No History, No Self. Know History, Know Self: An Expressive Arts Approach to Exploring Filipina/o/x Teen Acculturation Processes

Mar 15, 2019


Breakout Room #4


The presentation examines culturally relevant approaches to working with Filipina/o/x adolescent teens using various expressive art therapy and Narrative-based therapy interventions. The contextualized backdrop is grounded in a decolonization framework interpreted by renowned Filipino Psychologist, Kevin Nadal, Ph.D. and adapted accordingly to integrate the arts by the presenters. To deeply and interactively engage the audience, the format includes a presentation of group interventions (Photovoice, Digital Storytelling, & Mural Making), and an experiential activity. Q&A will be included at the end of the workshop.


Community Providers, Students, Educators, Consumers

Audience Takeaways:

Learning Objectives:

-To gain practical knowledge on culturally sensitive therapeutic expressive arts-based techniques in working with the Filipina/o/x/Fil-American population.

-To identify potential risk factors and detrimental effects of a colonial mentality and intergenerational trauma may have on a Filipina/o/x/Fil-American adolescent teen’s cultural identity formation.

-To develop a wider lens of varied Filipina/o/xFil-American experiences that may unfold as a youth, such as the onset of depression precipitated from cumulative effects of migration stressors, acculturation, and historical trauma


Christi Morales-Kumasawa, MA, AMFT

Mental Health Clinician, Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County.

Christi Morales-Kumasawa is passionate about helping others achieve wellness and feel empowered, which is why she pursued a career as a marriage and family therapist, after being a journalist for almost a decade. A recent graduate of Palo Alto University with an M.A. in counseling, she works as an associate MFT at StarVista providing counseling services to elementary and middle school youth through the organization’s school-based program, as well as serving the LGBTQ+ community’s mental health needs at the San Mateo County Pride Center. She has been a longtime mental health activist in the Filipinx American community through work with the Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI) of San Mateo County, which recently worked with a coalition of API activists to establish Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander” (AANHPI) Mental Health Day in the county. She is currently one of the co-chairs of FMHI and is committed to expanding equitable access to culturally responsive mental health services within minority and marginalized groups. In addition, she stays connected to her journalism roots as a board member of the non-profit Exceptional Women in Publishing (EWIP) and recently advocated for mental health to be part of EWIP’s recent conference in San Francisco in which she designed and moderated a panel entitled “Mental Illness: Storytelling Without Stigma.”

  • Stephanie Garma Balon, MA, AMFT

    Youth and Family Therapist

    Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County


    BIO: Stephanie Garma Balón is an Youth & Family (Expressive Arts) Therapist with StarVista’s Child & Parent Services Program; and the Daly City Youth Health Center in Northern San Mateo County. Stephanie integrates music, visual art, role-play, ritual, writing, and poetry in her practice. With a Masters in Counseling Psychology (Expressive Art Therapy) from California

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