We are very excited to start with a new set of workshops called the Race and intergenerational trauma series. We asked Thembi Mashigo a few questions about her life, work and inspiration for this workshop series.
Describe your career path into the counselling psychology and spiritual healing. What made you choose this career?
I started in the world of fashion; I have a diploma in fashion design and worked in the industry for few years. During that period, I knew I was not fulfilling my purpose, so I left the industry and signed up for full time studies at the University of Witwatersrand and worked my way through to masters and qualifying as a counselling psychologist. In terms of the spiritual healing I am healer based in the African Indigenous system. Healing is holistic and takes into account a person’s spirituality connected to the family history and lineage, it’s about a connection to the other and all the elements around us. I really love people and seeing people grow and I am really great at working through painful and difficult issues. My work choose me and I accepted.
What is the most rewarding part of your work? What is the most difficult/least rewarding part of it?
There are so many rewarding parts of my work, I could say I am deeply humbled when people are able to share their pain with me and let me hold onto to their dreams when they are struggling. I hate the administrative part of my work.
Where do you currently work and what does a typical day in your life look like?
I am currently in private practice and have been working on-line since lockdown started. A typical day in my working life involves on-line therapy sessions, sometimes diversity and inclusion facilitation sessions or webinars teaching on African spirituality, telephonic spiritual assessments, meetings, writing and making herbal remedies.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work? And why?
It is not one person it has been many different people who have come into my life to teach me different lessons. I am always open to embracing different knowledges as I work in an eclectic way so I have had many different influencers and I am grateful for that.
What do you wish other people knew about your work?
My work comes from a place of love and that my clients also teach me significant lessons on how to be in the world, it is constantly evolving.
What global or South African issues do you feel most passionate about? And why?
I am very passionate about issues that exclude people in fully participating in life as their best selves in whichever space they might be in. If I am to name a few it would be around gender, race and spirituality, these are the spaces where I have experienced pain and immense growth.
As a woman, what is your personal philosophy on what should be done on prevalent issues such as gender-based violence?
The personal is the political, the very intimate spaces are the places which I often find myself working in because of the therapeutic encounter so working through the impact of trauma and how to gain back power for women mostly. In terms of my personal philosophy little boys and young men need to be taught by both their parents that girls and women are not their property and that also needs to be integrated into the family system through how we treat each other and them. The work of purging the toxicity of patriarchy is an ongoing process that we will be doing until we pass on, both me and my partner have gone through workshops on diversity and inclusion and intervene in spaces where we have the power to.
What was the motivation or inspiration for this series of workshops? What can participants expect or look forward to?
The child within me does not want my children to experience the pain of exclusion and marginalization in the ways that I did, so I am doing this for my children and other people’s children, we need to have a different future. People can expect to have a deeper understanding of their and the other’s racial heritage and how it impacts them in the present. Having done this kind of work numerous times on myself and others in different ways, they can expect freedom, experience pain, working through it and looking at the world in a different way.
What are you currently working on and where can people contact you?
I am currently in private practice as mentioned prior and designing other workshops looking at race and African spirituality. My website is currently being constructed and will be available in the next month. People can contact me on my email address Tmashigo.firstname.lastname@example.org.