Dr. Georgette Savvides Psy. D, an Egyptian-born Greek, is a clinical and business psychologist with twenty-five years of experience. She is now working on publishing her biography as well as launching other exciting projects in 2016. Identity spoke to Dr. Savvides to find out more about her journey as a therapist.
Tell us about your new book, how did you get inspired?
As a therapist, I was tired of hearing stories about society stigmatizing people with psychological problems. I wanted to write up my own story in a book named ‘Biography of a Therapist’ to be released by the new year. It will discuss some of the problems my patients face such body image issues or sexual abuse etc. I want to deliver a message that you don’t have to be ashamed of your past experiences, whether it’s having been in a failed relationship or sexually molested. I want to inspire the young generation to be be open-minded and teach them to be non-judgmental of other human beings.
What’s new and exciting about your upcoming projects?
In 2009, Psychealth was inaugurated in New Cairo and only six months ago in 6th of October city . We offer counseling sessions for children, adults and couples as well as workshops for parental guidance and training teachers to handle children with mental disabilities.
I’ve recently been involved in TV episodes which host people who are seeking psychological help whether gays, addicts, atheists… etc. The exciting thing is that I chose to highlight different perspectives. Our point of view should not be superficial; it’s not about that someone is gay. It’s about why and how he is gay; we aim to dig deeper.
Currently, I am working on a TV program about mental health, presented in a funny way and based on real stories, real people and real dates. The aim is to help people not only to accept their issues but also offer a way to help them and others who can’t afford seeking help. In 2016, I’m working on setting up a psychotherapy specialized school, to offer students training to become therapists.
Why is it so important to have an open discussion about psychology in our society?
First, mainly because 90% of our society has psychological issues. Secondly, because the society taboos categorize everything under right and wrong; no one goes beyond them to assess the situation. You can find some parents feeling ashamed of their children who have psychological problems, but the younger generations are more open to seek help. Third, people reject medical assistance; they assume that a pill can help them, but actually you need a therapist not a pill.
How would you describe your treatment style?
I am an eclectic person, who grabs bits and pieces from different schools according to the needs of the customer. I prefer the cognitive behavior which was used in the late 60s. It focuses on the way you think and how to develop your skills.
What type of experience do you have?
I work with couples and adults starting from the age of 16. I don’t work with children because but I can consult and supervise their cases. In general, I work on life issues, mental issues, eating disorders, and addiction; I tend to prefer more complicated cases.
What is your greatest strength as a therapist? What aspects do you least enjoy as a therapist?
I am a survivor; I’m also very stubborn and persistent to reach my goals. I enjoy getting to meet new individuals with new stories, which entails a legitimate gossip.
I don’t like sloppiness, disrespecting time; people who practice unethically or who are not trained and work as therapists; I hate seeing this profession so disrespected.
What kind of challenges do you confront as a therapist?
When someone finds out I’m a therapist, they ask me to ‘analyze them’. I don’t analyze; I guide people by teaching them to have a better life. Some clients ask me to give them advice, but it is not my role to decide for them. What works best for me may not work for them, instead I work with them to reach the best decision.
How do you decide which approach works best for a patient?
I begin with an assessment where the client provides his detailed history, to be able to understand his personality. Based on the problem, I decide on the best school to help solve it.
What happens in your counseling sessions?
First, the clients fill an application. We reassure the confidentiality aspect by keeping the client’s file in a locked cabinet. We analyze his history, what brought him here, and his difficulties. The session lasts for 50 minutes, depending on the problem; we decide whether to make one or two sessions per week. I am very transparent with my clients; I may share my personal story, but we never rely on medication.