Interview with BPS chartered and HCPC registered consultant Clinical Psychologist Adriana Giotta

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Being a psychotherapist for me is a vocation. I have been passionate about psychology and philosophy since I was an adolescent, always curious about the mysteries of the human mind and existence itself. One of the driving forces to become a therapist has also been my wish to help others, reciprocating the way I had been helped myself.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing people progressively blossom and thrive in their lives, becoming fulfilled by facilitating the emergence of their true selves. I also very much enjoy researching in the field of psychology and depth psychology, continuing to learn more to find new and more powerful ways of helping people.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

– I believe the uniqueness of my background and past experience in the field of the fashion industry and fashion modelling equipped me with relevant life experience to better understand and support clients working in tough and competitive corporate environments and enabled a profound understanding of femininity in postmodern western societies and all the issues related to body image, gender role behaviour and relational issues, identity challenges,oppression, discrimination, low self-esteem, feeding and eating disorders, addictions, compulsions and obsessions.

– My approach is holistic and integrative. Whilst indeed the focus is on the depth and deeper aspects of the psychic structure, I am also a very pragmatic person, aiming to empower patients to handle their challenges effectively and thus thrive in their day to day lives. Furthermore, I believe all aspects of human existence need to be embraced and integrated in the therapeutic process, including the body and the soul, and I see the changes observed in patients as a result of the therapeutic process are profound and generally begin to occur swiftly.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Learning to attune and connect to our own feelings, needs and internal world enables us to do the same with others thus to thrive and enjoy fulfilling relationships. Learning to hear about one another’s anxieties and supporting each other is paramount: Often people are caught with the resentment of not getting what they need or want from the other and in so doing they are incapable of giving anything and seeing the other at all. If two people do the same in a relationship it is easy to see how people can begin to part away with the illusion that someone else will fulfil all of their needs and wants and that there is someone ideal out there. Our brain is relational and is wired around the relational interactions which occurred since birth; however, our brain is also plastic as such wounds can be healed, past core beliefs re-scripted, past impressions released and new relational patterns can be learned. The best tips I can suggest to increase the quality of one’s relationships are to

1. learn to (actively) accept all people and situations exactly as they are (accepting does not mean agreeing, it just means to accept that this is what it is right now);
2. set firm boundaries;
3. learn to respect one’s and others’ needs;
4. not read intentions in other people’s mistakes;
5. let go of the need or wish to be ‘right’ in conflicts or arguments but rather try to really hear the other and attempt to see what it is like to be in their shoes, so to say.
6. not take things personally.
7. learn to take criticism in a constructive way and to discriminate between constructive criticism, which helps us grow, and destructive criticism, which we need to just let go.
8. have an attitude of compassion which always wins in any relationship.
9. Learn to repair ruptures: life is an ongoing process of relational ruptures and reparation. Learning to effectively repair ruptures whilst learning and growing from them and not to repeat the same patterns is the most powerful way to be in relationship.
10. remember and accept that relationships will bring forth our ‘unfinished business’; it is good practice to take this as an opportunity to grow rather than running away from relationships or blaming the other.
11. take responsibility for one’s own feelings, thoughts, actions and mistakes. This is the way to grow within relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t for mentally ill people but rather for people who wish to thrive in life and become who they truly are, bringing forth their unique selves.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For therapists, there is a risk when they believe they no longer need to learn and upgrade their skills, knowledge about their selves and about new theories, thus becoming entrenched in one way of being a therapist and/or on one theoretical framework with the subsequent risk of becoming dogmatic, non-reflexive and/or imposing onto the patient – within a dehumanising ‘I-it’ type of relationship – their formulation of the patient’s issue. The biggest risk for therapists, though, in my experience, is when they have not had enough personal therapy of their own and/or if they may be in the profession for the wrong reasons – such as a desire for power – thereby risking the abuse of such a power dynamic and/or being unaware of their own ‘unfinished business’ triggered in the consulting room and embracing a defensive position, projecting their material on the patients themselves. 

For patients, a common mistake is to be entrenched in one’s old way of seeing the world and doing things and not taking the necessary leap of faith required to jump into the unknown territory of self-discovery with the help of the therapist’s guidance, thus holding to a rigid position. Not applying what is agreed in sessions after each session as well as not giving themselves the space and the time required in between sessions to digest and process the emerging material can also hinder the therapeutic process . Also, in some instances, assuming the therapists is always right by virtue of the ‘hat’ they wear can be a risk.

Bio

Consultant Clinical Psychologist
BPS Chartered & HCPC Registered
Certified Schema Therapist (ISST)
MSc (Clin Psych), BSc (Hons)
CPsychol, AFBPsS, HCPC, EuroPsy,
SRP, SPS Full Member,
HCPC Registration Number: PYL32977
www.Elephant.com.sg

Author: Rac

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