Because you’re reading this, I have already learnt one important thing about you- that you’re interested in bettering yourself or learning how to become more aware of unhealthy patterns which no longer serve you. Life can be confusing, right? The work of emotional wellbeing never really ends and each and every day, we find ourselves growing, being challenged and learning more about who we truly are as human beings. This can be as exciting as it is exhausting and confusing. Trust me, I know.
I am Zahraa Surtee, a qualified Registered Counsellor. As a child and teenager, I was the one who would always ask the very important question of ‘Why?’ Why do people behave in certain ways? Why do people choose certain life circumstances over others, even when at face value, it appears harmful and toxic to them? Why are we all here and Why are so many people so unhappy with themselves, despite being successful, having beautiful loving families and being financially wealthy? My curiosity was piqued from a young age and I always wanted to understand and learn more about people. Me choosing to ask this very important, yet complex question of Why led me to pursue the field of helping others consciously understand themselves too. I realised, from a young age that as human beings, we are far too complex to simply be understood by a textbook. I realised that each and every one of us comes with a unique story worth sharing.
So, that is a little bit about where I come from and WHY I chose this field. I believe that if you are going to embark on this journey, it may as well be with somebody intensely passionate about what they do, and that is one thing I hold dear to my heart. My occupation is also my life’s divine purpose.
So, where have I worked?
I have had experience in working with both children and adults from all walks of life. I have worked at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and am currently working at Beaulieu Preparatory School with learners. My paradigm is Holistic in nature, and by this I mean that my main aim is to facilitate a more conscious, developmentally aware relationship between both parent and child, as well as between child and peers. Simply put, I strongly believe in emotional wellness, rather than a diagnostic mental illness framework. My work further extends to working with adults and facilitating them to take control of their very own lives and become more aware of their magnificent potential.
So, you have learnt a bit about who I am. My WHY of helping others may be the same as yours- to ensure that I contribute meaningfully to my life’s work and embark on what I have been set out to do. Or maybe you are still in the process of finding your WHY. Perhaps you have reached a certain stumbling block in your life and found yourself here by chance. Or maybe not. What I do know for sure, is that even though our ‘why‘s‘ and ‘hows‘ differ, we’re all on similar paths of clearing out old emotional blockages, finding healthier coping mechanisms and sometimes even just having someone listen to us, deeply and non-judgmentally.
Counselling is something which I very much wish I was given access to at a much younger age. I grew up in a society where mental health was intensely stigmatised and I have worked (hard) at unlearning this. Today, I can say with confidence and enthusiasm that it is JUST as important as one’s physical health and that the mind-body connection is only proving to be stronger than ever in showing us how we are so much more than just our physical bodies alone.
Our minds hold THAT much of power, yes!
I am also a deep and compassionate listener, an Empath and INFJ on the Myer’s Brigg’s and a warm, kind and caring individual. But, most importantly, I am just like you in that I am learning and practicing healthier emotional wellness techniques each and every day, as I grow and learn more about who I am too. We are all in this together.
Thank you for taking the time out to read up more about me!
BA (University of Witwatersrand) – Distinction
Bachelor of Social Science Honours (BPsych Equiv) (The South African College of Applied Psychology) – Distinction