Meet Asian Australian Psychotherapist, Amirah ShahMay 12, 2023
We know that it's not always easy trying to work out which therapist we might like to work with: Because the decision isn't just about where they're located and when they're available, but there's a bit more of a human, relational element to the decision too.
So here at Shapes and Sounds, we want to help make that process just a little easier.
Every month, we'll be introducing a therapist from the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List to help you gain a bit more insight into who you feel might be a good fit for you or someone that you know.
This month we're excited to connect you with Amirah Shah who is a psychotherapist working at Road to Recovery (located in Brisbane, and offers Telehealth sessions Australia wide). We hope you enjoy connecting with Amirah below!
1. What led you to choosing psychology as a career?
I fell into psychology by fluke, as my father deemed it was not ladylike nor culturally appropriate for me to pursue hospitality, as he had done. So, I ended up doing Psychology because it was the only other course that truly interested me. I had always had the proclivity towards understanding the human condition and I am particularly relational for an introvert. It was only later I realized that my desire to do hospitality was really a manifestation for my desire to serve others. From then onwards, I never turned back. Psychology and counselling opened the world up to me, I saw people and relational dynamics through a different lens. My compassion for myself and other grew exponentially. I was soon able to appreciate classical works of art and literature in greater depth. Above all, I was passionate to serve people, and the best way to do so, is to understand their lived experiences, and offer them a hand to understanding the richness of their lives as a way forward. As Tolstoy said, "The sole meaning of live is to serve humanity," and mental health is the path that resonates best with my skills, interests, and personality.
2. What is your unique cultural heritage?
I would call myself a TCK (a TCK is an individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than that of their parents, develops a sense of relationship to both).
My ethnic background is Indian and Pakistani. I was born and raised in Singapore as a Muslim until my early adolescence, which was when my family moved overseas. I spent the next several years in the Middle East and Australia and Central Asia. Thus, as a TCK I have absorbed various aspects of the Indian, Pakistani, Southeast Asian (including Chinese and Malay), Middle Eastern, and Central Asian cultures.
3. What are your areas of specialty and what kind of frameworks do you work from?
My specialty is in Grief, Trauma, Transculturalism, Relationships, and Existential Issues. I adopt an eclectic range of approaches which include: Parts Work, Humanistic approaches such as Gestalt Therapy, Logotherapy (Meaning Making and purpose), Narrative therapy, Existential Therapy (circles around Philosophy), Solution-focused Therapy, and Somatic Therapy. I also employ psychometric tests for clients to develop an awareness and understanding of themselves. I must mention that working with me requires adherence to homework most times! Homework can be as simple as watching a movie or listening to a podcast about a relevant therapeutic matter, or... it can be as involved as committing to a form of exercise or martial arts.
4. What kind of clients are you best able to support?
People who struggle with grief and trauma. People who are trying to assimilate or find their way in the world by integrating different cultures and faiths. People who suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of the loss of innocence, love and a future- and people who are bound by the ropes of social conformity that no longer serve them.
But above all, people who are embarking a journey of purpose, despite the challenges thrown in along the way.
5. If you could be your own therapist right now, what do you think you would say to yourself?
I would remind myself of what Rumi once said:
"The wound is the place where the Light enters you."
I will continue to honor my wounds, and help others do the same.
Connect with Amirah via our Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List HERE.
Alternatively, if you feel like Amirah may be a good fit for someone that you know, be sure to forward this page on to them too. Let us continue to not only support ourselves but all those around us too!
If you require urgent assistance, please do not contact Amirah or any of the practitioners on this list. Instead, please call emergency services on 000 or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Shapes and Sounds does not recommend or endorse Amirah or any of the practitioners listed on the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List.
Please always consult your GP before making changes to your mental health care plan.
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You're not alone in navigating the intersections of race, culture and mental health. Find out more about our Shapes and Sounds Community, designed for and by Asian Australians.