Inspiring People: Olivia Djouadi, online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor

At nine years old, Olivia Djouadi was told that she may not live past 30. When she passed this milestone, she started to rethink her life and career. Olivia is now an online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor and we are excited to share the story of how she got there…

1. Tell us your story:
I am Olivia Djouadi UKCP from London UK and now work in my dream career as an online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor. The training took a total of seven years and I continue to update my knowledge yearly. As a student in the 1980s my family were lucky to have a Apple 2E computer and my love of these machines that connected people began. During my training my computer gave me access to expertise from both America and Europe and I thought people who are time limited due to work, activities, and disabilities could gain my expertise in order to improve their wellbeing and for some a path out of trauma.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I had been given a sort of lifeline when I lived past 30; I heard at 9 my type 1 diabetes may finish my life at 30 and I really believed it. Suddenly having a future took some excavating in my past, so I got therapy which was life-changing. I knew this was the career I wanted and knowing it took years to train challenged me to make a long-term goal. Reaching that goal meant I could not only assist individuals in my own area, but online as well after additional online training. 

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
I researched my university options. After the first year at one place, I transferred to another which was a great fit. I knew the training involved both class time and placements at a variety of clinics and GPs. I saw it as a step-by-step process that would continue even after training ended.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge was a mild stroke I had four years into training. At the time I was training at one university in traditional psychotherapy, training at another in online counselling, and doing placement hours. I stepped back from client work until I was ok, then I continued on my training journey.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
The clients I had were so inspiring and I saw each one progress in their own ways. I also saw some overcome some huge emotional situations and achieve new goals. I work with severe trauma and also chronic illness which is challenging but also saves lives.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Keep going, you may get tired or stressed however little steps along the way will help you reach your goal. Break your goal into steps because the entire goal can seem too much at the start. Get a mentor. As well as getting therapy I also contacted experts in my field.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve? 
I would like to establish a worldwide trauma network that people can go to so they can get the support they need either in their own countries, or in another with qualified practitioners. 

Olivia Djouadi UKCP accredited psychotherapist and online counsellor and supervisor in the UK and worldwide. Connect with Olivia at, or on her Facebook page 

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