Regarding my professional background, I have a certificate of continuing education diploma in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Art therapy (College for Educational and Clinical Art Therapy, Australia), and studied "coaching through trauma" (Cambridge University, England). Before that, I worked for several years as a Ph.D. candidate and researcher at the University of Oslo, Norway. During this period, my main focus was in the field of "learning processes in groups and organisations", which gave me a strong knowledge background on 'how individuals can develop and grow in such a collective group'. My life (or rather, my perspectives on life) changed after one accident. Then, in my desire to help people gain a better understanding of who their true selves are and to achieve and improve their well-being, I founded Varrak. To deepen and sharpen my knowledge of human psychology, I also study independently and took courses in areas such as positive psychology, polyvagal theory, EMDR, CBT and guidance. While working with different approaches to helping others with their mental challenges, I found that strengths-based mental health counseling and coaching is the approach I want working with the most. This is because many of the people I worked with, while were good at what was wrong with them or what was lacking, had very little idea about their valuable unique character strengths.
Parisa Afshin - Founder of VARRAK
As an enthusiast and learner of Eastern philosophy and spiritual teachings, the more I learned about psychology of human beings, the more I have become assured about the need to combine these two lines for optimal results in healing and managing our mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
As Mark Epstein, psychiatrist and Buddhist practitioner, says for the realization of true self [healing] one must use the insight of Western psychology and the spiritual exploration of Eastern traditions.
Besides having work experience as a researcher and 1:1 counsellor, I have organised meditation and art courses as a volunteer with people with various background. I have used expressive arts as a medium to help them learn more about themselves, their feelings and thoughts, where words does not come easily. Additionally I worked, as a volunteer, with refugee empowerment programs, junior youth empowerment programs, and children's character-building programs. I especially have worked with women of various background. Indeed, the society has two wings to soar to its highest station: men & women. Both wings need to be strengthened for having a thriving and healthy society.
I chose the name Varrak for my coaching and counselling practice as this flower, to me, symbolizes the innate capacity for growth and blossoming. Varrak is another name for a rose called Rosa Persica. A plant that grows in desserts and despite the harsh environment it grows in, it gives beautiful yellow roses. It has this innate capacity to become a beautiful flower and it does so regardless.
We, humans, are also like the Varrak rose.
We have the innate capacity of growing and give beautiful flowers of righteous character despite all challenges that life brings to us and no matter what stage of life we are in. The difference between us and the Varrak rose, however, is that we need conscious effort to bring out the beauties within.
If you would like to know about my approach to healing and counseling, please read more on the counseling page.
If you have any questions or concerns or simply would like to get in touch, please do so through the ‘contact page’ or by clicking here. I would be happy to hear from you.