Introducing Shaun Ali! One of the wonderful therapists here at Shift. Shaun is McGill alum with extensive experience in dealing with PTSD and anxiety. He has a passion for literature and loves to learn and ask questions.
Shaun's full to the brim with wisdom and believes in taking a multi-dimensional and strengths based approach to social work and life. He presses on the importance of practicing empathy and replacing judgement with kindness, "I may not like someone's behaviours, but that doesn't mean I can't like them," says Shaun in our interview. Read on for the rest...
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness is such a complicated topic for a therapist to deal with for many reasons; I’ll change the question to things that give me pleasure: seeing nature with my wife (Canada has such a great natural landscape that I encourage you to think about visiting Canada or even discovering your own city), spending time and connecting with friends and family, and being able to help people whenever I can.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Directly seeing the positive changes clients make in their own lives over the course of working with them can be really amazing to see.
Who are your favourite writers?
Any author that inspires children to read. Reading does so much for children (and adults). It builds imagination, analytical skills, curiosity and so much more. I am indebted to some of my favourite authors as a child: Dr. Seuss, Gordon Koreman, Robert Frost and so many others. I also feel I need to give a shot out to the Toronto Public Library. If you haven’t had a chance to visit and see the wonderful services that the TPL you should do it—they even have 3D printing at some locations. I can’t say enough positive things about the TPL!
What is your motto?
Acta Non Verba. Actions, not words.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Curiosity! It is also a skill I try to teach to my clients, to explore their own lives and to be curious.
What is your favourite occupation?
I admire any occupation/profession that someone derives meaning and purpose from. For me its being a social worker.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Take more risks!
What is your greatest fear?
Who is your hero of fiction?
That’s easy for me—Don Quixote! It is his imperfections along with his persistent faith in himself, along with his passion and discipline that makes him a great character. He doesn’t need magic or superhuman powers, but he has enormous persistence.
What is your greatest regret?
Too many to count! I am reminded of Brene Brown who wrote in her book Rising Strong, "'No regrets' doesn't mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life." I strive to learn from my regrets and use them as teachable moments.
We're proud to have Shaun in our Shift family and can't wait for you to get to know him better too!