About Dr. Shainna Ali
Dr. Shainna Ali joined PsychoSocial as a guest blogger back in July 2018 and has contributed posts such as The Cycle of Coming Out and 6 Ways You Can Promote Mental Health Awareness and Empower Others to Do the Same. Dr. Ali is a mental health clinician, educator, and advocate who is dedicated to highlighting the important role of mental health in fostering happiness, fulfillment, and overall wellness. She is the owner of Integrated Counseling Solutions, a counseling and consulting practice in Central Florida. In her practice, she uses a strengths-based, creative approach that empowers clients on their journey. Her areas of interest include exploring identity and culture, emotional intelligence, & creativity methods in counseling. Dr. Ali teaches counseling courses to students at the University of Central Florida and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Beyond instructing, Dr. Ali promotes mental health awareness in her blog, Modern Mentality, and also in her regular contributions to the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the American Counseling Association. She is a firm believer in the importance of self-care, and in her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing with her German Shepherd, practicing yoga, exercising, learning new lessons, and traveling the globe.
Read her interview or watch the video interview below!
What do you enjoy most about working with your clients?
This is a difficult question to answer because I love a lot of things about the counseling process. However, if I had to choose one thing, I would say that the turning point in which a client recognizes that they are capable of change and becomes empowered in their journey is the best part the overall process.
You do so many different things to support your passion, how do you unwind?
Something that everyone in my life has to hear me talk about from clients and students to family and friends is self-care. I talk about it a lot because I really believe it. I think that the best form of self-care is proactive self-care. I am lucky to have a lot of tools in my toolbox now, and it continues to grow. Some of my go-to methods include spending time with my family and friends, journaling, and exercising.
Do you have pets? If so, what are their names?
I firmly believe in the therapeutic power of pets, and I’ve been lucky to have pets my entire life. I’ve had many cats and for the first time ever I have a German Shepherd puppy named Kira, and I absolutely love her!
What is your favorite topic to write about?
I enjoy writing about a variety of topics and how they affect mental health. However, some of the topics that I write about often include creativity in counseling, emotional intelligence, identity and culture, and self-care and self-love.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie of all time is Crash. It’s actually on my DVR right now because I’ll probably watch it for the thousandth time sometime this week.
Coffee or tea?
I really wished I liked tea. But coffee wins!
Yoga or running?
Although I’m glad that there are mental health benefits for both, I’m certainly not a runner. On the other hand, I really love yoga.
Any rituals or practices that help you when dealing with stress?
As a part of self-care, I think it’s really important to have a set of practices that you use to de-stress. For me, I think it’s important to be in tune with yourself. That way you can recognize when your stress builds, and it doesn’t catch you off-guard at a point in which it’s too much to handle. I also like to build reflections into my day. I really enjoy end-of-day reflections that allow me to release my thoughts in order to get quality rest. Finally, I think it’s important to have methods to allow you to decompress. That can be general self-care practices, but even simply allowing yourself to take the time you need to de-stress.
PsychoSocial believes in creativity as part of mental health. You’re an avid writer, what is your process?
I believe that creativity is an important part of mental health. However, I did struggle with this for quite some time. As you can probably imagine, when creativity comes to me it’s not on a schedule. For a while, I would get easily distracted and find myself off-task trying to follow my creativity. However, I realized that a balance was necessary. I certainly didn’t want to shun my creativity. Now, I jotmy creative ideas down as they come to me, and then I make
What can you with others who also want to help de-stigmatize Mental Illness?
If you’re looking to join us in the in the mission to de-stigmatize mental health, first of all, thank you, I am proud of you and I believe in you. I am happy that you are with us. If you’d like to take this a step further feel free to read my most recent blog post on PsychoSocial about 6 ways you can enhance mental health awareness.
You recently listed your top 20 tips for improving mental health on Instagram. Which tip is the most challenging for you to practice?
I have to say that I really appreciated this question because it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my progress in mental health in a way that I have not done in quite some time, so thank you for that. In terms of the 20 tips that I recently provided, a few years ago I would have said that they were all equally hard. However, I’m happy to share that with time and diligent practice they’ve all become easier. With that being said, however, one of the tips that I still struggle with from time to time and expect to probably struggle with throughout the course of my life timeis creating boundaries. I believe that this is difficult because boundaries change, they begin with you and yes they are semi-structured, however, because context and people change, your boundaries can change as well so it can become a little tricky to manage, but it is certainly manageable.
To learn more about Dr. Ali check out her social media accounts and webpage. Also, check-out her new book, “The Self-Love Workbook” on Amazon and other retailers.