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Peiwei Li

PhD Director, Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology

faculty peiwei li

Peiwei is an Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology, the Director for the PhD program in Counseling & Psychology, and a member of the Executive Board of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP). Her cross-cultural experiences as an immigrant in the U.S. and as a Chinese woman growing up in the late socialist/emerging capitalist era in China have shaped her genuine interest in understanding the intersection of culture, race, gender and class. She is particularly intrigued by the complex power relations of marginalization and dominance that perpetuate and reproduce social and systemic pathologies and inequalities. This also fuels her passion to create conditions for consciousness raising and collective participatory actions toward a better world.

As a teacher, Peiwei’s pedagogy has been shaped by critical and feminist theories that foreground relationship, dialogue, reflection and love. She strives to create openness, trust and authenticity in the classroom that enables critical thinking, dialogues, self-reflection, emotional exploration, and the inclusion of marginalized voices. As a trained counseling psychologist and a research methodologist, Peiwei’s scholarship explores the borderland of critical psychology and critical qualitative methodologies, pertaining to self and identity development, consciousness raising, recognition, and the emancipatory aspect of knowledge. Her most recent critical ethnographic study focuses on the conditions and process of critical consciousness raising during diversity/social justice education.

In addition, Peiwei investigates graduate students’ conception and experiences with research methodology classes, and develops teaching pedagogies that holistically center students’ identities in learning. Peiwei is also passionate about critiquing and reconstructing current code of research ethics to make it more inclusive of historically marginalized and indigenous perspectives, and better attend to layered power relations in knowledge production and dissemination. Inspired by Zen practices, Peiwei is also drawn to the intersection of Eastern spiritual traditions such as Zen Buddhism, and psychotherapy and healing.


Selected publications

Li, P. (2018). Rethinking “research”: Insights from Zen Buddhism on self, love, compassion, and freedom. Invited book chapter contribution to Carspecken, L., (Ed). Love in the Time of Ethnography, Lexington Books.

Li, P. & R. Ramírez, D. (2017). Zen and Psychotherapy. In A. Masuda & W. T. O’Donohue (Eds) Handbook of Zen, Mindfulness, and Behavioral Health. Springer.

Li, P., Ross, K., Zhao, P., & Dennis, B. (2017). Critical action research: How do graduate students in an introductory research class conceptualize “research”? In SAGE Research Methods Cases. 2017.

Ross, K., Dennis, B., Zhao, P., & Li, P. (2017). Exploring Graduate Students’ Understanding of Research: Links Between Identity, Validity, and Research Conceptions. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Zhao, P., Li, P.; Ross, K. & Dennis, B. (2016). Methodological Tool or Methodology? Beyond Instrumentality and Efficiency with Qualitative Data Analysis Software. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 17(2), Art. 16, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1602160.

Li, P. & Cadaret, M. (2017). Examining the Gestalt of Oppression: Complexity, Consequences,Vulnerability and Responsibilities. In Li, P. (Chair) the US election aftermath: Examining the complexity of oppression from intersecting positionalities. Symposium presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) 2017 Convention, August 3-6, Washington DC.

Li, P. (2016). At the Junction of Epistemological Concerns, Research Ethics, and Validity: Opening up a Dialogue and Meta-reflection. In Fine, M. (Chair) Impasses, Passageways, and Ethical Contradictions: The APA Ethics Code and Critical Qualitative Inquiry. Symposium presented at the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Annual Conference. May 16-17, Mahwah, NJ.

Li, P. (2014). Self development toward freedom: Understanding self, identity, spirituality, and emancipatory interest. (Published Doctoral dissertation). Indiana University, Bloomington.

Li, P., Wong, Y. J., & Toth, P. (2012). Asian international students’ willingness to seek counseling: A mixed-methods study. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. 35, 1-15. doi: 10.1007/s10447-012-9163-7

Wong, Y. J., Uhm, S. Y., & Li, P. (2012). Asian Americans’ family cohesion and suicide ideation: Moderating and mediating effects. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82, 309-318. doi: 10.1111/j.1939- 0025.2012.01170.x

Whiston, S., & Li, P. (2011). Meta-analysis: A method to consider for reviewing counseling research. Journal of Counseling and Development, 89, 273-281.

Wong, Y. J., Ho, R. M., Li, P., Shin, M., & Tsai, P.-C. (2011). Chinese Singaporeans' lay beliefs, adherence to Asian values, and subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 822-827. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.01.003


  • Dual-PhD, Counseling Psychology/Inquiry Methodology, Indiana University Bloomington
  • M.S., Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Program, Indiana University Bloomington
  • B.S., Chemistry, Xiamen University (China)