Welcome to Well Acquainted … a weekly series dedicated to the amazing staff at Well Clinic
This week, we’re featuring a Q&A session with Sonica Thakur – a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern (MFTi) at Well Clinic.
Where did you grow up?
New Delhi, India
What is your favorite quote?
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness”
~ John Muir
What’s your favorite part about your work?
Listening to stories and watching how they are told. Witnessing the creativity of the human mind as it works to explore, resolve, accept or change.
What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?
San Francisco is a very walkable city. I am relatively new to this city. I love walking through different neighborhoods taking in the historical architecture. A city where walking just ten minutes will take you into a totally different neighborhood. Where you see long-time settlers and newer residents live across from each other. My strolls include frequent stops at various bakeries, which are generously spread out across the city. This is what I consider a calorie neutral experience.
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?
Bhutan, a small country with a big heart.
Name 5 things on your bucket list?
- Create a retreat facility
- Learn to paint on canvas
- Set up a village for artists somewhere in the world
- Live in the country
- Own a dog
In your free time, what are you most likely doing?
Reading, or exploring a new neighborhood by foot or enjoying group classes at my gym.
What are 5 things you can’t live without?
- Indian food
- My quiet time (usually a hike)
Where was your last vacation?
South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay)
What causes are you most passionate about?
Addressing the stigma around mental health services.
I grew up in a culture where those seeking help for relationship stress or any personal distress were often counseled by family members to adjust and persevere. A few years ago I was taken aback by the suicide of young professional couple in India. And, more recently, by the cluster of teen suicides on Caltrain tracks in the Bay Area. I have wondered about their silent torment before the final act. I hope to see a vocabulary around emotional pain more openly used and services easily accessed.
What was your career before becoming a mental health practitioner?
Travel writer (loved it) and then paralegal.
What is your favorite food?
Currently, Ethiopian food.
What is your favorite book?
I have more than one favorite. So here goes:
I love Jane Austen and my favorite is Pride and Prejudice. I have read this many times, for the wit, the sarcasm and Austen’s insights into the human nature.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is another one of my favorites. The brilliant storytelling explores the life and death of a young man seeking freedom and adventure in his own unprepared way.
Transitions by William Bridges is a book I have turned to many times and even recommended to friends and clients. The book provides perspective on a wide range of life changes when something is coming to an end and the next thing has not taken shape yet. I read this book and found comfort more recently as I was transitioning out of one career but the next opportunity did not feel secure and I was grasping at straws in this in-between limbo zone.
What is your favorite movie?
Shawshank Redemption. One of my favorite quotes is from this movie, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins).
When are you at your most creative?
Moving to a new residence. Every time I move I am excited by the prospect of converting a new space into a home. I see potential in open spaces and find charm and character even in the flaws. I am at my creative best while home decorating and setting up a wall or two with my well-loved books.
What motivates you?
The trust placed in me by clients. I work hard to earn this trust with the intention of promoting client well-being.
Name one guilty pleasure – past or present.
Describe one of your first few jobs.
Straight out of college I found my first job as a writer for a travel trade publication. This job brought me in contact with the world. The travels took me to foreign places, introducing me to new cultures and foods and allowed me to gain confidence meeting and opening up to new people.
What’s one fun thing you wish you could do more of?
Travel and live in a different country every few years.
What made you want to become a mental health practitioner?
I was drawn to psychology as a subject in high school. I read a semi-autobiographical novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and the story stayed with me. Increasingly, I witnessed people in my life seeking answers to their anguish. I pursued an undergraduate degree in Psychology but felt unprepared to use that education in any significant way.
Looking back, it makes sense that soon after college I chose a job to travel far and away. At some point I realized, my life and work needs to have purpose and meaning, beyond earning a paycheck. I returned to the field of psychology with preparation. Now I feel more able and ready to make a difference.
Learn more about Sonica’s professional background as a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern at Well Clinic