About Us

Dr. Mona Yaptangco

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Born in Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and raised in Tokyo, Japan, I have vivid memories of moving approximately every four years due to my father’s military career. Immersed in a variety of different cultures, I developed an initial curiosity about cultural and individual differences in the way that people think, respond, and behave in their environment. When I enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle as an undergraduate student, I became fascinated with psychology after taking courses such as Psychology 101 and Abnormal Psychology and later becoming involved in a research lab, which focused on biological and environmental correlates of adolescent depression and self-injury. Well into my second quarter of sophomore year, I decided to change my major from pre-med to psychology. This decision was an easy one for me to make when I decided I not only wanted to treat symptoms of a disorder, but also have the opportunity to hear an individual’s story in their attempts to heal.

In August 2011, I moved from Seattle to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. Among the clinical training experiences in graduate school, I completed a variety of psychological assessment focused practicums at the Utah State Hospital, Primary Children’s Center for Counseling, the University of Utah Counseling Center, and the UNI Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic. I later completed my internship year at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (formerly UNI, now the Huntsman Mental Health Institute), where I received training on a number of psychological assessments for ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cognitive abilities, achievement, executive functioning, and personality. My clinical training experiences across various settings and diverse populations along with my own personal experiences helped me develop an increased understanding of how individuals respond to their environment through a culturally sensitive lens.

After completing my internship and receiving my degree, I accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island where I worked with children, adolescents, and their families as part of a children’s partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an adolescent comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program. This experience was one that was truly transformative, as I had the opportunity to explore the east coast and again be immersed in a different culture that I was unfamiliar with.  Beyond the differences in culture and lifestyle, I received invaluable training in making appropriate diagnoses, treatment plan development, behavior plan development, and developing recommendations for disposition given each child and family’s unique skill set, strengths, and challenges. During my post-doctoral fellowship, I also attended several school meetings in Rhode Island and Massachusetts where I met with school staff to support a child’s transition back to school from PHP. These meetings often included information about the child’s progress at PHP, behavioral interventions the school could implement to manage a child’s behavior, and recommendations for academic accommodations given a child’s mental health diagnoses. 

At the completion of my post-doctoral fellowship, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to return to the beautiful mountains of Utah and continue working with individuals who struggle with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and/or self-harm behaviors. I feel very fortunate to be able to return to HMHI, a psychiatric hospital in Salt Lake City where I currently work as a psychologist in the Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Program. In this position, I am part of a multidisciplinary treatment team where I provide individual therapy, family therapy, and administer psychological assessments to patients and their families. Perhaps the part that I find most rewarding in this role is using assessment results to assist the treatment team with diagnostic clarification and determine helpful treatment recommendations for each individual. I feel incredibly lucky to have a career that is consistent with my values and allows me to help others develop and reach their own goals. I look forward to collaborating with clients to help them develop a better understanding of their individual experiences while simultaneously helping them find ways to enrich their lives.