Why did you choose to become a counsellor?
I have always been a sensitive person surrounded by people who rarely outwardly expressed their emotions and feelings of love and appreciation. I always felt a need to experience this. I was never able to understand the reasons behind all this happening around me.
When I was exposed to psychology as a subject and the understanding it provides about human behavior, emotions, feelings, and experiences my fascination and interest grew four-fold. Things started to make sense to me and I could understand myself so much better, understood people and patterns around me, and finally had reasons and explanations for all the questions I had been carrying within me for so long.
The fact that I could now understand and help people understand why they are the way they are and there are so many contributing factors to it, gave me the purpose and motivation to be a counsellor.
What excites you about your work as a counsellor?
To be able to become that part of my client’s life where they can, without fear or filter be themselves, and share stories of their lives which they probably wanted to but couldn’t share with others, keeps me excited and motivated towards my work each day. The opportunity to learn and unlearn with my clients is also very essential and exciting for me.
What do you hope for your clients to experience after their first session with you?
The mere thought of starting the mental health well-being journey with a therapist can often seem intimidating for some people, also making them apprehensive about the process. I hope my clients feel heard, accepted, comfortable, and a little less scared after the first session with me.
What would you wish to tell a client who is thinking about seeking counselling?
Starting your therapy journey can seem like a difficult and heavy step to take. You might feel confused at first, not knowing how to search for a therapist who is a right fit, confused about where to start and what to say. Take your time to trust the process. Ask as many questions as you want, and consult as many therapists as you want till the time you feel heard, understood, and comfortable about starting your journey with them.
Therapy is a collaborative space you and your therapist create together to help you work on yourself, your goals, and your challenges. The process will be full of learning and unlearning, there can be some difficult stages in the sessions, but they all favor your growth and overall well-being.
Describe the relationship that you would wish to build with your client in counselling.
I wish to create a collaborative, warm, trusting, and comfortable relationship with my clients. The relationship would also be based on mutual respect and honest feedback from their end for me to help them reach their desired goals in the best way possible. I also believe in and ensure equal responsibility to be shared by my clients and me since they will be embarking on their well-being journey with me being their co-traveler guiding them along the way.
In your counselling work so far, what has been your greatest learning from your clients?
Despite encountering failures but by consistently striving, my clients have shown me the significance of never giving up, getting back, and continuing to fight. Through their struggles, they have held onto hope, which has become one of their greatest sources of learning for me. In my sessions, I frequently witness the remarkable qualities of resilience and perseverance. These of my clients’ qualities inspire me to also keep going when I find myself stumbling and losing hope. Their determination and strength during and outside our sessions inspire me deeply.
What are some of your strengths as a counsellor that you value and appreciate?
Not making myself bigger than my clients in any way and my honesty in the sessions are two of my biggest strengths that I value about myself. I make sure my clients understand that they know and are the best judge for themselves, I am not an expert about their life and I am here to support and guide them in their challenges, struggles, and in their journey of self-growth. I highly appreciate my honesty about my limitations and own up to not knowing everything which keeps me eager to learn constantly.
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
I love to cook, bake and experiment with my food, shower my love on dogs, watch some series, or sometimes read a good book during my free time.
What are the areas of concern you address in counselling? Do you work with specific populations?
I work with adolescents and young adults between 18-35 years having concerns related to anxiety, stress, grief, interpersonal relationship difficulties, work-related issues, emotional difficulties and self- exploration.
What is the therapeutic approach you use? How would you describe it to someone who wants to consult you for therapy?
I follow a client/person-centered approach and incorporate somatic/bodywork using EFT specifically in my work, which means my therapeutic practice moves according to my client’s needs, requirements, and pace. My practice offers space for all kinds of conversations, deeper and more difficult ones and ones that help them understand themselves better while exploring and understanding how their inner and outer world impacts their physical, mental, and emotional health.
How do you make your therapeutic practice a safe and affirmative space for queer and trans* folx?
To create a safe and inclusive environment for my practice, I am committed to continuous learning and growth. I actively educate myself about the concerns and challenges faced by them, also by engaging in a process of unlearning. By incorporating practices such as asking for clients’ pronouns in my intake form and using inclusive language that embraces diversity, I strive to honor their identities. I regularly reflect on my own belief systems and biases, recognizing the influence of my upbringing in a society that has traditionally focused on heteronormativity and cisnormativity.
The Quote Aastha Resonates With
Do one thing every day that scares you.