Since I was a teenager, I had this insatiable yearning for positive change and personal growth. It originally took form in reading inspiring books, listening to talks that challenged my mind, and training in Martial Arts.
My first encounter with counselling happened around the same time, as a client. An unexpected life event occurred and provided me with various challenges. It felt insurmountable at the time. While I had a positive attitude about life, I was still skeptical that going to a stranger and sharing painful personal life challenges could be helpful!I was fortunate that my first counselling experience as a client provided me with exactly what I needed! It was not easy but worthwhile. The counsellor supported my healing. I felt empowered and hopeful. She helped me make sense, learn and grow from the challenge at hand. The experience showed me that the words of a childhood hero were true, “Turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone!” (Bruce Lee). While my counselling experience as a teen was powerful, I did not think that I would end up choosing it as a profession myself!
My first degree was a Bachelor’s degree with a joint Major in Business Administration and Communication from Simon Fraser University. I chose it as I did not know what else to study! The reality was that I just wanted to get a degree, get out of university, and start working!
I worked in sales and marketing and greatly enjoyed the interpersonal skills involved in the field. However, I knew it was not going to be my life’s work. I just did not know what was! The light blub turned on while I was working full-time in a sales job and volunteering on the weekends at a local food bank. It made me realize that I had a deep passion for making a difference in people’s lives and being part of their healing journey.
I decided to go back to school and take a year of psychology courses before applying to a Masters Degree (MA) in Counselling Psychology. I completed my MA degree in 2004 from University of British Columbia (UBC). My research focused on multicultural aspects of trauma, especially war experiences of Iraqi children from the 2003 war in Iraq. After I completed my MA, I worked in various settings as a counsellor. This exposed me to a wide range of client issues. Over the years, I have worked full-time in a counselling role with:
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Richmond
- Social Services – Surrey
- Simon Fraser University Health and Counselling Services – Burnaby and Vancouver
My ongoing desire for learning and growing led me back to UBC in 2007 to challenge myself further! I completed a Doctoral Degree (Counselling Psychology) in 2011. My research focused on the refugee experience of adapting to and coping with war trauma. It provided me with another window through which I could observe the power of the human spirit!
My love for learning and personal growth also led me on a meditation path in 2005. This love was fuelled by my search for well-being, satisfaction, and happiness. I had an ongoing curiosity about the nature of the mind, emotions, and suffering we all experience. This curiosity propelled me to become a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the Center for Mindfulness – University of Massachusetts Medical School. I completed all the required professional training, courses, and supervision. One of the training courses that I completed was with Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the MBSR program.
In 2014, I decided to challenge myself and go to Southeast Asia for an extended meditation retreat. I completed a six-month meditation retreat (in silence) at a forest monastery. The insights from 13 hours (minimum) of daily practice for that length of time deepened my understanding of mind and solidified my passion for meditation.
My interest in wellness also led me to pursue certifications outside my field, such as:
- Canadian Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher (CYA-RYT 200)
- Certified Laughter Yoga Leader (CLYL) and Teacher (CLYT)
I look forward to possibly working together and being part of your journey.
To book an appointment or for more information please visit http://www.drkasimalmashat.com