Meet Asian Australian Psychotherapist, Hee Zee Lu

interview mental health Oct 06, 2023
A photo of Asian Australian Psychotherapist, Hee Zee Lu

We know that it's not always easy trying to work out which therapist we might like to work with: Because the decision isn't 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 therapist 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 Hee Zee Lu who is a psychotherapist working at Hee Zee Counselling Services (offering services in NSW and Telehealth sessions Australia-wide). We hope you enjoy connecting with Hee Zee below!

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1. What led you to choosing psychology as a career?

It all started with a dream, an awful dream! That happened when I was in my 30s while working for an established corporation. I remember waking up to a pool of sweat and an incredibly unpleasant feeling for months after that. I questioned life and found I haven’t genuinely content with my achievements. The impact of the dream has pushed me to do some soul-searching. I started researching my existing skills and realised the missing link was connecting my skills with others who needed help. The most important feedback I got then was that I was approachable and a good listener. Shortly after that, the rest was history.

2. What is your unique cultural heritage?

I am ethnic Chinese born and raised in Malaysia. In Malaysia, we live in a multicultural country with other races from other religions and beliefs. It’s natural for me to learn to respect and discuss our differences openly so we all can learn to live with each other. Since young, I learnt to speak many Chinese dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese, while Bahasa Malaysia was the primary spoken language. These language skills have also benefited my ability to work with clients from the non-English speaking background.

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

I remember my first job as a counsellor; I worked very closely with clients of refugee and asylum seekers background. I found that talk therapy may not be effective for most who have difficulties describing their trauma or challenges. However, during the sessions, they often noted their symptoms, such as stomach churning with pain or heaviness on the shoulder that weight like a rock. The observations of these physical manifestations in my clients have introduced me to somatic therapy. I was fortunate enough to be enrolled with Babette Rothschild, a respected body psychotherapist and educator who ran a Somatic Trauma Therapy course at that time in Sydney. Since then, my work has focused a lot on mindful somatic therapy which may hold the key that could unlock the challenges my clients are experiencing. Clients who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), whether from childhood abuse or horrible war experience, achieved breakthroughs from somatic therapy.

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

I am a trauma-informed counsellor and have experience working with people who may have unprocessed trauma, whether it has happened in the past or recently. Trauma can happen to anyone, from being abandoned as a child to a recent loss of a loved one. Also, I work with clients, especially those experiencing intergenerational trauma that may have been passed down from their parents or guardians, which affects their work life or relationships with others. Further, somatic therapy is widely used for symptoms such as depression, self-esteem, and anger.

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

Be kind! Not only to others but be kind to yourself. The body is like a guest home, and it hosts various emotions that temporarily stay as a guest. Of course, we wish all the guests are kind and friendly, but if they are not behaving, we don’t throw the guest out of the home. We still respect them, talk to them, negotiate with them, and make them feel seen. So, be kind.

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

Alternatively, if you feel like Hee Zee 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!

If you require urgent assistance, please do not contact Hee Zee or any of the practitioners 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 Hee Zee or any of the practitioners 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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You're not alone in navigating the intersections of race, culture and mental health. Find out more about our Shapes and Sounds Community, designed for and by Asian Australians.

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