Spiff introduces Xi Liu
Welcome to our new column. Every Friday you will find mini-interviews with inspiring people who are currently on the waitlist to try Spiff. Get ready to discuss happiness, life-goals, habits and money. Today? We proudly introduce you to Clinical Psychologist and Director of Life Therapy NYC, Xi Liu.
“Technology is ruining my marriage”. From Sucre, Bolivia. Shot by Xi Liu
Full name: Xi Liu
From and current city: From Sydney Australia, now living in New York City.
Education: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Occupation: Clinical Psychologist and Director of Life Therapy NYC
How would you describe your life today?
Life right now is about learning how to balance a lot of play and a lot of work.
What do you love the most about your life?
There’s so much to love! I love my husband, my great friends and the amazing opportunity to work as a therapist in NYC. I get to hear the most moving personal stories and be a part of my clients’ incredible life journeys.
How, when and why did you decide to become a psychologist?
Initially, I wanted to be a physiotherapist, so I guess healing has always been on my mind. My best friend from High School suggested that I consider psychology as I was always a “great listener”. It’s a pretty stereotypical way to get into psychology. There are a lot of technical skills you learn along the way, but listening, curiosity and empathy are the foundation.
We know you are also quite the artist! Can you tell us a little bit about the journey you have had with that, and what the future might bring?
I have been really fortunate to get involved in a few art projects recently. I had a couple of photography shows in my neighborhood featuring my travels to Madagascar and Bolivia. I’m currently working on an archive project with a magical little art gallery in NYC’s East Village. The art gallery predominantly shows artists who are homeless, struggle with addiction, mental health issues and such. We’ve been working on this project for 2 years. I’m so excited! You can visit the gallery on the corner of Avenue C & 7th. Our archive project can be found on www.thestandon7thproject.com
“Come drink at my table”. From Antananarivo, Madagascar. Shot by Xi Liu
How would you describe your relationship with money?
I have always had a funny relationship with money. When I had little money as a student, it was very important to be responsible. Beyond having what I need, money makes me uncomfortable. This is something I want to change. Being responsible with how I spend money - the philosophy of “waste not, want not” - feels like an important adult step. While money isn’t the most important thing, it can help us feel more secure, confident and stable.
Do you save and/or invest money today?
Baby steps - I am learning :)
How could Spiff improve your life?
I think Spiff is wonderful - so many women (and men) have an uncomfortable or irresponsible relationship with money. I think Spiff can reduce the stigma of talking about savings and investments. It provides tools to learn about ways to save and ultimately provide freedom from financial stressors.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Right now there’s so much that is troubling in America and the world. And it’s so easy to feel helpless. But doing my bit - offering affordable mental health services and getting involved in my neighborhood - makes me feel less helpless. On a day to day level - I started to carry granola bars and tampons to give out to people on the street who are homeless. I know it’s not world changing, but it allows me to have a conversation and a moment of connection.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Being in touch with your emotions is a strength, not a something people should hide.
When I first started as a therapist, I felt overwhelmed by my emotions and saw it as a weakness. A really wonderful mentor told me that my ability to be moved so deeply by another person’s experience is an invaluable part of me and helps me as a psychologist. I just needed to learn how to channel it wisely, learn how to set boundaries, and make sure I do a lot of self care. I think this applies to any work that deals with people - which is most jobs out there in one way or another.
Connect with Xi by visiting one of the links below:
Work as a psychologist www.lifetherapynewyorkcity.com
Photography work www.overheard.squarespace.com
Archive project with The Stand art gallery www.thestandon7thproject.com
Pictured right: “Offally good”. From Antananarivo, Madagascar, by Xi Liu.