I am a 31-year-old male who was born and raised here in Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. My family is of Indian descent (from India), and my brothers and I are first-generation Indian-Americans. I have two brothers, one who is seven years older and the other who is five years older than I am. I finished my undergrad at CSUN for business administration, with a focus on real estate. I did absolutely nothing with it. The only reason I had pursued that particular subject was because of societal and family pressures.
I have always had “sales type” job’s growing up, but what always brought me joy was the practice of and the ideas around self-development. Coming from a pretty unhappy and unhealthy upbringing, around the age of 20 or 21, I finally started to question why I felt the way I did. I actually decided to do something about it, which started me on this journey of objective self-reflection and self-improvement. I wanted to see if anything would work to shift the way I related and felt about life, how I felt about myself, and improve my health issues.
Low and behold, my experimentation yielded many positive results. I have been obsessed ever since, exploring the seemingly endless potential for growth we all seem to have. Feeling and seeing these results in myself, I found a passion for these subjects. As an expression of that passion, I began health and life coaching about six years ago. The journey has led me here into the field of marriage and family therapy, where I am able to further grow, express and ultimately share these strategies.
How did you get to Phillips?
Once I knew this was a path I wanted to explore, I began contacting schools in the area. I visited about five schools and very easily landed upon Phillips as a top choice, based on how I just felt during the orientation/tour! Sometimes we feel we want to choose a certain place or thing in life that that we may not be able to explain, and my intuition was strong about Phillips. I noticed how much more experiential and sincere the place felt, compared to other schools and programs. For example, no other school offered a case conference class, where you experience live therapy through a 2-way mirror like Phillips did. Another feature that sold me was having a Counseling Center conveniently attached to the school, where we would have the choice and opportunity to get our clinical training hours. I loved how intimate and close it all felt. All the professors I met were warm and welcoming too.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Selfishly, I feel I get soooo much out of our sessions. I get to learn where I have been close-minded, where I may be missing the mark in my own life, and where my blind spots are that could use some growth! All of this comes from everything experienced and shared in my time with clients. I think people are just fascinating and resilient. I love being able to be a person who can help shape or be a catalyst for others to experience and find their own resiliency. I really get a lot out of helping clients to discover their own inner workings, while also having the sessions be a reminder of my own resiliency.
I feel that most of us were not taught how to care for ourselves or how to respond to our feelings. When we ignore these feelings, it can have massive effects on our biology and life. It is a treat to be able to nurture self-care in my client’s sessions. Again, people are just awesome. I love getting the opportunity to hear the stories of different people, each with their different pasts and goals for the future. Building a life around this work is fun and fulfilling at this stage of my life. I look forward to seeing how this influences my journey going forward.
What do you find most challenging about being a therapist? Most rewarding?
The most challenging part of being a therapist is when I feel I may have resistance to fully connecting with or feeling what a client is experiencing. Personally, it is so satisfying to be able to connect to where clients are in their life, no matter how down or happy their feelings may be. Sometimes, I feel frustrated to encounter my own resistance to something in a session. Nevertheless, there is always an opportunity to impact my own personal growth and development as a therapist. It is so awesome when I “bump up against” my own feelings, ones I can learn and grow from, and that might have otherwise prevented me from connecting with others. It is a never-ending chance to improve, reflect, and grow as a person, increasing my capacity to be and connect with more types of people.
Any advice for new students or anyone considering attending Phillips?
Come ready and open for growth. Come with an open and curious mind and heart. Let yourself be challenged by the program. Engage in conversations, engage with your classmates, and finally, engage with the professors and class content. Do what you can to take advantage of the Phillips experience, because it can and will change your life for the better, if you let it.