Flowers Within – An Interview with a Creative Counsellor

Roses and hydrangea

So last week, we were all reminded of the importance of Mental Health on World Mental Health day. To me mindset is an important factor when I’m styling. I can make you look like a million dollars (it’s true!) but if your mind isn’t right you won’t feel it! That’s why I like to mix my fashion blogs with mindset interviews. This will be the third in a series of interviews I have conducted this year, because I believe in retrospection: The art of self-reflection. I find it of great value to understand why we do what we do, wear what we wear and breaking chains of habit! I can’t speak for other stylists but most of them will probably agree: Get the mind right and everything else falls into place!

I had the pleasure of interviewing and attending Chinar Abdulaziz’s ‘Flowers Within’ Workshop last month and all I can say is ‘WOW’! I’ve been to counselling sessions before but nothing like this. Sometimes we really don’t know what holds on to the inner darker depths of our mind until light is shone upon it! It was explorative and open and gave us the opportunity to look within, but gently, we didn’t even realise we were looking in. It was a counselling workshop worth going to and an interview worth having. And I’m happy to share it with you now…

Kookie Muhretti: Last month, I partook in your ‘The Flowers Within’ Workshop, which to me, was the most inspiring and invigorating experience I have had in a while. Tell us what was your inspiration behind the ‘Flowers Within’ Workshop? Where did the flowers idea come from?

Chinar Abdulazziz:To start, thank you for coming to my workshop. I am a Counsellor in private practice and have over 12 years experience in Counselling and Person-Centred Art Therapy Skills, offering creative workshops. The ‘Flowers Within’ workshop comes from a personal experience back in 2008. I experienced a secondary trauma that triggered off my primary trauma relating to a car accident, which my family and I were involved in when I was a teenager. I found that walking through nature, taking photographs of flowers and focusing on them when I was stressed helped me to stay calm, focused and grounded. Seeking professional help when I needed support was also part of my healing process. Then at the beginning of last year I came down with the flu and whilst ill, I recorded a poem I made called ‘Flowers’. Friends and family loved what they heard, they said it was relaxing and reminded them of a meditation and that’s what I decided to call it. One day in musing, it occurred to me that if flowers, nature and art could help me find calm, it might also help others. That’s when the idea of a workshop using flowers came to me. And whilst in meditation I heard an inner voice say ‘there is an inner world waiting to be discovered!’ That’s how I got the idea of the name ‘Flower’s Within’. I started to organise and facilitate the ‘Flowers Within’ workshops, now it’s all I offer.

KM: Is your workshop the same as counselling?

CA: My workshop is a little different to a counselling session because as well as using art materials, each participant explores their own process as well the group process.

KM: My favourite part was choosing the flowers that resonated with me, then writing about how it made me feel. I was surprised when I started crying! As far as I was concerned, I came to draw! But it awoke something within me – not sad – it made me look at myself in a different way, a non-judgemental way. I felt like the flowers spoke deep into me answering a question I was too afraid to ask or even know!

Flowers that spoke to me

CA: You sound surprised!

KM: Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be affected by flowers! I was excited about getting creative! I do understand why some people would stay away from counselling, it’s that fear of what it could bring up. But this was very different.

CA: There are different ways for everybody to heal. It’s about trying to find the right one for you. This might not be for everyone, but it is surely an option and well worth a try. There are many benefits; some individuals may feel calmer, lighter and clearer whilst others may increase in self-awareness and self-expression.

KM: What has made you want to stick to flowers?