Di Ai, LMSW
Tier II Therapist
From a young age, I have always felt a deep sense of empathy towards others – be it for my friends, a stray cat, or individuals I learned about through the news. That contributed to my decision to come to New York City six years ago to study social work and to be a therapist because what is valued in this profession aligns with the qualities I aspire to cultivate in my personal life.
Working with me means entering a space where authentic connection and understanding flourish. Holding a humanistic perspective, I’ll be a non-judgmental, respectful listener and your teammate to self-acceptance. With a background in working with abused children and their families within the child protection system, as well as leading stress management groups for Chinese immigrant mothers, I am also equipped with the essential skills to effectively engage with diverse populations facing trauma and stress.
I hold a profound appreciation for the resilience of the human mind, firmly believing that everyone possesses the mental strength to navigate life's challenges if we tap into the power of our own minds. My curiosity also lies in zooming out from ourselves and unraveling the intricacies of how our psyche is shaped within social and cultural contexts.
My professional and life journey uniquely qualifies me to support immigrants(especially those of Chinese descent), college students, and individuals who have been victims of abuse. I speak both Mandarin and Chinese.
I hold a profound appreciation for the resilience of the human mind, firmly believing that everyone possesses the mental strength to navigate life's challenges if we tap into the power of our own minds.
With over two years of experience at the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center, I conducted forensic interviews (a structured conversation aimed at gathering reliable information from child abuse victims) and provided trauma-focused therapy for abused children. This sparked my interest in child protection systems, leading me to collaborate with some Chinese social workers. Together, we translated a book on child protection into Chinese, and with their encouragement I created content, including articles, online talks, and podcasts, to communicate with Chinese social work professionals about the U.S. child protection system.
Through this experience, I also learned how pervasive childhood trauma is and its profound impact on people’s attachment styles, stress responses, and perceptions of self and the world. With acquired skills and knowledge, I am well-prepared to support my clients on their journey towards healing.
Two years ago, I transitioned to leading a stress management class for first-generation Mandarin-speaking immigrant mothers. Witnessing their dedication to their children was inspiring, yet it was disheartening to see them neglect their own emotional well-being. The participants came to the group with various stressors, including child education, communication with their family, isolation as stay-at-home moms, acculturation to American society, etc. It was rewarding to observe that most reported improved well-being after completing the class, where they learned about emotional mechanisms, and how to make small, positive changes within their control. This experience deepened my commitment to empowering individuals to prioritize and care for their own emotional health.
My therapeutic approach integrates humanistic, trauma-informed, and CBT principles. I will first approach sessions with genuine care and curiosity, offering guidance on employing some CBT skills as coping mechanisms. Then together we can delve into the underlying issues, exploring aspects such as attachment style, early experiences/trauma, hidden narratives, and societal indoctrination to address the root of the problem.
License: New York States/Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) 107165
Degree: Columbia University - Master of Science in Social Work (Advanced Clinical Practice)
Degree: Sun Yat-Sen University - Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Certified: Forensic Interviewer basic and advanced training from NCAC (2019)
Certified: Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) from Yale University (2019)
Certified: The LGBTQ Institute for Family Therapy (LIFT) Certification Program (2020)
Certified: MOMS Stress Management Class facilitator training from Yale Elevate Lab (2021)
Advanced training: Exposure Based CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder (2021)
Advanced training: Behavior Therapy for Anxiety-Related Disorders (BTAD) (2021)