Tag Archives: Counselling & Psychotherapy in Canada

Counselling Obtsacles for the Immigrant

Posted by: Hailing Huang on August 30, 2013 2:41 pm

The obstacles of receiving counselling service that many people are facing today such as high cost, long waiting list, and distant location are also the obstacles for immigrant population.  As for the immigrant population, there is another obstacle that they have to face is that  they lack of the knowledge about counselling. Most of immigrant do not receive or heard of this kind of services in the countries that they came from; counselling services are an unfamiliar term for them to grab.

During the past 30 years, counselling topics have branched out to many areas of life issues such as: parenting, communication skills, self-esteem and others. Counselling services no longer focuses on pathological issues, dysfunctional patterns, personality disorders or mood disorders, depression and anxieties. At the same time, the immigrant population does not have the same lever of understanding about counselling as North American’s populations have. 

In order to invite immigrants to receive counselling, immigrants have to be educated first.  Education also means focusing on prevention instead of intervention, with the knowledge of self care, they could integrate into local culture more smoothly with fewer struggles and become more efficient in the workforce for society.

Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Report Cards – To Praise or Not to Praise?

Posted by: Hailing Huang on July 9, 2013 4:05 pm

The end of June has arrived, and with it is the end of another school year; kids bring home their report cards with joy or with sorrow. Chinese parents, whether they are in China or in Canada, always seem attentive to their children’s report card.

A few days ago, I spoke with a friend in Fuzhou China, she said: “This is the last year of my son’s elementary school, even though he performed well during the whole school year, the last exam will determine which school he will go to for junior high.” The last exam means a lot for students and their parents in China. Yesterday, a local Chinese parent, asked me: “Do you mind if your daughter get Bs?”  It seems Chinese parents are always on the alert when it comes to their children’s grades.

This phenomenon reminds me of Amy Chua, the author of ‘Tiger Mom’, when she said, that she demands excellence from her daughters; she assumes the strength rather than fragility. We may not agree with Amy Chua’s harsh discipline, but the reason behind her action may ring a bell for most Chinese mothers: the common desire of having high academic expectations for their children.

Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Spirited Child and Tiger Mother

Posted by: Hailing Huang on May 23, 2013 4:34 pm

Two years ago, Amy Chua author of” Battle Hymn of Tiger mother” stirred up a heated debate about the Eastern parenting vs the Western parenting

For immigrant parents this raises an important question that requires conscious reflection and deliberation: how do we parent? Some argue that we should not judge the different approaches, only the outcome counts. Yet as responsible parents, we do want to assess the potential outcomes of each approach. Parenting is not only an art , it is also a science.

‘Spirited Child’ is a label that Mary Kurcinka gives to the ‘difficult child’. Naming is the way we view our child, when we name them as difficult, they become a problem; while when we name them as ‘Spirited Child’, we see them as gifted. This is a strength based approach.

In her book, ‘Raising your Spirited Child’ Mary Kurchina illustrates the nine types of temperaments of a ‘spirited child’.  Through vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint, Mary Kurcinka offers parents strategies for handling their spirited child.  The description of spirited child reminded me of Amy Chua’s portrayal of her second daughter Lulu in ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’. Lulu exhibited many of the characteristics of a spirited child. For instance, she displays high levels of persistency, intensity, and perceptiveness… I wonder, if Amy Chua had understood her daughter’s temperaments from this viewpoint, would she have treated her second daughter differently, with less harshness.

As Mary said “identifying your child’s temperamental traits is like taking an X ray. It helps you to understand what is going on inside of your child so you can understand how he is reacting to the world around him and why. Once you understand the reasons behind his response, you can learn to work with them.”

Amy Chua, author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom”, is a mother of two daughters and a professor from Yale University. Although Amy Chua was born and raised in America, she insisted that she would apply a traditional Chinese parenting approach, a style which is rigid and strict.  She demanded excellence from her daughters. For instance; they could not attend a sleepover, have a play date, watch TV or play computer games, be in a school play or get any grade less than an A.

Many people have criticized Ms Chua’s dictatorship style of parenting. But Amy Chua says that was the way her parents raised her and her three sisters. And all of them felt grateful for what their parents had given them.  Her diligent and rigid approach only backfired with her second daughter Lulu. At the age of 13 Lulu’ rebelled against her mother’s demands. This took the form of shouting at her mother in public “I hate my life! I hate you!”  It was at this point that Ms Chua says she decided to retreat.

On the one hand we do  admire Amy Chua’s courageous  candor with disclosing her shadow  side of parenting,  and it is through her disclosure of ‘ dirty laundry” ,  that we are able to know and learn  about her approach and reflect on  our approach. On the other hand, from Amy Chua’s experience, we also learn that there is no universal way of parenting. One approach may work out well in one generation or with one child; it may not work out well for another child. As much as we want our children to be adaptable to the new environment, we, as parents need to be open minded and adjust our approach accordingly.

During the last thirty years, many valuable parenting books are available for today’s parents, such as John Gottman’s ‘ Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child,’ Dr Thomas Gordon, P.E.T (Parents Effective Training), John Gray’s Children Are From Heaven, Michael Popkin’s Active Parenting Today, and Mary Kurcinka ‘s Spirited Child, and many more.   We have gained more knowledge about the various behaviors, cognitive functioning, or their emotional needs of our children. Updated knowledge has helped us to better understand our children’s needs at each stage of development, and their temperaments. As today’s parents, no matter where we are from and where we are stay, we are able to be better equipped and   do not have to rigidly follow what our parents have handed down.

Rachel Remen has a wonderful saying about gardening, and  it can also apply to parenting:  ‘No master gardener every made a rose. When its needs are met a rose bush will make roses. Gardeners collaborate and provide conditions which favor this outcome. And as anyone who has ever pruned a rosebush knows, life flows through every rosebush in a slightly different way.’

Hailing Huang , MA


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

A Day of Glass

Posted by: Hailing Huang on March 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Recently, a friend sent a link: A Day of Glass. It is a commercial made by Expanded Corning Vision. It illustrates the conveniences that an advanced device can bring. For example: in the bedroom, the small device- like iPod attached to the huge glass, the glass becomes a giant iPod screen; in the kitchen, washroom, even in car, the device can function as phone, iPod, GPS, camera, TV etc. So you can use it everywhere, and you can get information, or connect with anyone at a touch. The functions are endless.

I was amazed by the possibility of what technology can bring. While, in the meantime, I also question: with this device, we should be more versatile in our ability to multi task- right? Can we really do more at one time? Cooking, answering the phone, and thinking about the next meeting?

As Edward Hallowell, the attention deficit disorder expert pointed out that: ‘Crazy busy’    becomes the modern phenomenon of brain overload. We have plunged ourselves into a mad rush of activity, expecting our brains to keep track of more than they comfortably or effectively can. Nowadays, is anyone not busy? Or not feel like they’re running behind? Or the calendar is not loaded with more than they can accomplish?

Most of us often struggle to achieve a higher income, more recognition or a certain degree of professional competence. It is amazingly easy to get caught in the trap of working harder and harder to climb the ladder of success.

While we can be very busy, we can be very efficient. However, if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, then every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster, right?
What about creativity, mental well being and the ability to focus on what truly matters?

The question that I would like to invite us to think about is should we slow down in order to catch the speed of life? Can we achieve more by doing less?

Hailing Huang, MA, CCC

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA