This month, we are honored to highlight a Kaiser Permanente Counseling Center (KPCC) trainee, Xi Chen (she/her/hers). Xi is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling at Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences (KPSAHS), where she is in her second year. She became a KPCC trainee in May 2022, and through KPCC has received clinical training and experiences to prepare her for a career as an MFT.
Like many KPCC trainees, Xi got her start in a different sector of healthcare. She has been working as a medical assistant for 4.5 years, and over time has increasingly realized the role that mental health plays in physical health. Her experiences as a medical assistant motivated her to go back to school to uncover new ways of incorporating mental health needs into medical care. Xi believes that filling the mental health gaps in medical care can produce better health outcomes overall.
Xi has greatly valued her training experiences with KPCC. As a former OB/GYN medical assistant, advocating for women’s health holds an important place in Xi’s heart. This training year, she worked with a Kaiser member who struggled with infertility and recently became pregnant. Xi reported that she became aware of the power of providing collaborative care within an integrated health care system as she assisted this patient. Although the patient had a number of health-related needs, Xi noted that she was easily able to focus on helping her patient to develop coping skills and practice mindfulness to reduce anxiety, knowing that her patient’s other healthcare needs were being addressed by members of the care team.
Another highlight for Xi has been being able to provide mental health services in Cantonese while training at KPCC. In her role as a QBS-certified medical assistant at KP San Francisco Xi has been providing services to patients at KP in Cantonese. When she began her training at KPCC, she reached out to KPCC Director Aaron Trinh, Psy.D., and expressed her interest in serving the Asian community and providing therapy in Cantonese. In response to this request, Dr. Trinh not only supported Xi in beginning this work at KPCC, but provided bilingual clinical supervision in Cantonese himself so that she could have this important learning experience. Xi is currently working with her second Cantonese patient and is extremely grateful for the resources provided to her by KPCC, the flexibility of the KPCC training, and KP’s commitment to delivering healthcare with a diverse population. She reported that this was an enormous advantage that set KPCC apart from other training programs she considered.
Xi hopes to have a long future in integrative health! She hopes to continue working on integrating mental health services into the healthcare system, holding the space for all patients with needs and contributing to providing integrative mental health services to the Chinese community. She believes that providing psychoeducation, de-stigmatization, and normalization of people’s emotional needs will have a great impact on health outcomes.
When asked what she enjoys doing in her free time, Xi responded, “long answer: I love keeping myself occupied even when I have free time, but with things that make life lively… short answer: food.” 😀 Xi is on track to graduate with her MS in Counseling this September! Congratulations Xi, and thank you for all you do for our patients, for your colleagues, and for our community!
Contributed by Micaela Birt, Psy.D.