How a Corporate Speaker Uses K-Dramas to Explore Mental Health Topics

How a Corporate Speaker Uses K-Dramas to Explore Mental Health Topics

As a therapist and speaker, Jeanie Y. Chang often discusses mental health at corporate events. His conferences and workshops in companies such as Microsoft
, generally focus on the importance of mindfulness and resilience. Lately, she has received an increasing number of corporate invitations to talk about Korean dramas.

As a k-drama fan, Chang also writes about mental health issues depicted in dramas, sharing his stories on Instagram and TikTok. Much of its k content explores the emotional journeys of k-drama characters, using the fictional experiences to discuss topics such as family conflict, overcoming impostor syndrome, or coming to terms with trauma. Publish as Noonchi from Noona, it collects millions of visits. Yet it was still a surprise when companies first contacted her via Noonchi from Noonawhich translates to “the older sister’s ability to read the play”, rather than contacting her through her professional website, Your change provider.

“In mid-2022, I was starting to get calls and emails about companies wanting to hire me from Noonchi from Noona“, Chang said. “They were like, hey, I found you through Noonchi from Noona and I’m in the legal department of organization XYZ. We would love for you to come and talk about mindfulness.

And dramas k.

A Florida-based law firm asked Chang to speak about mental health and Extraordinary Prosecutor Woo, a 2022 drama about an autistic lawyer. Not one of the lawyers present was Korean, Korean American or even Asian, which could say a lot about the growing global popularity of Korean media.

“More than half the room had seen Extraordinary Prosecutor Woo and I was cracking up when I showed the clip,” Chang said. “When the lawyers saw him come on the screen behind me, when they saw Woo Young-woo, you could see their faces light up. I’m talking about mental health, which is not an easy topic, and how she deals with it. I thought, this is a surreal moment. No one in the audience is Asian. I was the only Asian in the room.

Chang also receives invitations to speak at universities, such as UNC Chapel Hill, where students primarily know her from her online content. “They say, we have a lot of people on your TikTok and Instagram and we would like you to come and do a 90 minute workshop on k-dramas and mental health.”

Chang has dramatic clips that she often uses to illustrate issues, such as scenes of It’s okay not to be well. In this drama, a traumatized writer learns a technique to calm anxiety, a practical trick anyone can use. Chang can also present trending dramas of the moment.

squid game is a huge draw,” Chang said. ” Everyone knows squid game. So I’m going to use a squid game clip while talking about impostor syndrome. When they hired me to talk about impostor syndrome to a group of engineers and scientists, I brought in squid game and start because it made sense. »

startCharacters include a small business owner, who pretends to be more accomplished than he is, and a successful tech executive who hides his feelings.

“When I received the polls from the company, they said the k-drama music video was great,” Chang said. “It’s validation. Now, if they had said, what’s going on with the drama clip, it would have been different.

Good storytelling can promote catharsis, especially when stories focus on emotions.

“That internal process of seeing a story that’s not your story really helps us break down our own stories,” Chang said. “When you experience trauma, you are too absorbed. You can’t really break down that trauma well as you go through it. It is after that comes the hard work.

K-dramas differ from what’s commonly found on American television, Chang said. There’s a lot less sex and violence, but there’s also a lot more emotion. The raw emotion expressed in the dramas – anger, grief, despair – has led them to sometimes be mistakenly referred to as “soap operas”, but for Chang, emotion is what draws viewers in and can help them to solve emotional problems.

There’s a lot of crying in k-dramas, including male actors sobbing in a way that might not be considered appropriately masculine on US prime time. In a workshop on impostor syndrome, Chang first discussed psychology, then acted out a crying scene from Begin.

“There’s a beautiful scene where Kim Seon-ho’s character is crying because he realizes he’s an impostor, pretending to say the right things,” Chang said. “I’m showing this clip as a visual and it’s powerful because they see him cry and they start crying. They don’t even know why they’re crying. They might not know the story, but it’s an emotion they can relate to.

While catharsis can be positive, Chang firmly states that she doesn’t believe k-dramas replace therapy. “I never said k-drama replaced therapy. I’m a therapist. At the end of the day, therapy is what you might need. However, they have been a useful tool.

And the one that is increasingly in demand.

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