Meet The Therapist: Johanna Sartori
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I had my own therapy during a difficult time in my life when I was struggling to make sense of things. I found it a transformative process and became interested in learning more about the theory, which led to me ultimately to me training and switching careers.
Where did you train?
I trained at Kingston College, who teach a BA, awarded by the University of Middlesex
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am an integrative psychotherapist, so my theoretical training is very broad rather than based in one school of thought. The theories that most inform me are attachment and developmental. Fundamentally I work from the belief that our childhoods shape the adults that we become, both in helpful and unhelpful ways.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with adults, but other than that caveat I see all sorts of people! It used to have more women clients, but now I think it is probably an equal split I think men are realising that it is ok to talk about feelings.
Because of the way I work, a lot of my clients have things from the past that they are trying to make sense of, and often this includes abuse and trauma. I have also worked on an inpatient addiction programme so I tend to work with addiction as well in my private practice.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The best part of my job is that I get to meet and work with amazing people every day and learn so much from them about their lives and experiences. Obviously, it is great when someone who has worked hard in therapy leaves in a better place then when they started. But even the day to day is a time of insight and connection; working as a therapist has taught me the value of curiosity and it’s pretty much impossible to be curious and bored at the same time!
What is less pleasant?
Because of the way I work, I’m often in sessions with people who have suffered at the hands of others, and it is hard to be reminded of how cruel we can be to each other.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I think it is a well laid out, professional site and I am set up to use the booking system. I haven’t jointed the Facebook community but will certainly look to do that.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes, often, and also films if I think they are pertinent to the client’s experience. I sometimes review books and films that I think are helpful on topics relating to mental health.
What you do for your own mental health?
I run! I did my first marathon last year and it was great to have a focus in the cold dark winter months, but I also decided last year that 26.2 miles is too far, so now I’m focused on half marathons.
I try to spend time with people who are uplifting and I also try to make room for mindfulness and gratitude (and curiosity), although I’d be lying if I said this happened every day.
You are a therapist in the Twickenham/Richmond/Hounslow area. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
The area that I work in is quite mixed. Good schools and lots of parks mean that it tends to be a place that people move to when they are thinking of or have started a family. We also have a university in Twickenham so we have a student population as well. Basically all of human life is here, particularly on match days when hoards of rugby fans arrive!
What’s your consultation room like?
It is on the ground floor of my house and I love it, as it is a calm and peaceful room. It has a large bay window and soothing colours. In the winter I light a fire in the hearth and enjoy the crackle of burning wood.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
A client said to me recently that they wished they had tried it earlier because having done it, they realised that having therapy was not a failure to cope. I wish everyone could appreciate the value of a space to know oneself, whether it is precipitated by a problem or not.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt a lot about myself in relationship to others, but mainly I think I learnt that I’m OK, and that is good enough – self acceptance.