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  • Writer's pictureRohama Kabeer

How can therapy help me: an international student?

Therapy can seem like a really daunting process, especially when it feels like no-one really understands what you’re going through. In a new place, a new culture and a world that seems far away from your own. It can sometimes feel inaccessible, but we’re here to tell you all the ways it can be really helpful, especially with the help of a therapist that can see your worldview a little closer than the people around you.


If we think about our mental health in the same way we think about our physical health, we can recognize how major live events like a pandemic, moving to a different country, natural disasters can cause unwanted mental health symptoms much like the way our physical health is impacted by factors outside of our control.


Because of this, we can often feel like because things are under control that we don’t have it as bad as others, that we should feel grateful for our experiences regardless of how challenging they are – which can often contribute to further minimizing our stressors, experiences and cause our mental health to suffer in silence.


Being an international student myself, I know this is something I did a lot – but we don’t have to wait until it feels like the world is collapsing on us to recognize there are ways we can ask for help, while we are navigating a foreign system that often isn’t made to boost us in the same way it does for others.


So, with that in mind, here are some ways therapy can be helpful for our personal growth when we are still figuring out how everything feels:

  • Identifying and managing burnout – It can be hard to manage financial responsibilities, stress, and assimilation all at the same time.

  • Learning about self-regulation and self-care – Stigma often prevents us from taking care of our well-being, new independence can be hard.

  • Practicing self-compassion – The impact of intergenerational conflict can often make us feel guilty.

  • Exploring our past to help navigate our present – things that are hard to talk about, don’t have to be things we don’t talk about.



Being in a new place is daunting enough, it doesn’t take away the stigma surrounding talking about your problems, and it doesn’t make it easy to acclimate to a new culture, language, and system, but doesn’t mean we need to walk through it alone. We can work together to make the process of therapy accessible and comfortable for you.


Going to therapy doesn’t have to mean you need to fix something that’s broken, or that there is something wrong with you or the way you handle things. It can be an exercise in allowing yourself to show up for yourself before crisis hits, before things start feeling so overwhelming it’s hard to manage – in a space that is safe, supportive and with someone aware of what some of your experiences might have looked like.



 

I’m Rohama, a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with a passion to create a safe and empathetic space to help clients uncover their struggles and resiliency.

As a Pakistani international student who immigrated to Canada and lived a large portion of my life in the middle east, I acknowledge how hard it can be to reach out for help and find people that can understand and support you through complex individual experiences.

As a South-Asian woman trying to find her own place in Canada, I can empathize with our shared societal, cultural, and familial values, while recognizing the balance and effort it takes to find our own place here. As a therapist, my practice is rooted in helping you feel safe, respected, and empowered regardless of your background and experiences. I strive to create a collaborative experience for you, where together, we can explore what might be bringing you challenges – new or old.

My therapeutic approach draws from various evidence-based interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), Compassion-focused therapy (CFT), Solution focused, Internal family systems while being client-centered to walk alongside my clients, where they are.

My experience includes working with individuals, teens and young adults, focusing on but not limited to, interpersonal issues, anxiety, depression, stress management, family issues, relationship issues, self-esteem, life-transitions, emotional regulation, academic stressors.

Psychotherapy has been my dream for as long as I can remember, but when I’m not working, I like to spend time outdoors, painting and perfecting my brownie recipe.



 

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