Interview with Dr. Michael Eason, the Clinical Director and Co-Founder, Lifespan Counselling. He is one of our expert speakers.
Legal Beagle: How did you get interested in Psychology?
Dr. Eason: As a young child, I was a voracious reader and often absorbed myself in the inner worlds of various fictional characters. I believe this love of literature instilled in me a great amount of empathy and curiosity- two essential traits for any psychologist.
Legal Beagle: Describe a typical day.
Dr. Eason: Generally, I will see between four and seven clients in a day. Sessions normally run between 50-60 minutes. Clients come to me for discussion, advice, and different perspectives on various topics, such as: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, identity issues (sexuality/gender), mindfulness, family and relationship concerns, etc. I also spend some time throughout the day returning calls and emails, and reviewing my client files to prepare for future sessions.
Legal Beagle: How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?
Dr. Eason: From the earliest days in university, Psychology was already my pre-determined major. In fact, every job I have held since high school, with the exception of some teaching here and there, has been related to the field of psychology and counselling. This profession has always been a strong calling and my life’s work.
Legal Beagle: Did you have any mentors in your career and how have they influenced you?
Dr. Eason: During my Master’s Degree in Humanistic Psychology, there were several professors who influenced both my academic and professional growth. They inspired my passion for understanding the human condition and solidified a guiding philosophy of treating all clients with dignity, respect, and unconditional positive regard. In professional practice working with inpatient hospitalization, I had a supervisor in Savannah, Georgia, whose compassion and guidance was a daily source of inspiration. I still often think of her insightful and kind treatment perspectives, especially in the domain of substance abuse and addictions. Her empathy knew no bounds and could overwhelm a room. I try to practice this same kindness anytime life brings opportunities my way.
Legal Beagle: What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Dr. Eason: There’s a medley of advice here, such as:
– Sometimes what feels like a giant leap is actually just the next step on your journey
-Never sell yourself short.
-Never stop seeking that elusive work/life balance.
-Life is a game best played with a wink and a nod.
Legal Beagle: What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken in your career?
Dr. Eason: In 2013, I resigned from a stable and rewarding job in the States to relocate to Hong Kong with my partner for pursuing PhD studies. At that time I had no job awaiting me in Hong Kong and had not yet even been accepted into a PhD program. Fortunately, relocating was a risk that continues to pay dividends. I did successfully earn my doctorate in psychology and was able to have parts of my dissertation published in a book chapter. I am now Clinical Director and Co-Founder of a boutique psychology practice in Central, Hong Kong, (Lifespan Counselling) which offers bespoke counselling services to a range of clients from all across the lifespan.
Legal Beagle: What are the key skills and experience required for a career like yours?
Dr. Eason: Compassion
– Ability to see from various (and sometimes contradictory) perspectives
– Being well read, well-travelled (if possible)
– Having an attitude of gratitude
– Setting good boundaries
– Being comfortable with uncertainty
– Progress over perfection
Legal Beagle: Of all your accomplishments, which are you most proud of?
Dr. Eason: Abruptly moving to Asia in 2013 with my partner, Kevin. In these years we have explored and travelled together to more locations than we once could have ever imagined. I’ve completed a PhD and am now co-director/founder of a private boutique counselling practice in Central. I am proud of- and humbled by- the whole trajectory my life has taken.
Legal Beagle: If you were to start your career journey again what would you do differently?
Dr. Eason: Nothing. The universe is unfolding as it should. (This idea is from Desiderata, a beautiful and profound poem that always brings me comfort)
Legal Beagle: If you weren’t doing this what would have been your alternate career choice?
Dr. Eason: I considered becoming a writer (screenplay or novels) or going to film school. I was also interested in working in academia as a professor- still might dabble in this someday.
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