A Psychologist and counselor at Al Safa polyclinic, Danah Ghadban is on a mission to normalize mental health and therapy in Qatar. With her bubbly personality and her positive outlook on health, Danah has worked ever so hard to help as many people as possible reach ultimate health through therapy.
“At a young age, I knew I wanted to help people, I just didn’t know how. I guess I’ve always been intrigued by the mind and how it works, so I went on and started to study psychology,” said Danah. She described how helping others was something she always dreamed of and that she always knew it was going to happen one day.
Danah was intrigued by counselling after training with some of the top psychologists in Qatar at Hamad Psychiatry. “I got to spend some one-on-one time with a psychologist there and I saw how he worked with his patients. It was so beautiful. I decided then that this is how I wanted to work and that is how I wanted to help people.”
During her studies and receiving her bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology at Middlesex University in Dubai, UAE, Danah started clinical training which changed her life. “**I did a diploma in clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling. I did about 150 hours of client work during that period and I felt like I was really helping people,” **she added.
Upon realizing her potential in therapy, Danah pursued a master’s degree in health psychology from Aston University, Birmingham, England. She said choosing health psychology became apparent as she realized more and more clients were coming in for general health issues or concerns rather than intense mental health conditions.
Some of the most prominent issues that Danah has faced are health-related issues such as stress, depression, pain, insomnia, trouble coping with new changes, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illnesses. “They are not necessarily mental health issues but the patients need to learn how to cope with them mentally so they pursue therapy,” said Danah.
A Member of the British Psychological Society in the United Kingdom, Danah has been pursuing further training to widen her scope of services and reach out to other communities in Qatar, including: certification in Mindful Integrative Relational Therapy, and is already certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
She isn’t always saving the world, in her down time, Danah loves spending time with her family, taking up swimming, and reading. She admits that reading psychology and therapy-related material has become her hobby as not only is it interesting to her professionally but personally too. “I feel like my work is my hobby, it really helps me feel better and gives me a sense of purpose,” she added.
On her way to normalizing mental health and therapy, Danah is investing her free time working on her own blog that she hopes will become a platform for people who want to talk and read about mental health and about how they can cope with everyday mental challenges.
“My aim with this blog is just to be able to reach out to people. Because of the stigma in the culture, there are a lot of people who don’t want to seek therapy and fear it because of confidentiality issues or what people would say about them. It is surely a problem that is world-wide but it’s very prominent here in this region. I want to help normalize mental health, I want whoever is reading to think “okay, so it is normal for me to feel this way, others are feeling it too. It’s okay for me to get help, and when I do I can get better. It is all okay, these are things that a lot of people go through, not just me.” – Danah Ghadban
Although there seems to be a lot of stigma around therapy, many adults come to seek it said Danah. “Sadly, what I tend to see here is a lot of people come to therapy after they’ve gone through months or years of pain and suffering, when they could have had a much shorter time in therapy and much easier recovery if they came earlier. It becomes very hard because what was an acute symptom is now a chronic symptom that needs a lot of work. It also becomes too hard to pin point exactly what the issue was or where it started from.”
**“Therapy is for everyone. When you start feeling pain or symptoms for a couple of weeks and they don’t go away, seek help. Even when you don’t feel pain or nothing is happening, you should also seek help because that in itself can be a symptom that you are not aware of.” – Danah Ghadban. **
As an advocate of mental health, Danah notices lots of cases of depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and urges you all to help advocate the normalization of mental health and therapy. “If you see someone or know someone who needs help, recommend therapy and deal with your own issues too. Talk about your experience as if it is normal and that you got through it,” urged Danah.
So, what are you waiting for? Book an appointment with a Psychologist to help yourself and then help others in really taking care of themselves by focusing on their diets, their physical health and their mental health.
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