LMU’s graduate program in Marital and Family Therapy with Specialized Training in Art Therapy is proud to announce that EJ Liao, a class of 2024 candidate, was awarded the highly competitive and prestigious Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship by the American Psychological Association. In addition to receiving a $12,000 stipend, Liao will travel to Atlanta, GA to network with other fellowship recipients and Seattle, WA to present her resulting fellowship research.
Funded through the federal Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this fellowship’s purpose is to support the training of ethnic minority graduate students who commit to significantly improving the quality of care provided to ethnic and racial minorities who have a mental or co-occurring mental and substance use disorder. The fellowship is directly related to efforts to reduce health disparities among ethnic minorities in the U.S. by filling a crucial need for mental health professionals in psychology, nursing, social work, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and substance use and addictions counseling.
As a first generation Taiwanese-American immigrant, Liao seeks to provide trauma-informed art therapy for at-risk immigrant and refugee populations who have little access to care. She sees art therapy not only as an integration of her background in fine arts, art history, and psychotherapy, but also an alternative path from the pathologizing Eurocentric methods of psychotherapy.
Beyond providing counseling services post-graduation, Liao also aims to cultivate her own community-based program to provide art therapy in museum settings. She believes the public engagement with artworks in the museum, as well as education workshops could aptly offer a rare window for marginalized communities to experience collective healing.
Liao is committed to pursuing a professional pathway which will benefit a variety of clients, saying, “I am grateful and confident that this experience will allow me to bridge psychotherapy with historically underrepresented communities and bring more diverse voices to the field by decreasing stigma.”