In the first installment of our series Clinician Spotlight, we sit down with our talented clinician Dr. Haroon Malik and find out about his journey, challenges, and values as a psychologist!
What do you hope clients gain when working with you?
When I meet with each and every client, my ultimate mission is to answer their important clinical questions, and address their concerns regarding their cognitive, psychological, emotional, and interpersonal functioning. In addition to having their important questions/concerns answered comprehensively, I also hope that clients gain a better understanding of themselves, their potential weaknesses and, importantly, their strengths. For this reason, I strive to be as comprehensive and thorough with my evaluations and target assessment through a multidimensional approach.
What are you most proud of about yourself and what you have accomplished?
I'm most proud of the "process" through my professional journey thus far. Being that my two older siblings and my mother are all medical doctors, I entered college being a pre-med major, with the desire to also become a medical provider. By my third year in college, I realized how medicine, while something that I have always been strongly interested in, was not for me. I gravitated towards pursuing a career in psychology and behavioral health. The graduate school journey was certainly taxing and, at times, quite challenging. In spite of that, looking back at this entire process, I am proud of trusting this "process" through resiliency and, of course, very strong support from my wife, siblings, parents, and friends.
What experiences have brought you to this profession?
It may sound cliche, but really, I've always been a "people person." I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and understanding the perspective of others through empathy and putting myself in "their shoes." Such a perspective really allows me to be present in the room with my clients and obtain a comprehensive clinical picture throughout my evaluations. Also, my prior pre-med experiences has also been very helpful, particularly when faced with more medically complex clinical populations.
What are some challenges you have faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
I've encountered various challenges, like many other psychologists and health care professionals; sometimes difficulties with time management, having mild clashes with supervisors, and trying to maintain a strong work-life balance are some of them. Ultimately, I was able to tackle many of these challenges by being patient and determined in the "process," and constantly reminding myself of the "end-game" of this process; ultimately receiving my degree, practicing independently and, most importantly, helping others. But I cannot understate the importance of support through this adversity, namely my wife and my family. They've all been there for me when times were most difficult and reminded me the importance of confidence and resilience.
How do you spend your free time?
I really enjoy exercising, going on runs, socializing, and watching thriller and comedy movies/TV series! I also spend my free time playing video games (sports and shooter games, if we're being specific...).
What are some important values that come to mind when working with clients?
I always think it's important to be patient with clients. Every patient comes in with a different background, set of circumstances, adversities, and upbringing. Essentially, everyone has a different set of cards. Thus, I think it's so important to take the time to understand each client, all of their concerns, and their psychosocial, medical, and developmental history, because this will help me help the patient more effectively. Also empathy and compassion is critical in this process; by putting myself in clients' shoes, I can better "grasp" where they are coming from, and how I can help them best. And finally, resilience and fortitude; I think clients, and really most individuals in general, can become quickly bogged down during times of struggle/difficulty, and become less aware of their strengths and abilities. Thus, I always strive to identify and remind clients of these important attributes, to instill confidence and autonomy!
Thank you so much for this insightful interview, Dr. Malik! I'm sure many of our readers were able to learn more about you as both a person and psychologist.
Check back in future weeks for further installments of our series, Clinician Spotlight!