Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
Hina Fatima, is a Mental Health Counselor, with a deep love for helping and counseling depressive women. She believes in continuous growth and is always learning something new to upgrade her knowledge in the field of psychology.
She is also the Founder of an e-counseling platform – Hope Revival. Throughout her career, Hina Fatima has helped many women suffering from depression. In addition to this, she also encourages them to identify their strengths so they can move back into normal life. Hina’s dedication to her work is unparalleled.
Here’s what Hina shared in a tete-a-tete with the Fempreneur team:
Tell us about yourself and your academic background.
From a very young age, my strengths were Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Determination, and Empathy, it came naturally to me, that I could put my foot in another person’s shoes.
After completing my MS in Clinical Psychology, (from, Bahria University) where I obtained the highest CGPA and received a medal and the Honor certificate; I did some certifications including, REBT (RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY), Practitioner Certification & others. Currently, I am enrolled in Emotional Health and Wellbeing Coach course.
What motivated you to be part of the mental health field?
I have always been very compassionate and had the desire to help others and understand people’s behaviors, this is what inspired me into the Mental Health space. I realized that my innate qualities were just perfect for this field. I am inquisitive by nature and like to seek knowledge, these attributes facilitated me to become a Mental Health Counselor and Helping Practitioner. It was intrinsic motivation – as I felt spiritually fulfilled while working in this area.
You are the Founder of an E-counseling Platform – ‘Hope Revival’, a place where you help and support women to cope with depression & anxiety – Tell us more about your venture.
I started my E-counseling Platform which was an E-Counseling private Group on FB, formerly, that gave guidance to females, as I was really devastated after the suicide of a Beauty blogger, who suffered from depression. I felt timely guidance could prevent such losses.
This pushed me to, start a private Mental Health Group where there would be an Emotional and Mental Support system to help ladies. In the group, we also shed light on abusive Marriages and provide solution-based videos. We collaborate with different groups and raise awareness regarding mental health. We are working on quite a few agendas which will be official soon.
After making a proper Psychologist, psychotherapist, and NLP practitioner panel, I turned this group into an e-Counseling Business. Now, we have a system of online appointments where our clients come and book their slots after taking 1st consultation free. We also provide e-Session Packages to our clients from all over the world. We have Cbt, Dbt, Rebt, NLP, remedial practitioners, and Motivational speakers in the group from around the globe. Recently, Hope Revival provided a WhatsApp feature on its page, where people can directly contact us through their WhatsApp.
Are there any other ventures you are working on?
After this platform, I started another group on Whatsapp to connect and help Single mothers. We provide them with Free Legal consultation and Business ideas to support them in raising their children single-handedly.
Can you describe your typical day as a Mental Health Worker?
I usually work on weekdays and set my boundaries, in order to maintain my emotional and mental well-being. My available slots are shared through my Appointment Link, so clients can choose a day and time to book if they wish. I work for 6 to 8 hours a day and provide 55 minutes sessions, per client. I often do LIVE sessions in my group with other Panel members, as well, to discuss crucial mental health topics.
You have an experience with patients suffering from Mental illnesses. Can you please tell us anything you learned while counseling them?
While counseling, I learned that by feeling well, a therapist can relate well and empathize with clients. Through the use of ‘Self as Instrument’, I am able to better relate to clients and bring about a positive change. I learned to understand other people’s perspectives. Every reaction has a reason behind it, if we start reading those reactions and start listening to respond instead of just replying back, we will actually be able to understand the other person’s view, this can help in building rapport.
It is common for patients to avoid talking about their issues. How do you gain their trust?
It completely depends on how you build your rapport with you the client. The best way to gain their trust is to give respect, match his/her rhythm, actively listen, use self-disclosure, admit mistakes, and correct yourself ethically if you have done something wrong as a counselor.
Could you please share your viewpoints on the scope of mental health in Pakistan?
Through social media, I’m observing that things are changing here. Awareness is growing but a lot more work has to be done, as mental health issues are still considered a social taboo. Those suffering from mental illnesses are publicly mocked in Pakistan and are often labeled as “pagal” (crazy). This is a common practice in our culture, but work is being done which is, giving a boost to this field and counselors are growing in number. Due to the unavailability of proper licensing bodies, unfortunately, people still face difficulties finding a good professional and can often encounter, quacks in the field.
How can women improve their mental health?
Firstly, having an awareness of the importance of mental health is a must. When you are aware of something then you can take a step toward it. One thing on which I always emphasize is to take out ‘Me’ time for yourself, as a woman. In your Me time, you can do relaxation techniques, practice gratitude, recognize the source of your stress and then visit an expert in order to learn the management of your stress or other issues.
Eating a healthy diet, staying in tune with your emotions and thoughts, connecting with positive people, practicing gratitude, and every 3 to 6 months visiting a psychologist or a mental health Counselor can greatly improve your mental health.
To what extent, do you think self-awareness is important to mental health?
Self-awareness, as I often mention is the ‘key’ to mental wellness. When you are aware of your inner thoughts, emotions, and feelings, you can easily help yourself and improve your mental health.
What is the best advice you can give to women with severe depression?
For severe Depression I would advise women, to reach out immediately to a Clinical Psychologist who might then refer them to a psychiatrist for medication, if needed.