Posted: April 21, 2016
It's official! I have recently joined TranQool, which is an on-line video counselling platform. Tonight, they interviewed me for a promotional video. Here is a sneak peak of the questions: Questions: 1 Can you please introduce yourself? (your name, where you live, where you went to school and whatever else you wanted to say) Hi, I’m Melissa Johari, and I live and work in Etobicoke, Ontario. I have my Psychology degree from Western and I have my Masters of Social Work from Laurier. I am a Registered Social Worker specializing in couples counselling, with a particular focus on premarital counselling. 2 Why did you become a therapist? I became a therapist to help people. That is my passion in life. I love seeing positive growth and change in the clients that I work with. I especially love helping couples to maintain or regain closeness in their relationship. 3 What kinds of problems do you help your patients with? I have additional training in Hypnotherapy, Emotionally Focussed Therapy (which helps couples identify their negative cycles), Prep-Enrich (a premarital counselling program) and Theraplay (attachment work between children/youth and their caregivers). So, I help my clients with self-esteem, stress, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and life transition issues like changing jobs, getting married, experiencing loss, moving or having a new baby. 4 How long have you been doing this for? I have been a Social Worker for 12 years as of just last week, and I have had my private practise for 4 years now. 5 Can you share one of your favourite stories about how you helped a person? (totally understand that we need to keep the person's information private but maybe you can phrase it in a way that he/she is not identifiable) I really enjoyed working with a teen girl with anger issues. Really understanding her frustrations, empathizing, and having her mom participate in some sessions with us too, helped them both to see that underneath the anger was stress and anxiety around her school performance. They told me that I helped not only with the youth’s angry outbursts, but also with her relationship with her mother. 6 Do you remember the first time you paused and said to yourself, "I just helped someone change their life” A client I was seeing had some relational problems with her daughter, and I helped her to understand the issue from her daughter’s point of view and helped her to accept that what was happening was not solely her fault and not in her control. Coming to that point of awareness and acceptance was a transitional moment for her. 7 In your opinion, what are the top three benefits of doing therapy? The top three benefits of therapy are: 1/ having a neutral and non-judgemental place to go with someone who is actually trained to listen empathically. 2/ obtaining that guidance and direction in life when things just seem overwhelming and difficult 3/ being able to learn tools, skills and strategies that you can take with you and apply throughout life. For example, learning life skills such as having healthy boundaries. 8 What are the benefits of CBT for mood disorders like anxiety? CBT helps people to be able to self-reflect on what is happening in the inner mind. To become mindful of the words that we say to ourselves, and to identify patterns in how our thoughts relate to our feelings/emotions which relate to our behaviour. Drawing attention to the negative words we say to ourselves helps us to open our awareness of it and allows us to observe what is happening. We can then learn to use positive words and words of affirmation to be able to replace the worry or sadness or self-doubts. Giving ourselves these positive verbal reminders helps us to cope throughout the day. We can also take action and do things that help us to feel like a confident, positive, and relaxed person. Think about what brings us joy and happiness, and make a point of making that a priority in our lives, as a coping strategy. Does taking your dog out for a walk in the park bring you to the here and now and make you feel happy and relaxed? Amazing, make a point of doing that more. Slowly allowing yourself to open up and appreciate the little things in life, taking notice of things around you. Those are some benefits of CBT. 9 How would you say CBT and the skills you learn while doing CBT stay with you? Recognizing negative self-talk that we all tend to do every day, and replacing it with positive self-talk. 10 I have always (publicly) said that therapy and CBT changed my life, it gave me the skills to challenge my negative thoughts and better know myself. What's your advice for someone who's never done therapy and is contemplating it? It can’t hurt. The worst case scenario is that it doesn’t help. The best case scenario is that it does. It’s really up to you to take the first step. It’s a journey, and booking that first appointment does take courage. 11 Why do you think people should use TranQool ? I joined TranQool because it was a convenient, accessible way for clients to be able to seek services. With people’s busy schedules now a days, it definitely helps in bringing people together. TranQool is convenient and affordable to seek therapeutic resources, from the comfort of your own home.