Meet the Therapist: Andre de Trichateau
What attracted you to become a therapist?
For many years I worked in PR and Communication, often coming across a wide-range of people and personalities where you had to find creative and unique ways to capture their attention. It was very much an industry based on human relationships and emotions.
I reached a critical juncture in my life and felt that I did not want to stay in this industry forever and wondered what else was out there, for I was sure there was something. With this in mind, I began to look for a new career which was both exciting and daunting.
After many years in my own therapy – a truly life-changing experience – I was drawn to this new way of thinking, that one could craft a previous life with a new one. So, with the encouragement and support of my own therapist, I began to train and very quickly realised that the learning and experience was something that came rather naturally, it fitted well.
Where did you train?
I began my training at WPF. This type of training is very specific which goes beyond academic prowess and therefore it is important to feel contained and find an environment that can facilitate this.
During my studies I was very much infatuated with the subject and undertook parallel training at IoPA and the BPF; I wanted to experience other minds, which is something I would highly recommend.
I am currently studying to be a psychosexual and couples therapist at the LDPRT.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practise psychodynamic psychotherapy as I feel we are who we are because of our history. If we can name and recognise previous patterns of behaviour that may no longer serve us the way they used to, then we can build a future with a little more clarity and agency. This is what psychodynamic work can do.
I also work in the time-limited modality, for more immediate issues. I find this way of working very rewarding too.
How does psychodynamic therapy help?
Psychodynamic work can help name otherwise obscure feelings. I was once told that if you can name it, you can tame it. Whilst that may not be terribly lofty nor academic, it struck me as being very sensible and straightforward and this is what people want to hear.
People come trying to make some sense of something that doesn’t and one often hears the words ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’ or ‘Do I have…?’. They speak in vague generalities rather than acknowledging, through speaking and naming, difficult thoughts and experiences. I hope that I might give them a new language.
What sort of people do you usually see?
Although I am based in Central London I also see people via Zoom across the country so, because of this, I would not say I have a ‘typical’ person that I see.
I feel, due to recent events, we have been given an opportunity to really expand our own practice borders and perhaps see people we otherwise may never have seen.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
More often than not, people come and see me because they wish to be happier or more positive. There has been a shift towards feeling a certain way and if one fails to do so then there must be something wrong. I feel it is a great pity that we cannot feel all emotions relative to the situation.
There is a difference between pathological emotions that can overshadow living versus societally-dictated emotional states. With awareness that there can be a wider range of emotions available, there is certain sense of relief that they are no longer restricted to one or two.
What do you like about being a therapist?
It is a wonderful career in terms of life experience, theoretical insight and personal relationships. You get to decide the type of therapist you wish to be.
There are many aspects to this profession that I like but, ultimately, the work and time that both therapist and patient put into the work can be enormously satisfying.
What is less pleasant?
I would echo what I believe a number of therapists have said: When a client leaves either too soon or unexpectedly. I feel both parties loose out. Of course, one might be able to work through the not-knowing but it doesn’t repair the fracture of an sudden ending.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for six months. I feel the website is an open and inviting platform that doesn’t have the pseudo-clinical persona that some others have. It feels new and accessible.
Of particular note is the wide-ranging options from finding a therapist or coach to reading articles about a particular subject to a comprehensive resource centre.
I feel very welcome on the platform.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I feel there are some very good books out there and, if it can benefit the client, then I would recommend them.
I am huge admirer of Erich Fromm and would encourage clients to read The Art of Loving.
What you do for your own mental health?
I tend to my own mental health needs by attending peer supervision with a colleague whom I studied with, which is invaluable as we can support, understand and have a unique insight into our situations, with our supervisor. This was particularly welcomed when we both started out.
Outside of this I have a beautiful rescue dog that takes up a lot of my time and love. I also enjoy classical singing and this can help detach from the work that I do.
You are a therapist in South Kensington. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
South Kensington is a very beautiful area; I feel especially fortunate that there is many things to do, such as visiting museums, galleries and restaurants. I feel the area suits therapeutic wellbeing. I wouldn’t say, however, there is anything that defines my client base by simple geography.
The one thing that I do find is the area is very international so there is a rich variety of people and culture. It has been noted by my clients who see me in person, that the area is very picturesque and the liminal space is one that helps the journey to and from therapy.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation room is in my flat. It is bright and inviting. When I saw my own therapist it was in their own flat too and this lent to a successful alliance being built. I have been in some other sterile consulting rooms and, in my opinion, for me it did not facilitate any kind of lasting alliance. I believe good attention be made to the consulting room.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I feel everyone comes with a rather preconceived idea of what therapy is like, that it might erase all previous thoughts and feelings. That they will be “cured” in a few sessions. If there is one thing I do try to share with all clients and, generally to people, is that situations will not change during or after therapy and there’ll still be a range of difficulties and successes but what will change is there is response. This often surprises but enlightens the client.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt a lot. I had always been so preoccupied with the external, that as long as I presented a well-put-together external persona, the internal would take care of itself. Gradually I came to terms with that I could work on both. For me, therapy did change my life.