“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, where she helped 12 undergraduate clients cope with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, academic issues, and relationship problems.
She routinely employed a form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on helping people change their patterns of thinking. She often asked clients who felt anxious to write down their anxious 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 Pilowa’s sections of “Basic Skills in Clinical Social Work Practice” and “Clinical Practice with Adults.” “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 ultimate goal is to open a private practice dedicated to historically marginalized college students, including racial minorities and the LGBTQ community.
“I love working with students who are marginalized and helping them learn how to advocate for themselves and thrive in the college environment,” she says.