interview mental health Dec 06, 2021

Our Asian Australian mental health practitioner list continues to be a highly utilised resource for many Asian Australians seeking therapeutic support, so we're now trying to bring a bit more life to the list through these short interviews.

We know that it's not always easy trying to work out which psychologist we might like to work with. Because the decision is not just about where they're located and when they're available, but there's a bit more of a human, relational element to the decision too.

So here at Shapes and Sounds, we want to help make that process just a little easier.

Every month, we'll be introducing a psychologist from the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List to help you gain a bit more insight into who you feel might be a good fit for you or someone that you know.

This month we're excited to connect you with Tony Nguyen who is a registered psychologist based in Melbourne. Tony is also a PhD Candidate and an entrepreneur and his career canvasses both psychology and technology; we hope you enjoy reading more about Tony below!



1. What led you to pursue a career in psychology?

Initially, I went into university studying biomedical science with the intention of being a medical doctor. Psychology was my minor at the time and by the second year of my degree, it became clear that I was far more interested in and better suited for psychology. I made the executive decision to change my major and have never looked back.

To me, the idea of a psychologist was never one of simply a therapist. I wanted to use the tools afforded to psychologists to work at different levels; to serve as a guiding light to those in their darkest hour, to advise organisations on how to create smarter and healthier workplace, and to work with engineers and technicians to create the technologies of tomorrow. I wanted to do everything, and psychology provided the perfect vehicle to get there.

2. What is your unique cultural heritage?

I was born in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh city and immigrated to Australia with my mum when I was 7. Originally bestowed with the name Nguyen Thanh Hoang Tan, my mum decided to give me a Western name – Tony. Why she picked a popular name for a mafia boss is still a mystery to me, but I’ve inherited an addiction to coffee and a subconscious desire to visit Italy as result!

3. What are your areas of specialty and what kind of frameworks do you work from?

I’m trained in CBT, Schema Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness. I typically take an integrative and client focussed approach to my clinical and coaching work. I’ll draw on cognitive, humanistic, emotion focussed, and existential theories to help my clients explore their world in more detail.

I believe that creating a safe space where individuals can explore their identity, sense of meaning, and way of being is fundamental to any measure of growth – whether it be reducing symptoms relating to a particular constellation of psychopathologies or helping individuals perform at a higher level.

Scholars that have shaped my thinking include Carl Jung, Viktor Frankl, and Alan watts. I find that the psychodynamic, existential, and East-meets-West philosophical lens, coupled with modern psychological science, provides me another level of abstraction that I can offer to my clients.

4. What kind of clients are you best able to support?

I’ve worked with clients from all walks of life including those with a psychiatric diagnosis or developmental disorder to military personnel, business executives/start-up founders, students, and individuals from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
To me, it’s not so much about the clinical diagnosis or problem that needs to be fixed but rather the mindset that they bring to the room. I’ll meet the client where they’re at and work with them in a structured way – towards clearly defined goals and at their own pace.

The most productive work has been where the client has an open mind, embraces honesty, and is personally in a place where they are ready for change.

5. If you could be your own therapist right now, what do you think you would say to yourself?

I would tell myself to take more of my own advice – to learn how to properly take a step back and to prioritise my health. To slow down and enjoy the ride. And to let go of the inner critic that sometimes tells me that I’m too young or inexperienced to do what I’m doing. I would also tell myself that bubble tea is not therapy.


Connect with Tony via our Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List HERE.

Alternatively, if you feel like Tony may be a good fit for someone that you know, be sure to forward this page on to them too. Let us continue to not only support ourselves but all those around us too!

Lastly, if you require urgent assistance, please do not contact Jun or any of the psychologists on this list. Instead, please call emergency services on 000 or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Shapes and Sounds does not recommend or endorse Tony or any of the psychologists listed on the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List.

Please always consult your GP before making changes to your mental health care plan.


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