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California State University Fullerton
Department of Counseling

Nancy Nguyen, Ph.D.Nancy Nguyen, Ph.D., LMFT

I am a native of Southern California, specifically Orange County California. I am the daughter of two Vietnamese immigrants, my father arriving here after the fall of Saigon in 1975, while my mother is a Vietnamese boatperson. I consider myself bicultural, being fluent in both English and Vietnamese and balancing my Vietnamese heritage with growing up in the United States. Example, I grew up eating my spaghetti with chopsticks. I was fortunate enough to grow up in one of the largest population concentrations of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. This also powered my desire to give back to the community from which I came from.

I graduated from CSU Fullerton with B.S. in Human Services, with a minor in Criminal Justice magna cum laude. I then continued to obtain my M.S. in Counseling at CSU Fullerton in the Counseling Program. After some time working and noticing gaps in service research and practice, I went back to school at The Pennsylvania State University and obtained my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision.

My clinical experiences have ranged from working with children and their families inschool and community mental health clinics to a variety of individual needs of college students and adults including depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse/dependence. Settings where I completed clinical work include the Orange County (OC) HeadStart preschool program, Western Youth Services community mental health clinic, CEDAR clinic at Penn State University, OC HealthCare Agency Adult Mental Health services, and ChildNet Youth and family services. All included individual, family and group counseling. These experiences have built on my training in evidenced based practices including, Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Integrative Complex Trauma Treatment, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). As a practitioner, I have specialized in working with the Vietnamese American population, and have a passion for practitioner based research as I advocate for outreach and engagement for counseling services with this underserved population. I have also pioneered the delivery of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with Vietnamese American families, and in the process of developing training material for other clinicians. I also supervise, having developed a supervision group for a Vietnamese American group of interns, psychologists, and clinicians to provide ethnic specific services, program development, and peer mentoring.

While at Penn State, I taught courses in Child Counseling and Family Counseling. I was also part of an international collaboration called “Counseling without Borders” with Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey to provide some teaching on play therapy there. I was honored to come back and teach at CSU Fullerton for the HUSR/COUN 350 Leadership in the Helping Professions course, and even more honored to now come back and teach courses in the counseling program that I graduated from.

My future research includes the work I have already completed in the area of children’s mental health, diversifying counselor education, and international aspects of counselor education.  My passion is to focus research on improving access and outreach to underserved populations in counseling and underrepresented populations in counselor education. This research includes my dissertation on Vietnamese American family’s perceptions of children’s mental health, how culture impacts utilization of mental health services using a case study approach with phenomenological aspects that incorporated participant narratives. Feel free to pick my brain about it and would love to hear about your experience!

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