Asha Stephen, PhD

Groups Coordinator, Senior Staff PsychologistAsha Stephen

Professional Interests

My therapeutic interests include a wide variety of student concerns such as working with students on addressing relationship concerns, family of origin related concerns, identity development, emotion management, and adjustment and acculturation. I enjoy working with international students, students of non-traditional age and students of color. I am also a member of the Transgender Care Team and enjoy working with students who are transgender. I am very passionate about groups and am always fascinated by the powerful potential for change in a group therapy setting. I coordinate the Group Therapy program at the University Counseling and Testing Center (UCTC). I have a personal and professional zeal for multiculturalism and social justice issues, and working at the UCTC has enabled me to foster these interests. I hold both privileged and marginalized identities, and I work towards continuing to evolve a greater understanding of my own biases and power, while also striving to raise awareness within the university community through my clinical and outreach work.

Theoretical Orientation and Therapy Approach

Yalom calls therapy a “gift” for both the therapist and the client. I believe that the essence of this gift lies in the counselor-client relationship. My goal with each of my clients is to form a collaborative, open, and honest therapeutic alliance that will allow them to feel accepted and safe. In working with clients, I assume a phenomenological approach. Each individual has a unique perspective on life, and in order to engage in effective counseling, I believe that it is vital to explore the client’s values, understanding of the world, and interpretation of life experiences. I consider myself to be an integrative therapist, with strong influences from interpersonal, cognitive behavioral, and emotion-focused theories, along with an emphasis on a multicultural and feminist perspective. From this lens, I consider how the therapeutic relationship might be analogous to the client’s relationships outside the therapeutic environment. This allows me to use my interpersonal dynamic with the client as a powerful therapeutic tool. In conceptualizing the client, I also consider possible cognitive distortions, core beliefs, and thought schemas. Furthermore, I believe that one of my primary roles with the client is to facilitate the awareness and acceptance of emotion, and to assist the client in making use of this awareness to identify and challenge unhealthy emotional responses. In my work with clients, I draw on interventions rooted in a multitude of counseling theories including experiential interventions, art therapy, use of here-and-now feedback, guided imagery, and more.

Supervision Approach and Model

I believe that training and supervision is one of the most important programs that the UCTC offers, and I am delighted to be part of it. My approach to supervision is developmental and collaborative. I strive to create a safe environment for my supervisee to be able to examine the reciprocal impact that therapeutic work and their own values, biases, and worldviews have on each other. In addition to working with supervisees on their therapeutic work with clients, I also work on fostering their professional interests and providing support on their professional journey. My supervision approach tends to be one of guided and collaborative autonomy. I endeavor to empower my supervisees in their therapeutic and agency work, and am strengths-focused in my relationship with them.