How and/or why did you become a therapist?
I decided to retrain as a Gestalt Psychotherapist following a very serious car accident eight years ago. My right leg was very badly injured and needed reconstruction. At the time, I was working in the TV industry, which involves spending a lot of time on one’s feet. I soon realised that this was no longer a possibility and therefore decided to pursue the only other occupation I had shown an interest in.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
Seeing people change, seeing their quality of life improve, over time and through our work. I hadn’t fully realised what an honour and a privilege being a therapist would be. I think that privilege comes with huge responsibility but seeing people flourish, grow and become increasingly self sufficient is a think of pure joy.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
Interestingly, a lot of my television production work has played a key role in developing my skills as a therapist. For instance, when working in drama and creating a character, the questions you must ask, in terms of “what’s happened to you in order to get you to who and where you are today” are uncannily similar to the exploratory work in the therapeutic setting.
What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Listen. Not in order to reply but to understand. Learn to hear what’s not being said. Learn the power in simply reporting what you see and feel. Be fully present and available for contact. Treat each individual client as the unique person they are and tailor their therapy accordingly. And be yourself, whatever that means, rather than “trying” to be a “therapist”.
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
In the UK, we seem to have a huge stigma in terms of “going to therapy means that you’re weak”. In my experience, from both sides of the room, this could not be further from the truth. I think it takes huge courage, strength and sheer guts to choose to face yourself. Sometimes, therapy hurts but in the pain, lies the road to healing.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
Thinking that we know everything because we are the “expert”. Not holding clear, firm and ethical boundaries. Getting the clients “stuff” mixed up with our own. Not being real.
I work with adults on a short or long term basis. It is my aim to provide you with a meaningful and effective opportunity to explore your personal & relational issues, where I will aim to facilitate, support and guide you without judgement or prejudice, in a safe and confidential environment in order to help you explore a range of personal and life issues.
My approach is primarily but not exclusively Gestalt, which focuses mainly on self-awareness and the ‘here & now’ – what is happening from one moment to the next, and guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole – a mind, a body and a soul. The aim is to become more aware of who we are in the world, by seeing ourselves in relation to others. This increased self knowledge can enable us to understand our processes and so to make positive changes in our lives.
The therapeutic relationship, between you and I, is the most important feature of the therapy I provide.
You can learn more about Damian George at www.damiangeorge.co.uk.