RELATIONAL COACHING

Multicultural Therapy for Minority Couples

Psychotherapy for Hindi, Urdu and Arabic-Speaking Clients

For many minority couples, such as immigrants or first-generation couples from cultures with enduring marriages, setting up home in America 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 American culture can shape their self and relational dynamics affects their reluctance to seek relational coaching, even when they know their failing relationship necessitates expert intervention. 

If you are caught in the same verbal and mental loops with each other, coaching can help you open mental doors as you get to know each other in a newer and hopefully, an invigorating way. It can also open up such challenging dialogs both within yourself or with your partner to create the relationship you will both flourish in. It is OK if you have never sought therapy or coaching before and seeking coaching does not imply that your relationship or you are a failure. Every relationship can require a tweak or a period of self-reflection to make it through your challenging phase. We invite you to consider investing yourself for twelve sessions to gather and work with your emotional blue-prints. 

The initial couples consultation session lasting 45-50 minutes invites you to relate your perspective on your challenges, history of your concerns, outlines goals that you may have for yourself and your relationship, and other issues you may deem important, and will provide you with a treatment plan. As coaching progresses and based on your unique journey/ history, the therapist will collaborate with you to determine your favorite learning method and offer recommendations of books, articles, exercises, questionnaires, and other resources enjoining learning through different senses. You will also learn useful couples techniques such as but not limited to: active listening skills, perspective taking, reframing, relational dances, and so forth to expand your relational lexicon and strategies. 

 

Dr. Sandhya provides interfaith and intercultural therapy to clients who come from different cultural heritage, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds such as African-American, Italian, German, Palestinian, Chinese, Saudi, Iranian, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Palestinian, Jamaican, Moroccan, Iraqi, Cameroon, Uganda, Egyptian, Korean, Syrian, Sudanese, Nigerian, and African-American. 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 

 

VIGNETTE

"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. 

DR. SHAIFALI SANDHYA

405 N. Wabash

Chicago, IL 60611