Skip to content

Travis Research Institute

Jenny Pak Lab 2019
Jenny Pak Lab 2019

Cultural Psychology and Narrative Inquiry

Jenny Pak, PhD


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





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


Deeply rooted in a hermeneutic tradition, cultural psychology has challenged the appropriateness of seeking reductive knowledge because higher mental processes such as religious beliefs, values, and choices are bound by historical and cultural context. As greater interdisciplinary integration and methodological innovations are necessary to keep psychology, culture, and religion relevant, narrative inquiry has emerged as a promising integrative paradigm.

Dr. Pak’s Research Lab (CPRN) is unique in its combination of cultural psychology and narrative approach to address a variety of theoretical and applied issues in psychology with the aim of advancing knowledge and professional competence at the individual and community level. Focused on a broad range of theoretically grounded topics, the current line of investigation includes how implicit cultural and religious values impact attachment, identity, spiritual formation, moral injury, and emotional process in trauma and psychotherapy. Dr. Pak works collaboratively with her students through weekly research lab meetings, readings, discussions, and numerous projects. Students are encouraged to submit for journal publications and present work at regional and national conferences such as APA and CAPS.


Culture/Religion, and Attachment

• Parent-child relationship closeness and identity/spiritual formation

• Indigenous religious/cultural vs modern values conflict


Culture, Religion, Trauma, and Moral Injury

• Moral injury, trauma, culture, and ministry

• Culture, religion, and aging among elderly


Culture, Psychotherapy and Pastoral/Member Care

• Analysis of dual cultural self and emotional process in psychotherapy
• Culturally informed psychological practices and research strategies
• Cultivating humility and cultural adaptations in psychotherapy and
pastoral/member care

Recent Publications (with external links)

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. (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, J., Brown, J., Crommett, N., & Sidhom, N. (2016, March). Impact and recovery of traumatic life events amongst diverse populations. Symposium presented at the meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Pasadena, California.


Pak Lab

Faculty and Principal investigator

Jenny Pak

Jenny Pak

Associate Professor of Psychology


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


Audrey Lee

Audrey Sangeun Lee. Audrey is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology and currently pursuing her 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.


Michael Reda.

Michael is a Psy D candidate in clinical psychology and currently pursuing his pre-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.

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 underrepresented populations and trained with comorbid diagnoses and high need patients. Her research interests include complex trauma, moral injury, and liberation psychology. She believes the experiences of the disempowered are vital, can be empowered by the field, and are essential to integration in research. Her previous project utilized attachment theory to investigate relational tendencies and experiences of male survivors of intimate partner emotional abuse. Her current research focuses on experiences of conflict, trauma, and support among vulnerable groups during disaster.

Rachel Middendorf

Rachel Middendorf. Rachel is a fourth-year PsyD student currently completing her pre-internship practicum training at Hillview Mental Health, a community mental health center. She is interested in empowering underserved populations by making psychological services more accessible to the community through her work in community mental health, as well as 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 approach 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's dissertation project involves adapting 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 fourth-year PsyD student. She is the proud daughter of parents who immigrated from the Philippines and also a proud native of the Inland Empire. Before this program, she spent nearly a decade in parachurch ministry and as a result, is passionate about the psychological health of spiritual leaders. So, this year, she is excited to work at Fuller's Psychological and Family Services doing psychological and vocational assessments for clergy and seminary students. For fun, she enjoys singing, video games, talking movies/film, and watching the Lakers!

Miriam Kang

Miriam Kang. Miriam is a third-year in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and currently provides therapy at Pacific Clinics–Asian Pacific Family Center. Her research interests include the emic experience of trauma, moral injury, and posttraumatic growth, especially in the Korean American context. Her previous project focused on the use of qualitative inquiry in the field of psychology of religion, and she hopes to contribute to furthering its use in revealing complexities found in the intersectionality of human experience, culture, and spirituality. Her current project examines the relationship between attachment, spirituality, and depression in Korean elderly in both Korea and the US.

Hannah Che

Hannah Che. Hannah is a third-year PsyD student and currently is providing neuropsychological assessments at Southern California Neurology Consultants Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation Program (SHARP) and culturally-sensitive therapy to Koreans at Fuller Psychological and Family Services. She also has previous clinical experience in a group practice setting and a community mental health agency. Her research interests include understanding the lived experiences of Korean-American Pastors in the U.S. and their particular experiences of trauma in their church ministry context. Her clinical interests are in working with bicultural individuals and their specific emotional processing that occurs in therapy

Daniel Kim

Daniel Kim. Daniel is a student in the PsyD program. His interests include ethnic identity formation, especially within the family unit, and the process of how individuals develop their sense of belonging within their ethnic group.

Recent graduates:

Karissa Burnett

Angela Dupont

Mary Schuberg

Travis Research Institute logo
Contact Us

Jim Cummings, MDiv, MA
Research Administrator

Office Hours

8 am–5 pm


Room 326
180 N. Oakland Ave

Pasadena, CA 91182