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Surinder Bal, PhD, LPC, NCC, NBCCH

     Comforting relationships are born out of genuineness and empathy. As a counselor, I come into my relationships both as a person reflecting my life experiences and as a professional with expertise and training to help you navigate your own life journey.

Who Am I?

     I was born in India but moved to England at the age of 6. I grew up straddling two very different cultures. I have embraced the richness of both my cultures, appreciating the strengths and joys of each and growing personally from learning how to balance the strains each inevitably brings. Since then I have lived and worked as a counselor in Hong Kong and in the United States. 

     As you can see, diversity has played a major role in shaping my life experiences and attitude to life. I have come to appreciate that how we respond to life significantly influences how our journey in life unfolds. A genuine curiosity to know the other, based on empathy and respect, has become my foundation for building successful and rewarding relationships. 

     Irrespective of whether we have traveled or not, or indeed even if we see ourselves as diverse or not, each one of us is unique. Our identity represents the richness of the roles we play in life and our personal life experiences. I believe we all want to be understood intimately in all these complex ways, not just superficially in the way in which society chooses to frame us or dictate to us.

What Gives Meaning to Our Life?

     Our underlying questions about life and what gives meaning to our existence are always present and needing worthy answers. We are all working towards finding meaning in what we do, have, and want in life. Without a sense of meaning we are confused and unable to achieve what we most hope for or value in life. At the same time, when we cannot achieve what gives meaning to our life, then life becomes unsatisfying and challenging. The answers to these questions are important for shedding light on our journey to a successful and satisfying life. 

     I incorporate existentialism as an integral part of how I work with you because I believe connecting to our life compass is essential for our deeper well-being. Existentialism is concerned with taking responsibility for our decisions, thereby promoting personal empowerment and putting us firmly in the driving seat of our life journey!    

     Time is one of the most precious commodities we have today. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time for the people and things we most treasure in our lives and so we find ourselves stretched in an unsatisfying way. At the same time, it’s hard for us to get the time and attention we need from others because they too are overstretched. 

“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.”

 Lao Tzu 

     And yet time is what we’re most yearning for, time to: connect on a deeper level, be listened to rather than just heard, feel supported rather than just propped up, be accepted rather than just included, enough time to understand ourselves and determine what really matters to us, and time to learn how to gain control in our lives so that we can be proactive rather than reactive in our lives.

     Time is the precious gift I give to you. They say time is a healer, I believe it is. With time, we can listen unhurried, we can talk freely without constraint, and through this we can synchronize our heart, mind, and soul. 

What Brings Me to Counseling?

     My journey to becoming a counselor has of course been motivated by a desire to help others and contribute to our society, but that alone cannot be enough to be a counselor - there are many other valuable ways to do the same! So what particularly attracts me to the counseling profession is that the counselor identity resonates very closely with my personal identity.

     Relationships are at the core of what gives meaning in my life, whether that relates to my personal or my professional goals in life. The work of a counselor very much relies on the quality of the relationship developed with the client. A mutually trusting and accepting space is what promotes the intimacy needed for openness and vulnerability essential for personal growth  - a truly rewarding and enriching connection for both of us.

     I am naturally an optimist but also a realist. I have always had an instinctive curiosity to understand what makes people who they are and what makes them do the things they do. While human behavior is complex, I believe the crux of helping others with their issues is good critical thinking skills to provide an objective view as a means to creating new insight about the problem at hand

     The lens through which we see the world influences how we tackle life's problems. As your counselor I work from a wellness model which incorporates a holistic approach to life satisfaction and function. We all have strengths and weaknesses, we build our lives from our strengths and work through our weaknesses. A wellness approach views personal problems as normal developmental issues, the process of moving from one stage of life to another. With the right support, skills, and resiliency we naturally overcome these developmental hurdles to proceed unhindered.

     Ultimately, I believe this helps me to be present with you in a genuine, effective, and nonjudgmental way. I look forward to getting know you and being a partner in your personal growth.

More Than Just a Counselor

     My passion for counseling extends to playing a part in the future development of the profession. In addition to my private practice I taught for a number of years as an adjunct faculty at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas teaching online in their master's mental health counseling program. I enjoyed the opportunity to nurture our future counselors, while also acting as a gatekeeper for the standards of our profession.

Experience and Training

     I am a mental health counselor, practicing since 2011. I graduated in BS in Chemistry from University of London, United Kingdom and MS in Mental Health Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Walden University, United States. I have worked with diverse populations across socioeconomics, race, culture, religion, sexuality and refugee statuses. My private practice in Hong Kong served professionals, including bankers, corporate executives, and academics. My human resource management background is an asset for understanding what are often challenging working environments for my clients. In addition to delivering traditional face-to-face counseling, I am trained and certified to provide telemental health counseling through video conference and email.

     Prior to counseling I have worked as a retail manager and regional human resource manager for a national company and I have run my own retail business. I have raised a family, and I still continue to be active in a range of volunteer activities in the community, such as those promoting mental health amongst the LGBTQ and South Asian populations. While each of our experiences are unique and important, I believe these career experiences give me insight into workplace issues, providing a realistic context for the complexities you bring from your personal and professional world.

Professional Credentials

Professional License

Georgia Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC009342

Professional Organization Memberships

American Counseling Association

National Board for Certified Counselors

Asian American Psychological Association

National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists

International Enneagram Society

Jung Society of Atlanta.

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