it important to provide educational programming and outreach to our campus as a ways of prevention, but also in reaching students who are in need of counseling services. I look forward to working with you as a potential Counseling Center client or seeing you around campus at an outreach event! In my free time I love to craft by brining new life to old things, cook, hiking and biking, and playing with my nieces and nephews.

Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D.
Mary Pat Kelly , Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, University of Utah

Bio

Greetings - I am excited to be on staff here because I know that your Counseling Center is an amazing resource for the campus community and for you as a student of the University of California, Irvine. I am privileged to have trained here as an intern at the very start of my career and now to be back working with this dynamic population of students among a team of incredible professional colleagues. I believe that the college years are among the best period in life to take advantage of counseling opportunities because there is so much change going on in your lives and so much potential for positive growth that serves you for a lifetime.

My approach to student concerns combines a cognitive-behavioral framework with a developmental perspective on how your challenges have come to be and how best to overcome them towards optimal personal satisfaction and capability. I work with students on a variety of concerns including academic, personal and relationships issues in a collaborative style where you and I work together to identify, practice and strengthen the understandings and skills that best work to relieve your concerns and remove obstacles in the way of your best life.

Jungeun Kim, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University at Albany-State University of New York

Bio

My approach is warmly interactive, collaborative, supportive, and insight-driven. I strive to create a safe/comfortable/and transformative relational space where I am attuned to clients’ struggles as well as strengths. I place a strong emphasis on here-and-now processing and attention to the interplay and influence of cultural, contextual, and social factors on clients’ presenting problems. My clinical areas of interest include adjustment issues, perfectionism, depression and anxiety, identity development and cultural concerns (e.g., inter-generational and cross-cultural communications, bicultural identity, acculturation/enculturation, race, sexuality, social justice, etc.), relationships, trauma, and grief and loss. Bilingual counseling (English and Korean)

Liaison: Verano Graduate Housing

Publications:

  • Miller, M. J., Kim, J., Chen, G. A., & Alvarez, A. N. (2012). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the Asian American Racism-Related Stress Inventory. Assessment, 19, 53-64. DOI: 10.1177/1073191110392497
  • Miller, M. J., Kim, J., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2011). Validating the Riverside Acculturation Stress Inventory with Asian Americans. Psychological Assessment, 23, 300-310. DOI: 10.1037/a0021589
  • Hage, S. M., Mason, M., & Kim, J. (2011). A social justice approach to group counseling. In R. K. Conyne (Ed.), Oxford handbook of group counseling (pp. 102-117). NY: Oxford University Press.

 

Debbie Liu, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Debbie Liu, Ph.D.
Debbie Liu, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Southern California

Bio

Welcome to the Counseling Center!  I feel it is a privilege to be part of my clients’ journey as I help students to develop coping skills to manage depression and anxiety, and to begin to live the life that brings them happiness.  I am trained as a cognitive-behavioral therapist and use tools from that framework specifically tailored to the needs of my clients.  My clinical interests include social anxiety, PTSD, identity issues and depression.  I look forward to working with you!

Pavaninder S. Mann, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Kansas

Bio

Greetings and welcome.  In my work with students, I emphasize the importance of personal responsibility, the power of choice, and making informed decisions to improve one’s quality of life.  I believe university students are at an incredibly powerful and meaningful point in their lives, both personally and academically.  Through building of a therapeutic relationship that is based on trust and rapport, my hope is that students will learn how to identify potential road blocks on their journey to success, as well as identify and build upon their own personal strengths and coping skills.  I see my role as a psychologist as multifaceted.  Sometimes I teach students coping skills to manage depression, stress, and anxiety.  Other times I am there to listen to problems they are having in relationships and family issues.  I have experience working with treating depression, stress, and anxiety through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  I also have experience with solution-focused, goal-oriented therapy, as well as therapy focusing on relationships and family dynamics.  My goal is to help students learn ways in which they can overcome obstacles and move forward with achieving the goals they set for themselves.  I look forward to working with you here at the UC Irvine Counseling Center.

Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D.
Shruti Mukkamala, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Bio

Hello and welcome to the Counseling Center! I am a former international student who has been living in the U.S. since I came here more than a decade ago. I value education and the opportunities it brings, and look forward to helping students as they navigate their educational journey. My experiences of being a first-generation immigrant and a woman of color in the U.S. have deeply impacted my personal identity and professional interests. I have a particular interest in working with women of color in STEM fields, international and immigrant students, graduate students and Asian and Asian American students. While I enjoy working with a wide range of students related to their concerns, particular areas of experience include body image difficulties, relationships, acculturation, intergenerational communication, anxiety and stress related to discrimination. I work collaboratively within a Cognitive-Behavioral framework and am an advocate for my clients. Along with individual therapy, I enjoy conducting group therapy and engaging in outreach and consultation with the greater campus community. My research intersects with my clinical interests and is broadly focused on racial discrimination and its impact on mental health and lived experience. I look forward to working with you soon!

Liaison: Asian American Studies Program

Publications

  • Mukkamala, S., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2018). Racialized sexism/sexualized racism: A multimethod study of intersectional experiences of discrimination for Asian American women. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(1), 32-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aap0000104

Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist/ C.O.A.C.H. Program Coordinator

Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D.
Jessica R. Ortega, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist/ C.O.A.C.H. Program Coordinator

Counseling Psychology, Arizona State University

Bio

Bienvenidos! (Welcome!) I am delighted and privileged to be able to work with you amazingly gifted UCI students whether it be through therapy or community outreach, which may include teaching, workshops, and mentoring.  My work with students is guided by a multicultural lens that seeks to understand and honor their unique stories and intersectional identities within their social-cultural communities.  I feel that cultural humility is salient in my role as a therapist. As a first generation to college, Latina, I am mindful of my own story, how that has shaped my worldview and the importance of cultivating a space of inclusivity. I intentionally seek to facilitate opportunities for authentic expression from my clients and encourage them to honor their strength and resiliency. I too learn from my clients.  Although I work from a generalist approach, I do possess clinical interests that include working with issues related to college adjustment and academic persistence, Latin@/x mental health, the 1st generation and transfer student experience, eating disorder/body image concerns and spirituality in the healing process. I embrace an additional passion for leadership development, training and peer program coordination and supervision. Ultimately I see myself as an advocate to our students and seek to serve as a resource and bridge for them as they navigate the college experience. It brings me great joy serving our student community, and ultimately empowering them to own their stories, and strengthen their voice, spirit and leadership as agents of change. On a personal note, I have a passion for dance, teaching Zumba and enjoying quality time with my family and friends. Have a blessed day!  Zot Zot Zot!!!

Liaison: Mesa Court Residence Hall 

PUBLICATIONS

  • Dixon Rayle, A., Sand, J. K., Brucato, T., & Ortega, J. (2006). The “Comadre” group approach: A Wellness-based group model for monolingual Mexican women. Journal of Specialists in Group Work, 31, 1-20.
  • Ortega, J. (2019). Supervising paraprofessionals: A multicultural perspective. In T.R. Burnes & J. E. Manese (Eds.), Cases in multicultural clinical supervision: Models, lenses, and applications (pp. 97-113). Cognella, Inc.

Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D.
Kanwarjit Pahwa, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Tennessee At Knoxville

Bio

Hello and welcome to UCI Counseling Center! I am excited to be a part of the UCI community and provide quality psychological services to contribute to student’s mental health. As much as college can be exciting, it sometimes can be overwhelming due to various adjustment challenges. I am grateful to be at the Counseling Center to extend my unconditional support for those who want to bring change in their current situation. As a former international student and a woman of color, I recognize that culture and various identities play a vital role in our lives. My work centers around building meaningful therapeutic alliance with clients, while also practicing from evidence based approach. My work is embedded in principles of social justice and multiculturalism. In my career, I have been privileged to work with students from diverse backgrounds and identities. My professional area of interest includes, but is not limited to: working with international students, undocumented students, Asian American mental health, marginalized groups, traditional and non-traditional first generation students, adjustment to college, cultural adjustment, relationship problems, academic problems, career issues, anxiety, depression stress and time management.

Liaisons: Graduate Housing and International Center

Ylena D. Parks, Psy.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Ylena D. Parks, Psy.D.
Ylena D. Parks, Psy.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Biola University

Greetings and welcome to the Counseling Center! I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to come alongside and assist UCI students as they work towards achieving their academic and personal life goals. I approach students’ concerns with benign curiosity, compassion and tenderness and encourage students to do the same. Using an integrative treatment approach, I facilitate deep, mindful reflection upon personal experiences and authentic expression of affect, with the intention of moving students toward greater insight, self-awareness and overall wellbeing. I also welcome humor into the therapeutic process, recognizing that levity can often provide relief from challenges and facilitate positive change. I work with a variety of concerns including depression, anxiety, self-esteem, grief/loss, partner relationship issues, adjustment to college/career, and personal/sexual/gender identity development. I also have a special interest in working through issues associated with the intersection of spirituality and mental health, sexuality and/or sexual identity; concerns related to diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder; and animal-assisted therapy as a health service psychology intervention.

Liaison: Disability Services Center 

Saimir Thano, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Saimir Thano, Ph.D.
Saimir Thano, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Clinical Psychology, Alliant IU/ CSPP - Los Angeles

Bio

Mirësevini (Welcome) to UCI Counseling Center. I feel fortunate to be part of the CC team and for the opportunity to give back to the UCI Community. I am dedicated to providing the support needed for students to live a more successful and healthier life. I have a holistic approach to working with students, which includes the mind, body, and emotions. I view individuals as whole beings who are made up of interdependent parts with each part playing an important role for optimal psychological wellbeing. I work with students to obtain physical, mental, and emotional balance. As a first generation immigrant I am also sensitive to issues of diversity, thus in my work I utilize a multicultural lens while focusing on the therapeutic relationship. My clinical areas of interest include acculturation related issues, adjustment to college, men's issues, first generation and/or transfer students, non-traditional and international students, and ethnic identity issues. My research focuses on multicultural/multiracial relationships, the impact of acculturation on psychological wellbeing and romantic relationship satisfaction, and ethnic identity as a protective factor. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to reach your goals.

Liaison: Arroyo Vista Residence Hall; PEER Educators Coordinator

Jas Tilghman, Ph.D. Senior Staff Psychologist

Jas Tilghman, Ph.D.
Jas Tilghman, Ph.D.
Senior Staff Psychologist

Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri - Columbia

Bio

Greetings UCI Anteaters!  I am so proud to be a part of this university and help serve your mental health needs.  As an African-American woman, my experiences have shaped my worldview and my work with clients.  Therapeutically, I integrate both Feminist/Multicultural and Person-Centered frameworks.  My goal is to help the college student population embrace an understanding of their identities, be secure in themselves, and develop skills to better navigate college and the greater society.  My clinical interests include multicultural counseling, anxiety and depression, stress management, mindfulness and relaxation, interpersonal relationships, adjustment, identity concerns, African-American mental health, race-related stress, first-generation college students, disenfranchised students, while emphasizing one’s strengths. I also have a passion for working with creative performers (i.e., musicians, dancers, actors, etc.) and the unique challenges faced by this population. Let’s work together to make your journey through college a success!

Liaison: Sierra Housing Program

Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D. Director of Quality Assurance/Assistant Director

Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D.
Rodolfo Victoria, Ph.D.
Director of Quality Assurance/Assistant Director

Counseling Psychology, Teachers College - Columbia University

Bio

Bienvenidos! (Welcome!) It is a tremendous pleasure to be part of the Counseling Center here at UC Irvine. As a first-generation college student, my personal experiences have influenced my research and clinical interests which have focused on racial & ethnic identity development as well understanding how individuals navigate through various, and often conflicting, cultural demands. Together, students and I work collaboratively in enhancing self-awareness and exploring how our personal and collective, cultural histories influence our present day-to-day functioning.

I strongly believe that each of us has the resiliency to work through life’s hurdles and I help students identify these inner strengths with empathic support & insight. While therapy can be a challenging process, I encourage students to challenge and identify potential psychological barriers & patterns that prevent them from achieving their personal/professional goals as well as developing meaningful relationships. I look forward to working with you!!!

Publications

  • Carter, R. T., Mazzula, S., Victoria, R., Vazquez, R., Hall, S., Smith, S, Sant, S., Forsyth, J., Bazelais, K., & Williams, B. (In Press). Initial Development of the Race-Based Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale: Assessing the emotional impact of racism. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy.
  • Kohatsu, E., Victoria, R., Lau, A., Flores, M., & Salazar A. (2011). Analyzing anti-Asian prejudice from a racial identity and color-blind perspective. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(1), 63-72.

Vivian Yamada, Psy.D. Clinical Director/ Associate Director

Vivian Yamada, Psy.D.
Vivian Yamada, Psy.D.
Clinical Director/ Associate Director

Clinical Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Bio

Welcome! College and graduate school can be so fulfilling, but can also lead to many stressors and challenges. I greatly value the opportunity to work with UCI students to help them navigate their roles as students and their additional relationships with family members, friends, romantic partners, colleagues and others. I enjoy working with students who have a variety of concerns and adapt my therapeutic approach to what a particular student needs. Most importantly, I believe a client needs to feel safe and understood given the vulnerability that can be present in counseling. In addition, I frequently find it helpful to explore how a client’s various relationships can function better in the client’s life as these relationships are often connected to their concerns. Some of my special interests are couples therapy, trauma and abuse, and multicultural issues including LGBT and multiracial/multi-ethnic issues.

Liaison: Student Health Center Primary Care; TransCare Team

Clinical Social Worker

Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW Clinical Social Worker

Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW
Ilana Rosenberg, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker

The University of Toronto

Bio

I am thrilled to be a part of the Counseling Center team and the UCI community! I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker originally from Canada and have also lived and worked in the mid-west.  As a Counseling Center social worker, I can advocate for UCI students and provide them with referrals, resources and support if required.  I hope I can help you thrive and succeed here at UCI!

Liaison: Campus Social Workers and Local Community Agencies 

Heather Schmidt, LCSW Clinical Social Worker

Cal State University Long Beach

Bio

It’s an honor to work at the UCI Counseling Center as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have worked across Los Angeles and Orange County providing case management services to clients from a variety of personal backgrounds, including those struggling with severe and persistent mental illness as well as substance abuse. My passion is to help others get connected to services that can help support their life goals. I hope I can be of help and support to you in your time at UCI!

Liaison: Campus Social Workers and Local Community Agencies 

Trisha Tran, LCSW Clinical Social Worker

University of Southern California

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! As a UCI alum, I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to campus as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to support current and future UCI students! As a Counseling Center social worker, I hope to support students by providing resources and referrals to meet their various needs. I look forward to meeting you and supporting you during your time at UCI! Zot Zot Zot!!!

Liaison: Campus Social Workers and Local Community Agencies 

Psychiatrists

Yujuan Choy, M.D. Chief Psychiatrist

Yujuan Choy, M.D.
Yujuan Choy, M.D.
Chief Psychiatrist

MD from Weil Medical College of Cornell University, Psychiatry Residency at NYU Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital, Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Anxiety Disorders, Columbia University Diplomate, & American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Bio

I have been working in the field of college mental health since 2006. I am committed to providing students with the highest standard of care. As a consultant to the therapists at the Counseling Center, I conduct psychiatric evaluations and time-limited medication management. I treat a wide range of psychiatric disorders with an expertise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, generalized anxiety and panic disorder.

I am Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UCI, and am involved in the UCI psychiatry residency training program.

Publications

    • Choy, Y. (2012). Acute Procedure Anxiety in Adults: Epidemiology and Clinical Presentation. In Basow, DS (Ed) UpToDate, Waltham, MA.
    • Choy, Y. (2012). Acute Procedure Anxiety in Adults: Course, Screening, Assessment, and Differential Diagnosis. In Basow, DS (Ed) UpToDate, Waltham, MA.
    • Choy, Y. (2012). Treatment of Acute Procedure Anxiety in Adults. In Basow, DS (Ed) UpToDate, Waltham, MA.
    • Choy, Y. (2012). Treatment of Specific Phobias of Medical and Dental Procedures. In Basow, DS (Ed) UpToDate, Waltham, MA.
    • Choy (2008). Treatment planning for panic disorder: Evidence based treatments. Special Report. Psychiatric Times. 25(2):40.
    • Kinoshita Y, Chen J, Rapee RM, Bogels S, Schneier FR, Choy Y, Kwon JH, Liu X, Schramm E, Chavira DA, Nakano Y, Watanabe N, Ietzugu T, Ogawa S, Emmelkamp P, Zhang J, Kingdon D,, Nagata T, Furukawa TA. (2008) Cross-cultural study of conviction subtype Taijin Kyofu: proposal and reliability of Nagoya-Osaka diagnostic criteria for social anxiety disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 196:307-313.
    • Choy, Y. and FR Schneier (2008). New and Recent Drugs for Anxiety Disorders. Primary Psychiatry 15 (12): 50-56.
    • Choy, Y., A.J. Fyer & J. Lipsitz. I (2007). Treatment of specific phobia in adults. Clinical Psychology Review. 27 (3): 266-286
    • Choy, Y., AJ Fyer and RD Goodwin.(2007) Specific Phobia and Depression: A Closer Look at the NCS Data. Comprehensive Psychiatry. 48 (2): 132-6
    • Choy, Y., FR Schneier, RG Heimberg, KS Oh, ML Liebowitz (2007) Features of the Offensive Subtype of TaijinKyoFusho in U.S. and Korean Patients with DSM-IV Social Anxiety Disorder. Depression and Anxiety 0: 1-11
    • Choy. Y. (2007) Managing Side Effects of Anxiolytics. Primary Psychiatry. 14 (7): 68-76
    • Choy, Y., ED Peselow, BG Case, MA Pressman, JA Luff, G Laje, M Paizis, P Ying, MT Guardino. (2007). Three-year medication prophylaxis of panic disorder: to continue or discontinue? A naturalistic study. Comprehensive Psychiatry. 48: 419-425
    • Choy, Y. (2006). The Anxious Patient. In: C. Bernstein, Z. Levin, M. Poag, M Rubinstein (Eds). On Call Psychiatry (3rd ed.): Elsevier.
    • Choy, Y. (2006). Telephone Consultation. In: C. Bernstein, Z. Levin, M. Poag, M Rubinstein (Eds). On Call Psychiatry (3rd ed.): Elsevier.

Psychology Interns and Postdoctoral Fellow

Greg Arbo, M.A., R.Y.T. Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology at Pacific University

Bio 

I am excited to have this opportunity to serve the UC Irvine community as a Doctoral Psychology Intern! Also serving the larger community as a registered yoga teacher, my psychotherapy practice is strongly informed by the mind-body connection—for example, noticing the psychological AND biological layers of anxiety. Through curiosity and kindheartedness, I also seek to develop students’ self-awareness to discover how their social, spiritual, and cultural layers intersect and interact with their mind and body. Life is complex and dynamic, which is why I believe a students’ awareness of how the multiple layers of their life intersect and interact provides them with the insight and inspiration necessary to grow. I wish you the best in your journey. Cheers!

Liaison: Athletics Department 

Mar Chung, M.A. (they/them or he/him pronouns) Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Counseling Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Bio

Welcome to the Counseling Center! In terms of therapy, I work from a interpersonal and social justice approach. I enjoy working with individuals to support them toward adaptive inter- and intrapersonal patterns, and incorporation of sociocultural identities to strengthen relationships. In the therapy room, I focus on development of the relationship, and strive to be warm, supportive, and authentic with clients. Through this work, knowledge and skills in the therapy can then be transferred to life. Regarding research, I'm interested in creating holistic understandings of others, and my dissertation is focused on creating a theory regarding nonbinary folx and disordered eating. I'm originally from the Bay Area, but have lived in Illinois for past five years. I like to sleep, read, analyze pop culture, and watch shows with characters I can connect to. I look forward to working together!

Liaison: TransCare Team

Publications

  • Chung, M., (2018, June). Why did he do it?: Theories of prejudice and violence against trans women. Oral presentation presented at International Congress of Applied Psychology Pre-Conference: Preaching to the Choir International LGBTQ PsychologyConference, Montréal, QC, CA.
  • Chung, M., & Knutson, D. (2018, June). It matters what you believe: Transgender affirmative therapy considerations. In N. J. Victor (Chair), Therapeutic factors in work with SOGI diverse clients and populations. Symposium to be presented at International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montréal, QC, CA. 
  • Wood, C. G., Payne, C., Chung, M. (2015, March). Advocating for action: Psychology and Ferguson. Roundtable discussion to be conducted at the meeting of the Association for Women in Psychology, San Francisco, CA.

Assia Ghoul, M.A. Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University

Bio

Salut, salaam alaikum, and hello! My name is Assia Ghoul and I’m one of the Doctoral Psychology Interns here at the Counseling Center. I’m really excited to work with college students from all walks of life. I enjoy working with people with various backgrounds and life experiences, and with a variety of concerns. I believe the work that students do in the therapy room is really important and often very difficult, so I aim to foster an environment where students can feel comfortable doing this work. I work collaboratively with students in order to support them as they take steps toward creating and living a fulfilling and meaningful life. I often used acceptance based techniques in order to help students to find a balance between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I hope you find what you are looking for in our counseling center, and I look forward to working with you!

Publication: Ghoul, A., Niwa, E. Y., & Boxer, P. (2013). The role of contingent self-worth in the relation between victimization and internalizing problems in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 36(3), 457-464.

Liaison: W-Hub

Julie Whipple, M.A. Doctoral Intern

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology

Bio

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I am excited to be working here this year as a Psychology Doctoral Intern. I have a passion for working with college aged students and am excited to be continuing this work here at UCI! I utilize a relational and multicultural lens in my work as a therapist and value creating a safe, open, and genuine space in the therapy room.  I am particularly interested in working with international students and students who have lived internationally at some point in their lives. My other clinical interests include trauma, identity formation, relationships, multiculturalism, anxiety and depression. I am originally from the Seattle area but also spent several years of my childhood living internationally. Most recently, I have been living in Pasadena, CA for the last 6 years. I look forward to meeting you!

Liaison: International Center 

Mallory Behar, Psy.D. Post-Doctoral Fellow

Mallory Behar, Psy.D.
Mallory Behar, Psy.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Graduate Program: Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

As a graduate of the University of California (UCLA) public school system, I am so grateful to be back part of the UC system and on a college campus working with students!

I am the current post-doctoral fellow here at UCI, and am particularly interested in working with individuals that are in crisis, or that have concerns related to anger, substance abuse, and trauma. I just spent the last year of my doctoral program at the California Institute of Women prison, and have seen the power that people have to change their lives. I work relationally and provide a genuine, open, and warm setting for therapy. I believe that many of our responses are automatic over time and we can become “stuck” in some of our maladaptive ways of relating. By working with a therapist, I have confidence in your ability to change the way you view yourself, and others, increasing your mood, and leading to more adaptive behaviors!

I am open to all ideas, cultures, and backgrounds, and hope to see you soon!

Publications

  • Balice, G., Aquino, S., Baer, S., Behar, M. et al. (2019).  A review of barriers to treating domestic violence for Middle Eastern women living in the United States. Psychol Cogn Sci Open J, 5(1), 30-36. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-5-146

Support Staff

Erika Anuskiewicz Interim Management Services Officer

Bio
Hello Anteaters!  I am the Counseling Center’s Interim Management Services Officer and have been with UCI and the Counseling Center since September 2018.  The majority of my professional career has been in human resources, marketing, and administration, but I have also gained a lot of valuable experience through many years of volunteering for community organizations.  I am responsible for ensuring that the behind the scenes operations of the Center are running smoothly and providing human resources support to the Staff.  I also supervise the Administrative Staff so you will probably see me answering the phones and helping out at the front desk from time to time.  I value the importance of higher education and have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC San Diego and a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Francisco State University.  I look forward to helping the center help you!

Linda Doan, MPH Center Compliance Coordinator

Bio

Hello and Welcome to the Counseling Center! I am devoted to improving the clinical workflow and daily operations of the center. I work predominantly in center wide quality assurance and process improvement initiatives including clinical audits, client satisfaction, and EMR technology. I currently hold a Master’s of Public Health in Healthcare Management and Policy. As a UCI alumna, I am excited to give back to the campus and ensure that students have access to quality services.

Jamie Jones Counseling Center Coordinator

Jamie Jones
Jamie Jones
Counseling Center Coordinator

Jamie Jones is the Counseling Center Coordinator and has been with UCI since 2004. She provides administrative support to the Counseling Center staff and is happy to assist students, staff and others with questions regarding the services offered by the Counseling Center. Jamie is also Green Dot certified and believes that UCI can be a leader in reducing violence on college campuses using proactive violence prevention strategies and good bystander intervention. Jamie also facilitates HealthRHYTHMS drum circles for various departments on campus for teambuilding and stress reduction. She has a B.B.A in Marketing from Texas Tech University and has many years of experience working in Academic settings here and abroad. She has also held positions working for large corporations and small businesses. She is happy to use her organizational, business and support skills to assist students and staff here at UCI.

Natasha Kaliski Interim Administrative Assistant

Bio

Welcome to the UCI Counseling Center! I feel honored to be a part of the welcoming staff here!  I was formerly an intensive supervision Juvenile Probation Officer for seven years in Washington, DC working with high-risk male youth facing felony charges in a program designed as an alternative to secure detention.  I returned to California after 13 years when I became a mother and am currently part of the Administrative team at UCI’s mental health Counseling Center. I graduated with a B.A. in Justice with a Minor in Spanish Language from The American University in Washington, DC in 2008, during which I also studied at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in Spain.  I have a combined 15 years of experience in administrative, legal and law enforcement services. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, I grew up on UCI’s campus since I was six years old as my mother is a UCI alum and I am happy to be back as a staff member to assist students with any questions regarding the Counseling Center’s services.  I am also now a graduate student in the School of Social Ecology’s Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law and Society. I am a multicultural staff member, being both Persian (Iranian), Serbo-Croatian and trilingual (English, Persian and Spanish) and as a staff member, multicultural student and a working mother, I understand the struggles and triumphs of balancing family, work and school.  Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of all the Counseling Center has to offer to make your time here at UCI the best it can be!

Denise Long Assistant to the Director

Denise Long
Denise Long
Assistant to the Director

Melissa Ramirez Administrative Assistant

Bio

As a UC alum, I know the struggle is real. Y como Latina, también conozco las presiones adicionales que tenemos de ser estudiantes. Let us at the Counseling Center help make this time of life transitions and personal growth a little easier! During my time working for the UC system, I’ve had the privilege of assisting students through my position as a Senior Event Manager at UC San Diego, as well as onboarding new student volunteers through the Department of Volunteer Services at UC San Diego Health. And now, I’m excited to be a part of the UCI Counseling Center team! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services in English, o en Español, and to schedule the best appointment for you on the phone or in person. So stop by our front desk, and listen closely! Chances are I’m playing Disney or Harry Potter instrumentals. 

Publications: Ramirez, Melissa. “Young at Heart.” Independent Bookstore Day Anthology, University of California, San Diego, 2016.

Victoria Tibbetts Administrative Assistant

Bio

As one of the Counseling Center’s front desk staff, I enjoy getting to interact with all the students who call us or come through our doors, and to help them find the type of services that are right for them.  Feel free to reach out to us if you’re ever in need of a little help; that’s what we’re here for!