“This program has been like therapy for me. I’ve learned to be kinder and more compassionate to myself, and in return, I’ve been able to be a more loving therapist to my clients.”
“This program has been like therapy for me,” she says. “I’ve learned to be kinder and more compassionate to myself, and in return, I’ve been able to be a more loving therapist to my clients.”
Ibrahim recently completed an internship at the Counseling Center at Simmons University. She helped 12 undergraduate clients cope with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, academic issues, and relationship problems.
She used a form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on helping people change their patterns of thinking. She asked anxious clients to write down their thoughts, the evidence that supported those thoughts, and the evidence that suggested that those thoughts did not align with reality. Then she would analyze the data and discuss the likelihood that those anxious thoughts would come to fruition.
“If you have low self esteem, depression, or an eating disorder, college becomes way more challenging,” she says. “I wanted to help my clients validate their feelings and change their beliefs about themselves so they could just be students.”
Ibrahim says she tried to build strong bonds with her clients by infusing her sessions with humor and kindness. She credits Emily Pilowa, a part-time faculty member in the School of Social Work, with helping her understand how important it is for therapists to empathize with their patients.
“She didn't just teach us what it’s like to be a therapist,” said Ibrahim, who took two classes with Pilowa. “She gave us examples of cases, and we would laugh or cry, and I will think of that if I’m having a hard day.”
Ibrahim says her career goal is to open a private practice. She wants to work with marginalized college students, including racial minorities and the LGBTQ community.
“I love working with students who are marginalized,” she says. “I want to help them learn how to advocate for themselves and thrive in college.”