Founder of Qazizada Foundation
(Languages: English, Pashto, Dari, & Farsi)
I received my Bachelors degree from California State University, Northridge in Criminology and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California (USC). Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Global Leadership and Change program at Pepperdine University.
I am the byproduct of immigrant parents who migrated to the United States from Afghanistan due to the instability in my home country that was caused by war. Due to the war my parents were separated and I had to live without a father for 9 years of my life and at an early age take the role of being the man of the house. As an Afghan-American I grew up experiencing the challenges and benefits of belonging to two different cultures. As a child I experienced bullying due to identifying as an Afghan and Muslim, an outcome from the horrific events of 9/11. When I would visit my home country I would experience my heart yearning to remain amongst the familiar, and a part of me yearned to come back to the U.S and return to my new life. Unfortunately, therapy services were not something I or my family were ever provided with, which would have helped my younger self navigate a life in a new country between my two identities. This is when my passion for mental health began and it grew even more at the age of sixteen at which I began working at the Hospice Care Division at the Torrance Memorial Hospital. For over six years, I assisted with helping patients with severe illnesses and their families find closure. This experience changed my life and made me realize that my passion was to help individuals and families overcome hardships in life and heal from trauma.
Through my academic journey I learned about psychology and therapy and became absolutely fascinated with how our environments and experiences shape us and influence our perspective of the world and our decisions. My fascination turned into a passion that directed me in working with couples, families, individuals and children
Couples Counseling: My work with couples consists of helping partners become attuned to one another, listen with intention, and build visions together. Through couples therapy I address communication problems, problems with extended family and in-laws, infidelity, pornography, and much more.
Individual Therapy: My work with individuals focuses on helping clients overcome challenges that are negatively impacting their life. In my sessions, I focus on helping clients attain awareness of patterns in their life and in their interactions with others that create undesired outcomes. My work with clients who struggle with anxiety or depression focuses on helping clients find purpose that drives them every day and supporting clients in understanding the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
My experience as a Social Worker also consists of working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault alongside the geriatric population, oncology, and palliative care.
Modality of Treatments
I heavily use the Gottman Method Couples Therapy to create change. I help clients unlearn destructive behavior patterns that play out in their relationships and teach clients how to effectively listen to their partner and find comfort in connection. I also use Cognitive Behavior Therapy (to increase awareness), Motivational Interviewing (to empower and create change), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (to teach mindfulness and skills).
Co-Founder of Qazizada Foundation
(Languages: English, Pashto and Dari)
I received my Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. I completed my Master's Degree and Doctorate of Psychology in Marriage and Family Therapy at Alliant International University, School of Professional Psychology.
I am a believer that each phase of our lives happens for a reason, whether that is to shape us, change us or motivate us. Each phase of my life turned me into the woman and therapist I am today.
My childhood phase consisted of being born in Russia, and then migrating to the United States at the age of 9. Due to being a child of an Afghan immigrant parent, throughout my life I had the freedom to choose from both my Afghan and American culture, but I also struggled with not completely belonging to either. Being raised in an all-women household I was empowered to chase my dreams, while breaking stigmas and barriers associated with being a woman of color and an immigrant. This same experience also helped me realize the double standards in my cultures, whether it was related to gender biases, race or profession, and this phase of my life and experience taught me to overcome them without losing my identity. My own experience drives my passion to help others in developing a strong and confident identity without feeling ashamed of their ethnic roots.
The next phase of my life consisted of falling in love and marrying my husband, a man who was raised in a patriarchal culture, a culture that was the exact opposite of what I was familiar with. Through my marriage I learned the importance of having a strong bond with your partner, facing the world as a team and being on the same side, explaining values that are important to each other without expecting the other person to "just know", always checking-in for understanding instead of assuming, and most importantly learning to put your guards down, leaning into your partner and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This phase of my life taught me that love can persevere any challenges if genuine effort is made by both partners. This phase of my life is what drove me to work with couples.
The next and the hardest phase of my life was definitely the loss of my mother to cancer. From seeing my mother deteriorate to standing by her side till her last breath. Through this experience I first handedly came face-to-face with grief and learned how grief can overtake one's life and control it. While in my story my grief consists of the loss of my mother, grief can take the shape of many forms. Grief can be loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, a relationship, loss of an identity, a job, home country, and so much more. Through this experience I also learned how quickly those who have no experience or understanding of grief expect the bereaving individual to move on. My grief was painful, so much so that it made me afraid of it and tried to convince me that if I made room for it then it would control me. I found myself afraid of my grief. Through mindfulness and spirituality I learned to create room for my grief, instead of ignoring it, I created time for it and this shift helped me reconnect with myself and the love of my mother in newer and stronger ways. This phase of my life taught me multiple lessons, and through this experience I found myself holding space for clients who are grieving.
As a Marriage and Family therapist, my work over the past years has heavily been focused on working with couples, individuals, families and children. As a trained Emotionally Focused Therapy therapist, I use attachment theory to help couples overcome differences and build a secure and intimate relationship. Many times couples seek counseling after years of fighting and come into sessions ready to point out the faults in their partner. Through my sessions I help couples discuss unmet needs and fears and face the problem as a team, instead of viewing each other as the "bad guy".
My work with children and families extensively focuses on helping improve communication, while simultaneously addressing disorders such as Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Suicidal Ideation, ADHD, Autism, and Social Phobias.
Modality of Treatment
I believe that one of the key ingredients to effective therapy is a good fit between a therapist and the client. My therapeutic treatment consists of creating space for clients to experience their emotions in their body in the present moment. I create a safe space in the room and help clients navigate feelings that seem scary or overwhelming. I believe that the client is an expert of their life and their story and I see my role as a supporter and processor. Further, I am a trained Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy therapist. In addition, my training in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy allows me to help clients reprocess trauma and live a stress and anxiety-free life.
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