Ihab’s journey to becoming a therapist

by | Apr 25, 2022 | Culture

by Ihab Darwiche  | April 24, 2022 | Culture

My journey to becoming a counsellor is a long and winding one.

When I was growing up I fell in love with the sciences, and burned through textbooks like the proud nerd I was. I loved learning about how the world works, and I loved being able to know things. I was young – I never bothered to ask myself what I could actually do with the knowledge. I just… wanted it. But the look in my friends eyes when we delved into the explanations and rationalizations for how things were, it was a gift enough to know that we were able to overcome the unknown and understand the world a little bit better. The comfort one gets through knowledge is an enriching experience to gain and give, alike.

Some later time in my childhood years I visited my home country for a vacation. It was the second time I had ever been home. I came to learn more about my culture and my roots, and the more I learned, the more I fell in love with it. It was wonderful. Some time into my vacation, a war broke out and I watched my country shift from a place rich with love, to a place crying for love. Terrifying was too little a word to explain those days. And yet, it was humbling to experience war after living in Canada. It became a word I struggled to understand. It became a word I didn’t know how to define or overcome. I still remember the canvas of chaos; I remember realising there were people forgotten who needed help but couldn’t call for it. They helped me realise where I wanted to focus my life. They helped me realise the value of the strength, intelligence and other god-given gifts people had. It helped me realise the value of my passions. I knew I liked knowing things and I liked to be active and I wanted to help people who weren’t being looked after. I knew I wanted to ease someone of war.

When I returned to Canada, I pursued medical sciences and set my life up to accomplish the goal of being a doctor in the military – it seemed like a sensible choice. I pursued physical medicine because I thought it was the perfect fit for my own dreams. I finished my requirements for medical school and applied. After 2 years of trying, I was granted acceptance to a medical school abroad. Yet when I finally got the acceptance letter I didn’t feel like it was where I was meant to be. I wasn’t excited. I made excuses telling myself to restrict my efforts to Canadian medical schools. The next year I looked into trying to better my resume so I could reapply, and I found the masters degree in counselling psychology completely randomly. The moment I saw what the degree offered, I knew it was where I was meant to be. It took me one week to apply and register. It was a far better fit than what I previously had imagined for myself. And in retrospect, it fit my understanding of what war is. Or, at least, for the understanding that I gave it. How so much of Man’s war can be waged in one’s own mind. How one understands hate, pain, love, god, fear and so on. How if the seeds of these concepts are planted in rough soils, there is a chance to bear painful fruits. These are where wars start, and it was this front I wanted to help others in. 

More from Azi Counselling

Why is it so hard to change a habit?

We've all been there—the desire to change a habit that no longer serves us, whether it's biting our nails, procrastinating, or indulging in unhealthy snacks. Despite our best intentions, however, breaking bad habits can feel like an uphill battle. But why is it so...

…Oh, the shame.

I recently had a client interaction at my in-person practice that really impacted me. A mother and her toddler had been through quite a serious traumatic event together, and I was helping them navigate her toddler’s dysregulation in the aftermath of this event (and...