Effective Counseling Is The Key That Unlocks A Happy Life!
Mental health affects 90% of our lives, yet it remains a stigmatized concept for the majority of us. Seeking counseling at an early-stage help can be highly beneficial in preventing mental health disorders and creating a space for a healthier and happier life. The editor of Holistic Living had an opportunity to have an engaging conversation with Counseling Psychologist, Ms. Shazia Saleem.
A simple persona with a complex mind is a combination rare to find, but Ms. Shazia Saleem seemed to have it all. A Counseling psychologist who works around the clock to ensure that her clients get the best treatment showed the same enthusiasm when talking about mental health. I was eager to hear her views and get valuable insight into mental and emotional health.
Please tell us about yourself
I have completed my Masters’s Degree in Psychology. I have been trained in Compassionate Integrity Training from UNESCO MGIEP. I work with various international schools and hospitals as a Counsellor and Psychologist. In this journey, I have also been associated with NGOs and other platforms. I conduct workshops, group discussions, and personal interviews for breaking down the stigma attached to seeking counseling for mental health.
What is your expertise? What areas do you focus on?
I deal with absolutely normal people who have a problem in understanding their own feelings & thoughts to help them identify any underlying or hidden emotional issues and guide them to overcome the same in a systematic way through counselling. I guide people to reach their full potential by putting my experience and expertise to the best use.
How long have you been working as a Counseling Psychologist?
I have been working as a psychologist for the past 10 years. As a counselor I have handled various counseling cases. As every individual is different and unique in some way or the other, it has helped me upgrade my skills and learn new things which have now become a continuous process of my life.
What inspired you to become a psychologist?
My interest in studying people’s behavior and understanding them in their varying cultures and habitat has made me passionate about mental health. As people struggle to understand their own personal feelings and emotions which causes them to be afraid, suppressed, and limit their capabilities, I try to get the best out of them and transform their negative thoughts into positive behaviors to make them live a more fulfilled life using a variety of approaches, techniques, tools, and methods.
What difference does therapy make in someone’s life?
Therapy or counseling is a systematic approach to help, support, or guide any individual who is not able to understand, recognize and channel their own emotions, feelings, or thoughts in a positive manner the therapist or a counselor makes them identify any underlying issues and reach out to best possible solution which in turns makes life much simpler, easy and fulfilling.
In what situations should someone approach you?
If any individual finds himself/herself in a state of confusion, not able to understand what is happening to them emotionally, not feeling good about oneself, in self-doubt, having a sense of conflict within or the world, nothing seems to work out, feeling stuck or stagnated. In simple words, any kind of emotional disturbance or turmoil in any stage of life is the right time to seek immediate professional help.
Could you share some tips on how to stay motivated?
Acceptance and moderation are the keys to having balanced emotional wellbeing in life. Acknowledging any kind of positive or negative feelings and emotions helps in channelizing them in an appropriate manner rather than resisting or denying them. When we are emotionally aware and mindful of our surroundings it improves or enhances our quality of life.
Doesn’t that make a lot of sense? How can we solve an issue when we refuse to accept that there is a problem at all? Ms. Shazia definitely got me thinking on this one.
Please share a personal experience where you guided your client to bring about a significant change with your sessions.
As psychologists, we follow the ethical principle of confidentiality and trust with our clients. Anything discussed in the session is not shared with anyone only in cases of a life-threatening situation concerned authority is informed. I try to provide a safe, neutral and nonjudgmental platform to my clients where they can feel comfortable sharing all the good and bad experiences of life. I then gradually work on making them identify the issues or problems, their strengths and weaknesses guiding them to a solution-focused approach and mindset in life to face the current and the forthcoming challenges with confidence.
What is your take on online consultation in comparison with offline?
The pandemic made us understand that online therapy also works; it is very simple, easy, hassle-free, and effective most of the time.
Any myths or stereotypes about therapy that you want to address?
The biggest or most dangerous myth here is mentally challenged or disabled people need counseling, any individual seeking support gets labeled or tagged in society because of which many people avoid seeking professional help and ignore their emotional wellbeing. Early intervention or support can save many lives and relationships. “Seek professional mental health in early stages; help is closer than you think.”
Anyone message to your audience?
Our mental or emotional health is equally important as our physical health or wellbeing. Society needs to know more about emotional awareness, active listening, empathy, mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude. If we are able to inculcate these things in our day-to-day life, and seek counseling, we can make the world a better place to live in. Every drop in the ocean counts, change starts within you. We all can do our bit and be the change agent.
Editor’s note: It is never easy to live your life with mental health issues, but there is a lot of courage and bravery in taking a step to work towards a healthier and happier life. I found Ms. Shazia’s passion quite contagious, and her genuine care was reflected clearly in the conversation. Counseling is a key step to changing your life for the better.