My Professional Background

DSC_0993 2594If you’re wondering about my qualifications (as you should before you hire any self-professed “coach”), here’s some information about my background and training.

I’ll start with my full name and title, so I can get the braggiest stuff out of the way. (Who are we kidding? This whole page is gonna be braggy.)

Dennis Hong, PhD, MS

I have a PhD in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and an MS in Counseling (Marriage and Family Therapy) from San Diego State University. For details, here are my résumé and LinkedIn profile. I also have a Yelp page for Social Savvy Sage.

I currently straddle two careers, as both a social skills coach and a Marriage and Family Therapist. As a therapist, I specialize in relationships that fall beyond the stereotypical norms dictated by our society. You can read more about my practice by clicking here. And if you’re wondering what the differences are between a coach and a therapist, here’s a blog post I wrote about it.

Throughout my professional life, I have worked in capacities where interpersonal communication is vital. I’ve also picked up a bunch of relevant skills and knowledge from my various professional endeavors.

As a research scientist working towards a PhD in evolutionary biology, I learned about the biological basis for many human behaviors.

I taught for eight years at a school for at-risk teens. During this time is when I picked up my teaching, curriculum design, and counseling skills.

While working towards my teaching credential, I played poker professionally for a year. Through that endeavor, I learned quite a bit about … well, let’s just call it applied human psychology. I think of poker as the “dark arts” aspect of social savvy.

I left teaching to take a job at for four years, where I authored a bunch of writings and presentations on customer service and communication. You can check them out here.

I am also a comedy and relationships writer, which can be either an oxymoron or redundant, depending on your perspective. In 2008, I started blogging about relationships, originally as a way for myself to learn from a breakup. That led to a considerable amount of freelance writing on dating and human behavior, a well as an invitation to be a dating advice columnist (see below).

Eventually, I launched my own crowdsourced dating advice site. That became my impetus to get a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, as I wanted to be actually qualified to help people with relationship issues more serious than, “Well, how do I talk to her on a date?”

If you really want to throw yourself down the rabbit hole, here is a list of my internet writings on dating, relationships, human behavior, and basically anything relevant to Social Savvy Sage:


The Frisky

Note: In the early 2010s, The Frisky was one of the hottest women’s lifestyle websites on the internet. Unfortunately, the site was sold in 2016, and over the next several years, its budget was slashed and the site itself effectively gutted. Eventually, all of its original articles were taken down and replaced with clickbait. Fortunately (for me), I saved all the articles I wrote and have republished them on my own blog.

Dear Wendy

Guest Columns

“His Take”

Your Tango

If my professional background checks out for you, click here to learn about my coaching services, or sign up for a free consultation below: