About Me

Education and certifications:

  • PhD in Environmental Studies
  • Master of Arts in Humanities
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Certified Coach Practitioner
  • Human Design Specialist (Level 2)
  • Training in Ecopsychology

Hi, my name is Van Thi Diep. I am interested in the intersection between the social and the spiritual and I advocate for the appreciation of our inner and outer landscapes.

I came up with the term “social-spiritual” coaching because I want to help build a world where social activity and discourse are based on conscious awareness, compassionate intentions and mindful actions. To get there, we need to build a commonality of “being” in the world. In other words, we need to develop a social practice of spirituality.

Spirituality, to me, means understanding that there are bigger forces out there than our human egos. However, our (collective) human egos keep us in repetitive patterns of pain. Like any human on this planet, I am also familiar with the battle between ego and soul. Fortunately, the universe pushed me into a (rather painful) spiritual journey, where I gradually learned that much of my past unhappiness stemmed from my own beliefs about what I deserved in life. From the exterior, I looked sort-of successful: I had a string of professional and academic achievements, and I was regularly complemented for my intelligence, talents, and work ethics. But internally, I was yearning to be recognized for my sensitivity and my vulnerability. However, my fear of being truly recognized for who I was was just as great as my yearnings to be seen. Moreover, I had internalized oppressive beliefs that were based on intergenerational and collective attitudes about gender, class, and racial hierarchy. Thus, the only way to move my ego out of our world’s collective suffering was to surrender to the “soul of the world”.

In my doctoral research, I use the word “poignant” to describe the liminal zone between pain and beauty. To overcome personal and collective trauma, we need to find ourselves at the thresholds between pain and beauty, individual and society, humanity and divinity. To share our empowerment with the world, we also need a balance between knowledge and wisdom. Formal education has helped me learn practical and philosophical knowledge in landscape architecture, ecopsychology, phenomenology, and environmental ethics, but at a spiritual level, my life wisdom only exists because I know the feelings of shame, unworthiness, and being a part of our collective trauma. But more importantly, I know what kind of beauty arises when we do overcome these painful states of being. Therefore, I combine my love of landscapes, my interest in what it means to be human, and my personal spiritual insights as a contribution to the healing of our world’s collective pain, so that we can share our world’s beauty collectively through mindful and compassionate actions.

Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is for general information only and is not meant to be used as a substitute for therapy or advice from qualified health professionals. The author of this website does not claim that any information here can prevent, cure, or treat any mental disorders or medical diseases. The reader is responsible for any actions or inaction that he/she may take as a result of the information acquired from this website.