Jani Santos is an online counsellor

What attracted you to become a therapist?

The power of empathic listening was the factor that attracted me the most to become a therapist. Having experienced it myself, I know how simply being part of a space that is welcoming, accepting and encouraging is extremely therapeutic. 

Where did you train? 

I initially trained as a Gestalt counsellor at the Gestalt Centre in London, and later completed a certificate as an integrative embodied therapist with the Institute of Embodied Psychotherapy. 

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

With my background in dance and yoga, I found the above two modalities (Gestalt and embodiment) to be the right fit for me, as both include mindfulness, embodiment, and the aspect of creative experimentation.

Each client I work with will have a unique and personalised experience while collaborating with me. I believe that each individual's distinct characteristics warrant a customised approach, whether through talking therapy, embodied therapy, or a combination of both. However, my primary focus when working with someone is to cultivate a secure and safe therapeutic relationship, fostering heightened levels of self-awareness and self-responsibility.

By incorporating Gestalt therapy and embodied therapy, my goal is to establish a therapeutic space that facilitates a thorough exploration of the mind-body connection.

How does your way of working help with symptoms of anxiety?

Gestalt therapy and embodied therapy are both approaches that can be highly effective in helping individuals cope with anxiety.

Both modalities support clients to become more aware of their anxiety triggers, how anxiety manifests in their body, and how they may avoid or suppress their feelings. By recognising and integrating these aspects, clients can gain a clearer understanding of their anxiety. 

Using both Gestalt and embodied therapy can be especially powerful and particularly effective in dealing with anxiety, which often manifests physically.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I work with a diverse range of clients, spanning multicultural backgrounds, starting from 14 years old and beyond.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

I am currently witnessing a significant shift in attitudes, particularly with men breaking outdated taboos surrounding therapy and notions of 'masculinity'. This evolving mindset is profoundly beneficial and inspirational, especially for the younger generation, as they now have role models openly expressing their identity without concealing their vulnerable parts. 

The collective efforts of various organisations, celebrities, and individuals have played a crucial role in diminishing the stigma associated with mental health issues. Consequently, more people, including men, are now willing to engage in open discussions and seek help for their mental health concerns.

Another notable recent trend in mental health is the surge in digital technology, leading to the creation and widespread adoption of mental health apps, online therapy platforms, and telehealth services. These digital tools provide convenience and accessibility, expanding mental health support to a wider audience. The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the acceptance and utilisation of virtual mental health services.

What do you like about being a therapist?

What I appreciate about being a therapist is the profound and impactful nature of human-to-human connection, even when facilitated through technology. Such connections are crucial to wellbeing, influencing not only mental and emotional health but also physical well-being and the overall quality of life.

What is less pleasant?

The least pleasant aspect of being a therapist for me is the administrative part of it. 

How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?

I have been using Welldoing for over three months, and one aspect I genuinely value about the platform is its matching service. Recognising how overwhelming it can be to find the right therapist, this feature proves immensely helpful and easily accessible.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

One of my favourite books that I often recommend to clients is No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz. This book invites a kinder and more accepting look towards all the parts that make us who we are. 

What you do for your own mental health? 

My commitment to working ethically as a counsellor starts with maintaining a daily self-care routine that includes journaling, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness. This routine provides me with stable, safe, and consistent support, which extends to my commitment towards working with clients.

You are an online counsellor. What can you share with us about seeing clients online?

I have been working online since the first lockdown. In my experience, clients find this possibility practical and flexible – as they access therapy from the comfort of their homes. 

What’s your consultation room like?

Working online gives me a rectangular frame to present as my consultation room. I like to keep my background simple and plain, without anything that could potentially distract from therapy. 

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

I wish people knew the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client is very important. Without a strong foundation of trust, safety and understanding, it would be challenging to explore areas of discomfort. 

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

In therapy, I learned how to cultivate a kinder internal dialogue, impacting not only the relationship I have with myself but also my connections with others. 

Additionally, I acquired various techniques that support me in expressing my emotions healthily and accessing internal resources for emotional regulation.

Contact Jani here

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