Why did you choose to become a counsellor?
Through my school and college years, I just knew I liked the question “Why?” and to figure out why people do what they do. Not only did this realisation helped me understand myself better, but I was convinced that people around me needed this clarity, too. This passion steered me to take a step in the world of psychology. This endeavour coupled with a desire to understand personal stories and the way they wove into the fabric of the stigma that existed I concluded that the way to tackle societal constructs and bring a shift to the existing narratives, guided my journey to becoming a counsellor.
What excites you about your work as a counsellor?
Being a counsellor is just a part of me and something that fuels this part of me to show up is the process of learning and unlearning on day-to-day basis. Each individual is unique, each narrative is unique, the plots and patterns for these narratives are unique. Each of these elements help me explore my beliefs, patterns, and value systems not just professionally but also personally. I find this to be the most exciting part of my job!
What do you hope for your clients to experience after their first session with you?
It can be challenging for the client to show up as their authentic and vulnerable selves and this journey comes in with its sense of overwhelm and scepticism . I would hope for the client to take back the feeling of being heard and supported.
What would you wish to tell a client who is thinking about seeking counselling?
You may find yourself contemplating before reaching out for support. And I would like to tell you that this is natural for you to feel this way. You may have heard that one size does not fit all and this is applicable even to the therapy space. Allow yourself to explore and connect with therapists who may offer a preliminary call to understand the therapeutic approach they follow. Allow yourself to ask as many questions as you’d wish to feel a sense of clarity. It is important to find a therapist whose value systems and ideologies align with yours. There may be times when you experience a mismatch/gap over the course of the sessions. During such times, take up space and allow yourself to voice these feelings in your therapeutic space and know that you can always discontinue and change your therapist.
In this journey…you are learning to be brave. You are finding that even though it might be challenging to walk this journey, there is still boundless grace that still says that your story matters and your story will go on anyway.
Describe the relationship that you would wish to build with your client in counselling.
Therapy is a collaborative process. It can be an intimidating experience to show up for yourself. I aim to create a space rooted in safety, acceptance, and compassion. I would like to build a relationship that is free of power dynamics and allows room to falter by establishing trust and transparency. The therapy space needs to be the one where the client can drop the idea of being “perfect” and show up as they’d prefer. Lastly, I incorporate some fun icebreakers and incorporate elements of metaphors and humours to let light seep in reminding that therapy too can be an EXCITING process.
In your counselling work so far, what has been your greatest learning from your clients?
One of my biggest learning from my clients is that there is strength is vulnerability. The more I see the clients allowing their vulnerabilities to surface, they bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Also, the client knows the best, hence trust them to guide the process.
What are some of your strengths as a counsellor that you value and appreciate?
My core values are rooted in theories of inclusivity, intersectionality, and integrity. Given this, my primary set of values include empathy, transparency, accountability, genuineness, autonomy, openness to experience and unconditional positive regard. A people’s person, my strengths are ability to hold a conversation, being cognisant of both the verbal and non-verbal messages, determination, grit, sincerity, soft skills, resilience, enthusiasm, and dedication. My creativity and enthusiasm are my USP. Something that I appreciate about myself is the fact that I never give up…I allow myself to slow down, take breaks but never quit!
What are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
My first love and passion is music and am professionally training in Hindustani classical music. I enjoy dancing and I am passionate in Indian folk dance. I make it a point to go to the garden for a walk or just be myself at least once a week which acts as an energiser and something that helps me align internally. Lastly, I also spending my time doing some art, reading, and spending time with my close friends.
What are the areas of concern you address in counselling? Do you work with specific populations?
I work with a wide range of concerns such as depression, anxiety, stress, conflicts, obsessive-compulsive disorder, relationship issues, anger management, self-esteem issues, body-image issues, complex trauma, stress, grief, void, lack of motivation and adjustment issues. I work with clients above the age of 18 and have an experience in working with adolescents, adults, and geriatric.
What is the therapeutic approach you use? How would you describe it to someone who wants to consult you for therapy?
I am a trauma-informed and queer affirmative therapist (she/her), following an integrative and comprehensive approach to wellbeing. My practice is largely influenced by a person-centered philosophy, neuroscience/neuropsychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapies, positive psychotherapy as well as incorporating art & narrative techniques and spirituality. Additionally, I focus on bottom up processing that incorporates the interplay between the external world and the autonomic nervous system. I aim to create a safe and compassionate space for my clients while also believes in making therapy a fun and an explorative process. To make sure that the therapy process is effective, I connect on a brief call with the client to understand their presenting concerns and walk them through the therapeutic process to ensure that the client and I are a good fit.
How do you make your therapeutic practice a safe and affirmative space for queer and trans* folx?
I believe in creating a narrative that the person is not the problem. While working with queer and trans folk, I aim to create a space of acceptance, visibility, and hope. My practice is rooted in learning through the course of exploration and providing the client with the required information and reading material that would aid their journey in safe and learned space. The theories I incorporate are rooted in constructs of positive psychotherapy and experiential work to work with the thoughts and feelings that may show up. I work with a vision of taking a step back from the heteronormative patterns and beliefs of the charmed circle by making connections between the interpersonal distress and the social contexts.
The Quote Vishwa Resonates With
I am not the only one who feels like this, and when I choose to practice courage out in the open, it makes a difference.
Morgan Harper Nicholas