About

My Story

 

I was born in the United States, but I spent the majority of my childhood and adolescence in Taiwan. Growing up bicultural and bicontinental, I experienced many of the struggles as well as the benefits that come from navigating multiple roles in my family and community. I became interested in becoming a therapist to bring intra- and interpersonal dynamics into an open realm in which assumptions, expectations, and emotions could be shared. Through this process in which the implicit is made explicit, I have witnessed my own life as well as my clients' lives improve through better communication, stronger connections, and healing from past traumas.

I believe that people are so much more than their roles in their families, jobs, or communities, and I strive to live a well-rounded life balancing work commitments with personal passions. When I'm not in the therapy room, you can find me with a camera in my hand, exploring restaurants or coffee shops in Chicago, or practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I also shoot headshots for other therapists.

My Philosophy

 

I believe that psychotherapy is a deeply personal endeavor that has the potential to enact positive, life-long changes. In therapy, I explore the ways that your past and present relationships impact you, and help you connect with your community in ways that facilitate the change you wish to achieve. As a relational therapist, I also believe that one of the most important platforms for change comes from the therapist-client relationship itself. In my practice, I therefore strive to connect with all my clients in a genuine and meaningful way. I am not removed or disconnected from the therapy process; I enjoy getting to know every client I meet, and clients can expect me to be compassionate, empathetic, and even humorous in appropriate situations. I aim to create an atmosphere of collaboration and creativity in which personal growth and healing can occur.

My Training & Experience

I received my Bachelors degree in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University. I then earned my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University, where I learned to utilize a systemic, problem-centered therapeutic framework. In graduate school, I focused on working with adults dealing with anxiety and depression, couples conflict resolution, and children and adolescents with behavioral issues. After receiving my Masters, I have continued to work in community mental health and behavioral health settings, supporting children and adults struggling with issues such as suicidality, aggressive behaviors, anxiety, mood disorders, and trauma.

 

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) licensed to practice in the state of Illinois. I am a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and a professional member of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA). In addition, I am an AAMFT-approved supervisor and have provided many years of clinical case supervision to graduate-level therapists.

photo by Anjali Pinto

Amy Wu, MS, LMFT

 

Amy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who offers individual and family therapy. Her areas of clinical focus include:

 

  • Adolescents and young adults

  • Inter-cultural couples and families

  • Cross-cultural kids (CCKs) and their families

 

Services

Initial Phone Consultation

Prior to our first session, I provide a free phone consultation to begin to get to know you, as well as discuss some of the reasons why you are seeking therapy. This is also your opportunity to ask me questions about the therapy process, bring up any concerns about treatment, and gauge whether you feel comfortable with me. As therapy progresses, we will continue to build a sense of trust within the therapeutic relationship.

Please also take a look at the answers to frequently asked questions about setting up an initial appointment.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Individual Therapy

 

I meet with many adolescents and adults one-on-one to discuss issues such as:

 

  • depression, anxiety, or other mood issues

  • past traumatic experiences

  • career, relationship, or other life transition questions
     

Individual therapy is a safe space for you to begin to explore how your family history impacts your choices and current behaviors.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Couples Therapy

 

Couples of all sexual orientations and gender presentations in different stages of their relationship often come to see me for help with:

 

  • improving communication

  • conflict resolution

  • relationship transitions such as engagement, marriage, or parenthood
     

Couples therapy is a neutral place for both partners to be able to express their feelings and receive validation for their experiences. At times, each member of a couple may be seen for individual sessions.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Family Therapy

Many families make appointments with me to address concerns regarding:

 

  • conflict between parents and/or siblings

  • children's behavioral issues at home or school

  • major life changes such as re-marriage, divorce, or death
     

Meeting with the entire family, or at times with certain subsets of family members, can be extremely helpful to understand relational dynamics that may be contributing to the problem. Family members can also work together to identify and maintain positive changes.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Parent & Caregiver Support

Parents and caregivers managing a child or adolescent with behavioral or mental health symptoms can experience many difficulties. I offer sessions to parents and caregivers to address common issues such as:

 

  • caregiver burn-out

  • family accommodation

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

School Consultations

With parents' permission, I am available to work closely with their child's school staff, such as teachers and school counselors, to address any issues related to:

 

  • academic achievement

  • behavioral problems in the classroom

  • peer relationships

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Community Support & Referrals

I believe that your community can be a great source of support, and I help you identify ways in which you can get connected to your local organizations and agencies to further your treatment goals. If for any reason you have a concern that I am unable to address, I also provide referrals to other professionals who would be able to help you.

 
 

Areas of Clinical Focus:

Navigating Challenges Related to Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Identity

With my bicultural and bicontinental background, I am particularly perceptive to challenges related to ethnic identity and acculturation. An individual's culture is not limited to his or her racial or ethnic identity; to me, one's culture also encompasses religious beliefs, gender and sexual identity, geographic upbringing, language abilities, and the variety of aspects that shape us as human beings!

 

I enjoy meeting clients of all different backgrounds who are interested in exploring the ways in which their experiences have impacted their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. 

 

Some examples of the ways in which cultural issues can be brought into therapy include (but are certainly not limited to!):

 

  • Bi/multi-cultural/racial individuals, third culture kids (TCKs), or international students exploring their relationships with multiple cultures

  • Inter-cultural couples (inter-racial, inter-ethnic, inter-faith) navigating relationships with their families of origin or discussing traditions to incorporate in their own families

  • First-generation immigrant parents wishing to improve communication with and connection to their second-generation children; or vice versa

 

By creating an open and inviting forum in which we can be curious about culture together, I hope to also provide all clients the opportunity to dispel stereotypes, tell their own stories, and re-write their narratives.

 

Cross-Cultural Kids (CCKs)

 

Cross-cultural kids (CCKs) are those who have "lived in--or meaningfully interacted with--two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years" (Pollack & Reken, 2002). This term is an expansion upon the idea of the third culture kid (TCK), children who are predominantly raised in a culture different from their parents' during their developmental years. As David Pollock describes: TCKs and CCKs are "raised in a neither/nor world. It is neither fully the world of their parents' culture (or cultures) nor fully the world of the other culture (or cultures) in which they were raised." Essentially, CCKs exist in their own world of cultural in-between-ness.

 

CCKs include traditional TCKs whose parents move to another country, bi/multi-cultural children, bi/multi-racial children, children of refugees, children of minorities, international adoptees, and domestic TCKs whose parents moved amongst various subcultures within one country.

 

CCKs tend to be highly resilient and open-minded. However, because of their adaptability, CCKs may go unnoticed when they are struggling. Along with many other researchers and professionals, I view that these depressive symptoms are related to the silent grieving of multiple losses and transitions that CCKs experience. This impacts the individual's sense of identity and feeling of belonging, which in turn influence in the ways individuals approach emotional regulation, friendships and intimate relationships, and parenting. 

 

As a CCK myself, I celebrate the many joys and benefits of my multi-cultural background, but I am also aware of the difficulties that a culturally and geographically mobile upbringing can create. In my work as a therapist, I am especially drawn to the unique challenges that CCKs experience. CCKs sometimes might feel like no one quite understands what it was like being raised like them. My therapy room is a safe space for CCKs and their families to share with me parts of their extraordinary lives, each different from the other.

 

 

References and Resources

 

Bell-Villada, G. H., Sichel, N., Eidse, F., & Orr, E. N. (2011). Writing out of limbo: International childhoods, global nomads and third culture kids. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Pub.

 

Pollock, D.C., & Van Reken, R.E. (2009). Third culture kids: The experience of growing up among worlds. Boston: Nicholas Brealy.

 

Sheard, W (2008). "Lessons from our kissing cousins: Third culture kids and gifted children". Roeper Review: A Journal on Gifted Education 30 (1): 31–38. doi:10.1080/02783190701836437.

 

Sichel, N. (2014, June 20). The trouble with third culture kids. Retrieved from http://www.cmhnetwork.org/media-center/morning-zen/the-trouble-with-third-culture-kids

Van Reken, R. (2017). Third culture kids: Prototypes for understanding other cross-cultural kids. Retrieved from http://www.crossculturalkid.org/who-are-cross-cultural-kids

Contact

8800 Bronx Ave. Suite 100D, Skokie, IL 60077

Free street parking  Right off I-94 exit  Close to CTA Yellow Line and Pace bus

amywutherapy@gmail.com • 646-464-2556

You can also contact me directly by filling out the form below, and I will respond to your message within 24 hours. Please note that this is a general inquiry form. For your own privacy, please do not include confidential health information. As I often receive blank spam messages, please include a brief sentence or two in the message box to ensure a resp