MY JOURNEY

My passion

I have always been passionate about being with people and curious about our human nature.

At around 11, I started reading heavily and I discovered the concept of altruism. It had a profound impact on me and I decided I wanted to help people and become a psychologist one day.

Growing up in communism hasn’t made it easy, however. Psychology was forbidden at that time and I gradually gave up on my dream.

Taken by the flow of life I gained qualifications in accountancy then leisure & hospitality, but the brief jobs I had in these fields made me search further.

My first proper job has been for close to 5 years a civil servant role in my home town’s city hall, followed by 5 years of journalism, writing for my local weekly newspaper. 

These were rewarding jobs that allowed me to met a large number of people and gain a lot of knowledge in the fields of local administration, politics, social and economic networks, inclusion & prejudice, justice, welfare system, environment, etc.

Throughout this time I also reconnected with my life passion and I completed my 5 years degree in psychology. Shortly after, I have been offered a position of clinical psychologist in a hospital.

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The beginning of my journey

From there onward, it all spiraled into a fascinating journey that saw me gradually moving from clinical psychology to psychotherapy, then counselling and lately coaching, a path that mirrors my personal journey in life. 

It all started with my work as a clinical psychologist in a palliative care clinic which was a unique experience that raised many inquiries around human existence and our purpose in life. The memories of the dying people voicing out their regrets for the first time in their lives are still vivid in my mind and have informed my path ever since. 

Shortly after, I realised that I was more interested in talking to people and easing their distress than doing tests and evaluations. It made more sense to me to understand human nature from an experiential perspective not just through theories from books, and gradually my insight into human suffering draw me towards exploring spirituality and religions.

That widened my understanding of the healing traditions around the world and made me question the efficacy of the psychopharmacological treatment, prompting me to search for alternative therapies.

In my search, I gradually distanced myself from the medical model and I started to look at health from a holistic perspective, considering physical fitness, spiritual harmony and psychological comfort, but also the impact of the social world on our lives. 

Steadily, that helped me develop interest in wellbeing and wellness and led naturally to psychotherapy.

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The movement

Psychotherapy is a fascinating world and captured my full attention.

In the mid 2000s, CBT was in fashion, so I initially qualified as a cognitive behaviour therapist and then I undertook a course in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. For a while, combining CBT with hypnosis was mind-blowing, but the magic did not last. They did not answer all questions and could not be applied to all life challenges. 

It became clear to me that, if I wanted to be able to understand human mind and safely guide people through their journey of self-discovery, I had to become familiar with all schools of thought and with as many modalities as possible. I had therefore continued with further studies in psychology, integrative psychotherapy, mindfulness and integrative counselling.

My 15 years of studies in human mind have gone really quickly, but I met inspiring people and I learned in many educational establishments which helped me grow and develop in all aspects of my being.

Two courses have been in particular helpful: a postgraduate course in Psychology at London Metropolitan University and a postgraduate course in Therapeutic Counselling at The University of Greenwich. They both had a significant contribution to reshaping my professional identity and my approach to working with people.

Today, at close to 2 decades in the field of psychology, psychotherapy, counselling, hypnotherapy, mindfulness and coaching, I have a good understanding of the human mind and human nature also the impact of the external world on us all, and I continue to learn every single day.

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The depth

The years of studies have definitely helped me learn many theories about human mind, but the real eye opener has been my work with people.

I worked with people going through all sorts of life challenges from dilemmas and little upsets to enduring mental health needs. My patients and clients had experienced through conflicts in the family, couple, friends circle, school or work environment; bereavement; love, sex &  relationships difficulties; vocation & career queries; anxiety, phobias or panic; depression & low mood; suicide ideation and attempt; impulse control troubles; substance or behaviour addiction; psychosis and other perception modifications; obsessive & compulsive tendencies; eating difficulties; sexuality queries; identity confusion; existential questions; prejudice & discrimination; childhood & adult trauma and other PTSD responses; feelings of emptiness; low self-esteem; low sense of self-worth; lack of motivation or procrastination and many others.

Some of the people I worked with had spiritual or religious dilemmas, and others were going through upsets because of physiological, neurodevelopmental or degenerative illnesses such as cancer, stroke, AIDS, overweight, heart disease, diabetes, HBP, sight and/or hearing impairment, paralysis, autism, learning difficulties, dementia, Parkinsons’, epilepsy, palliative care,  etc. 

I met people sharing a broad range of human manifestations, more or less common, some visibly displayed, others hidden or concealed under more socially acceptable ways of being. People’s inner worlds were unique to them and their biography but, essentially, all manifestations were born out of the human nature we share and conditioned by the world we live in, and in my experience they were more similar than different. 

Connecting with people in that intimate space opened my mind and allowed me access to a world I did not know existed before. That challenged many of my core beliefs around the essential aspects of our human existence, shifted my perspective on human nature and helped me change within and embrace new ways of being myself.

Working with various communities in London over the past 12 years, managing mental health services, including CQC registered positions, also as a honorary counsellor for One in Four, the London’s leading charity supporting survivors of childhood trauma, has been in particular enlightening. It inspired me develop a style of work beyond the medical model and create my unique wellbeing programme the Personal Exploration Model and it also adjusted my mindset in life and cemented my interest in similarity, difference and diversity.

Looking back, I feel fortunate I had the chance to work with people from all walks of life and to gain so many precious learnings. 

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The learnings

The most important learning has been that we, people, are all alike in how we experience life.

Whether we go for the big dreams or a simple life, we come from the East or the West, we are females or males, our paths in life are similar.

Our arrival on Earth and the early years of life are decided by others not by us. We are all shaped by our families, schools and circumstances and we are all molded by the world around us. This programming becomes our default functioning which is the cause of most problems we experience in life. 

We are all contaminated by the modern society trends and, to a certain extent or another, we all see life in terms of success, achievement, excellence, improvement, discipline, commitment, fame and money. We are also defined by “having” and “doing” and we find very little time for “being”.

We are all taught to master our emotions, to restrain, to follow more and more rules and to work harder. Ultimately, we all find modern life fast, artificial and challenging and, in a time when social values are changing rapidly, we all struggle to find genuine purpose and meaning in life and to appreciate what we have. 

We laugh, we cry, we love, we hate, we gain, we loose, we live, we die. In a form or another, we all go through all experiences that define human being, from gain to loss, confidence to fear, boldness to shame, trust to disappointment, innocence to guilt, altruism to envy, generosity to greed,  fellowship to loneliness, clarity to dilemmas, peace to conflict, comfort to distress,  confidence to uncertainty, safety to insecurity, happiness to despair, loyalty to betrayal, health and illness, and so on. 

How we handle them and how they change us is a matter of biography, circumstances and personal choices. Luckily, there is beauty and peace in the nature around us, also love, kindness, compassion, infinite knowledge, strength and wisdom within each of us. All we need is a bit of guidance to find our way to uncover those amazing resources we hold inside. 

This is what I do for a living today. I guide people learn about themselves, others and the world around them, find clarity and direction in life, move through conflicts, nurture positive and fulfilling relationships, heal inner wounds, step out of their default functioning and edit their being to create lives they love living. 

I love my work and I feel surrounded by real magic and a profound sense of meaning and joy when I make a positive impact and I contribute to changing someone else’s life. This is my purpose and this is my passion in life: to bring the focus back to THE SIGNIFICANT YOU and to spread goodness and wellbeing in the world.

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