Member Spotlight - An Excerpt from The Therapist

Excerpt from the periodical, "The Therapist" - September-October 2022

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey
so far.

I am a South Asian immigrant who came to the field of psychology
after studying evolutionary biology-it turned out that human
behavior was more interesting to me than animal behavior! Since
graduating from Santa Clara University with a master's degree in
counseling psychology, all my clinical training and work has been
in the San Francisco Bay area. I love my work with couples and
individuals, and enjoy being part of the process of reawakening hope
as I help them make sense of the social, cultural, and psychological
underpinnings that contributed to their pain. I also love watching
newer therapists blossom with confidence and depth as I consult
with them.

What is your specialty and why?

As referring doctors and certain types of families sought me out,
my specialty grew organically to include many more immigrant
and American-born South Asians who are faced with adjusting to
a different culture, school system, and parenting ethos, as well
as those trying to look deeper into themselves as they deal with
interpersonal difficulties. In working with these clients, I noticed
that many of them had experiences with therapists who lacked basic
understanding of their cultural differences, such as with arranged
marriages, which led to large gaps in connection. Their experiences
in some cases led to them not get help for many more years-they
did not think to try another therapist as they assumed that therapy
does not work for them. This illustrated for me the problem space
that South Asian communities in the United States occupy in terms
of their lack of access to culturally cognizant therapy. This realization
also prompted my work as a consultant to clinicians who are seeking
perspective on how to better help these families. In an effort to
further facilitate understanding of the South Asian experience in
therapy, I wrote Whose Baby Is It, Anyway? Inside the Indian Heart.
My hope is that clinicians seeking to learn about their South Asian
clients, as well as lay people wanting to know more about their
friends and family, will find what they're looking for within the pages
of this book.

Another area of interest is working with intellectually gifted adults
who are not well understood in the culture at large. This population
struggles with existential depression, feeling guilt, despair, and
isolation as they look more deeply into situations, feel alienated
because of their sensitivity, push for perfection, and struggle with a
larger sense of not being understood. They struggle more with the
idea of fairness and sometimes give up on ever "fitting in," fearing
that their neurodivergent intensities are just "weird." Our culture
has yet to truly understand intellectually gifted women in particular
don't find many models out in the world that they can relate to. I
especially enjoy how I can make a significant difference in the lives of
high-achieving minority women in tech who are dealing with hurdles
at the intersection of gender and culture, particularly when they
have poor social and emotional support from their families. I find my
work with this population richly rewarding-it is a great joy to see
the light goon!

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is the gratitude and the buzz of warmth
and energy I feel with my patients, both from them and towards
them. I am aware of my ability to help people with significant and
intimate areas of their lives, and it brings me great satisfaction that I
can make a big difference in someone's life. Creating and working in
a sacred space each day makes me feel very fortunate.

What advice would you give to someone interested in
your specialty?

I would suggest that you go to therapy and seek clinicians whose
work and ethics you respect, get different kinds of therapy, get
culturally-sensitive therapy, and stay open to lifelong learning. You
will find yourself hearing your therapist's or consultant's voice, and it
will travel through you tothose you help later.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by the clinicians who have helped me along my path,
by the beauty of the natural world, and by the capacity and hunger
we all have for connection. I am inspired by my clients, who work so
hard to leave the world and their children in a better psychological
space than the one they inherited.

How do you practice self-care?

I find gardening and playing in the dirt restorative. Meeting friends
for coffee (virtually or, even better, in person) or dinner, reading,
and doing nothing on Sundays are part of my self-care.

What is one fun fact about you that few people know?

I am addicted to all kinds of nerdy news-cria are the young of
alpacas and llamas, super-recognizers have different brain structures,
Sanskrit has a word for