top of page


11 items found for ""

Blog Posts (1)

  • Your Mind, The Heckler

    “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James Your mind is one of your most powerful tools. It helps you plan, think, and achieve your goals. However, the mind can also be one of your greatest bullies. It may tell you what you can’t do, how you’re always doing something wrong, and that you’re never good enough. It’s like this heckler in the stands you can’t ignore. Well, maybe the solution to this isn’t to ignore your mind but to change your relationship with the thoughts your mind throws at you. Often times unhelpful thoughts are most damaging when you take them too literally, when we put them up on pedestals and treat them as if they are mandates or dictums. What if thoughts really aren’t as lofty or serious as we might make them? Your thoughts are composed of language and so essentially they are words on paper. Look at this thought for example: “I can’t do this.” When you look at this thought on your screen, what do you literally see? It’s a bunch of words. If we break down a word, what is that composed of? Letters. If we break-down letters, what are they made up of? Sounds, like “ah, vuh, buh, eee, and zee.” Also, letters are basically a collection of lines and curves. Think of the letter “t” for example. How do you draw a letter “t”? Make 2 lines that cross. That’s it! So at the end of the day, our thoughts are basically just a bunch of lines and curves put together in arbitrary ways. Think about that for a second… "thoughts are basically just a bunch of lines and curves put together in arbitrary ways." We’re allowing ourselves to get heckled and bullied by nothing more than a bunch of lines and curves. What does that tell you about your thoughts and the perceived power they may have over you? Perhaps, our thoughts don't need to be as omnipotent as we make them out to be? Thoughts get their power by the meaning we attach to them. So if we can learn to attach meaning to thoughts (or words), we can also learn to change that meaning. So when you notice yourself having unhelpful thoughts that are interfering, remember what they truly are at their core… lines and curves… and work on treating them with less seriousness, and even treating them with a good dose of silliness! Here’s one way to do that. Imagine an unhelpful thought that resonates with you, as if the thought was written out on a piece of paper. Now, you may have defaulted to viewing the thought written out in black ink. Try changing the font color of your thought to blue… green… tangerine… hot pink… or rainbow colors. Now, try changing the actual font of the thought… imagine it in Times New Roman… now Comic Sans… now imagine the thought is in a font you would see in a children’s fairy tale book… now a comic book… now a cartoon show. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can't do this. I can't do this. After doing this, take a moment now to see how you are relating to your original thought. Does the thought still have the same effect on you as before? You may find that simply changing the font or the color of your thought can help you remember that your thoughts are just words (lines and curves). Also, this brief exercise may remind you that just as you have the ability to view your thoughts with terror and doom, you can also cultivate an ability to view them as non-intimidating, lighthearted, and silly. Strive to treat your thoughts flexibly rather than literally, and once you have loosened your grip on them, practice letting them go like a bubble or a passing car, especially if they are not helping you. “Use your mind, don’t let your mind use you.” - Unknown Note: This exercise was inspired and adapted from Dr. Russ Harris. Train, Live, Rest, and Prevail. - Dr. Yu Learn more about Dr. Yu

View All

Other Pages (10)

  • ABOUT | Prevail Performance

    Guiding, Educating, & Supporting You to Your Next Level Dr. Alexander "Brian" Yu (he/him) is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Sport Psychologist, and a Certified Mental Performance Consultant ® (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) . He is listed in the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. Dr. Yu is dually-trained to optimize mental health and mental sports performance in sports, performing arts, work, or school. ​ WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH DR. YU? Dr. Yu is thoughtful and compassionate for wherever his clients are in life. He provides both emotional support and practical tools and strategies to his clients. He is a proponent of learning through experience, and frequently uses metaphors and exercises to enhance the acquisition of psychological strategies. Dr. Yu teaches mental skills that are transferable for life, beyond sports and performances. He utilizes mindfulness- and evidence-based therapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). ​ ​ Dr. Yu provides an environment of respect, collaboration, and non-judgment. He aims to create a space where clients are free to be themselves without fear of shame or criticism. He believes that understanding and appreciating the multicultural backgrounds of his clients are paramount in supporting them. He endeavors to recognize the diverse intersecting identities of his clients, while also continuously developing his own cultural humility. ​ EXPERIENCE Dr. Yu has several years of experience working with elite youth sports and student-athletes of NCAA Division I athletics at the University of California - Davis, California State University - Sacramento, University of North Texas, and most recently, at the University of Maryland - College Park. Dr. Yu has experience working with athletes from a variety of sports, including American football, basketball, swimming, water polo, soccer, track and field, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, and more. On the clinical side, he has addressed a wide range of mental health symptoms and disorders, working at several multidisciplinary health centers at universities and hospitals. ​​ PERSONAL SPORT-PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE Dr. Yu spent about a decade of his life as a competitive swimmer, and later coached in the sport. After swimming, he regularly participated in recreational roller hockey, Crossfit, and mixed martial arts. He also has been a musical performer, having learned the piano, saxophone, guitar, ukulele, and singing. ​He frequently practices sport psychology principles and techniques to improve performance in his own personal sport, exercise, and occupational endeavors. ​ EDUCATION Student Health & Counseling Services – University of California Davis APPIC-Accredited Postdoctoral Fellowship & Predoctoral Internship University of North Texas Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, specialty in Sport-Performance Psychology California State University, Fullerton M.S. in Clinical Psychology University of California, Irvine B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior OTHER AFFILIATIONS Maryland Sports Performance Maryland Centers for Psychiatry ​

  • FAQ | Prevail Performance

    FAQ Frequently Asked Questions What is Sport-Performance Psychology? Sport Psychology or Performance Psychology focuses on understanding the psychological factors that impact human performance, whether that be in sports, performing arts, business and more. Sport Psychologists and other Sport Psychology Consultants utilize this knowledge to train and optimize the mental aspects of performances. You may have heard of terms like "mental toughness," "mental edge," and "mental resiliency," and those are all areas of focus that Sport Psychology professionals work on improving with athletes and performers. ​ Does Dr. Yu only work with athletes? No. Although, Dr. Yu's background in Sport-Performance Psychology makes him qualified to work with athletes, performing artists, and other performers, he is also trained as a clinical psychologist who can provide psychotherapy for mental health concerns. So you don't have to be an athlete or "performer" in order to work with Dr. Yu. ​ Do I have to choose between receiving sport psychology or mental health counseling? No. Often times sport-performance issues are influenced by mental health issues, even if you do not have a mental health disorder. So there is freedom to work on not only improving your sport-performance, but also your mental health and wellbeing too, should it become relevant. At the same time, if you are experiencing a mental health issue that feels uncomfortable for you to address, Dr. Yu would never force you to confront or talk about it, until you feel ready to do so yourself. ​ What is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC)? To quote the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) , CMPCs are applied sport psychology providers who "have met the highest standard in education, training, and supervised practice, and they have passed a required certification exam to demonstrate their competence as a practitioner." For more information, click here . ​ How do I schedule an appointment? Call or send a message with your interest using this form . Leave multiple days/times that you could be free for a free 15 min phone consultation. Dr. Yu will contact you within 1-2 business days and propose a time to schedule the free 15 min phone consultation. Fifteen min phone consultation Dr. Yu will ask for a brief description of what you would like to address. Dr. Yu will answer any questions that you may have You and Dr. Yu will decide if it will be a good fit to move forward with a first appointment (a.k.a. Intake Interview). Intake Interview (60-90 min) During the intake, Dr. Yu will ask for more in-depth information about your presenting concerns, as well as learn more about your life and history. Note: The intake is typically done only once, but Dr. Yu may request to do another intake if it has been at least several months since your last appointment. This is to be sure that your information is still up-to-date. Follow-up sessions After the intake, you and Dr. Yu will decide on the frequency of counseling, typically weekly or every other week. Follow-up sessions are 45 minutes per appointment. Note: Having any contact with Dr. Yu, whether that’s the 15 min phone consultation or the intake, does not obligate you to continue with services. If you feel it isn’t a good fit to work with Dr. Yu, you are always welcome to let him know and discontinue services. And if available, Dr. Yu is happy to provide you with referrals or recommendations to other counseling and sport psychology resources.

  • Psychologist | Prevail Performance Counseling PLLC

    BASED IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA Serving individuals, athletes, performers, and organizations in Virginia, Maryland, and DC CURRENTLY ACCEPTING NEW CLIENTS Nothing is more aggravating than physically preparing yourself to do what you want to do, getting everything right during practice, and feeling so confident to show what you're made of, only to be held back by distracting thoughts, disruptive emotions, or unexpected setbacks. You know you can do better, but it's just not happening. It hurts. . . A LOT. ​ You're often told you need mental toughness, to keep your emotions in check, and to focus harder, but how do you do that?? It's not like we're given an instruction book, and often times, we're left to figure it out on our own. And that's where I can help. ​ I'm a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Sport Psychologist, and a Certified Mental Performance Consultant ® (CMPC) . I help adolescents and adults live more fully by developing their mental capacities to perform. Whatever domain that might be, whether on the field, concert hall, classroom, or workspace, I am passionate about helping people navigate distressing thoughts and emotions and to engage in a life that is satisfying and meaningful. My practice is called Prevail Performance Counseling PLLC because the goal in sport, performance, or life should not be solely focused on trying to prevent stressors, adversity, or bad things from happening to you, but rather learning how to prevail and live a fulfilling life, even in the face of hardships. I provide compassion and acceptance for wherever you are in life, as well as concrete psychological tools to enhance mental training. When you want to sharpen your mental edge or overcome an issue that is limiting your potential, I'll be here to guide, educate, and support you to your next level. ​ -Dr. Brian Yu (he/him ) ​ LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. YU SEE WHAT SERVICES DR. YU PROVIDES DISCOVER HABIT MASTERS CONTACT AND SCHEDULE WITH DR. YU CHECK OUT SPORT PSYCH TIPS ON SOCIAL MEDIA Let's Talk "The purpose of life is not to control what happens to you, but rather control and choose higher level reactions to what happens to you." MARK MANSON @prevailperform

View All
bottom of page