How psychotherapy helps people

How psychotherapy helps people

Piše: Olja Vido Jakov

          Ivana Đorđević was born in 1983, a psychologist and a master in the field of personality psychology. Psychotherapist of Integrative Psychotherapy and Personal Development and Accredited Advisor - with national and European license. Accredited psychotherapist - with a national license and advanced advanced level of training (546 hours) for integrative psychotherapy and personal development in Skopje. Lives and works in Belgrade.



Olja : How did you love psychology? ... or Why do you do psychology?

Ivana : Behind the first question, there is an interesting story. I was studying medical high school and I was on my 3 year when I met my psychology professor. We started on the wrong foot and once she gave me 1, and I was sure I knew the material for at least 3. So, as I was always someone who "deal" with things by myself I went after the class in her office to talk to her. I told her what was my impression and she just replay sit and study and next time I will give you a chance. If you know the material as you should we will forget about 1 and you will have 5. I was angry, but I told to myself "I'll show her, how wrong she is." The next class she was questioning me and she gave me 5. I was "full of myself". Than, she said that she can use my example as a good introduction for our next chapter of motivation. Than she explained to the class how some of us get motivated when they get an "overrate" and some of us get motivated when they get an "underrate". She realized after only few classes that I belonged to the second group, so she did what she thought was best to motivate me and maximize my interest in psychology. I was amazed! I couldn't even realize that someone can have those skills. Than, my interest for psychology went up and up and up. At one point she took us to a mental institution. It wasn't obligatory but as I was already enchanted by this science of course I went there. It was harsh for most of the students. We were not ready to look real life in eyes. I kind of naturally communicated with the patients. With some of them I was playing. With some of them I was talking. And at one point she came to me and very seriously said: "Ivana, you are born for this profession. I can see that you are also sad and that this is something that it overwhelming but you succeed with no experience relying only on your inner sensations to make the most of it. You are at medical high school and it means you want to help people. Just think about helping people in other ways. By "healing" their soul." Some of my classmates had nightmares after that experience. I had dreams. Dreams that I am living today. She was my muse. I'm really grateful that somehow by luck I had met someone to recognize something that maybe I wouldn't by myself. I still love that woman with all my heart because of it. She is one of the most important people in my life.
Olja : Who are the founders of the counseling center?
Ivana : I am the founder of the center. It was 03.11.2011 when I got my first "paying" client. Of course, it was just symbolically as I was just starting, but I was very happy and excited. After 5 years maybe, I was at a training in O.L.I center in Belgrade and I've met this 2 wonderful young people that king of grew out to my heart after knowing them. I already had clients and I was working, but I remembered how hard it was at the beginning to find clients with no experience, so I decided to ask them to join me until the stand on their feet. They are really talented and I was lucky to meet them there. One of them will soon leave the center to start on their own and for me it is a very bitter-sweet celebration. I will miss her, but also I am very happy and very proud that she developed herself in what I saw she can many years before. Maybe I just wanted to be my high school professor to someone ;)
Olja : Can you earn enough for living today as a psychologist and psycho-therapist who works privately in Serbia?

Ivana : Yes, my family lives from my earnings. I'm one of those few lucky people that can live from what they love to do. I have sliding price scale. Sometimes, I allow myself to put down the price or to work pro bono if I see that the motivation of the client is high and that really the price is the "only" problem. In other cases, I recommend my younger colleagues from the center. Their price is lower because of the lack of experience, but I always truly and honestly tell those clients that I completely trust that they are good therapists.
Olja : How do you build a relationship of trust with your clients?

Ivana : Well, you know I can't generalize because every one of my clients is a whole universe of personality, but my experience shows that I have 2 types of clients. The ones that want to offer their trust as a gift (with them we need more time to built real trust) and the other ones that test me and allow me to show them that I will not judge, I will be supportive (as they say I'm kind of always there in their heads ;) ). I am really being honest to them and I'm showing authentic interest about how they feel and what are they doing and why are they doing it. At some point, we both have the feeling it (trust) is there. Clients with the most issues of building trust are people who are addicted to something. With them it is the hardest to gain their trust, but it isn't impossible.
Olja : What clients expect from you during work?

Ivana : On the introduction session clients tell my what are their expectations and their goals, so in that moment we discuss what is realistically (im)possible to expect from me, and what from them. Accordingly, I make plans for the direction in which therapy can start developing itself.
Olja : Are people ready to work on themselves, on their training?
Ivana : Well, let me put it this way, the ones that stay till the end are ready, the ones that give up when resistance comes aren't (at that moment).
Olja : Which tabs do you mostly meet?
I don't have general population or specialized problems I work with. I have people that just want to know themselves better, I have people that are in process of grief, than people with addiction problems, fears, lately I have more and more couples coming for partner therapy. I don't like putting labels on people so I can't say I work with this and that diagnose. But I just try to be open and help people with what they want me to help them, not with what I think they can do better with.
Olja : How long have you been working with a single client?

Ivana : It is also not something that I can't generalize but if you ask me for an average, let's say 2 active years (not including holidays and resistance skipping). 
Olja : Did work with clients have left your expectations that you had when you were a student?

Ivana : Oh, I was studying psychology not psychotherapy and I was disappointed in my studies not in my work or training later. My training gave me everything that I was missing on university. And my work overcomes my expectations. I'm really satisfied with my carrier. 
Olja : How does psychology make society better?
Ivana : I'm kind of more focused on individuals not on society, but I can say that people that have finished therapy are always the best "marketing". Their loved ones see the change in them and want to know their secret and they proudly talk about visiting a therapist. In that way, people get less prejudice about psychotherapy in general and start to accept it as one of the ways to live more fulfilling life. It is a big thing. Clients become more aware, better parents, better the and better people for themselves and the others.
Olja : What kind of people need help to contact you?
Ivana : All beautiful, same and different people that think/know THEY can do better and more.
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