David Darvasi is a therapist working in London 

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I became aware quite early on how much I enjoyed talking with and listening to people. I’ve taken that role in my family without awareness, it was my way to cope with some of the difficulties that went on. Being a therapist means embodying that role again, but with awareness this time. As soon as I started training, it instantly felt right, I felt at home. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some incredible people doing therapeutic work and felt inspired by their ability to support others.

Where did you train?

I did an Introduction to Counselling course at Birkbeck, University of London. I was then drawn to the Gestalt approach to counselling and psychotherapy and have completed a BACP accredited training programme in counselling at the Gestalt Centre, London.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I see people of all ages, from early twenties to late seventies at the moment, and people with various gender identities, sexualities and relationship structures. I try to be as true to myself and as inclusive as I can in the way that I present myself online. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community, perhaps more LGBTQ+ people are drawn to me, who often share that they feel safer knowing that we share an important aspect in our belonging to the world. In terms of difficulties people bring, I often support clients who feel stuck in some way, experience anxiety attacks, have relationship issues or who have suffered trauma. Often people just need to have someone to talk to outside of their circle of friends and families.

What do you like about being a therapist?

Being a therapist feels like an enormous privilege. I like how each therapeutic relationship is different and people relate to both counselling as a process and to me differently. Being with them in a contained space and trying to understand the depths of their struggle is something that deeply moves me. Supporting people to be more at peace with themselves and trying to extend the boundaries of who they experience themselves to be is endlessly interesting to me. Therapy preserves some of the intimate human to human contact that seems to be rarer, or at least less apparent with the way things go.

What is less pleasant?

Although I like solitude, working as a therapist can be isolating. I pay attention to keep in touch with colleagues and friends as well as network and join professional gatherings and workshops to continue to be part of various groups of therapists.

How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?

It’s coming up to a year since I joined welldoing.org. To put it quite simply, it is the best directory I’m currently on. I enjoy contributing as well as reading other therapist’s articles. The team behind it is professional yet manages to be personal, always available and helpful in a way that feels genuine. The word community is not just a word with welldoing.org, it is that rare thing where it is felt.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

I don’t. I do read books now that I didn’t care for two years ago. I remember calling up a friend and saying how much I love a book, she laughed that she suggested that very book to me some time ago. I think however good a book or app is, it needs to be found at the right time when the reader is ready or interested enough to engage with it. Clients do bring in books though at times and I love hearing what they find helpful or exciting.

What you do for your own mental health?

I write poems and I’m working on a novel at the moment. I go to exhibitions with my partner and try to see friends often. I also see a therapist weekly. I jog whenever I can and try and travel frequently, even if it is just for a weekend break.

What’s your consultation room like?

I have three consultation rooms, two in Shoreditch and one in Camden. They’re all functional and serve their purpose. I like the ones in Shoreditch for their location and feel at home in Camden as that is where I trained.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

I wish more people would give it a go so they could see if it works for them or not. Therapy certainly isn’t the only way to ‘get better’ or to know oneself more. It is at its most potent when both people in the room believe in its use and therefore engage with it. There needs to be a sense of connection between therapist and client for that to happen, once that connection is in place therapy can be a nourishing, powerful experience. And so it is important that people try out different therapists to find a professional they feel safe with and can connect to.

What have you learnt about yourself in therapy?

I’ve learnt that my therapy is about me and it is okay for it to be about me. I feel my self-worth has strengthened, I respect and care for myself more. I’ve come to realise that real growth happens relationally and that I need to be willing to let some of my control go and give into experiences more.