Counselor Training in Uganda

June 1, 2015

Sometimes up front sharing ideas I have . . .                                   GROUP

. . . and sometimes up close listening to them sharing their story,     HANDS

it was a fantastic cross-cultural experience, training 100 social workers in the basics of counseling.

The whole trip is best captured in this video (to view it, click on “this video”), produced by the Austin Ridge video team.  Fantastic group of people and an honor to have been invited to join them.


Counseling in Uganda with Medical Team

May 18, 2015

What a stretching experience to provide counseling in Uganda as I joined with a medical team from Austin Ridge Church.  My role was to counsel with those who had just received their diagnosis of HIV-positive.  Jeremy Ezell heads the counseling program at that church and he invited me to join him in providing counselor training to 100 social workers in the southern city of Gaba. After our tasks were completed, we had two days free to join the medical team in the north, in Pader.  This video says it all.

Credentials, Experience and a Heart – All in One Person!

May 2, 2014

Image a person who could easily boast about her credentials, with degrees in law, theology and psychologyImage, but she doesn’t. She could have become depressed over her losses, having lost a husband through cancer and having breast cancer herself, but she didn’t. She trusted Jesus for her salvation through reading the Hebrew Bible. She could have become cynical after leaving her Jewish roots in New York and being left with only Jesus as a support system. But she realized that having the Lord was all she really needed. The Lord is now blessing her, as she is “able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which [she herself has been] comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4). A professional of such character is worthy of your trust. Read her testimony below and if you need help with your counseling needs, consider her.

(Call her at 214-531-7624).

Dr. Katherine Pang – Testimony

It is so interesting to see how the Lord works in our life to change, mold, shape, and grow us. When I have the opportunity to share at retreats and conferences I would usually open with “What is a Jewish girl from Manhattan (not Kansas, New York City) doing in cowboy boots in a church in Texas?” The only answer is, “watch out when you say ‘Yes,’ to Jesus. As I reflect back over the last 25 years of my life in Christ (I was saved at the age of 30, so that also tells you how old I am) I see His fingerprints through so many disparate yet uniquely God-chosen, God-woven, God-provided circumstances. I have to laugh that a Jewish, New Yorker, lawyer would find her way to Jesus through the Old Testament (wait, that was Paul, too) but that is how the Lord drew me to Himself, through the reading of the Hebrew Bible at a time of frustration and emptiness with all the successes of the world, as He revealed His amazing love and the simple truth that apart from Christ there was no way to God. In a hotel room in Houston, Texas (I really do enjoy the Texas irony in all of this) very much like Paul on the road to Damascus; Jesus became my truth and my way to a personal relationship with God. As I called upon the name of Jesus to be saved and asked Him to have His way in my life, He said’ thank you, Kate, now hold on tight!’

My journey with Jesus began in that hotel room in the fall of 1990 and it has been quite a ride and continues to be quite a ride. As I grew in my knowledge of Him through the reading of the Word, strong expository Bible teaching, and fellowship and mentorship with mature believers He began to strip away the attachments of the world, my self, and rearrange my life so that my hope, dependence, and confidence would be in Him and not in the credentials of this world or my own strength. As He called me to seminary to pursue a Master of Divinity at Talbot Theological Seminary six months after I was saved, and then to a Master of Theology at Talbot and then a PhD in New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, which was never completed because the month after I completed my coursework and was to begin preparing for comprehensive exams my husband-at-the-time died after a six month battle with liver cancer after removing me from my entire support structure at a very large church as a Women’s Bible study teacher to over 1,000 women on a Friday morning in Southern California into a corporate lawyer missionary role in Dallas Texas with no support structure – save the Lord! He and a woman paralegal (an ‘angel’ from the Lord) journeyed with me as I watched my husband-at-the-time unexpectedly diagnosed one day after he came with the moving truck and our Golden Retriever to Dallas, with terminal liver cancer. The six-month cancer roller coaster (those who have made this journey understand the roller coaster image) came with three seats, one for me, one for Jesus, and one for His human support in a friend in Christ. As the Lord grew me in faith, prayer, and trust while the world lost its color and friends from the West were beckoning me back and family from the East was beckoning me forward I would not be moved unless the pillar of cloud and fire moved me so I stayed in Dallas and walked hand-in-hand, sat in the lap of, and cried out to Jesus while I watched God work in ways that there is not ample room to describe to you. Five years later, when I was not looking, God brought a Christian man into my life, who too had been through his trials, and told him that I was to be his wife (He did not tell me until almost 6 months later). We were married in 2004 and in 2006, two years into our marriage I was diagnosed with breast cancer and the BRCA2 Gene. I had three surgeries in 2006 while pursuing a PhD in Psychology, which I was able to complete in 2008. My passion for Imagetransformative change and equipping others to overcome the trials of their life was continually rekindled as I walked this path hand-in-hand with my Savior and my husband. In 2009, the Lord opened the doors once again for Women’s ministry and I became the Director of Women’s ministry at our church equipping women to be overcomers through the victory in Christ teaching Bible studies, leading small groups, speaking at retreats and conferences. In 2011 I was licensed as a provisionally licensed psychologist and last month the Lord opened the door to complete my training for full licensure with Dr. Michael Leach at 3500 Oak Law in Dallas (Uptown). My husband is in the ThM program at Dallas Theological Seminary and I am praising Him daily for His miraculous work and fingerprints in our lives. I am excited to build a counseling/psychology practice for adults and adolescents focusing in many areas including loss, cancer, health issues, life issues, anxiety, fear and phobia, and so much more. I am excited to provide psychological testing and to come alongside other therapists and mental health providers by providing psychological testing reports and diagnostic information. I am excited to have opportunities to teach, share, encourage, and equip so that all may “taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in the Lord” (Psalm 34:8)

Contact Information:

Katherine Pang, PhD, ThM, PLP

Provisionally Licensed Psychologist, #36138

Post Doctoral Resident  

Working under the supervision of Michael Leach, PhD

Licensed Psychologist #34598

Richland Oaks Counseling Center

Uptown Analytic Practices


Why Exercise Helps Mental Health

November 25, 2013

From my own off-and-on exercise program, I can tell that everything works better when I work out, literally from head to toe.  But I never dug into the reasons why.  Now I have an Intern, Rachel Miedema, who has pulled together some of the research that explains the connection.  If you just want the conclusions, read the following article she has written.  If you’re moreImage curious, you can click on the links she’s provided for more detailed original source material.  Now, if you want to dive in, Rachel can integrate your mental functioning with your physical functioning.  She offices at Forte Counseling Center, 1422 W. Main St., Lewisville, 75067 (under the supervision of J. Lee Jagers, PhD, LPC-S) and can be reached at 972-219-1628 or  Check out her web site too.  She’s a remarkable person and uniquely trained with a degree in Exercise Science, a Masters Degree in Kinesiology and a Masters in Biblical Counseling.  Not only smart, but a fun and delightful person, easy to relate to.

Here’s what she writes:

Everyone has heard about the positive health effects of exercise: decreases cardiovascular disease, decrease body weight, increases circulation, improves immune system functioning, regulates hormonal balance, and on and on.  And you may have heard that exercise helps mental health, but have you heard any evidence as to how?   Many researchers have investigated that exact question and below is a brief summary of the positive correlation between physical activity and improved mental health.

Research Area #1: Brain chemistry 

Exercise increases serotonin, which is the same brain neurotransmitter that is increased by certain types of antidepressant medications called SSRI, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  These medications increase the amount of serotonin in the brain by slowing its absorption.  Exercise naturally accomplishes this same effect.

Exercise also releases endorphins, which have been termed a “runners high” for the way they naturally mimic opiates.  Some of these effects are a sense of well-being, pain relief, improved immune system functioning, and reducing stress.

Exercise also increases norepinephrin which has a positive effect on memory, learning, and physical arousal.  Norepinephrin also has a secondary effect on mood much like serotonin and is also effected by a class of antidepressants called SNRI’s, serotonin norephinephrin reuptake inhibitors.

Research Area #2: Mood effects

One study shows that regular exercise directly correlates with both state (in the moment) and trait (underlying) anger.  These participants self-reported that exercising 2-3 times a week led to significantly less anger.  If it works for them it may work for you too.

Exercise is statistically equal to antidepressant medication in its effect on depression and low mood as well as statically higher rates of preventing relapse compared to placebo groups.  So regular physical exercise helps just as much as the best medication in the field.

Physical activity is also shown to have a positive effect on anxiety.  One researchers described it in this way, “Exercise in many ways is like exposure treatment,” says Smits. “People learn to associate the symptoms with safety instead of danger.”  The more instances your body has to overcome the symptoms of anxiety, the better adapted it becomes.

Research Area #3: Daily Patterns

Regular exercise leads to increased feelings of energy and decreased feelings of fatigue.  These effects can improve depression, low mood, anxiety, and overall stress.

Speaking of stress, exercise is shown to help a person cope with stress.  The body reacts to the physical stress effect so exercise in the same way it reacts to mental stress and regular exercise helps to adapt to this occurrence.

Regular physical activity is also correlated with improved sleep.  Studies show that a regular exerciser goes to sleep faster, feels more refreshed when waking up, and feels less tired throughout the day.  Those who report the highest self-report mood and mental health average 7-9 hours of sleep.

Exercise is also shown to improve confidence, self-esteem, and body image.  This happens as exercisers lose body weight, become stronger, and learn new skills or hobbies.

On a purely anecdotal note, exercise can be fun and enjoyable.  Making time to exercise daily can bring a positive distraction from day to day stresses or concerns.

Lastly, regular exercise can create built in community in which genuine, supportive friendships can form around a common activity.  If there is ever a day you may want to take off from exercise when you know it’d be in your best interest to work out anyway, a good network of accountability and community could be the answer.

These positive effects of exercise improve overall wellness, including healthy body, mind, and soul.  Hopefully, this information will help you get out there and move!