How did I end up becoming a therapist? I get that question a lot, “how and when did you decide to be a therapist?” or ” how do you do this?” Everyone wonders what led me down this path.

One of the first things you will notice when you meet me is how much I love this work – it’s truly my passion. Being able to build trust and be a part of my client’s journey to healing gives me a great amount of joy.  It’s a true gift to see people make changes in their life and be closer to what we call their ‘authentic self’.

The journey to get closer to my ‘authentic self’ started years ago. When beginning in high school, where I was going through some difficult times in my life. Teenage years are difficult times for all of us!  They are the times when we are getting to know ourselves when we have lots of feelings show up without a whole of awareness on why.

I was dating my now ex-husband and I didn’t know why I constantly felt the deep sadness and loneliness with small changes in his behaviour I was experiencing. Our relationship was what I call a true emotional roller coaster. I was a teenage girl living in Iran with my mom who was a single mother struggling to provide for us, so the idea of therapy was a dream. Therapy was an absolute luxury and not affordable for me at this time.

Very soon, a concerned friend saw my struggles and suggested that I should see a professional. I know! A teenager telling her friend to go seek professional help, I couldn’t believe it!  We all need more friends like her.

I knew she was right, so I decided to save up my money and take her advice.  Once I finally saved up enough money, I booked an appointment with the therapist (I didn’t even tell my mom).

I traveled an hour and a half by bus to get to her office, now that’s commitment.  I remember many things from my first appointment, it almost feels like it was yesterday. Her office, the receptionist, how she was dressed, but there was one stand out moment. In one hour, she analyzed my whole life!

She explained the reasons for my feelings, how I was trying to fill the void inside of me with my then-boyfriend and now ex-husband. The void I felt was from being abandoned by my father when I was three years old, she shook my whole world. She gave me what we now call an “aha” moment.

I couldn’t afford any more sessions, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I could have been able to continue seeing her. She was quite expensive, specifically for a teenage girl with no money.

This was almost eighteen years ago in Iran, where even today there are still stigmas attached to seeking professional help. However, even if I did have the money I wouldn’t have kept seeing her.  I think I wasn’t ready to fully take on the journey of healing at that time. That’s the thing, you have to be ready.  You have to be ready to heal.

I do know something inside of me changed that day. That one session gave me insight, it started a spark that I knew was going to cause change.  She planted seeds and those seeds continued to blossom for many years.  I found my purpose in life, I don’t recall the exact moment it happened, but I knew I wanted to become a therapist. I imagined myself in an office, helping people understand the reasons behind their feelings and behaviours. I was helping them heal!

Three years after that I moved to Canada, I reconnected with my father and asked him to sponsor me so that I could study to pursuit of my dream of being a therapist.

It’s been a journey to get where I am today, being an ESL student for almost two years, living in professors’ offices to edit and re-edit my essay papers because my writing skills were weak.  Staying up late, pulling an all-nighter, reading, and reading, and hours of therapy to heal my wounds so that I can heal others.

The journey to get here was challenging and I had to overcome a lot to get here, but I can tell you that I’ve never been happier.

What’s my reward for all the hard work? I get to help people heal. I hope to achieve for every single one of my clients what that therapist did for that teenage girl in Iran.  I am here to be my client’s agent of hope, this is my purpose on this planet – to heal.

“You got to love this work!”

~ Azi