Hana Ra Adams, PsyD
By KIM HWANG
AAP staff writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 15, 2011) — Hana Ra Adams, PsyD, is a culturally proficient therapist at Kenwood Counseling Center in Minneapolis, who provides therapy for a diverse group of clients from a myriad of ethnic and mixed race backgrounds.
Dr. Ra Adams works with children, adolescents, adults and families towards providing quality and multiculturally proficient therapy. Her work is broad in scope, because the clients she serves are dealing with an extensive range of mental health issues.
Currently, her client base is: 10 percent Korean adoptees, three-percent Columbians, three-percent Vietnamese, five-percent Korean and five-percent Chinese Adoptees. She works to reduce the odds that people of color and ethnic minorities will not fall further victim to the unique threats of monoculturalism, ethnocentrism, racism and socioeconomic despair.
With a narrative approach in therapy to aid in helping clients manufacture a story, Ra Adams seeks to empower and increase each client’s strength based inner voice. She has a passion for understanding clients through human interaction. She believes that the combination of medicine and mental health can be a catalyst towards healing and living a high quality life.
Ra Adams also understands stress and life transitions because she was Korean born in 1979 and moved to Minnesota when she was six years old. Her memories of being a new face in an unfamiliar place was first imprinted in East Grand Forks, where she was often the only Asian face and suffered racism.
The contrast between the busy streets of Seoul, Korea, whose images reflected that of her Korean born mother and a White community of mid-westerners was interesting at best. Like other Minnesotans, Ra Adams considers herself to be biracial, both Korean and African American. She was born to her mother who was also Korean born and her father who is African American.
While she links enormous pride to her ethnic and racial backgrounds, she identifies as, “an ethnic minority.” As a result of her mixed race background, Ra Adam’s possesses a seamless ability to shift in any professional setting. She learned early about monoculturalism and the gifts and challenges diversity presents.
The adversity that she experienced has allowed her to have compassion for those who also experience transitional issues regarding immigration, biculturalism, biracial issues, mixed family challenges and what it is like to feel as though you are living in many worlds at one time. Her strong ability to be inclusive, caring and supportive, make her invaluable to the mental health field in Minnesota.
Ra Adams training is comprehensive. She earned a master’s degree from Penn State, a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. In addition to her distinctive educational background, she is bilingual, trained in forensic psychology assessment, psychological assessments and completed a one year long doctoral level internship at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Minnesota.
To describe her therapeutic approach, Ra Adam said she takes the perspective of Narrative Therapy.
“The way I describe it is that we all live a story,” she said. “We are the main character but we are not the authors. Through therapy, we discuss ways for a client to take control of aspects of their life to be the author of their story and to live an intentional life.”
Ra Adams said she wants to provide the Asian community with a feeling of connection to themselves, our ethnic identities and with others in our community. She wants people in the Asian community to understand that there are multiple paths that lead us to the United States.
“There is no one-way, but we all need to navigate and understand our paths,” she added. “We all have choices in how we choose to define ourselves and how we want others to perceive who we are. I want to help clients understand who they want to be in this world and fulfill the goals he/she may have for themselves.”
In addition to serving the Asian community in the Twin Cities, Ra Adams is married and has two young boys. Her African American father loves to spend time with the grand children, since he never knew his biological family and was placed in a Korean orphanage at a very young age.
To kill time in the orphanage, her father learned to box and eventually became a professional boxer, where he met Ra Adams Korean mother in Seoul. Both of her parents are actively involved in Ra Adam’s life.
She describes her family as collectivistic and close. Her Korean heritage has promoted family as an important value, which requires time and investment.
In as much as she values her personal and family life, she also strongly believes that the professional mental health work that she does every day is critical to a rising Asian community.
“If the focus of her work remains intentional, authentic, honorable and curious, human beings will inevitably heal,” she said.