Why did you choose to become a counsellor?
Back in school, I used to go about telling people that I want to be a Criminal Psychologist, mostly influenced by television. I was then convinced by my mother that I shouldn’t take it up or I’ll have stalkers around me all the time. Nevertheless, I took up Psychology as something drew me towards mental health and with time, I have a more nuanced understanding of what it means to me.
What excites you about your work as a counsellor?
Everyday, I dive deep into at least 3-5 people’s lives, making space for vulnerability and acknowledging my clients for showing up for themselves. A therapy room for me is a powerful space where we witness grief, loss, growth and authenticity.
What do you hope for your clients to experience after their first session with you?
First sessions can induce anxiety or can feel daunting, since you are opening up to a complete stranger about yourself. I hope for my clients to leave the session feeling seen and heard with a hope that things are going to get better. We also discuss a sense of direction and pace that works for the clients, in their mental health journey.
What would you wish to tell a client who is thinking about seeking counselling?
Being in therapy is investing in yourself, in a way no one told you was needed. This is your space to share, vent or rant. You have the right to ask questions, give feedback and slow down, when things feel overwhelming.
Describe the relationship that you would wish to build with your client in counselling.
We start with building trust and safety, for you to want to come back to this therapeutic space. The first session would include getting to know each other, for me to understand what got you to therapy and how can we start this journey together. Within the first few sessions, we co-create a plan based on your expectations from these sessions. Even though I love a structures and plan, I also invite fluidity to our sessions, to see what shows up.
In your counselling work so far, what has been your greatest learning from your clients?
Over the years, my work has made me accept a lot I go through personally, by being a part of my clients journey. When I see clients in similar situations as me, I am inspired by the work they put in and how they show up for themselves. This definitely acts as a huge reminder to continue doing the work, even though it’s hard.
What are some of your strengths as a counsellor that you value and appreciate?
My lived experiences act as my biggest strength. I also create a space for clients, where they can show up, in whatever way possible. It never has to be or can be a 100%. I am non-judgmental and make sure that my client never feels alone, about anything they bring to therapy. We’re in this together!
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
When not working, I like to spend time with myself in ways like cooking and listening to music. I am a pawrent to a lovely dog and cat, who pretty much take all my attention. They might just come say hi to you, during our sessions. I have recently started to explore with embroidery and I am having fun with it.
What are the areas of concern you address in counselling? Do you work with specific populations?
LGBTQIA+, Perinatal Mental Health, Neurodivergence, Borderline Personality Disorder, Workplace Mental Health, Family systems & Relationships
What is the therapeutic approach you use? How would you describe it to someone who wants to consult you for therapy?
Imagine sitting in a car with you in the driver’s seat. I am sitting right next to you, helping you navigate this journey and sometimes acting like your GPS! I use a person centered approach to my work, that means, you come first and you decide what’s important for you. A very famous psychologist (Carl Roger’s) said and I completely believe that, clients have the ability to be their true authentic selves. I use an intersectional and queer affirmative lens in my work, so don’t be surprised when I introduce myself with my pronouns.
How do you make your therapeutic practice a safe and affirmative space for queer and trans* folx?
I let everyone know, regardless of their gender or sexuality, that I am a queer person with mental health issues. It is a huge part of my identity that it’s important that my client knows that about me. In my practice, I have always mentioned my pronouns, have questions around Gender & Sexuality in the intake form. As a queer person navigating therapy, your identity is most important and I make sure to make validate that.
The Quote Richa Resonates With
In every breath, theres life
(Im more of a lyrics kind of a person over quotes.)