Meet the Therapist: Anna Jezuita
Anna Jezuita is a therapist in SW17 and WC1
What attracted you to become a therapist?
As a barrister I had to be able to connect with people and listen to their problems, but the main actor on the stage was ‘a legal problem’ not a person. I soon realised that my interest is in the latter, and being a therapist allows me to follow my natural curiosity about peoples’ stories. I am required to focus on creating the human connection and understanding the subjective world of emotional difficulties, which I find much more elusive and intriguing than the objective world of legal rules.
Where did you train?
Postgraduate Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – University of East London
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practice?
My approach is integrative, meaning it includes several theoretical approaches which in my view suit best my values and my views on human nature and development.
I believe that all human beings strive to be happy and to avoid suffering. We are all full of potential, already perfect, only a bit confused. On our ‘way to happiness’ we do the best we know at the time, to achieve that goal, but our lack of knowledge and resources often makes us clumsy, sometimes unkind.
The above beliefs attracted me to the humanistic view of human development and the person-centred approach and existential therapy, seeing people as intrinsically positive, striving for actualisation (‘happiness’).
What sort of people do you usually see?
The ‘sort of people’ I see are humans experiencing some kind of suffering and discomfort, looking to find a way to get better. They represent all demographic spectrums in terms of age, profession, gender, and ethnicity.
What do you like about being a therapist?
In my therapeutic work I relate to clients from a position of an ‘equal with expertise’ rather than an elevated expert. With my personal experience of living with addictions, divorce, changing countries and professions – not belonging, I strive to approach people from a position of somebody who is also still grappling with life, hence I feel I have compassion with my client’s struggles, rather than looking on as an expert with a readymade solution.
My barrister training allows me to see and relate to problems without attachment to one view. Mindfulness based approach combines logic with warm compassion, helping to re-frame clients’ view on a certain situation or thought, and create an instant shift and relief of client’s anxiety.
I am also a mindfulness teacher with a keen interest in running Mindfulness Workshops for anybody looking to find a more calm and measured relationship with life and its challenges.
What is less pleasant?
It is sometimes a challenge to be able to withstand and contain strong emotions and pain of another human being and face own helplessness. However those moments tend to be remembered as the most helpful and meaningful.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I joined welldoing.org about eight months ago. I enjoy being a part of the community, I like the ethos of providing care and information and promoting resilience.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I believe in supporting clients’ resilience and ability to self-reflect, learn and change. Books and apps are great companions to therapy as they offer alternative views, frameworks and tools in addition to a short hour we spend together.
What you do for your own mental health?
I practice yoga and meditation regularly (it doesn’t always mean ‘often’ ????), take breaks from work and family to go on walks and retreats. I also have personal therapy and few very patient friends for the times when I need to be heard.
What’s your consultation room like?
My rooms in both locations (SW17 and WC1) are comfortable, quiet, discreetly situated.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Out of many factors that are taken into account in selecting a therapist (location, price, approach) - the relationship with the therapist is the most important factor determining whether therapy proves helpful or not. So the question “How to know you are a therapist for me?” is possibly the most important one to consider and the most tricky to answer.
This is why I do not charge a fee for the first/initial session.
I will encourage you to come to an initial session to see if I might be the right therapist for you. Coming to an initial session is an opportunity for you to ‘try on’ a counsellor for size! You can ask any questions, see how the sessions feels for you and then decide to continue or not. There is no obligation to continue after an initial session.
You may prefer an initial chat with me over the phone which we can also arrange
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
In my first therapy sessions many years ago I made a shocking discovery about how much I criticise, judge and effectively dislike myself, deeply believing in my inadequacy and unworthiness. Over the years I learned that I am actually ‘quite all right’ and worth a smile when I see myself in the mirror. I learned that deep, meaningful change is possible and I am keen to share this belief with my clients.
Read Anna's articles:
Butterfly: why gender transition is a family matter
The secret of long-lasting change