Therapist helps clients gain insights, grow, and improve
Jasmina Ibrahimi, a licensed mental health counselor at Valley Medical Group in Amherst and Greenfield, has been a therapist for individuals, families, and couples since 2010. “My expertise is working with adolescents and adults, and I have a particular interest and experience providing therapy to support anxiety, depression, trauma, and personality disorders,” she said.
Ibrahimi’s typical day as a therapist is providing seven to eight clients a day with a counseling session that usually lasts about an hour each.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic she said these therapy sessions were done in person, where clients could sit down with a therapist “in a private and quiet space.” Once there, clients become “the center of focus and are encouraged to share what is important for them to work on and improve.”
According to Ibrahimi, a lot of the work a therapist does is “to guide clients to gain insights about their concerns, learn about themselves, and work towards gaining skills that help them grow and heal.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging in many aspects for a behavioral health therapist, both personally and professionally. “At the start of the pandemic, we immediately switched to virtual visits online, which is the first time I offered therapy services outside of the office,” she said.
Though it was different at first, she noted, “I found it to be effective in that I was more readily available to my clients and was able to offer more flexible hours.”
She said virtual appointments continue to grant her clients increased access to more mental health services. “[These] appointments are very flexible to my clients’ and my needs, and it has been rewarding to offer my support during such a challenging time.” she said.
She also feels she has grown closer to her clients due to her ability to offer her support, and for her clients to know they are “not alone and that we are a society that is very adaptable and capable.”
Since so many people faced mental health challenges during the pandemic, Ibrahimi was mindful that she also had to take care of her needs to do what she does. “I am a firm believer in nurturing the nurturer, and it was very important to me that my clients were taken care of, but I was very mindful to make sure that my well-being was also taken care of,” she said. “As a therapist, it is essential to engage in daily self-care, whether that is taking time to eat lunch, step outdoors for fresh air or walks during my lunch hour, and hydrate my body. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors, whether we are walking our dog, hiking, or skiing.”
Ibrahimi is passionate about exercise and “movement as medicine.” She also said “consistent self-care and sustaining a good exercise routine has improved my overall mental and physical health.”
For now Ibrahimi “will continue to offer both in-person and online visits to provide flexibility and comfort to my clients who continue to be anxious about the pandemic.”
“It will also be rewarding to see [some] clients in person again,” she said, to feel connected without technology interruptions.”