Claudia Giolitti was born in Caracas Venezuela. She knew she wanted to be a psychologist since she was 15 years old when she found an old psychology textbook in her parents’ bookshelf and was fascinated about being able to understand human behavior and help others. During her childhood-adolescence years, Claudia’s mother was struggling with depression. Later on, she found out that it was all related to the sexual abuse that her mother experienced when she was a child.
Claudia decided to use her own personal experience to empower other young women who were ready to take control of their lives and find emotional and psychological healing from childhood trauma. That’s why she focused early on in her career to become the sexual abuse prevention advocate and treatment expert that she is today.
Besides her license in Marriage And Family Therapy, Claudia also holds a Psychodynamic Clinical Psychologist degree from her home country, Venezuela. Claudia has extensive experience helping young women who are struggling with the effects of sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, or that are lost in a difficult life transition both as a therapist, or clinical supervisor in private practice, and outpatient mental health clinics. Recently, she was selected to be a guest professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, where she will teach a brief training on sexual abuse treatment to students of the Psychology Master Program.
Hey Claudia, can you tell us how you became involved Psychotherapy For Young Women?
I’m the founder and owner of Psychotherapy For Young Women. I was passionate about empowering other young women to heal and achieve success like I did so I decided to dedicate my private practice to them. I realised there were no other mental health practices that specialised in this specific population so I was thrilled and surprised to be the first one.
You hold a License in Marriage and Family Therapy and also a Clinical Psychologist degree, what extensive training would you like to undergo to further your knowledge?
I love going to psychotherapy symposiums, and conferences where I can learn from different speakers with a very diverse point of view about topics that matter to me in mental health. I like the idea of absorbing as much as I can from very talented and renowned experts in one full day or weekend. For example, recently I had the privilege of attending full-day conferences with Esther Perel, Irvin Yalom, and Sue Johnson at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in DC.
They are a huge influence on my work as a therapist, and learning directly from them was a very powerful experience. Furthermore, any training that is related to trauma, humanistic/psychodynamic psychology, feminist approaches to therapy and social oppression I’m interested in.
From first-hand experience of a troubled childhood as your mother sadly suffered depression you managed to rebuild your life, but what guidance would you give to those who are still not able to?
I would tell them that nobody can do it alone, and they shouldn’t have to. That it’s ok to reach out to others for help and start therapy. That was the best place to start for me, and for my patients. It’s easier to rebuild your life when you are not alone in the process anymore. Be patient and kind to yourself!
Can you tell us how as a therapist you using your own personal experience to empower other young women who are ready to take control of their lives and find healing?
I’m not afraid to disclose some personal information about my life, my struggles, traumas, losses, and recoveries if I believe it will be clinically relevant to the therapeutic process. Only if it’s coherent to what patients are processing and if my sharing would help empower them and guide them towards healing. I don’t believe in therapists that are put on a pedestal. I’ve witnessed the powerful effect that a therapist who is not afraid of being seen as a human, can have a patient’s healing process.
How would you say the power of therapy has the ability to change our lives forever?
I believe that what we learn in therapy doesn’t have an expiration date. Both, the discoveries we have made about ourselves and the concrete tools we learn and apply in the process are impossible to be erased from our brain. So, once we have gained awareness, it’s just impossible to turn that awareness off. For example, once we have seen the ocean and have experienced how it feels to be in it, we can never forget it.
That’s why I say it will change our lives forever. Also, our brains are technically being rewired in the therapeutic process So, we are physiologically, and neurologically never the same after therapy.
The most rewarding moment in your personal life?
I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve had many. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am today and on my own. So, each goal I reach feels like a huge achievement for me. But if I have to choose the most important ones it would be graduating with honors and receiving an outstanding student award from a Masters program as an immigrant in the US. Second, getting my state license to practice psychology, then third, having my first office in Manhattan. That one was very exciting!
What outlets do use to market Psychotherapy For Young Women?
I use diverse marketing strategies. Online presence is a big one! So, I have my website, Google Business Page that also shows up on Google maps, three different professional online profiles with different companies such as Psychology Today, Zencare, and Your Tango experts. I also have an Instagram account were I share empowering and therapeutic messages to my followers and my other marketing outlets include a referral network. I’m very active at meeting new clinicians, going to networking events, and maintaining relationships with main referral sources like psychiatrists, or doctors that work with me and my team to better serve our clients.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
It was in Spanish, but the translation would be something along the lines of that there is nothing better that one day after the other one. My mom would tell me that every time I was overwhelmed or things didn’t go my way.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned along the way?
Self-compassion is the key. It’s ok to give yourself permission to rest and do nothing.
Indeed, procrastination can be good for the soul, so how do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
That’s still a challenge for me but I’ve got better through the years. Some key elements that help me achieve that balance are having very clear business systems in place, and maximise the productivity of my time working so I’m able to get things done without killing myself in the process.
For example, I work long days from Tuesday to Friday, and then on Mondays, I work from home, in comfortable clothes and I focus on administrative work, billing, and personal errands. Also, I have templates of emails that I sent to prospect new clients after our phone consultation, or if they are interested in joining the sexual abuse group I lead just so I don’t have to write the same information over and over again.
Furthermore, I invested in my self-care so I work out 2-4 days a week with a personal trainer, and don’t read emails or respond to texts after 8pm. Spending time with loved ones is essential for me, just as being able to wake up late on the weekends. When you prioritise self-care, it get’s easier to find that balance.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and leading female pioneers do you also admire and why?
Esther Perel! She is a Belgian marriage and family therapist, whose TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and she is also the host of the podcast ‘Where Should We Begin?’ I look up to her because we shared very similar values, backgrounds, and therapeutic perspectives. She even has an accent like me! However, she is just way more famous.
What YouTube or online space channels are you watching currently?
I don’t usually watch YouTube or online space channels.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘How to Be an Adult in Relationships’ by David Richo.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
‘Where Should We Begin?’ with Esther Perel, and ‘Practice of the Practice’ with Joe Sanok.
What does success look like in your eyes?
Being able to make a comfortable living by doing what you are most passionate about as your job while maintaining close, safe, and fulfilling relationships, and having time to enjoy the world around you.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Be your own BOSS, Be your own CHEERLEADER, Be your own LIFE SAVER, Be your own BEST FRIEND.
Lastly, what is next for you and Psychotherapy For Young Women?
I was invited to be a guest professor/speaker at Golden Gate University in San Francisco where I’ll teach a short training program titled “New views and treatment of Sexual Abuse after the #MeToo movement” to graduate students of the Psychology Master Program.