“My core values of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality are cornerstones of who I am as a person and inform my work as a therapist.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Growing up in the SWANA/MENA community, emotions were not something we discussed around the dinner table (or ever, really). As a highly sensitive person, I was always curious about emotions and the role they played in the relational patterns we find ourselves in, the decisions we make, and our overall wellbeing as humans. It wasn't until I started working as a community outreach coordinator with adolescent and adult immigrants and refugees that I realized I wasn't the only one struggling with emotional illiteracy. This was also when I witnessed the unfortunate lack of access certain communities have to mental health services due to language, cultural, and systemic barriers. This led me to pursue a master's degree in mental health counseling. Since then, I have worked in a public substance use rehabilitation facility, a community-based counseling center providing quality services to a diverse population with an array of emotional issues, and, more recently, in private practice.
What should someone know about working with you?
I am dedicated to learning a client's history; as with any relationship, this requires time and mutual effort to find a flow. In our initial session, my intention is to get a better sense of what led the client to seek therapy. Based on this information, we work on co-creating goals and treatment plans according to the client’s unique needs. I utilize an experiential, trauma-informed, and holistic approach that acknowledges the importance of the mind-body connection to wellbeing. During sessions, I guide clients to tune into their bodies and emotions in order to identify, process, and move past defenses and inhibitory emotions. I believe emotions carry our stories and, when not processed properly, can lodge themselves in our bodies and manifest in various unhealthy ways. Once properly processed, however, emotions have the power to lead us into a state of vitality and wholehearted living.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I find that early childhood experiences are crucial in the way our brains develop and how we experience the world. As we make our way through life, we are often forced to give up parts of ourselves in order to survive and belong. Many of our defenses, developed early on, may hinder our wholeness as adults while contributing to a sense of stuckness. I have personally experienced the painful impact of this traumatic split from the self and have been walking the path of healing for many years.
My core values of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality are cornerstones of who I am as a person and inform my work as a therapist. Humans are complex multidimensional beings; it is necessary to explore our various evolving identities in the context of an ever-changing world rather than viewing each identity as an isolated static entity. To help clients on their individual journey of healing, I draw from a variety of principles, including AEDP, attachment theory, psychodynamic theories, and mindfulness.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
As a Middle Eastern woman, I have experienced and witnessed the stigma that comes with reaching out for help and attending therapy. I acknowledge that doubt, fear, and shame are very real and valid concerns. At the same time, I want to remind and reassure you that you are worth the best care possible. Your safety, confidentiality, and healing are priorities! My goal is to guide you to acquaint yourself with your emotions without being overwhelmed by them. My hope is that you feel safe, seen, and worthy. My joy is to witness you reintegrate previously disconnected parts of yourself into your present true self.
“Humans are complex multidimensional beings; it is necessary to explore our various evolving identities in the context of an ever-changing world rather than viewing each identity as an isolated static entity.”