Muslim Counsellor and CBT Therapist
Dr. Azra Nanjiani MBBS MBACP (Accred)
This page will give you idea of my practice goals in terms of what I help my clients achieve and how my qualifications and experiences help me reach those goals.
My Practice goals
In addition to helping clients overcome their problems and reclaim their life back, I also focus on equipping and inspiring them to live to their maximum potential in order to achieve the best in both worlds.
By the end of our work, I like my clients to be able to:
See that therapy has made a big difference to their lives by dealing with their problems such as depression, anxiety, stress or relationship challenges.
Feel confident and better equipped to deal with any future challenges they may face in life.
Be inspired to lead a full life that positively impacts and inspires others too.
Feel a stronger connection with God.
Qualifications and Training
Before I share the details of my qualifications, trainings and work experience, I would like to mention that the following four therapy enhancing aspects give me added advantage in terms of what I can offer my clients. These include:
Dual Qualification in Psychotherapy
I am qualified in two types of therapies, Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Both these trainings were of a Postgraduate level and have given me the clinical skills and knowledge to offer much more to my clients than I could have with either of them. They both have a lot to offer and one may be more suited than the other depending on the client and their presenting problems.
Islamic Studies and direct learning from scholars
I was blessed to learn directly from many practicing and pious scholars while I was a student of Islamic studies, studying various subjects as mentioned below. Later, during my private practice years, I was given a great opportunity to run monthly meetings of mental health professionals with a very knowledgeable scholar. Both of these experiences have really helped me integrate Islamic values in my work.
Medical Background and additional LTC training
Body, mind and soul are interconnected. My medical background and further training in psychological interventions for long term medical conditions (LTC) help me understand the situation of my clients better, particularly those with long-term health conditions.
Almost 30 years of parenting experience and still parenting!
Having four kids with big age gaps, I am still parenting 27 years on. Just as I was thinking that none of my children are under 12 anymore and I may forget how it feels to have young children around, I was blessed with a grandchild. Yes, I am getting old!
Although parenting has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling roles I have had, going through this experience helps me in my work. No one can have the same experience and therapists are trained to park aside their own personal experiences rather than make assumptions, it still does help enormously when working with clients going through worries and struggles of parenting.
Qualifications and training details
BACP Accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy
BABCP Accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on an underlying rationale that our feelings and behaviours are largely determined by the way we view ourselves, others and the world. Thinking is based on attitudes or assumptions developed from earlier life experiences. CBT helps us understand and then gradually change unhelpful thinking and behavioural patterns that maintain our problems.
Attachment Narrative Therapy (ANT) training
ANT focuses on family relationships, feelings and attachments. This training was facilitated by Rudi Dollis and Arlene Vetere who are pioneers of ANT.
CBT for Severe and Complex Depression (Training by Professor Stirling Moorey, renowned authority on Depression treatment)
CBT for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): CBT Strategies for Harm Focused & Complex OCD (BPS Approved)
Working with PTSD using Trauma-Focused CBT (BPS Approved)
CBT for Eating Disorders
Therapeutic Work with Teenagers (Centre for Child Mental Health)
Working with Phobias (BPS Approved)
Islamic Studies: Theology, Ethics, Arabic, Hadith Studies, Quranic Sciences, History and Fiqh (2003 to 2011)
Evidence Based Psychological Interventions for Long-Term Health Conditions (LTC)
This training focused on anxiety and depression caused by living with long term health problems and the impact of anxiety and depression on people’s ability to manage their health problems.
In addition to my most valuable experiences of being a daughter, sister, wife and mother, I have worked as a Counsellor/Psychotherapist with people from a variety of backgrounds, faiths and cultures, ranging from age 4 to 84 since 2011. I now work as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with adults.
While working for educational and charity organisations, the NHS and my private practice, I had a variety of experience working with anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, trauma and other distressing problems.
I have worked as a therapist at:
Zamzam Muslim Counselling (My private practice)
Talk Wandsworth (South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust)
Brent Bereavement Services
SOAS Student Services (University of London)
Secondary school (London)
As a doctor I have worked at:
Civil Hospital Karachi
My first degree was in Medicine. It gave me an opportunity to experience working in a hospital that covered a socio-economically deprived population. This also included work in paediatrics where I could see and feel the anxiety and worry of parents for their children. In adult wards, I saw patients and their families during stressful times of their lives. Years of daily contact with patients struggling with different life challenges, medical and non-medical, gave me the opportunity to interact with them holistically on a personal and professional level. This really helped me to see and understand people within their social context. I also began to understand them better, as unique individuals with unique circumstances, beyond their presenting problems. This has positively impacted on how I relate to my clients now in my practice as a psychotherapist.
My experiences with patients, followed by my observations of human thinking and behaviour when raising my four children, contributed to my interest in psychology. It struck me how small positive experiences or changes can make a big positive impact on thinking and behaviours. I was interested in looking at humans beyond the physical (medical) problems. This eventually propelled me to move on to a career in psychotherapy, where I feel I can really make a difference to people’s lives with the help of God!