NEWS & UPDATES FROM THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY
Spotlight: A Member's Journey - Albert Chan
Has your curiosity ever led you to wonder what your colleagues internationally may be up to? It is no secret that MFTs all across the globe are impacting the world positively by utilizing their unique skills, enhanced by tools provided by their AAMFT membership. Take your mind on a mini virtual vacation as AAMFT dives into an interview with Dr. Albert Chan, an MFT trained under the Canadian MFT pioneer Dr. Claude Guldner, and resides in China!
Dr. Chan “picked up MFT at its Golden Age in the 80s” while attending McGill University. “After returning to the East and [being influenced to] practice psychotherapy,” Dr. Chan was shocked to see that even though systemic approaches to therapy were more appropriate culturally, “the dominant individual approach of psychotherapy” still led the way in China. He attributes this to a few different things; one, he believes younger therapists tend to see the family systemic approach as more “complex and difficult to master,” and two, the limited marriage and family therapy training programs to train family therapists around the world. Reflecting on his academic life, Dr. Chan obtained his PhD hoping that “having a PhD with [his] teaching track records, will [enable him to] develop more MFT programs in Asia.” Though already working to make strides in Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Cambodia and Mongolia Republic, he hopes systemic trainings will continue to spread across the region.
Despite obtaining his education in Canada, Dr. Chan has always pursued his passion of working with “all sorts of clienteles, all ages, from children to elderly with diverse cultural backgrounds—Chinese (Taiwanese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Chinese of Republic of China), Filipino, Polish, French, Canadian, American, British, Mongolian, Vietnamese, Russian, Taiwanese Chinese, and Ethiopian. This diversity in and of itself and “witnessing [client] changes through their therapeutic journey” while enriching his own life experiences is why Dr. Chan continues to spread the knowledge and MFT approach in the East. However, he is passionate that “the profession needs to be reinventing itself to adjust and adapt to the never-ending evolution of human needs with their culture from generations to generations. The torch can only be passed on when we have an open mind to provide for the younger generations without compromising the values and standards of the MFT profession.”
Dr. Chan, who is currently the AAMFT Volunteer Education Liaison to China, when asked about his membership journey with AAMFT, instantaneously spoke of his love for supervision. “My favorite part is supervising new students to become AAMFT members and to provide trainings to others by sharing my experiences.” He has also found the MFT ethical standards extremely helpful as he has navigated his MFT journey from Canada to China, and beyond. This international journey has not been easy. Dr. Chan’s passion to pass down MFT values and teachings internationally has proven to be difficult. “I have no influence to raise any macro changes, but in a small way, I can help those who suffer and teach those willing to take up the torch for the profession and for the next generation and for the Chinese communities to be equipped with mindful MFT professionals.” Dr. Chan encourages all MFTs to expand beyond their own four walls and to explore possibilities that may seem intimidating.