Was being a counsellor my childhood dream? Did I pursue this career option as a teenager?
I graduated as a commerce student in Mumbai, and got married immediately afterwards. And then, what do you know? I was a full time home-maker. I loved every bit of it - the challenges of being a daughter in law, the trying times as a mother and the balancing act as a wife. My kids (I had two of them), as they grew, taught me every single day: patience, tolerance, listening to their endless stories, empathizing with them, keeping their confidences (I had a lot of their secrets to keep) and giving them strategies to cope. I didn't realise that they were training me for my new life as a counsellor.
Soon my kids were independent, which left me with an empty space I tried to fill with usual humdrum every day activities – television, socialising, being an errand girl for everyone in my life. Not surprisingly, these did not fill the chasm, and I knew this was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was my father who gave me that much needed push. He kept telling me to do something constructive with my life and to not waste my talents.
I started pondering on how to get started with a career. Several thoughts and ideas came and got rejected, due to many factors - the prime one being my age. I was 34! Would I be able to pursue a career at this grand old age?
Once, while talking to a friend, she told me: "Habiba you do it all the time, listening to everyone's problems and helping them resolve their issues. And you are so good with kids. Why can't you be a counsellor?" I guess that was my light bulb moment.
BUT how would it be possible? I was from a commerce background, I had never formally studied psychology. I was ready to dismiss this idea, as I had dismissed so many others. But my friend wasn't going to let me give up. Together we inquired at SNDT College in Mumbai, as she had heard of various courses that were conducted there. And the rest, they say, is history…
Three certificate courses were all I needed to bridge the gap between the commerce and arts streams. Simultaneously I looked for other counselling courses. I did my basic counselling course from Heart to Heart Counselling Centre. The criterion to get a certificate was passing an examination with minimum 60%. Now these were challenging, testing times- to be studying for an exam at this age. So this was my benchmark, whether I would be able to pursue a career as a counsellor or not. Astonishingly, I got a whopping 80%! Well, that got the wagon rolling, which meant I was back in my teens, back to college life, study time, library silences and bunking ;-)
Challenges were plenty but I never gave up. While I was doing my diploma, my husband met with a major road accident. He was in the hospital for a month, and I had my exams while he was battling with his pain. I was to quit, but my family didn't let me. They pushed me to go and give my exams. I topped the university in that exam, and that's when I truly realised that sky is the limit.
Today, I have my private practice in Marol and Mazgoan, Mumbai. I have also partnered with Feeling Minds….. and run workshops and career tests.
I will be able to help you if:
- Something has been troubling you over a period of time and you're having difficulty finding a solution on your own
- Things are getting on top of you, and affecting your well being, for example, causing depression, anxiety or stress
- You find it hard to talk to friends or family because they are directly involved in the issues
- Issues from the past are having an impact on your day to day life
- Things that are troubling you are having a negative impact on your relationships or work
- Parenting challenges
- Difficulty in managing your adolescents
- Teenage challenges
- Exam stress