Psychotherapist/ Dance Movement Therapist

weiorigPhilosophy and Values

We are all different and we are all the same. We are different in various ways, such as family history, cultural background, languages, gender identities, sexual orientation, and values. Meanwhile, we are all the same because we desire acceptance, respect, connections, and love, regardless of the differences between us. I believe that the power of acceptance and connection brings us healing and courage to move forward. As a dance/movement therapist and psychotherapist, I also believe that the answers that we yearn for in our lives exist in our bodies. Our bodies receive messages from the environment faster than our brains; however, we tend to interpret the messages in our brains instead of in our bodies. While we spend time being with our bodies, we learn the wisdom from our own bodies—acceptance, strengths, love, and healing. Additionally, I believe that while our society teaches us to be critical, we often ignore the parts of us who need encouragement and validation. Therefore, advocating for self-empowerment and self-compassion is also central to my practice.

Therapy

I assume that when one pursues therapy, one recognizes that something in his/her/their life is not working and wants something to be different. To me, therapy is a process to explore who we are and make positive changes in ourselves. A therapy process can be heavy because we are taking time to look inside ourselves and learn to accept who we are. However, a therapy process can also be creative and fun because we use our imagination, symbolism, and creativity to explore the potentials in our bodies that we have never known. As I value relationships and connections, I consider that the therapy process starts from establishing a new relationship among two people, me and a client. In establishing this relationship, I offer active listening and empathy when listening to a client. I also observe how one relates to and views oneself. I hold a strong belief that healing arises from a healthy relationship with the self and strong connections with others. As a dance/movement therapist, I often utilize body-based interventions, which increases our body awareness and connections to our bodies. The body holds the answers that one needs.

Education and Experiences

While completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from National Cheng-Chi University in Taiwan, I accompanied my roommate throughout her journey coping with mental illness and suicide attempts. As I held my dream to become a counselor, I realized that words were not enough to serve us. I then changed my career to teaching dance, and found that I was able to empower my students and help them create joy and connections with others in my dance classes. Later on, I heard about dance/movement therapy and counseling and decided to pursue this career combining my two passions: counseling and dance/movement. I then moved to America in 2011 for the Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling graduate program at Columbia College Chicago. After the graduate program, I completed another certificate in movement analysis (Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis), which helps me to access the body’s responses to emotions and create movement interventions to increase the body’s adaptability to the environment.
My very first professional experience in the mental health field was helping adults with chronic mental illness return to employment through occupational trainings. I also worked with children aged 3-5 with Cerebral Palsy and vision impairment using therapeutic movement and touch cues to help them explore the world around them. During my training at Columbia College Chicago, I interned in the Intensive Outpatient Program for adults with mental illness at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago and in the New Focus Program for adults with brain injuries at the Anixter Center in Chicago. After graduation, I provided psychotherapy and dance/movement therapy services for Chicago Public Housing residents. I then transitioned to Linden Oaks at Edward hospital in Naperville, IL and worked with patients aged 12 to over 100 with various diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, chemical dependency, and dementia.

Range of Focus

• Dance/Movement Therapy
• Body/Mind Connection
• Suicide Prevention & Past Suicide Attempts
• Immigration and Acculturation
• Trauma Recovery
• Loss or Grief
• Relationship Issues
• Life Transitions
• Adolescents, Adults, Older Adults
• Stress Management for Families touched by Dementia
• Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Anxiety
• Brain Injury

Languages

English, Mandarin, Taiwanese

Degrees, Licensure, and Certificate

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois
Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT)
Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis (GL-CMA)
MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling – Columbia College Chicago
BA in Psychology – National Chung-Chi University in Taiwan

Availability

Lakeview: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays
Downtown: Thursdays
Evanston: Mondays
Please call or email for availability.

Professional Presentations

Chen-Martinez, Wei-Chiung & Palafox, Ashlea(2016). Harnessing self-compassion through dance/movement therapy. Live Professional CEU Seminar at Linden Oaks at Edward hospital, Naperville, IL.
Chen, Wei-Chiung (2014). The effects of dance/movement therapy on short-term memory. Professional seminar at the 49th American Dance Therapy Association Conference, Chicago, IL.

Office Locations

Lakeview Office
1300 W. Belmont, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60657
Downtown Office
30 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 508, Chicago, IL 60602
Evanston Office
1740 Ridge Ave., Suite 218, Evanston, IL 60201

Contact Information
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773-880-1310 ext. 7623