Thuy Nguyen, Ph.D., LPCC
In October of 1975, I came to America when I was two years old. Having escaped Laos after the fall of Saigon, my family was considered the first wave of “boat people.” We ended up in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, where my parents still live. I went to the University of North Texas from my undergraduate years through my doctoral degree. When I left Nacogdoches to go to college, I was amazed at how open-minded people were outside of that little town.
I am very playful, I have a strange sense of humor, and I have been known to be quite a mischievous prankster. I consider myself a planner who is both spontaneous and flexible. I enjoy traveling, exploring new places, and trying new things. My favorite adventure was traveling through Vietnam without an itinerary for three weeks. My husband and I started out in Saigon and ended up in Hanoi never knowing where we might be the next day.
I cook everything from Thai food to Swedish food to Southern food. In the future, I would like to get a culinary arts degree and take some photography classes. Although I am not artistically or musically gifted, I enjoy both.
In terms of my work experience, I have worked primarily in community agencies. For three years I worked at a child advocacy center that investigated allegations of child sexual abuse and extreme physical abuse. I collaborated with child protective services, law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and mental health professionals in investigating allegations and helping to meet the needs of the families. I provided a variety of counseling services to the families. These services included individual therapy for the alleged victims and any non-offending family members, play therapy, group therapy for adolescent girls, and a ‘mothers of incest victims’ group.
I was also a school counselor for both campuses of a public charter school for pre-k through 12th grade. One campus was a Title I school with predominately African-American students while the other campus served predominately upper-class Caucasian students. The experience of dealing with two very different campuses simultaneously was a valuable one. It reminded me that people have diverse needs, lifestyles, cultures, and struggles, and that I need to be sensitive to these differences.
My favorite classes to teach are those that allow the students to develop and practice their counseling skills, such as Pre-practicum, Practicum, play therapy, sand tray therapy, and other expressive arts. These are my favorites because I believe that these classes can make the difference in producing excellent instead of mediocre counselors. Although supervising counseling students can be very demanding and challenging, I want to be a part of their growth experience. I try to teach self-awareness in all of my classes and to promote having real relationships with those we interact with.