THE COLOUMN STEP-BY-STEP WELLBEING
The collaboration between Dr. Anna Mena Cugliari & ANYWAYS comes from the common desire to create a greater awareness of how important it is to grow and be encouraged through the stimulations from the world.
Around us there is a universe to explore, activities to experience, flavours to try, new things to learn.
It is never too early or too late to discover, to learn, to experience. The “Step-by-step wellbeing” coloumn comes to life from this common goal.
Through the following questions, ANYWAYS goes through Anna Mena’s professional and personal journey.
Let’s learn more about her together.
Where did your passion for psychology come from and in particular for the specialist branch you chose?
<<I discovered my love for everything concerning the human soul from the study of psychology at the high school. I was very attracted to this subject, that exactly embodied my propensities and attitudes: empathy, sensitivity, inclination to introspection and help others.
That is how this passion started and never left me. It led me to deepen the study of the psyche to the point of making it a profession. A real mission of help but at the same time a path to discover myself. In psychology I was looking for a way to get to know and improve myself and deepen the unconscious motivations related to my insecurities and difficulties.
Here begins a long inner journey and study that continues also today.>>
You are specialized in Relational Psychoanalysis. What exactly are we talking about in this branch of Psychology?
<<Relational-oriented psychotherapy is based on the comparison and integration of different contemporary psychoanalytic thoughts, united by the centrality attributed to relationships and their quality.
We start from the assumption that relations with others constitute us, they have a superordinate role in the genesis of identity and consequently of psychopathology. Each of us is the result of a relational matrix. A new vision of self that is constituted in interpersonal relationships, a self built in the constant self-other dialogue.
“Imagine an oak leaf on its branch wondering: why am I with these other leaves? […]. Humans like the leaves of an oak tree are not in isolation, they are not possible in isolation. Human minds are fundamentally social phenomena […]. (The relational model. From attachment to intersubjectivity – Mitchell S. 2000).
Just as the leaf needs the other leaves and the tree to exist, in the same way we, human beings, are immersed in a world made of people and our survival, growth and well-being depend on the relational exchange with them.>>
To follow your journey you left your homeland and moved to a new region. How were the first steps in a new context?
<<After the initial euphoria, determined by the need for independence and the illusion of finding a happy island, uprooting me from my homeland was far from easy. Catapulted into a completely different context than the one I had lived in until then, it was a bit like jumping into the dark.
Nothing was similar to my eyes, the smells, the colours, the places, the people, and, even worse, I no longer had my points of reference, my dearest affections. It was a world totally distant from the familiar, known and therefore reassuring environment in which I had grown up. I was balancing between the desire for personal growth and the fear of the unknown, of the different, I was going to.
I felt disoriented, lost, alone. Everything had a different shape and size, everything had to be built and reinvented. A necessary redefinition of me, of my identity that begins in Rom.>>
You are a co-founding partner of a Foundation. What is the mission, the main goal you want to achieve with this project?
<<The Social Promotion Association, “Star Bene Insieme- APS”, of which I am founder and vice-president, has as its main mission the promotion of psychological well-being and mental health in order to promote a healthy development of human personality.
Through the conception and realisation of informative and training activities and services, prevention, support, diagnosis and treatment, we aim to intervene in situations of distress and psychological, social and economic weakness and to prevent and counteract any forms of unease.
The basic principle of the importance of the quality of (past and present) relationships on mental life and therefore on the well-being of the individual accompanies and directs all our projects and interventions.>>
Which direction would you like to give to your career?
<<I would like to continue to direct it towards more roads and fronts. To carry out the activity as a psychotherapist in my studio and also collaborate with private social bodies dealing with
school environment, aimed at the integration of minors and adolescents with different problems and the realization of projects of psychological intervention, promoting awareness and appreciation of diversity, literacy, emotional capacity and more; as well as rehabilitation projects for adults with a psychiatric diagnosis.
Working in the third sector, with more direct services for the society and responding to the different needs of the whole community is a path that I am starting and following more and more. This is, in fact, the main objective I aim to achieve through the activities carried out with the social promotion association “Star Bene Insieme-APS”.
The work of the psychologist cannot be reduced exclusively to clinical activity. There are so many aspects in the society to take care of in order to give a wider range of help and not just to the individual.
As social beings, immersed and constituted by the context in which we live, we cannot fail to consider the collective, common well-being.
Therefore, what I pursue through my current and future work is to cultivate and promote a sense of community, an important source of social and individual well-being, a precious resource for dealing with problems that can affect not only the entire community but also every single person.>>
Does working as a psychologist influence your private life?
<<The main characteristic of this work is that the fundamental instrument through which one acts is exactly oneself.
It is on oneself that we work on during the training process and beyond, through the study of the texts but above all through personal therapy and the supervision of the clinical activity performed.
A constant and continuous work on oneself that shapes and forms the own identity and not just professional. It is difficult to clearly separate the personal and professional identity of those who do this work, being so strongly intertwined. Your own personality influences the therapeutic work.
In the same way, just as the personal identity influences therapeutic work, professional identity cannot fail to affect private life.
The specific psychological skills and tools acquired during the training process lead me to approach the other with greater sensitivity, empathy, to give greater attention to communication, to the behavior and attitudes.
On the other hand, it often happens that people have different expectations. They’d like to be helped, understood, sometimes even “treated” and in these cases it is necessary, to set specific borders in order not to take the professional role whole time in private life.>>
Dr. Anna Mena Cugliari, Psychologist and Psychotherapist, will deal with ANYWAYS various delicate and interesting themes, which will be published in this column on a regular basis.
These are her private pages:
LinkedIn: Anna Mena Cugliari
Facebook: Percorsi Interiori – Anna Mena Cugliari
The ANYWAYS team thanks Dr. Cugliari in advance for her time, her dedication, motivation and the invaluable advice she will share with us.