Sonya (Xiangya) GaoLPC

Headshot of Sonya (Xiangya) Gao LPC


In Central Time

In what ways do your life philosophy and treatment philosophy overlap?

Coming from an immigrant background, I appreciate and value each individual’s unique background, circumstances, challenges, beliefs and lifestyles. I respect individual’s right to make their life decisions based on the information they receive. Each client is the expert of their own life and due to circumstances and life challenges, we can become confused and doubt our strengths and resources. By empowering my clients and utilizing critical thinking ability, my client and I can work together to challenge irrational thoughts, negative behavioral patterns and explore solutions that fit each individual’s uniqueness.

Are there any recurring themes or issues you’ve noticed as you treat people in your area of specialization, and how has this insight guided your approach?

I value and appreciate the dynamic and the “dance” between each individual in a system. Each individual lives in a system from a micro to a macro level. From a one-on-one relationship to a relationship with the society. The system we are in can bring us support, resources, love, and make us feel safe. Unfortunately, it can also cause negative emotional distress when the “dance” is off balance. Over-emphasis on others’ opinions and judgements are one of the themes I notice with many of my clients. Because of their external locus of control thinking patterns, clients often feel on the fringe of the group, resulting in feelings of powerlessness, devaluation, neglect, and isolation. These negative feelings then lead to further relationship issues and mental illness, most commonly anxiety and depression. I find that empowering clients and helping them to make peace of their uniqueness, their values, and their beliefs, helps them understand the differences between interpersonal and intrapersonal issues and can help them acquire mental harmony and live a more fulfilled life.

If you could pick one movie or book that influenced your approach to therapy, what would it be and why?

The book I will definitely recommend is Victor Frankle’s Man’s Search for Meaning. The book demonstrates the power of our perspective, our inner strength and the value of each individual’s existence. Using Dr. Frankle’s own words to summarize this book, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”




Work Stress

Family issues


General Expertise


Borderline Personality Disorder


Anger management

Attachment issues

Bipolar disorder

Body image issues

Communication issues



First Session


Family Therapy


Couples Therapy


Individual Therapy

Types of Therapy

Family Session

Couples Session

Individual Session



Young Adults (18-24)

Adults (25-65)

Treatment Approaches / Modalities

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Processing Therapy

Compassion-Focused Therapy

Culturally Sensitive Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Eclectic Therapy

Family Systems Therapy

Training / Certifications

Prepare/Enrich Pre-marital Counseling


TX, LPC, 75083


M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Work History

Sonya (Xiangya) Gao is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas, who earned her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. With 7 years’ experience, Sonya acquired extensive knowledge of counseling treatments, assessment strategies and crisis intervention skills. Sonya has worked with multifaceted patient populations from serious mentally ill, developmental delayed, personality disorders, to anxiety, depression, PTSD, as well as situational distress and adjustment issues. Sonya utilizes an eclectic treatment style including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotional Behavioral Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy. Her flexibility allows her to provide treatment interventions based on each client’s unique concerns and needs. Sonya believes each individual has the strength and potential to empower themselves to combat their issues and to live a life they find to be fulfilling. By creating a safe and comfortable therapeutic environment, Sonya and her client, together, can work to challenge irrational thinking, adjust unhealthy patterns, develop self-awareness, explore coping strategies, and combat emotional distress. Sonya is also passionate about educating and developing new generation therapists. Serving as a member of the Student Advisory Council for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Clinical Mental Health department, Sonya shares her insight and ambition to help ensure high quality education for future mental health professionals.


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