Graduate Division

Graduate Division Counselor Offers Zen-Like Experiences to Students

When he’s not running the distance, teaching yoga, or fighting in Jiu-Jitsu and MMA matches, Phong Luong, Psy.D., lends support to graduate students who find themselves at a road bump.  As UC Irvine’s graduate division counselor, Phong provides mentoring and guidance to these students, while advising them on ways to overcome challenges they may be facing during graduate school. 

Phong has a master’s and doctoral degree in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Irvine.  He has more than 10 years of experience as both a therapist and academic counselor and previously worked in various departments at Saddleback College as a counselor and professor.

Phong lives by the adage: “The wisdom’s in the trees not the glass windows,” by Jack Johnson.  This means many things to Phong. On a professional level, it means participating in the campus community and helping students break family and academic patterns that don’t serve them by meeting fear with GRIT.

His counseling philosophy is simple and stems from this motto, “I hope to create an inclusive and non-judgmental counseling environment for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars,” says Phong.  As such, he works to understand students from a holistic perspective, curious about their support system, challenges they face in and out of graduate school, and what motivation, passion and wisdom means to them.  “The counseling focuses on helping the student find an internal balance in order to manage the challenges of graduate school,” he says. 

  phong teaching

Phong believes that the difficulties we encounter are meant to impart wisdom and he shares this philosophy with each student he meets. Within these counseling sessions, he also provides additional academic support, time management skills, effective communication skills, and referrals to campus and community resources as needed.

In his spare time, Phong enjoys being with his wife and two children. “I’m never happier than when I’m sitting with those I love, and eating some spicy Thai food with an iced coffee.”  He also enjoys learning about Vietnamese and Italian coffee culture, and dancing hip hop with his son and daughter.  A cautious person by nature and nurture, Phong challenges himself to face his fears, to be an example for family, friends, students, and especially his children.   

Phong may be reached via email at or phone at 949- 824-0246, and is available between 8am–5 pm, or by appointment, Monday – Friday; his office is located in the Graduate Division, Aldrich Hall 120.

phong with family