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Empowering Immigrant Families – Alyssa Vu's Culturally Competent Mental Health Services In NYC

Meet Alyssa Vu, LCSW, a New York City-based therapist and founder of YourPlace Therapy. Specializing in Asian-American and immigrant family mental health, Alyssa offers expert, culturally sensitive support for anxiety, depression, and trauma. Discover her unique approach to enhancing the mental well-being of Vietnamese American communities and other immigrant families.


Image photo of Alyssa Vu

Alyssa Vu, Founder of YourPlace Therapy


Introduce yourself! Tell us a bit about you so we can get to know you better.


I’m Alyssa Vu, the founder of YourPlace Therapy and a therapist. I work with a lot of people who have been impacted by the immigrant experience, as I’m a second-generation Asian-American. I mainly work with adults and families dealing with challenges like anxiety, depression, and trauma, drawing from my background to connect and support. I earned my Master of Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University and have worked in diverse community settings from the Bay Area to New York City. Currently, I’m diving deeper into my passion at University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a Doctorate of Clinical Social Work to study Vietnamese immigrant families and how their unique relationships can affect mental health. When I’m off duty, you might catch me wandering the world in different cities, hunting down the tastiest treats or sipping on some boba


Tell us the story behind your practice’s name. What’s the purpose and mission of YourPlace Therapy?


YourPlace began during the pandemic when therapy had to transition online. Rather than clients meeting their therapists in person at their office, our practice had to transition into creating the client's home a space where it felt safe and comfortable enough to engage in therapy. Our mission and purpose, let's start with where you're at, also alludes to the premise of YourPlace, where our therapists would meet our clients with where they are at mentally, spiritually, and emotionally and work with where clients are ready to start. YourPlace aims to provide accessible culturally respectful care to our community, particularly those who identify as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI).


We invite anyone and everyone to join in increasing mental health awareness, but we especially want to reach AAPI folx to increase representation in mental health within our community.


What led you to the world of mental health practice? Why did you choose to start YourPlace Therapy?


When I first started out, I asked the classic “What do I want to do with my life?” As a high school student, I’ve always wanted to help people. I quickly realized that there are so many ways to help people, but everything we do when we help people requires us to listen and understand people and the problem, which is the crux of therapy. I realized that a lot of people share similar emotions and feelings, but may have different experiences and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. YourPlace aims to do just that - we want to help clients better understand and learn where they are at with their lives and how their behaviors and environments influence them to get a better sense of their mental health.


What does YourPlace Therapy specialize in, and what services are provided?


We provide psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and families as well as mentorship opportunities for those who are interested in mental health. We want to be as accessible as possible and offer in-person and online services as well as sliding scale fees for those who face financial challenges but need therapy. We are also part of a larger collective of AAPI clinicians in NYC, which allows us to share a wealth of knowledge, resources, and opportunities with our clients. It’s also important for us to provide opportunities for our community to learn more about mental health and how to be involved, so we’re launching a student internship program this summer for AAPI students!


What’s something, not many people may know about being an AAPI clinician or AAPI mental health?


The AAPI community encompasses diverse backgrounds, cultures, and stories from each client and family. It is important to recognize that the immigrant experience connects different AAPI communities and represents a narrative shaped by people’s context. We as clinicians need to practice cultural humility to understand this experience: being open to learning and practicing respect for cultures that aren’t ours.


Many AAPI communities emphasize the family unit. There is a belief that individuals are not just their own but represent a collective, which means that they belong to a rich and interconnected web of relationships. However, sometimes, representing a collective and/or a family means you may carry the burden of staying within rigid boundaries that might only sometimes be aligned with the experiences children of immigrants often have to navigate. Being an AAPI clinician is important to us at YourPlace because many of us share the same vision of making mental health accessible to our community! All of us are deeply inspired to be a part of the mental health world and bring in our own experiences to heal and share with the world.


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