Embracing the Courage to be Imperfect

AGS Alumna Ashwak Hassan

Our team at Adler Graduate School (AGS) recently spent time with Ashwak Hassan, a 2014 graduate. She shared her story of inspiration in becoming a mental health professional, overcoming obstacles, and how her determination to embrace imperfection leads her goals for the future in her Somali community.

After discovering her passion for counseling while obtaining her Master of Counseling Psychology at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Ashwak learned she was missing required credits for the LPCC/LMFT board and began researching AGS for a Marriage & Family Therapy licensure. While graduate school seemed overwhelming to Ashwak, our Admissions team helped her feel welcome. “Adler is a part of your milestone – someone is always there for you.” Ashwak valued that AGS would allow her to blossom as a mental health professional finding joy in eliminating the stigma around mental health concerns in her culture. She was excited to see a unique school dedicated to an Alderian philosophy.

In 2015, Ashwak took the written board exam. With so much anxiety and nerves, she let her thoughts become jumbled, and she did not pass. However, embracing the Adlerian ideals Ashwak remarks, “I personally learned to take everything day by day; enjoy the time spent learning and embracing the courage to be imperfect.” Ashwak gathered a group of supportive students to create a study group. They formed a comradery – “Adler has a plethora of support from peers, instructors, and staff.” In April of 2016, she passed becoming fully licensed in December of 2016.

Since licensure, Ashwak has spent her time creating connections and partnering with agencies in the Somali population. She worked at St. David’s Autism Day Treatment Minneapolis site as a Program Coordinator: having a family member with a child on the autistic spectrum, she began aiding.

Ashwak’s goal is to shed light and raise awareness of acceptance within the community around mental health stigmas and Autism. Since 2007, she has already seen a drastic increase in the acceptance of her culture towards mental health stigmas. The progression and openness of the community have led her to take part as an advisor to the EIDBI board, a spot she holds until 2019.

Ashwak shares her inspiration with her two children, community, and private practice clients. “Embrace the courage to be imperfect. A bump in the road is not the end of a journey, it’s a hurdle to overcome.” At Adler Graduate School, we are honored to be apart of the journey: embracing courage, equality, purpose, belonging, and support.