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Shirin has been a Women’s Counsellor Advocate at Interval House for 6 years. Over those 6 years, she’s seen hundreds of families walk through our doors, looking for a safe place to call home. And she’s welcomed each one with a welcoming smile and a listening ear.
There’s no doubt she’s an expert at what she does. She came to Canada 10 years ago and before that, she worked as a psychotherapist for 7 years, holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical psychology. Once in Canada, she worked to get her college diploma in social service work to continue to pursue her passion of advocating for marginalized people.
“I worked with abused women, transgender women, and [people with] mental health issues, so based on my experiences there, when I came to Canada, I wanted to continue in this field,” Shirin says.
As a Women’s Counsellor Advocate, Shirin is responsible for answering Interval House’s crisis phone line, which operates 24/7 for women who are experiencing abuse and need help or advice. She coordinates the intake process of screening and admitting new families into the shelter, as well as providing individual counselling and case management for families. She facilitates counselling groups, and helps clients to access other supports and services in the community. And Shirin’s there as an advocate, accompanying clients to appointments and helping them navigate the legal, medical, and housing systems if they need the support.
It’s not an easy job, but it’s one that Shirin is passionate about. And we couldn’t support women and children fleeing violence without the dedication of counsellors like her. That’s why, for the next 6 months, we’ll be giving you a glimpse into Shirin’s work, taking you step-by-step through a day in the life of a counsellor at Interval House. Stay tuned for the next part in our series, when we follow Shirin through an on-call shift answering Interval House’s crisis line.