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  • Writer's pictureBright Light Counseling Center

Beyond the Clinical: A Look at Our Therapists In and Out of Session: Abia

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Sometimes it can feel like a mystery when searching for a therapist.

picture of Abia in a blue sweatshirt
Abia Hashmi, MA, LCPC, LPC

You read and scroll all of the websites, profiles, and clinical information, but you don’t usually get to hear from the therapist in their own words.


Bright Light Counseling Center decided to lift the veil and introduce our therapists, in their own words. Learn more about them both personally and professionally.


This month we are interviewing Abia Hashmi, MA, LCPC, LPC


(Nancy): What do you like to do in your free time/for fun?


(Abia): Lately, I’m all about following YouTube van lifers and scheming up ways to get on the road myself and be one with van life. Other than that, I love working out, watching sports, going to sporting events, playing with my nieces and nephews, and hopefully soon more traveling!


(Nancy): Are you currently binge watching any shows?


(Abia): I’m a sucker for teen dramas! Currently, I am binging Nancy Drew. I love it! Shipping Nancy and Ace! Funny story: this show came out in 2019 and I would watch it weekly as it is a CW show. I’m not sure what happened, but I never watched the season finale until 2 weeks ago (2022). I also learned that there are two more seasons! I am now re watching Season 1 to catch up on the rest! Another show is Single Drunk Female on Hulu! I love it! I think it shows the battle with addiction in a realistic way.


(Nancy): What music is on your playlist?

earbuds plugged into phone in a pocket

(Abia): Umm... Taylor Swift has been the only artist on my playlist since November 2022. I try listening to other artists, but it always comes back to Taylor Swift!




(Nancy): Are you currently reading any books?


(Abia): Recently, I reread The Summer I Turned Pretty Series, in time for the season 2 of the show on prime! Love them! Now, I just started The Broken Rules of Summer, by K.L Walthe. I was drawn to this book because it's inspired by Taylor Swift songs!


cheese pizza

(Nancy): What is your favorite dish to eat?


(Abia): My favorite American- Italian dish is pizza! You can’t go wrong with Cheese Pizza, it’s the best! I do have favorite toppings! Al’s in Norridge, IL has the best thin crust. My order is half jalapeno and half garlic and mushroom!


My favorite Pakistani dish is Mutton Biryani! The way my mom makes it is the best. She always makes it for my birthday! I wish I could make it as well as her!


I’m a big advocate for mental health. The beauty of therapy is obtaining a new perspective

(Nancy): Where is one place you would like to travel to and why?


(Abia): One place? I want to travel all over the world!! But, my one place would be Cape Verde. It's an island country off the coast of Africa. I discovered it from an episode of White Collar when Neil Caffrey escaped from the US. Its influence is a mix of European and African, and I believe they speak Portuguese. I think it's beautiful!


(Nancy): What helps you to relax and calm your mind?


(Abia): Right now reading books has been helping me relax and calm my mind.


(Nancy): What is your ideal way to spend a day off?


(Abia): My ideal day off would be not doing anything, or talking to anyone. No errands to run, no notes to write up, just me in the here and now, and a good meal!


sunset on a lake with birds on the water

(Nancy): What is your favorite place?


(Abia): Union Pier, Michigan. Small beach town in Michigan. I go once every summer. My best friend and I make a whole day out of it, we pack snacks, lunch, and all the essentials. We chill out by the lake, and end the day with dinner at this pizza shop called Marios. Look forward to this every summer!


(Nancy): What was your first job?


(Abia): I was a Splash Pad Guard. This is like a lifeguard, but it was for a splash pad! It was a fun summer job when I was 15 years old for a park district!


woman of color in therapy session

(Nancy): What made you choose counseling as a career?


(Abia): As cliché as this sounds, I think counseling chose me. Everything just fell into place. I believe when there’s no bumps when making decisions that the decision was meant to be.


(Nancy): What do you enjoy most about being a therapist?


(Abia): The thing I enjoy the most about being a therapist is that my clients end up choosing me, as their therapist, to tell their deepest darkest secrets! How awesome is that? I know it takes a minute or two to build a connection with a therapist, making sure it is the right fit. But, when that connection develops and they choose me to help them achieve their goals, tell their secrets to, to problem solve with, and more, it is a great feeling.


(Nancy): What do you think makes your standout as a therapist?


(Abia): I think I'm very personable, genuine, and my jokes are pretty funny.



I believe access to mental health care is needed more so now than ever. Making therapy more accessible allows people to get the care they need.


(Nancy): What is your specialty or niche? And why?


(Abia): Working with South Asian clients is a specialty as I can understand the cultural expectations, norms, values, and more my clients have experienced or are experiencing.


(Nancy): What would you want someone who has never been to therapy to know about therapy?


(Abia): You don't have to be going through a crisis or feeling negatively to seek therapy. Therapy is for everyone, at all different times and chapters of life. It's a preventive measure and good for overall wellness.


(Nancy): What is rewarding about working with your clients?


(Abia): They chose me to be someone they can be vulnerable with! How sweet is that!


(Nancy): What have you felt most challenged by as a therapist?


(Abia): Most challenging thing about being a therapist I've experienced is accepting that I may not be the right fit for the client or vice versa. A good analogy I learned is that you can't fit a triangle into a circle, and that's a-okay!


Change can be challenging, but it's doable.

(Nancy): What makes being a therapist worthwhile?


(Abia): Working with clients who are coming to therapy and want to work on their mental health. I’m a big advocate for mental health. I believe everyone should see a therapist at some point in their life, doesn't matter if they are going through issues or if they aren’t. The beauty of therapy is obtaining a new perspective.


(Nancy): How have current events impacted how you approach therapy?


(Abia): We are constantly learning and growing! Therapy is evolving, as well! Change can be challenging, but it's doable. Telehealth existed, but is even more prominent now. The pandemic really made tele-health popular. I think tele-health allows me to be more accessible to clients and it's also convenient. I believe access to mental health care is needed more so now than ever. Telehealth makes accessing care so much easier. Making therapy more accessible allows people to get the care they need for issues that they are struggling with.


(Nancy): What is one common misconception about therapy that you would change, if you could?


(Abia): One common misconception about therapy is that it’s only needed when you are going through a crisis. No, therapy is for all phases of life!


To learn more about Abia, click here.


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