Episode 25: Dr. Sonia Patel
"Figure yourself out."
Sonia Patel, Young Adult Author and Adolescent Psychiatrist,
on helping teens find an identity and voice.
Dr. Sonia Patel was the perfect “dream child”. Obedient, high achiever, class valedictorian, and Ivy League medical school bound – all aspiring qualities for children of South Asian parents. Sonia was all of these things on the outside. On the inside, however, she struggled to find her self worth.
Sonia is an adolescent/child psychiatrist and young adult fiction author based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. She is a first generation Gujrati Indian American who grew up on the remote island of Molokai, Hawaii.
In her day job, Sonia helps teens work through their emotional trauma and helps them build assertiveness skills. She learned to find her own voice through deep introspection and years of self work.
Sonia’s love for rap and hip hop led her to publish her first novel, “Rani Patel in Full Effect”, a critically acclaimed young adult fiction novel. The book is a reflection of Sonia’s own personal experience growing up in Molokai and the struggles of teens she's worked with.
Sonia’s story lifts the curtain of perfection to reveal that all of us have an opportunity to work on ourselves to be more assertive, independent and confident women.
Find out from the podcast how Sonia:
- Navigated across different cultures from her time in Connecticut, Kenya and Molokai
- Learned to find her identity and voice amidst the chaos of her family life
- Advises parents to raise confident girls through helping them get out of their heads and teaching them to speak up
- Got inspired to write her first novel, “Rani Patel in Full Effect”
- Found solace in rap music through listening to hip hop artists like Run DMC, LL Cool J, and MIA
- Formed a new relationship with her Indian roots
- Creates a healthy dynamic in her own family
- Takes care of herself and how she defines success
"My gender identity flows and if you see me in a crowd, rockin' my pearls, don't assume I'm just a girl. It's complicated, yo. And you best believe that part of me is a hip hop Romeo.” -Dr. Sonia Patel
Dr. Sonia Patel is a teen psychiatrist and acclaimed young adult author. In 2016, she released the young adult novel, “Rani Patel In Full Effect”, which won the William C. Morris Debut YA Award in 2017.
Dr. Sonia Patel graduated from Moloka'i High & Intermediate School, then obtained her bachelor's degree in history at Stanford University. She earned a medical degree from the University of Hawai'i John A. Burns School of Medicine, and then completed five years of residency training in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry at Stanford University and the University of Hawai'i. Immediately after residency, she worked as a psychiatrist on both Oahu and Moloka'i.
Currently, she practices psychiatry on Oahu and is especially passionate about helping teens work through the emotional trauma of sexual, physical, and mental abuse through helping them build interpersonal and assertiveness skills.
In her spare time, she likes writing rhymes, dancing to hip hop, cooking and spending time with her husband, two kids and dog.
Sonia is writing her next novel, “Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story”, out for release in September 2017. To learn more about Sonia, check out her website.