Tanjina Ashraf Khan Mou is a certified mental health professional, psychologist and the CEO of one of the leading psychology centres in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. MentCouch Psychology center is set at the heart of the city with the vision and mission of spreading awareness and advocating mental health in the community not only in Malaysia but globally. As a young entrepreneur who has only been in business for 7 months, the success of the company has been astounding. And recently, she has experienced a large number of online clients from India.
As an integrative psychologist, she has a solid foundation in a wide variety of theoretical approaches. She would love to share her story with other young talents and also offer guidance through her page.
Here is Tanjina Khan in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey start?
I can’t say that I was one of those people who knew what they wanted to do from a very young age. In all honesty, I don’t even remember thinking much about my career choice until I was most of the way through high school. Friends often came to me to unburden their wounds or to share their secrets and they called me the “encyclopedia of useful tips”. I remember a friend of mine telling me that I had a way of seeing people differently than others. They just knew that I should pursue a career in this field, and they were right. Once I was done with studies, I started working fulltime as an intern and later as an assistant psychologist. 4 months into the job, I grew tired of being chained to a desk from 9am to 6pm. The “working” environment in both places did not inspire me and it limited me more than it made me grow. I’d always feel I could guide the clients better than most of my colleagues. I remember when I shared this with my father, he said “maybe you are a leader”. At that moment I knew I wanted to start my own company. I called a friend of mine over and told him, we are starting a company and he said “okay” and left his job right after. That is how MentCouch was born.
2) When was MentCouch founded?
Eariler this year, February 2020 and its already a very successful company.
3) What was the sole purpose of MentCouch?
At Mentcouch Psychology Centre, we believe mental health services are not only meant for people with problems, it is for everyone! I was unable to find a Centre that was fluid to cater to everyone’s unique needs, SO I HAD TO CREATE IT!
4) What challenges did you face in the beginning?
Being a therapist wasn’t new to me but as an entrepreneur, everything was new. I learned that no two days are the same. One day you could be by yourself all day writing, designing, or sending emails. The next day you could be a guest on a podcast, presenting your services or doing interviews. If you’re an introvert like me, the first day seems a bit more appealing. But you need to put yourself out there every single day and be okay with being uncomfortable. When you work for yourself, there’s no boss looking over your shoulder you really need to be self-disciplined. When everyone else in the team is stressed, you need to be calm. When everyone else doesn’t know what to do next, you must know. You have to know when to put yourself first and when to put yourself second or even last. Some people in my team are go-getters. Others require a nudge in the right direction. Some respond well to harsh criticism and thrive to be better. Some need more positive reinforcement. The biggest challenge I face is keeping myself motivated every single day even when I am not my best or most enthusiastic self. But I do it!
5) What is the most enlightening thing psychology has taught you?
I was shy as a child because I gave others more respect and power than I gave myself. Because of psychology, I had this enlightening moment when I realized we’re all imperfect and everyone has insecurities. Knowing this makes me less nervous, more confident. Even the smartest people have areas of knowledge about which they know little of. I am not ashamed to admit I have less knowledge on some topics. But all of us have the ability to learn.
6) How do you differentiate personal and professional life?
We all live one life and for me, it becomes very hard to differentiate these two things. So, the best way to balance these two sides of the same coin is to learn how to prioritize and what to prioritize. Also, I take short breaks whenever I feel the need to, it can be as short as a day but it helps immensely.
7) What is the scariest experience with any client?
As a therapist, scary situations or scary ideas from clients are pretty common. It’s not an everyday thing, but it’s frequent enough and a good therapist is always prepared. I am not allowed to reveal them but there are many books out there about scary personal stories of psychologists’ clients and the stories are usually similar.
8) What is the most fearless thing you have done in your life?
Create the life that I want.
9) Has the company affected the personal lives?
Yes, some of my team members are also my friends and when you are switching between two roles of being a leader and a friend, it can affect the relationships. But I am lucky to have a very understanding and resilient team.
10) What has been your inspiration?
My parents. My entrepreneurial spirit originated from my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit and my mother has always taught me that women have excellent leadership capabilities.
11) What advice would you like to give to young entrepreneurs?
I’m very new to this business world myself but if there’s one thing I know for sure by now is that every entrepreneur needs a team to be successful. If you like being in charge and people have an easy time following your vision, you could make a very good entrepreneur. You are only as good as your team!
12) How was life in quarantine?
Quarantine was not all bad for me as I was running my company in full swing and providing services online globally (especially in Malaysia and India). Working from home, however, was very challenging. Throughout this pandemic, I have realized how important human interaction is to live. We take a lot of things for granted. The biggest thing to come out of this isolation is appreciation.
MentCouch Psychology Centre – Suite 1-02, 1st Floor, Menara Atlan, 161 B Jalan Ampang, 50450 KL
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