Meet the Therapist: Naoum Liotas
What attracted you to become a therapist?
It took some time going through different professions and gathering experiences from all walks of life to decide that I want to become a coach and psychotherapist. I noticed how I was changing through my own personal development that made me think that I can do this (and actually aspired to do this) as a profession. My first thoughts of becoming a therapist arose when I was in group therapy settings and I was touched by what was happening there, and at the same time, something in me was aware that this kind of work might actually be something I will be pretty good at - and enjoy!
Where did you train?
I did a four year programme in Gestalt organisational consulting and coaching in Greece which involved a lot of international trainers coming from the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark and I found it inspiring to learn all these different approaches and personal styles of work. I then added a creative aspect by training in art therapy. I completed my psychotherapy training in Gestalt Foundation in Greece by doing another two years of intensive training. It was quite demanding as it required 150 hours of supervision and 100 hours of personal therapy on top of what I already had in the previous years.
What sort of people do you usually see?
It seems a bit unfair to speak about a “type of clients” as I might be leaving some of them out. However, I do find something of a pattern in most people that seem to come to visit me and that is incredibly bright people who think that they are not good enough in some aspect in their lives.
What do you like about being a therapist?
It is a privilege to witness people change in front of my very eyes. I enjoy being a witness to their healing process and I enjoy being touched by the deep work they commit themselves to.
What is less pleasant?
Less pleasant moments have to do with counter-transference. To put it in layman’s terms, this is when I understand something in me has been triggered by a particular story or behaviour of the client and it is when I need to have a session with my supervisor. Something is not quite right and I can sense this in what is going on inside me as I am being with the client. Usually, supervision can help me clear my thoughts and emotions and become available again in a more composed and helpful way for the client.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been for a few months on the platform and I think that you are doing an excellent job. I do get the sense that there are more things to come and I am excited for what is in store there. I connect with the vision of the platform of joining individuals with therapists and I think this can be really helpful for the professionals and the clients and getting it right from the very beginning.
Have you joined the welldoing.org Therapist Community on Facebook? If so, how did you find it?
Yes, I find that there is potential as a meeting place for therapists. Perhaps trust or connection might need further development which obviously takes time.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I sometimes suggest books and apps in two categories of clients – a) to coaching clients and b) to therapy clients that I have been seeing for quite some time. I find that therapy is more about being there with what a client brings especially in the first year of therapy. In coaching, I use more tools and even might ask people to do exercises in between sessions. I find that therapy needs more space and acceptance of what is without putting too many tools on the table as this can distract to directions that are irrelevant to the client especially in the beginning.
The two books I have suggested to clients so far are: 1. Saying what’s real: Seven Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success by Susan Campbell and 2. The Power of Self-Dependence: Allowing Yourself to Live Life on Your Own Terms by Jorge Bucay.
What you do for your own mental health?
Supervision (personal and group supervision), therapy and self-reflection. I find time to consider what I am feeling and how that might be affecting me, my environment and my clients. I do pay attention to my dream world and take a hint if something is off.
You are a therapist in Borough and King’s Cross in London. What can you tell us about the areas you practice in?
I can tell you that I enjoy the diversity in London. I enjoy getting people from all over the world with unique circumstances and histories that come to see me for a consultation.
What’s your consultation room like?
The therapy rooms in Borough are relaxed, cosy and comfy with 70s style furniture. The building is recently renovated and feels quite warm. The therapy rooms in King’s Cross have a more modern feel with leather chairs and the building is more modern as well. A difference there is that we also have a reception desk.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish I could tell people that asking for help is the most important step they will make. I see a lot of people being ambivalent about going to therapy which is understandable, especially since the current individualistic model in western society supports the strength and self-sustained paradigm. There is great relief in finding out that you don’t need to do everything yourself and that there are people out there who can help you, listen to you, provide nourishment to your soul and get you back on track.
And it is OK to break down every now and then, and start again.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I will write a few of what have been the most influential over the years as the list could take several pages…
- To receive and take in appreciation
- To go with the flow and trust the process
- To know that I will be OK even in tough circumstances
- To appreciate myself and what I have to offer to the world
Naoum can be found on Facebook here