Yan Chen, MSW, RSW

Sabrina Wei

Yan Chen

Senior Counsellor and Psychotherapist

Senior Parenting Instructor 


Yan Chen is a registered social worker and psychotherapist  in Ontario, Canada. She completed her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto with a major in sociology and double minors in psychology and Diaspora studies. Yan obtained a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, specializing in social justice and diversity. Before pursuing her master’s degree, Yan worked as a settlement worker and a community legal worker, providing legal services to Chinese-speaking immigrants and conducting legal workshops on a number areas of law, including family, employment, Employment Insurance, immigration and others. Yan is trained in a number of psychotherapy approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Solution-Focused Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Yan completed narrative training from the Narrative Therapy Centre in Toronto, as well as Suicide Pevention Training by LivingWorks. Yan worked with individuals with concurrent disorders in the CBT-based Community Day Treatment Program. Yan did both group facilitation and one-on-one counselling, providing support for individuals with substance use to develop skills and improve ability to cope with difficult emotions. Other topics explored in the program include relapse prevention, how the brain is impacted by addiction, self-care strategies and healthy coping mechanisms.

Currently, Yan volunteers at a community walk-in clinic that employs a strengths-based, narrative model, viewing problems as separate from people and assumes people have skills, values, and commitment to reduce the influence of problems in their lives. Yan uses a respectful, non-blaming and curious approach to help clients arrive at their own insights and lead to positive change. Due to her personal experience coming to Canada as an immigrant youth, experiencing the intersectional challenges of language barriers, familial conflicts, cultural clashes, identity loss and discrimination, Yan understands the social, cultural and economic struggles that immigrant parents and youth experience. Yan possesses a range of experiences working with youth. As a mentor in a community mental health youth program that encouraged youth to make informed decisions to promote positive change in their lives, Yan supported youth in developing effective coping strategies, managing feelings of anxiety and depression, self-esteem, relationship and communication challenges. Yan’s passion to improve youth’s holistic wellbeing motivated her to co-found Scarborough Youth United (SYU), a grassroots youth group that provides civic engagement and leadership opportunities for working-class racialized youth in the suburbs. Yan is acutely aware of the stress and mental health challenges that many youth experience while being involved in SYU. Yan works with her team to develop a number of mental health-related programs to promote youth self-awareness and healthy self-expression, cultivate confidence, and practice effective communication.


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