Today we’d like to introduce you to Pavan Basra.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Pavan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I never understood the power of being yourself, loving yourself, and embracing your confidence until it hit me embarrassingly hard in my face publicly. I used to always be that confident little girl who would wear pink glitter cowboy boots no matter the occasion. I assumed confidence in yourself was natural and could always be maintained, but confidence as a young girl quickly diminishes when you start to mature. Especially during the awkward phases of life. Being bullied for being culturally different at a predominantly Caucasian school as well as being judged by people from your own culture can have serious adverse effects on your confidence and identity overall. You learn to put different masks on to be malleable to others and certain situations. But eventually, you grow tired of wearing masks for other people. During times like these, you have to choose between allowing these situations and people to negatively consume and influence you or embrace who you are while striving for acceptance within. As a mental health therapist today, I aim to help a plethora of people embrace themselves and get rid of their own masks. My goal is to create a community of diverse and confident others who uplift, accept, and support one another always.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was not easy being one of the few Indian girls in elementary and middle school as well as being judged by your people from your own culture. I was not the “typical” American girl and I was not the “typical” Indian girl [whatever these mean]. I was in this awkward limbo between both identities. I would walk around as if I was confident and happy but once I heard the slightest negative comment about me, I would break down in private. I grew tired of wearing a mask around pretending I was invincible to negativity. I started to work on my confidence to make it more genuine for myself versus a facade for others. So, at age 17, I decided to enroll myself in a competitive pageant. I personally do not like pageants but competed anyway since I knew it would enhance my chances of transferring to a prestigious university. I had no idea it would also be a milestone in my life in regards to my level of confidence as well as lead me to the specialization I focus on in my therapy practice now.
On the first day of the competition, I forgot my name entirely. I ran off stage crying in front of hundreds of people. My confidence had plummeted even more. Instead of allowing myself to become negative from this experience and giving up, I chose to enroll myself in another pageant. I did this to prove to myself that I have the ability to throw away my mask and embrace confidence naturally. It worked! I flourished in this pageant as a woman overall. This experience led me to pursue a psychology degree at UCLA and then obtain a Master’s degree in Couple and Family therapy. Most importantly, I learned to continue working on loving myself by silencing my inner critic and limiting the amount of space I allow others who are negative to take up in my life.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I currently work as a Registered Associate Marriage and Family therapist at my private practice in Sherman Oaks. I specialize in confidence-building in all areas of life, anxiety, depression, emotional intelligence and awareness, and empowerment coaching. In my private practice, I see all types of clients whether you are a female, male, gay, straight, white, black, Asian. You are always accepted for YOU when working with me. I also work alongside my amazing mentor and supervisor, Tamika Lewis, LCSW, at a new upcoming practice called Womxn of Color Therapy (WOC Therapy) where we focus on relatable mental health services for communities who are less inclined to reach out for help due to culture and dominant discourses.
I am most proud of my brand as a whole since I can be a prominent role in building a strong alliance and community of women within Los Angeles through empowering my clients. What sets my style of therapy apart from others is that I am a human before I am a therapist. I am not here to agree with my clients just to make them happy or to ask them the mundane “how do you feel about that?” questions. I am here to challenge my clients even when they are uncomfortable to embrace all parts of themselves and to give them space to own a room while being their most vulnerable selves. I offer an environment where it’s just humans sitting in a room, being our authentic selves and connecting together while challenging one another in a healthy and enlightening way.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Something I see too often in the world of therapy are clinicians who are constantly torn between double identities. One identity pretending their lives/personalities are not flawed to market a false and impossible lifestyle and the other true identity of just being themselves and owning it. Therefore, I feel as though being fearlessly yourself is essential to success.
If I were to brand myself in the business of mental health and wellness without embracing my own flaws first, I would be a fraud of a human and therapist overall. I would also be setting a terrible example for my clients as well. We are all drawn to those who are so accepting of who they are because that is what we all strive to become deep down inside. So why not just jump to it and embrace all parts of you? Being your most authentic self is powerful in itself. Some people might not match your energy and you might not match theirs and that is okay. No business is meant to be geared towards everyone, it does not make you unique and in my case, does not make my brand as a clinician unique. Therefore, fearlessly being me and embracing my unique qualities has brought me to where I am today in my career.
- I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to all potential clients.
- Website: www.pavanbasra.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pavanbasramft
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/pavan-basra-amft-m-a-sherman-oaks
- Other: www.woctherapy.com