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Travis Research Institute

Pak Lab
Pak Lab

Cultural Psychology and Narrative Inquiry

Jenny Pak, PhD


Psychology Building 123
Fuller Theological Seminary
180 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101-1714


[email protected]




External Collaborators:

Dr. J. W. Lee and his research team, Social Work Department, Kangnam University, Yongin, Korea
Dr. H. H. Xu and her research team, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China


In the increasingly complex climate, psychologists must be equipped to investigate cultural differences by going beyond the surface level and understand deeper cultural aspects such as core values and beliefs underlying complex and dynamic behavior and practices. Dr. Pak’s research lab examines these factors across diverse contexts combining developments in cultural psychology and narrative inquiry. Current lines of investigation include how implicit cultural and religious values impact psychotherapy, identity, spiritual formation, trauma, moral injury, and aging in diverse communities. Dr. Pak works collaboratively with her students through weekly research lab meetings, incorporating group research projects, readings, and professional development topics. Students are encouraged to submit for journal publications and present at regional and national conferences such as APA and CAPS. 


Culture, Religion, Trauma, and Moral Injury

• Moral injury, trauma, culture, and ministry


Culture, self, and emotional processing in psychotherapy


Cultural identity, parent-child relationship, and religion

• Parent-child relationship closeness and identity/spiritual formation


Culturally informed group therapy curriculum for Filipina/x/o Americans and depression


Culture, religion, and aging among Korean/Korean American elderly


Spiritual practices and cultivating well-being process and outcome studies

Recent Publications (with external links)

Pak, J. H., & Eltiti, S. (in press). Integrating theology in teaching quantitative and qualitative research in psychology. Journal of Psychology & Christianity. 

Pak, J. H. (2022). Jeong and Han: The Clinical Implications of Postcolonial Theology on Suffering and Oppression. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 50(1), 17-26. Doi:10.1177/00916471211071054 

Pak, J. H. (2021). Juggling multiple roles: Narrative of a Korean pastor's wife, mother, and a psychology professor. In D. Collier-Goubil & N. Yuen (Eds). Power women: Stories of motherhood, faith, and the academy. Inter Varsity Press.

Pak, J. H. (2021). Decolonizing psychology, research, and practice: An Asian American perspective. Fuller, Issue 21, 42-47.

Pak, J. H. (2020). Integrating psychology, religion, and culture: The promise of qualitative inquiry. Brill Publishers.

Pak, J. H. (2020). Towards understanding psychology of emotion, indigenous spirituality, and Christianity in Korea. In A. Dueck (ed.), Indigenous psychologies of spirituality: In my beginning is my end (pp. 203-225). Palgrave Macmillan.

Lee, J. W., Pak, J. H., Lee, H. A. (2019).  A qualitative study of the aging experience among Korean older adults residing in urban, rural, and the US immigrant context. Journal of the Korean Gerontological Society, 39(3), 589-612. 

Kim, J., Eltiti, S., Crawford, N., & Pak, J. (2019). Effect of cultural identification and family affection on coping abilities for missionary kids. Journal of Religion and Health.DOI: 10.1007/s10943-019-00848-0

Xu, H., Pak, J., Tu, R., and Schuberg, M. (2018). Exploring attachment and spirituality among Christians in China. Asian Journal of Social Science Studies, 3(3), 1-16. DOI: 10.20849/ajsss.v3i3.410

Pak, J. (2017). Cultural psychology of religion and qualitative inquiry. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 28, 163-187. DOI:

Kim, J., Pak, J., and Eltiti, S. (2017). Cultural differences in family affection and coping abilities for missionary kids. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 45(2), 79-91. DOI: 0091-6471/410-730

Sklar, Q. T., Pak, J. and Eltiti, S. (2016). Parent-child closeness and acculturation in predicting racial preference in mate selection among Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 7(4), 265-273. DOI: 10.1037/aap00000059

Kim, H. J., and Pak, J. (2013). Journeys toward spiritual maturity among Korean immigrant women in midlife. Journal of Psychology & Christianity, 32 (1), 3-19.

Pak, J. H. (2006). Korean American women: Stories of acculturation and changing selves. New York: Routledge.

Books by Jenny Pak

Recent Presentations

Dupont, A., & Pak, J. (2022, August). Optimism development in French and American nationals. Poster presentation at the Annual American Psychological Association Convention, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Kang, M., & Pak, J. (2022, August). Attachment, spirituality, and depression: A comparison of Korean elderly in the US and South Korea. Poster presentation at the Annual American Psychological Association Convention, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Mahtani, S., & Pak, J. (2021, November). Attachment orientations of men in emotionally abused intimate partner relationships. Poster presentation at the Annual Texas Psychological Association Convention, Austin, Texas. 

Dupont, A., & Pak, J. (2021, August). Optimism and risk-taking in French and American nationals. Poster presentation at the Annual American Psychological Association Convention, San Diego, California.

Burnett, K., & Pak, J. (2020, August). Covert psychological abuse: A mixed-methods study on female survivors of male partners. Poster presentation at the Annual American Psychological Association Convention, Washington D.C.

Pak, J. (2019, June). The neurodevelopmental disorders in Korean cultural context and challenges faced by Korean missionary children. Paper presented at the Fifth Global Mission Leaders Forum, Sokcho, Korea.

Pak, J., & Double, K. (2018, April). Campus sexual violence: The impact of disclosure on mental health. Seminar presentation at the Annual Christian Association of Psychological Services, Norfolk, Virginia.

Scott, A., & Pak, J. (2018, April). Considering historical trauma in clinical work with African American women. Seminar presentation at the Annual Christian Association of Psychological Services, Norfolk, Virginia.


Pak Lab

Faculty and Principal investigator

Jenny Pak

Jenny Pak

Associate Professor of Psychology


Canvas Portfolio
On Integration
On Motherhood, the Academy, and Ministry

Jenny Pak's areas of interest include cultural psychology, narrative analysis, identity development, trauma, and pastoral and missionary member care. She is a licensed psychologist as well as marriage, family and child therapist and has many years of experience in clinical practice, professional consultation, and training of lay counselors in the church and mission field. She has traveled to Thailand, Turkey, China, and South Korea to teach, research, and provide counseling to missionaries, pastors, and their families. For over 30 years she has been serving with her husband who pastors a Korean congregation in Southern California and has two daughters. 


Audrey Lee

Audrey Sangeun Lee.

Audrey is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology. She completed a pre-doctoral internship at RAMS Inc. in San Francisco. She earned her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology prior to entering the doctoral program. Through her abundant cross-cultural experiences in Korean and American clinical settings, she has grown her interest in developing a deeper cultural understanding of psychotherapy. In addition, appreciating the value of integrating research and clinical work, she has been committed to honing her skills and knowledge particularly in the area of psychotherapy process research. Her specific research topics involve examining therapeutic change mechanisms and developing processing models of emotional memory which account for culture-specific psychological processes and dynamics. 

Tiffany Schupanitz

Tiffany Schupanitz.

Tiffany is a 2nd year PsyD student. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Iowa where she worked as a mental health counselor for 6 years before coming to Fuller. She is trained in EMDR and specialized in working with trauma survivors of all ages in community mental health. Her current research and clinical interests are in examining the role spirituality plays in psychology beyond just Christianity. She is also interested in the role of forgiveness and healing from trauma related to religion. 


sarah mahtani

Sarah Mahtani.

Sarah is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology and extern at UCLA where she provides neuropsychological assessments focusing on neurodegenerative disorders. She is committed to clinical work with underserved populations and trained with severe diagnoses, comorbid cases, and high need patients. Her research interests include trauma, attachment, resilience, and neuropsychology. She believes the experiences of the disempowered are vital, can be empowered by the field, and are essential to integration in research. Her previous research utilized attachment theory to investigate relational experiences of male survivors of intimate partner emotional abuse. Her current project focuses on experiences of conflict, trauma, and support among vulnerable groups during disaster. 

Rachel Middendorf

Rachel Middendorf.

Rachel is a fifth-year PsyD student applying to internship this year. She is currently completing her Psychological Assistantship at Psychology Resource Consultants where she conducts therapy and assessment with children, adolescents, and adults. Rachel is interested in empowering underserved populations by making psychological services more accessible to the community, which she does through her position serving on the board of directors for the Weissman Children's Foundation, a non-profit that provides low cost and pro-bono mental health services to children and families in need. Her clinical interests include the utilization of a relational psychodynamic, trauma-informed, and strengths-based approaches to meet the needs of complex trauma survivors and the LGBTQ+ community. Rachel's research interests include the impact of childhood maltreatment, moral injury, and post-traumatic growth. She strives to make research on these topics more accessible to the community in order to aid in child abuse prevention, detection, and early intervention. Rachel recently defended her dissertation project where she adapted a group therapy curriculum for adult survivors of childhood maltreatment in order to address moral injury and spiritual distress in this population. 

Eleanor Baylon

Eleanor Baylon.

Eleanor is a 5th year PsyD and a proud daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She is grateful to her family and ancestors who have paved the way for her to be this position where she gets to study Filipina/x/o Psychology- specifically, how to improve self-worth by altering colonial mentality, increasing belonging, and encouraging healthy bahala na, or courageous trust in God (bahaha na). She is currently working at Pepperdine University. She also loves sushi, karaoke, and video games. 

Miriam Kang

Miriam Kang.

Miriam is a fourth-year in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and currently provides neuropsychological assessments for neurodegeneration at the UCLA Semel Institute. She is committed to empowering underserved communities within the US and overseas by making psychological resources available to them, especially in healing from trauma. Her research and interests include experiences of trauma, moral injury, and attachment with a focus on culture, and her dissertation will focus on this in a Korean context. She has been involved in a number of studies including (1) analyzing the use of qualitative inquiry in the psychology of religion; and (2) understanding the relationship between attachment, spirituality, and depression in Korean elderly in both Korea and the US.

Hannah Che

Hannah Che.

Hannah is a 4th year PsyD student and is completing neuropsychology clerkship at SHARP and pre-internship training at Biola Counseling Center. Her clinical interests are in treating bicultural and multicultural individuals, especially Korean-American and other Asian backgrounds. She also has a diverse range of clinical experience working in community mental health, university counseling centers, hospital settings, and private practice. She is passionate about understanding the cultural dynamics that occur in therapy for non-Western indigenous persons. 

Daniel Kim

Daniel Kim.

Daniel is a student in the PsyD program. He provides personality and cognitive assessments to children, teenagers, and young adults at Psychology Resource Consultants. His research interests are examining how the intimacy of the parent-child relationship impacts how Korean-Americans identify ethnically and culturally. He is interested in incorporating issues of spirituality, acculturation, and enculturation. Other fun facts about Daniel are that he is certified in scuba diving, he studied abroad in four countries, and enjoys skiing, hiking, and playing tennis. 

Eunice Chung

Eunice Chung.

Eunice is a 2nd year PsyD student. Her research interests include cultural and diversity issues within the Asian American community, and stigma against mental health in the Asian community. She is also interested in working with ADHD patients and underserved communities. 

Ana Dolores

Ana Dolores.

Ana is a 2nd year PsyD student. She is interested in helping others explore meaning within themselves to help them reach their full potential. Her clinical and research interests are also interested in cultural trauma, Latino community, religion, and adolescents. She considers herself a cheerful and friendly person who values family, friends, and faith. Ana is also proud of her Mexican roots and traditions. 

Anna Baronian

Anna Baronian.

Anna is a 2nd year PsyD student. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and is passionate about the provision of mental health services to underserved and underrepresented populations both locally and abroad. She is interested in cross-cultural research and the impact of war trauma on children. 

Jenny Pak Lab 2019

Recent Graduates

Karissa Burnett 

Karissa graduated with her PhD in clinical psychology and completed a postdoctoral fellow at BU’s Danielsen Institute, where she provided depth-oriented, relational, and trauma-informed therapy. She strives to create spaces where authenticity and the truest parts of the self can emerge in a safe and meaningful way. She is deeply committed to providing empowerment, validating her clients’ intuition, and attending to symbolism in the therapy room. Karissa has received specialized training in trauma, and her dissertation focused on understanding how survivors heal from covert manipulation and narcissistic abuse. 

Mary Schuberg 

Mary graduated with her PsyD in clinical psychology and completed a post-doctoral intern at Shared Vision Psychological Services, Inc. in Illinois. She is interested in exploring religious identity and formation with a psychological lens. Specifically, her research examines the lived experience of holding religious doubt alongside faith and church commitment. She is invigorated by the pursuit of deeply understanding and embodying what it means to be human. Mary holds the view that a healthy relationship with oneself will have a ripple effect for all other forms of relationship, both personal and transcendent. 

Michael Reda 

Michael graduated with his Psy D in clinical psychology and currently pursuing his post-doctoral internship at California Psychology Internship Consortium in Fresno. During his time at Fuller, Michael has had the opportunity to provide evidence-based, culturally sensitive care to various clinically vulnerable populations in the greater Los Angeles area. From counseling in the inner city to providing assessment to our Veterans, Michael strives to aid his clients explore meaning within and behind their symptoms and to develop a greater connection to the person they wish to become. Through his dissertation project, he hopes to offer a critique of traditional understandings of attachment so as to maintain their cultural relevance when applied to East Asian clinical populations. 

Angela Dupont 

Angela graduated with her PhD in clinical psychology and completed a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow at Birmingham, VA. Previously worked with Spanish-speaking clients at Fuller Psychological and Family Services, as well as doing neuropsychological assessment with movement disorder patients at USC-Keck School of Medicine and with Spanish-speaking patients at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. She is deeply fascinated by the intersection of culture and psychology, and seeks to be attuned to how cultural factors impact her clients. Her research focuses on the factors (e.g., culture, religion, education, attachment) influencing differences in optimism between French and American nationals. 

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Contact Us

Jim Cummings, MDiv, MA
Research Administrator
[email protected]

Office Hours

8 am–5 pm


Room 326
180 N. Oakland Ave

Pasadena, CA 91182