By Katie Frey
Dr. Chi-Fang Tseng joined the MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Couple and Family Therapy Ph.D. Program fall semester 2023.
“I am looking forward to working alongside amazing scholars and researchers in our department and collaborating with professors from other departments. I also look forward to connecting with and mentoring students, working with them to continue making an impact in the field,” Dr. Chi-Fang Tseng said.
Dr. Tseng is no stranger to the department, she received her PhD from MSU in 2022.
“When I was a PhD student at MSU, I was continually amazed by the rigorous training and abundant resources the university provided,” she said. “The faculty in the HDFS department are not only outstanding scholars but also wonderful individuals. Choosing MSU was a natural decision for me, knowing that I would thrive in such a supportive and enriching environment. Returning to MSU feels like coming back home!”
Before her PhD studies, Dr. Tseng received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Purdue. Her journey to MSU began while majoring in education during her undergrad years in Taiwan.
“During my internship as a 5th-grade teacher at an elementary school, I witnessed many students struggling academically due to family circumstances,” she remembered. “I then decided to pursue a master's degree in counseling in Taiwan. After obtaining my degree and licensure as a counseling psychologist, I worked for 2 years at a government-sponsored student counseling center in Taiwan. Most of the treatments our center provided were individual therapy, and that was when I realized the importance of considering the system - family, school, community resources - to understand a student's presenting problems. This realization led me to come to the U.S. to pursue a master's degree.”
During her appointment, Dr. Tseng will be continuing her research. She is a clinical researcher dedicated to improving mental health outcomes among marginalized populations through culturally adapted evidence-based couple interventions, with a particular focus on Asian couples in Asia and Asian immigrant couples in the United States.
“My ultimate goal is to provide tailored and effective interventions to reduce mental health disparities in these populations,” she said. “As an immigrant, I am well aware of the lack of access to mental health in our community due to various systemic barriers. Most of the evidence-based treatments were developed by researchers in North America, yet their effectiveness for Asian populations is unknown. The lack of inclusion of marginalized couples in couple intervention studies perpetuate mental and relational health disparities.”
She plans to conduct clinical trials that specifically help Asian populations in both the U.S. and Asia. She hopes to culturally adapt existing evidence-based treatments to cater to the unique needs of Asian communities, ultimately reducing health disparities and promoting overall well-being.
“By focusing on tailored interventions and bridging the gap in mental health access, I hope to contribute to the well-beings of Asian individuals' lives and the broader community,” she said.
In addition to her research, Dr. Tseng will be teaching HDFS 442: Ethnic Families in America this fall. She has had the chance to teach the course before and is thrilled to have the opportunity again.
“Teaching this course brings me immense joy as its content aligns perfectly with my research interests,” she said. “It's always exciting to share my research findings and clinical experiences with the students. I appreciate the interactive nature of teaching, where students also contribute to the learning experience by bringing forth new ideas and perspectives. For me, teaching is a reciprocal process, and I cherish the opportunity to learn from my students just as they learn from me. I'm genuinely looking forward to another enriching semester with my students and fostering a supportive and engaging learning environment.”
One fun fact Dr. Tseng shared that people might not know about her is her music background.
“Back in the day, I had this awesome music journey – went to music schools from 3rd to 12th grade, majoring in piano and minoring in double bass. But when college time rolled around, I dropped the bombshell on my parents: I wanted to do something different. They were super cool about it, totally had my back. Now, being a parent myself, I totally get how big-hearted they were!”
She is excited to share this new MSU chapter with her partner and their three-year-old-son.
To learn more about her research, check out one of her favorite articles she co-authored: “Therapeutic utility of discussing therapist/client intersectionality in treatment: When and how” in the Journal of Family Process.