Ms. Eman Niazi's Profile

Ms. Eman Niazi is a psychotherapist based in Islamabad. She has been practicing in Islamabad since January 2015, and completed her Fulbright Master’s program in Clinical Social Work from New York University, during which she garnered professional practice experience as well. Eman has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Punjab prior to her Fulbright experience.

Eman has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with a diverse range of diagnoses. She has experience in working with at risk populations; adult and child survivors of trauma and abuse; clients with emotional and behavioral issues; and mood and adjustment disorders. She believes the key to success in therapy is empowering her clients. Her practice is governed by a strengths-based perspective with an insight oriented, psychodynamic approach to therapy.


On Being a Mental Health Practitioner in Pakistan

Providing clients with a safe, confidential, non-judgmental space to explore themselves, their pasts and their lives while bearing witness to their pain is central to being a psychotherapist. Each day of practice brings new lessons, and overwhelms in ways that are hard to define.

Pakistani societal and cultural values, while being largely collectivist allow little room for openness about difficulty. Pain, stress, trauma is frequently dealt with, with a “brush under the rug” and “be strong” approach, an approach that does not have the best outcomes. In operating from a place of denial and avoidance; we create little space for children, adolescents and even adults to share their difficulties; unknowingly contributing to long term adverse consequences and low self-esteem.

A popular, global survey, called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study explores 10 traumatic experiences: physical, sexual or verbal abuse; physical and emotional neglect; exposure to family members with a mental illness or addiction; having a family member in prison; witnessing physical abuse/violence and loss of a parent due to separation, divorce or any other reason. Findings from this study have consistently indicated that even having an ACE score of 1 elevates risk for health concerns, addictive behaviors, and other long-term consequences.

Through practice, I have found 8 out of 10 clients have an ACE score of at least 2, but that forced me to look around at my social networks and wonder as to their ACE scores. If each of us spend a moment thinking about our own score in this study – and then to extend that thought to family and friends, it would be no surprise that often an ace score of 1 or 2 would be discovered. So, what do we do with this information? To develop sensitivity that mental health issues should not create shame, and seeking out services does not make us “the other”; to remove the cloak of secrecy surrounding mental health concerns and make mental health awareness part of our conversations.

In a country where access to basic health services is limited; where does mental health factor in? It often doesn’t. The goal is to create an awareness that mental illness or struggle is not uncommon, experiences of trauma are not uncommon, and every one of us have at least one person in our lives who has experienced mental health difficulties if not full blown mental illness. Thinking from a prevention framework – the question becomes how to create spaces, in our homes, work places, schools and communities where mental health needs are addressed.

Ms. Eman Niazi

Fulbright Master’s
New York University




Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved.

Site Map | Contact us | Quick links | Working at USEFP | Share