I was born in Afghanistan and became a refugee at the age of 12 due to the political instability during the Soviet Invasion. I have lived in varied socio-political contexts that have greatly contributed to my understanding of diversity, human suffering and individual’s strength to launch themselves from adversity towards healing and growth.
In 1996, based on my academic excellence, I was selected by the World University Services of Canada to settle in Canada (this is an agency that enables refugee students fleeing war to pursue higher education). Coming to Canada exposed me not only to a journey of reconciling my multiple cultural identities but also shaped my choice of a career in the helping profession.
I completed my PhD in counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia, with an accredited internship at the University of California at Berkeley, Counselling and Psychological Services. I received a doctoral research training mentorship with IMPART: The Intersections of Mental Health Perspectives in Addictions Research Training, funded by UBC, CIHR and BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health. This training provided me with learning to become skilled at conducting multidisciplinary health research with a focus on the intersections of violence, trauma and mental health with addictions.
During my professional career, I have had the privilege of working in diverse clinical contexts ranging from community mental health settings such as the Family Services of Greater Vancouver, university counseling centres, chronic pain management clinics, and residential treatment centre for substance use problems. In addition to clinical practice at Changeways clinic, I work as psychology faculty at Douglas College. I am passionate about helping individuals, couples and families to cope with difficult life circumstances and develop skills to thrive in their everyday lives and relationships.