Meet the Therapist: Giovanni del Vecchio
What attracted you to become a therapist?
My previous career was in education. As I moved up the system over time, I became more interested in the internal spaces of my colleagues and students, the conflicts within and between them, in what the obstacles were, and how these could be resolved. This became more interesting to me than teaching and supporting others to deliver English Literature.
As part of my psychotherapy training, I went on to work with in-patients in a psychiatric unit within the NHS. I found this life-affirming. What do I mean by that? I saw aspects of myself reflected in them. I knew I was no better than them or anyone else and that unique as we are, there are fractured and more stable elements of ourselves in each other.
The task I set myself was to seek to resolve my own issues in order to be able to help others with theirs. Could I bring enough understanding to someone else’s internal world to facilitate their growth and mental health? Would I get them and be able to develop with them a therapeutic relationship (with all its challenges) that makes positive change possible? I work according to these tests.
Where did you train?
The Guild of Psychotherapists. I am approaching the end of my training. I have also trained in online psychotherapy through the Rock Clinic in Brighton. I am a trainee member of the United Kingdom of Psychotherapists (UKCP) and I abide by their Ethical Code of Practice.
I undergo a rigorous process of weekly supervision; I am routinely accountable for my work while safeguarding and guaranteeing your confidentiality.
The room I work in is quiet and confidential. It is free from interruption, both when meeting face-to-face and Online.
When working online, I use either Zoom or the telephone. (Zoom is secure, encrypted and complies with 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws).
The fees are the same as for working Face-to-face: the assessment lasts for up to 90 minutes and costs £60. The normal therapeutic session lasts for 50 minutes and costs £60. Sessions begin and end promptly at the time(s) we arrange.
In whatever medium you choose, the assessment is your opportunity to express yourself freely and to gain a sense of what it will be like to work together. Finding the right match for you is key to the success of the therapy. You may feel it helpful to have a second meeting to explore this further if you are not sure.
The assessment is also my opportunity to establish whether I feel I can help you. This is why I allocate extra time for this first meeting and at no extra cost to you. If I feel I am not the right person for you, I will be open with you about this and explain why. If appropriate, I will recommend a referral.
Sessions are routine between one and three times a week at a fixed time and day(s) agreed between us.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Psychoanalysis is an exploration of the unconscious. I chose this because it delves, over time, most deeply into those areas of the mind that generally lurk in shadow. Key is knowing what is manageable for the patient at any given time. The patient leads. I’m just the other person in the room trying to understand with them who they are, and to provide an interlocutor to their internal journey. My job is to remember and to help make links.
Above all, my job is to listen. It’s a privilege. Most people live a lifetime without knowing or developing who they are. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the pursuit of self-knowledge and the attendant building of the personality. What it means for my patients is just that.
How does psychoanalytic psychotherapy help?
I see people from their early twenties to late middle age. I work mostly with relationship difficulties, depression, chronic anxiety, personality disorder, sexual difficulties, early sexual abuse, bereavement, violence and rage.
In all cases the distress is contained within the therapeutic frame. The process of talking and listening has the impact over time of neutralising a trauma or of making a psychological wound more manageable. My patients speak retrospectively of being more free of anxiety and of a greater calm. They find more constructive ways of negotiating their needs and differences. They learn to process their trauma and grief, to enjoy their sexuality in a more healthy way and to nurture more meaningful and rewarding relationships.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The patient’s own self-discovery. Their improving relationship with themselves.
What is less pleasant?
Having to chase up a late payment.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for over a year. They have a lot going on behind the scenes. Like no other online organisation I have come across, their linking of therapists with clients demonstrates a conscientiousness and duty of care that is very unusual. I know their process around matching is very thoughtful and careful. Anyone looking for a therapist would do well to consult with them. They are also extremely friendly and helpful in their everyday communications.
What you do for your own mental health?
I am in psychoanalytic psychotherapy twice a week and I try to see or to at least speak to friends and family as often as possible.
You are a therapist in Fitzrovia and online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
I am based in three locations: in Fitzrovia W1, (about a three-minute walk from Oxford Circus), at The Guild of Psychotherapists (near Southwark tube, SE1), and at home in Archway / Upper Holloway (N19).
In response to the coronavirus, I am currently seeing patients only online until it is safe to offer face-to-face therapy as an option again.
Actually I can’t define my clients according to geography. My three clinic locations enable me to see a variety of patients and ages from across the capital. While I try to keep my fee as low as possible and consistent across all three locations, there isn’t a particular type of patient I work with in any one building. I am much more focused on working with people whom I feel I can help and for that reason, it is always a mutual decision as to whether or not we go forward. Beyond that, if and where we meet is always subject to mutual availability.
What’s your consultation room like?
They are very different. All are comfortable, safe and consistent.