Dr. Chad Ebesutani
Greetings, my name is Hoyun, and this the first in our series of blogs called Therapist Highlight to introduce Seoul Counseling Center’s mental health professionals, starting with our center’s founder, Dr. Chad Ebesutani. We hope this gives you the opportunity to know us better.
What motivated you to become a therapist?
Dr. Chad: I have wanted to be a therapist ever since I was about 10 years old. The reason is because my family was helped through something similar to family therapy. I saw how that was very beneficial to me and our family. Ever since then, I wanted to share the gift of therapy and of personal growth and development with others. I therefore pursued becoming a Psychologist since that time.
How was Seoul Counseling Center (SCC) founded?
Dr. Chad: I initially began working in the field of Psychology as a Professor in South Korea, conducting mental health research, publishing papers in academic journals, and giving Psychology lectures to undergrads and graduate students. Although trained and licensed as a Clinical Psychologist, I didn’t realize that there was a need for English-speaking Psychologists in Korea for counseling services. One day, I received a call from a Korean Psychologist colleague of mine who suggested that I try to open a clinic for English-speaking expats. I had no idea if it was possible, but I was intrigued by the idea and excited by the opportunity to finally be able to provide therapy and direct services to clients—finally a chance to fulfill my childhood dream.
I was fortunate for my University to support me in this endeavor of opening up a clinic. I started off working alone, but then soon realized that the need for English-speaking therapists in Korea is much greater than I initially thought. So I pulled together other like-minded English-speaking, trained therapists, counselors, and psychologists to create Seoul Counseling Center.
What is your vision for SCC?
Dr. Chad: My vision is related to my curiosity and truth-seeking nature. I’m very curious to find out what it would be like if we could better meet the needs of people in good ways, particularly in this area of mental health. SCC is a space, a conduit for that process where we allow therapists and clients to come together and share that curiosity of how life might be better if there were more people who directly cared for our fundamental needs, our mental health, and wanted nothing more than the best for people in this area. And so, a major part of my vision is to be able to provide a protected space for more people to enter into this type of supportive relationship and experience of human connection, including various forms of it to meet people where they are at—to see just how much better life could be, if we did our best to make it so.
What makes you passionate about your work?
Dr. Chad: In therapy, I’m blessed to be able to see the best parts of people. Despite many or most of my clients having been hurt by life, I see my clients refuse to give up and keep trying to make their lives better. They keep searching for answers, and they find them. The process is not always perfect, but we find our way, together. To me, it is a beautiful experience to be a part of. I feel lucky and am always thankful to my clients for opening up to me, trusting in me, and pursuing the good together, with me, with all our might. With all the problems going on in the world, these relationships and experiences with my clients give me hope and trust that the goodness in people is real and that the good in us is the truest part of who we are.
Do you have any messages of encouragement for those who are hesitant to receive counseling?
Dr. Chad: My encouragement would be to take some time and step back to: A) identify what you might be afraid of in counseling; and B) trust in yourself that you have the strength to overcome it. This is where our center’s motto comes from, “Finding the strength to overcome”.
I believe that there is a hidden strength built in us to overcome meaningful difficulties, when the time comes. And sometimes, we need to use that hidden inner strength to allow us to voyage into new territory to find what we have been looking for in this counseling process.
The counseling process often involves exploring previously unexplored emotional territory for the first time. And so, I think many people are afraid to start counseling because they are afraid of this unknown—the unknown of what might happen in therapy, what emotions they may feel, as well as what new discoveries they may realize. I would like people to know that it is possible to explore the unknown in a supportive and safe way, and that not only do they have the strength to overcome it, but that when they do, the discoveries made through the process will be worth it.
What is your favorite quote, phrase, or motto?
Dr. Chad: ‘Some men [people] see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say, why not’ – George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), shared in a speech by Robert F. Kennedy.
This is one of my favorite quotes, which I first heard in Tom Clay’s remake of the song ‘What the World Needs Now,’ that my father used to play for me when I was a child. I love this quote because of the underlying sentiment that the unexplored potential in life is both good and within our reach—if we choose to pursue it.
And I believe this embodies the spirit of therapy; to me, therapy is about inspiring hope in us to not give up, to aim into the achievable unexplored goodness, and to have the courage to dream things that never were, and say, why not.
Hoyun: Thank you so much Dr. Chad for sharing your story, your vision for the center, and your belief in the good in people. It was a great experience to hear your perspectives as our Center’s founder and seasoned therapist.
Thank you for reading this post on Dr. Chad Ebesutani, stay tuned for more Therapist Highlights.