Meet the Therapist: Giovanni del Vecchio
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I am interested in people and how the mind works. To be a therapist is to invest in important and high-stakes relationships, not only as a job of work, but as a way of life.
Where did you train?
The Guild of Psychotherapists (and I have since become a Member of the Guild).
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. For patients this means an in-depth exploration of the mind and contact with the self. Where there is trauma, often it lies buried in the unconscious, from where it can bleed through and guide our actions and decisions in ways that are unthought about and destructive. This has the potential to cause us difficulties in our internal and external lives.
How does psychoanalytic psychotherapy help?
Psychotherapy is an act of selfhood through which the patient develops his or her own agency. Psychoanalysis is rebellious and subversive. It is a choice for freedom from those precepts we have internalised from others but which may have the potential to keep us enslaved to ways of thinking and behaving that can be destructive to ourselves and others.
Distress is contained within the therapeutic frame. The therapeutic relationship has the impact over time of helping us manage our suffering or resolve our confusion. Psychoanalysis, more than any other form of therapy, strives to clean our distress to the bone.
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 conflicts. They learn to process their trauma or grief, to enjoy their sexuality in a more healthy way and to nurture more meaningful and rewarding relationships.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see people on an individual basis from their early twenties onwards. My eldest patient is 75.
My clients' difficulties are uniquely individual. What they all have in common is a desire to know themselves better, to resolve their conflicts both internal and external, and to live their best life. Our collaboration is in support of these goals.
My practice is in Archway N19 4LW (Zone 2). Close to Archway and Finsbury Park Tube Stations and very close to Upper Holloway Overground Station. Many buses in all directions are available from nearby.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
The pandemic made people vulnerable and fearful about how precarious life can be in ways beyond our control. A cynical politics, climate change, war in Ukraine, all contribute as a backdrop to what many experience as a chronic anxiety, whatever individual difficulties one might have. We are inextricably connected to the wider external world. Part of our work is to help patients maintain a sense of internal cohesion and solidity within a wider environment in which the ground – and climate – shift all the time.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The collaboration within the therapeutic relationship. The freedom that is released to think and be creative.