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MULTICULTURAL COACHING

Multicultural Therapy for the Global, Minority Couple

Psychotherapy for the Multi-lingual, Multiracial, and Multicultural Couple

For many minority couples, such as immigrants or first-generation couples from cultures with enduring marriages, setting up home in a foreign culture has not been easy. Despite the dictum in their traditional cultures such as that "marriages are forever" and their material comforts they may find themselves more disconnected with each other. The scarcity of culturally fluent therapists who are knowledgeable about how their clients's gender, culture, religion, language, and assimilation in the foreign culture can affect their reluctance to seek relational coaching, even when they know their failing relationship necessitates expert intervention. Biracial couples please click here

If you are caught in the same verbal and mental loops with each other, coaching can help you facilitate dialogs to create the relationship you will both flourish in. In many cultures around the world, including conservative ones, more and more couples are seeking premarital and marital counseling. Seeking coaching does not imply that your relationship has failed or that you may be a failure. It is OK if you have never sought therapy or coaching before. Every relationship can require some assistance during a challenging phase. We invite you to consider investing yourself in our curated twelve sessions to understand yourself, each other, and your relationship. 

 

The Couples Coach 

 

Dr. Shaifali Sandhya is a US and UK-trained psychologist and will be leading the couples sessions. Over the course of twenty years, she has collaborated with hundreds of couples and families across cultures on rebuilding their relationships. As a former professor of Clinical Psychology, she is able to break down complex ideas into easy-to-understand and digest forms for you to bring about newer communication styles and relatedness with each other. She offers couples coaching both online through Zoom videoconference and in-person. She holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Cambridge.

 

Dr. Sandhya provides interfaith and intercultural therapy to clients who come from different cultural heritage, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and others. Dr. Sandhya's multicultural orientation and sensitivity is reflected in her academic writings on the global family as well as her interviews of families in many countries around the world. Our Arabic speaking clients appreciate Dr. Sandhya's culturally-sensitive approach that rests on knowledge of historical scholarship of Islam, and conflicting understandings within it. For those seeking a therapist familiar with the Islamic religion and Muslim family values we provide counseling for:

  • Second-generation Muslim young adults exploring self-identity while balancing traditional family values

  • First generation Muslim female physicians negotiating their professional identity and personal aspirations 

  • Muslim couples struggling with infidelity and infertility

  • Muslim parents seeking greater support for their children struggling with academic performance and mental health concerns

  • Muslim husbands and wives seeking greater alignment of their intimacy and values 

Please email our office by clicking here or fill out our appointment form for more details. 

 

What does the initial consultation look like? 

 

  • Duration: The initial couples consultation session lasts 50 minutes. A therapeutic hour is generally, 45-50 minutes.​​

  • Process: The coach invites you to relate your perspective on your challenges, history of your concerns, any goals that you may have for yourself and your relationship, and other issues you may deem important. Your partner will do the same. Throughout the session, the coach while providing a safe space for potential radioactive discussions may also ask clarifying questions. In the context of an ongoing issue, the coach may ask you, "Why are you seeking therapy now?" Towards the end of the session, the coach may suggest some treatment options, including the frequency of visits that may seem right for your kind of issue. In the days that follow after your consultation, you can decide whether you'd like to embark on a 7-12 week journey of self-exploration with your partner tailored around concrete goals

  • Feeling scared or shy? It will be OK. Your coach is a warm and experienced professional who will ask you the right questions to draw you out if words fail you. The therapeutic space is 'your' space where one baby-step at a time, you will be re-writing your story.

  • Telehealth/Online/ Zoom: Dr. Sandhya is currently offering online coaching for those who prefer the convenience of virtual visits. Online couples therapy or tele-therapy for couples or individuals does not differ in quality or substance from in-person onsite psychotherapy. 

  • Click here to make an appointment 

What does "therapy" or "coaching" look like?

  • There is going to be a lot of talking in therapy - but with insight, reflection, and purpose - so that you can connect the many dots of your life. Facilitated by insight and interpretation, it is a different kind of chat than you would have with a friend or family member. 

  • As coaching progresses and based on your unique journey/ history, the coach may collaborate with you to determine your favorite learning method and offer recommendations of books, articles, exercises, questionnaires, and other resources enjoining learning through your different senses.

  • You will also learn useful couples techniques such as but not limited to, active listening skills, role-plays, perspective-taking, reframing, your unique toxic relational dance (s), and so forth to expand your relational lexicon and strategies you can utilize to have productive rather than counterproductive conversations.

  • We may work together to create family genograms or "family blueprints" to understand how the past may be unconsciously affecting the present if you feel ready. Above all, you hold the reins to the pace you feel comfortable with. 

  • You control the pace of our work together, how much you want to share and what you want to share. As you gain good tools that restructure your habits and retrain your mind, you will also find that the effects of good therapy can last years after therapy ends. Based on your life history and what you've shared, a good therapist gives you all the data, but you still make all the decisions. 

  • Feeling scared or shy? It will be OK. Your coach will be a warm and experienced professional who will ask you the right questions to draw you if words fail you. The therapeutic space is 'your' space where one baby-step at a time, you will be re-writing your story.

Our Philosophy

 

We believe strong relationships are not chanced upon but are actively co-created with collaboration and active listening. We help you parse through your mental noise that can exist in the form of rumination, negative filters. and other negative cognitive patterns to arrive at your inner dialogs. We help you resurrect a relationship that may have descended into a relationship where "anything goes" which may feel like mayhem to a relationship with operating values and predictability yet spontaneity if you wish.​

Couples seek psychotherapy for a variety of concerns:

  • Creating an intimate and honest communication

  • Building a partnership around common values

  • Dealing with parents and parents-in-law

  • Breaking cycles of miscommunication and arguments

  • Recovering from infidelity and rebuilding trust

  • Enhancing sexual connection and communication around needs

  • Navigating difficult phases (illness, fertility issues, and postpartum depression) with compassion

  • Resolving body image concerns 

  • Blending families as a step-parent or divorced parent

  • Collaborating on parenting to provide positive discipline for children

  • Navigating cultural differences around topics such as money, family, and parenting​

We also provide psychotherapy for other couples and individuals facing challenges as a result of their changed circumstances; expatriate couples and families, "third culture kids," and individuals trying to make sense and fit in with another culture. 

 

VIGNETTE

*names/identifying details have been changed

"I just want to be a normal college kid but then my eyes happened...."

When Adib, 20-years old was in his first semester at college, he realized he "had trouble listening" "would overthink" and experienced "social anxiety where I would have trouble talking to girls." His parents are first-generation immigrants from Pakistan who worked hard to open many grocery stores around the country; his father who had battled with depression too, told Adib, "You just need a positive mindset," or "you need to wake up at 6 am everyday, and then you watch, things will get better" or "I am tired everyday too, you just have to pick yourself up and keep moving." When home-grown remedies did not work and after much valuable time was lost, Adib's parents took him to a psychiatrist who prescribed him Effexor, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) commonly prescribed for depression. Although his mood improved but his energy level continued to sag. "Mentally and physically I was always exhausted," says Adib. "I would try going to the gym to workout to improve my self-esteem, but that left me more tired." In the meantime, Adib's situation was deteriorating. Now, his eyes were drying up, he wasn't producing "any tears" and Adib was unable to get out of bed. Suspecting something else was going on, his third semester at college, he sought out a specialist who diagnosed him with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks parts of your own body by mistake. In Sjogren's syndrome, it attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. Feeling overwhelmed with varying diagnoses from different specialists, Adib is seeking therapy to figure out healthy tools to manage the growing stress in his life.