Why did you choose to become a counsellor?
Since childhood, I have had a strong inclination to be in a helping profession where I could be of service to others. When I experienced my own mental health struggles for the first time as a teen, it was disheartening to see the highly stigmatized and ignorant narrative towards mental health in India. This paved the path for me to pursue psychology so that I could advocate for mental health awareness and contribute towards increasing the well-being and quality of life of individuals. I chose to become a counsellor to let everyone know - It is okay not to be okay. Mental health is health. You are not alone and there’s nothing wrong with you; the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
What excites you about your work as a counsellor?
It is an honour and a privilege when clients allow me to be a fellow traveller in their life journey as we co-create a safe, tender, empowering, and reflective space for them to make sense of their experiences, process and sit with pleasant as well as unpleasant emotions, identify patterns and their roots, have insights leading to changes, big and small, and most importantly, show up for themselves, week after week, in the best of ways that they can. Being a witness and a companion to every client’s unique journey is perhaps the most fulfilling part of my work as a counsellor.
What do you hope for your clients to experience after their first session with you?
It is my hope that after our first session, the client feels understood and is hopeful about the process of therapy - I would hope to cultivate an environment where the client sees potential for trust, safety, and a mutually respectful therapeutic relationship that facilitates conditions for healing, growth and desired change. I would want clients to leave our first session with the knowledge that the counsellor is willing to make sufficient efforts, is open to feedback and acknowledging any missteps on their end, and most importantly, has a genuine regard for their client’s well-being.
What would you wish to tell a client who is thinking about seeking counselling?
There doesn’t have to be anything “wrong” with you in order for you to seek therapy. If you feel like you could benefit from a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive reflective space, therapy is for you.
Describe the relationship that you would wish to build with your client in counselling.
In my work, I consider the therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist an integral part of the process of therapy. My effort is to create a highly collaborative relationship with the client wherein the client is the expert of their own lives and the therapist acts as an interactive mirror (creating a reflective space) as well as a container (holding space for the client’s experiences). The client’s experiences are at the forefront while the therapist has a dynamic/flexible role as per the situation.
In your counselling work so far, what has been your greatest learning from your clients?
We are all doing the best we can, and all of it is influenced by our life experiences, our learning, and our conditioning. Once we become aware of our patterns and invite curiosity and compassion to our experiences, we have the wonderful capacity of creating new patterns and letting go of that which does not serve us any longer.
What are some of your strengths as a counsellor that you value and appreciate?
I am deeply passionate about this work and it helps me in creating a warm, empathetic, and supportive space for my clients. I approach the process of therapy with a lot of curiosity and compassion which helps me in building a space where the client feels heard, understood, and free to be their authentic selves. Lastly, I consider myself to be a lifelong learner and engage in consistent efforts to hone my skills and knowledge so that I can serve my clients better.
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
I like to unwind by reading fiction, taking naps, going for long walks in nature, and clicking endless (amateur) pictures of flowers, sunsets, and the moon. I am deeply moved by art, and love dancing, doodling, and writing in my free time.
What are the areas of concern you address in counselling? Do you work with specific populations?
I work primarily with young adults (18-35 years) and their common concerns including, but not limited to, identity concerns, family and relationship concerns, body image concerns, difficulties with emotional regulation, navigating through life transitions, and exploring themes of loneliness, isolation, freedom, grief, and existentialism. Some specific populations that I work with include individuals who have had experiences of abuse, neglect, and intergenerational trauma during their childhood.
What is the therapeutic approach you use? How would you describe it to someone who wants to consult you for therapy?
My approach in therapy is client-centred and trauma-informed. The client is the expert of their own life and has the innate capacity to reach their goals. As a therapist, my role is to follow their lead and facilitate the client’s process by creating a space for safe exploration as well as equipping them with tools and resources as and when required. In my practice, I incorporate elements from various modalities including humanistic, feminist, DBT, and parts work (IFS) alongwith a lot of focus on psychoeducation.
How do you make your therapeutic practice a safe and affirmative space for queer and trans* folx?
As a queer-affirmative practitioner, my effort is to co-create a safe and inclusive space, taking into account the unique stressors in the life of queer and trans individuals and how it impacts their mental health while being mindful of my own identity in the society as well as in the therapy room. I actively work to deconstruct the cis-heteronormative influences in language, culture, and social norms that I have learnt. I keep myself informed and updated through lectures, readings, resources, and understanding lived experiences of queer folx.
The Quote Rashi Resonates With
Shame dies when stories are told in safe spaces.