How and/or why did you become a therapist?
I decided to become a therapist when I was I was fourteen. I was an adolescent and I was going through all the difficulties of this developmental stage. My favourite subject at school was philosophy. I think that I used to love that subject because at least it was able to give me some answers to very introspective questions that I used to ask myself, such as, who am I and what do I like. I think that at that time I had already started looking at the hidden elements of my personality.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
This could appear as an obvious answer but helping others is for me certainly the most rewarding aspect. If you are able to help others, you don’t feel useless and I love seeing a real smile on my client’s face. Another exciting aspect is having a good understanding of human nature. As a therapist you can better understand the underlying reasons for a behaviour. You can find an explanation even for the behaviours that seem odd or irrational.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
I mainly work with families and couples. I specialise in systemic therapy. I always see individuals as part of a system, either a family or a couple. My background is Italian and family is certainly a very important value for Italian people, and maybe for this reason we have very good family therapists in Italy. I am proud of having had the best teachers in Europe during my training.
What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Before looking at the other member of a couple, look at yourself and how you behave. Saying :” It is his/her fault” is very easy, but admitting that it takes two to make a relationship work, is much more difficult.
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
Therapy is a changing process and coming to therapy is the first step to start this change.
A client’s motivation is crucial to making a therapy a success because therapists don’t have a magic wand to change things. I always say that my clients are the best therapists of their own life.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
For a client, it is only seeing himself as a person with a mental illness. However, therapists can make the same mistake too, when they only see a client as a person with depression or anxiety. I really believe that seeing a client, first of all, as an individual with his own strengths and weaknesses, is fundamental for the success of the therapy.
Psychologist and family and couple psychotherapist
You can learn more about me at: robertagottardo.com