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Featured Therapist Interview
Dr. Chandler Chang (she/her/hers) is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Los Angeles since 2008. In addition to her work with individual therapy clients, Dr. Chang owns and manages two group practices, Golden Hour Therapy and Therapy Lab. Golden Hour Therapy is a group practice offering evidence-based treatments to children, teens, and young adults. Specialties include anxiety, depression, tic disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and oppositional behaviors that call for family intervention and parent training. In this setting, Dr. Chang focuses on anxiety and mood disorders, and she enjoys educating families in how to use brief interventions for long-term, sustainable impact. Golden Hour Therapy offers telehealth sessions for individual and families, and in-office services will be available when safe.
In addition to her work with families and children at GHT, Dr. Chang launched Therapy Lab in 2018 as a way to reimagine the traditional format in which therapy is offered. By creating a “menu” of science-based therapy packages (e.g., the Unified Protocol for anxiety, mood; CBT-Insomnia, etc.) from which clients can select, Therapy Lab is able to inform clients about evidence-based treatments in a way that feels manageable and relevant. The locus of control, which has traditionally been granted to the therapist, is thereby shifted to the client, such that the treatment can begin with self-efficacy and momentum created by the choice itself. Of course, the trained psychologists and therapists at Therapy Lab collaborate and guide in this process when a more nuanced approach is needed. Clients at Therapy Lab report enthusiasm for the time-bound therapy format and transparency about the ultimate cost. Therapy Lab has a physical location in Los Angeles and offers virtual services to California, Texas, and Kansas, with plans to expand to ten states by the end of 2021.
Dr. Chandler Chang is proud to be a female psychologist founder of a fast-growing startup. In a business climate in which (non-clinical) business professionals are launching and/or investing in mental health companies, she sees a unique role for the clinically trained entrepreneur. She seeks to create a culture in which therapists have professional support, flexibility, and empathy for the demands of the role, along with amazing benefits as befitting the position. In addition, she actively seeks to recruit and hire therapists who bring lived experience, knowledge, and appreciation for cultural and gender and sexual diversity.
In addition to her practices, Dr. Chang serves as a clinical associate at University of Southern California where she works with doctoral students in the clinical psychology program. She serves on the advisory board for the Partners in Caring for American Youth study (PCAY). Dr. Chang earned her undergraduate degree (in English, with minors in Women & Gender Studies, and African-American Studies) from Princeton University and her Ph.D. at The University of Georgia, and she completed clinical training at UCLA Resnick Neurospsychiatric Hospital. To learn more about Therapy Lab (www.therapylab.com) and Golden Hour Therapy (www.goldenhourtherapy.com), click on the embedded links.
We would also like to know a little about you personally.
Who was your mentor?
Dr. Mark Davis at the UGA Regents’ Center for Learning Disorders supervised and mentored me for several years of my graduate school experience at University of Georgia. In addition to being an expert clinician with a deep passion and commitment to excellent clinical and neuropsych testing, Dr. Davis was an outstanding boss. Despite his exacting attention to detail and modeling of punctuality, exquisite report-writing, and expectations of the same from his team, he was respected and loved for his sense of humor, kindness, and flexible thinking and good temper in the most “testing” of situations. Although he has since left Georgia for worldly adventures in China and Australia, I think of Dr. Davis often when I’m faced with a difficult business decision or sensitive employee matter. What would Mark do? is a question I often ask myself, and I am extremely grateful to have had an apprenticeship with this thoughtful leader.
When not practicing CBT, what do you do for fun?
I enjoy urban hiking in the hills of Los Angeles with my two sons (11yo and 7yo) and my labradoodle Lisa. I usually invite only one of them per excursion so I can enjoy one-on-one time with that “child” outside of our home where we’re spending the pandemic together. I also enjoy baking sourdough bread and cooking, preferably from a complicated multi-step recipe and rarely by instincts.
We are also interested in some of your views of CBT.
What do you think is the single most important thing CBT can do for your clients?
I appreciate CBT because it’s deceptively simple but, often and usually, surprisingly effective for so many types of people and clinical presentations. I love surprising people with how much relief they might feel with a brief CBT approach, as many people come to believe that problems like theirs will require an inordinate amount of time. This widespread belief has become a barrier to treatment for too many people.
How long have you been a member of ABCT?
I’ve been a member for most of my career beginning as a graduate student.
How has ABCT helped you professionally?
I’ve always enjoyed the conferences and come away inspired, informed, and excited to be a psychologist.
What service(s) are missing from ABCT in your role as a practitioner?
The more we can educate the public about the value of evidence-based practices over other approaches, the better. I’d like to see ABCT contribute and/or lead the way with this effort of educating people about their choices!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions!