Alberto Pavan Life Coaching and Counselling

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Transforming one’s life

In my past 20 years as a counsellor and recovery practitioner in the Substance Misuse Field I have attempted at promoting the concept of embracing change to my clients over and over again.

Promoting change in one’s life by implementing a Cognitive Behavioural therapy’s approach, might work, up to a point.

To embrace and internalise the belief that by policing our maladaptive thoughts and replacing them with more constructive and rational ones can be easier said than done. One may be able to identify some superficial maladaptive thoughts, but the fundamental thoughts of self-perception are not easily accessible and not at all easy to replace.

We think of us as the sum of our past experiences and the information we give to ourselves. We think that what we have is us.

How many times have we said “I am not wired for such tasks”, or “I am not the logic, or artistic, or the tender type”? As if we were lacking some of the ingredients to make us in a way or another.

I was able to empathise with my substance using clients and their struggle to picture their lives in a different way, because, in different circumstances, for different reasons in a different time, I have had, myself, an extremely rigid, dogmatic, absolute view of who I was.

Up to the age of 40, I knew I ough to make some changes to my life, but I had no idea I could have been something, someone else beside myself. I identified with what I knew and what I told myself I was and I didn’t consider the possibility of demolishing my beliefs about me and re-build it all. I didn’t even want to. I would have thought that it would have meant to trade my personality, in other words my self.

This is not a big confession or an indulgent self-congratulatory article on me having been able to embrace change. I am talking about me, instead of reporting many of other examples I collected during my years as a counsellor, because I think it may be clearer and more accessible to an eventual reader, if it comes as a personal experience.

To be able to apply all those useful techniques thaught in CBT, something of a more metaphysical must happen first: one must have at least a glimps to the fact that what we know about us is not all there is. There is more, and more and more.

I think that this is why many people who have began this self-discovery process, often they turn to religion. They think that if they have been able to embrace what many people in recovery from drug use call Higher self, it must be a miracle. It must be some divine intervention. Unfortunately, by doing so, they enter another spirale of dogmas, blocks, irrationality probably even worse of the spirale they were descending before.

In the case of individuals recovering from a drug or alcohol habit, this may save their lives, but it won’t allow them to really understand what reality is and who they are.

All this introduction serves to explain why this website of mine is in the process of transforming itself. It is moving on with me from a website promoting talking-therapy, into an art platform to show to whoever want to follow me, my new, re-invented Self.

In the same way, at the age of 40, I decided that who I was no longer matched my needs and from one of the many Italians in London, doing low paid jobs, in the hospitality industry, I became a counsellor and an expert in Substance Misuse, after having been this for the last 20 years, I shredded that persona to re-embody as an artist.

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History, themes, inspiration, background

I have always liked drawing. Since i was very little I remember myself having a great time with a biro and an empty page.

But i was not gifted. I was not like Picasso who was confident to say that he never drew like a child. I did. In 1962 the Twins Kessler revolutioned Italian TV by appearing in a sexy outfit which it was censured immediately, because it contained bare legs. These 4 long, well shaped, capable legs could not be seen as they were, so they got trapped into thick, black tights, unintentionally creating a fetish effect that fuelled the fantasy of many Italian men. I was a small child, but the Kessler had an immense influence on me too.

My interest was not of a sexual nature, but it had some elements of physical attraction, in the sense that I would have liked being them.
My admiration for them was expressed on paper by making innumerable sketches of the twin sisters. To be precise, I drew their symbol, their essence perceived by me: a small child without much natural talent. The sketches consisted in an oval for the face, a heart and two slits for mouth and eyes, some rough scribbles on top of the oval, which for me represented hair-do and their feather’s cappellini, then, under the oval-face two long, black lines symbolised their legs. No trunk, no arms, no breast had any importance to me; only feathers and legs.

I grew up without any encouragement from my family that overlooked the pleasure i was getting out of creating those scribbles, saw the results and didn’t think much good would have come from me dwelling in art. I myself eventually saw that only my brain was able to read into those symbols the glamour I was representing and kept my doodling for myself, as a very private form of expression.

Time passed by, I grew up, my life unfolded with highs and lows, but my doodling never left me. I was no longer 4 years old and reality appeared to me more solid, less symbolic, more factual. I self-thought to draw people in a more convincing way. I had no sense of perspective, no anatomy’s knowledge, but i was good at catching facial expressions.

My long term love affair with comics gave me some help and my symbols became less subjective, easier to interpret to the occasional viewer. Comics meant a lot to me. I was never a big fan of the various Super heroes of American comics corporations (Marvel, DC); I was fascinated by the Italian black heroes which characterised the 60s and 70s Italian pop colture and became a phenomenon of such proportion to influence costumes, morality and colture in Italy.

The Giussani’s sisters, Magnus and Bunker and all the other comics makers of the time became my idols and their trashy characters became the subjects of my collection. Eventually i met another type of comic; I was not older than 10 when I developed an interest in the Author’s comics. Valentina by Guido Crepax, was, i suppose, my first love.Only peculiarity…. I didn’t want to sleep with her. I wanted to be her.

Her adventures, many of which were dreamt, seemed to have a particular relevance to me. I was too young to fully grasp the deep psychological message hidden in those cryptic stories, but I knew that there was something in them that was important and related to me. When the film Barbarella appeared in the cinemas and I found out that it was the filmic representation of a famous french comic and I went out of my way to add it to my collection.

In a very private setting, I began to draw my own comics. Thinking back, they were not good. Just a re-shuffling of the comics I was reading at the time, plus I didn’t have the skills and the patience to produce anything remotely valid. All they were, it was a child’s game.

Eventually, at the age of 13, completed the compulsory education, I wanted to enrol to art college. My mum objected to it. Full of drugs. She said. So, with a lot of difficulty and sufferance, I completed 5 years of business studies. I was now an adult and I had no time for games anymore.

My life took a tortuous course, I lived in Amsterdam, then in Rome, then finally in London. I developed a career in Mental Health, I became an art-admirer, but I was well sure that an artist I was not. My ambition of self-expression through visual-art shrunk to the point of no-return; or so i told myself. The fact that, during various team-meetings of development training I filled notebooks with doodles of faces, people, abstract figures, didn’t at all make me think that the visual expression had anything to do with me.

Once again, I adopted such a rigid view of myself that i couldn’t see any other option. My identity was formed around being a therapist, a counsellor, a person working for an organisation and my scope was to understand addictive behaviour and try to ease some of the consequences.

From when I started to work, initially as a volunteer, in year 2000 to these days, many things have changed in the service I was offering, Funding became scarse and a lot of adapting was needed. In 2020, when the pandemic affected this planet, what I was doing for a living was fundamentally, essentially different from what i originally signed in to.

The pandemic has been a time without precedents. All humanity was forced to face something that, just a month earlier was considered a precious commodity: time for ourselves. What was so rare and precious before, became abundant, excessive.

I had all the time in the world to think at how far I moved from the motivations that made me choose my job and from having been a hard working individual, passionate and enthusiastic about my job, I became an employee, doing my bit, according to the strict guide-lines my colleagues and I had to adhere to. I was the person i never planned or wanted to be.

Fortunately, I already went through, in my past, to metamorphosis of magnitude and, despite having built for myself, a strong reality, in which I had a clear, unshakeable identity, I remembered that all was not written on stone.

The influences and the motivations

To Kill time, I began to research online a variety of scientific subjects: the theory of relativity was a start. It makes one ponder over one of humankind most cherish dogma: Time. It took me to look into the Quantum Theory, which began to validate an intuitive perception I always held about the fluidity of our surrounding and gave intellectual evidences to a variety of New-Age teachings of Eastern origins, I picked up throughout my life, but punctually disregarded eventually, because they all came as a package with a lot of superstitious nonsenses and religious dogma.

But here it was; reality is not solid. Matter behaves as a wave. In fact matter is a wave. I looked into opposed currents of thoughts, at the denying of free will, the empiric scientist who proclaim themselves against Dogma, like Richard Dawkins, but that become extreme dogmatic if faced with all the questions arising from the application of the quantum theory and Heisenberg Wave Function’s idea to reality as we know it and certainty must leave its sit of honour to probability

Science, since the 70s, talks of multiverseof string theory, the rigid view of the Newtonian traditional physic. In the recent understanding of the nature of our universe, the fabric of existence is fuzzier, probable, never certain.

In this quantum reality, reality and dreams are not so distinguished. Reality as we know it, could be a dream in itself. Parallel to this newly developed understanding there are unanswered big questiona of a more philosophical nature. No biologist has been able to account for consciousness. Professor Robert Sapolski has successfully and eloquently been able to illustrate every human behaviour, any most private, intimate human emotion as a consequence of an exchange of hormones and neurotransmitters that occur because of our genetic make-up. He considers our consciousness as a mere mechanic function. He might be right, but he cannot tell me what was there before the Big Band and how from nothing that was there, something happened. And if he cannot do that, then the mechanic of the límbic system may work well as far as our bodies are concerned but it doesn’t answer the question about something from nothing.

Only by applying quantum principals this can be explained. By allowing quantum mechanic in, we allow an infinite number of probabilities and in within this infinite number of probable realities, our selves are not as clearly cut as we tell ourselves.

I know, with all my cells of my body, with every inch of my brain, with every ounce of my consciousness, that I am not who I was up to my 40. My old self has disintegrated and gone with the cells I shredded, the hair and nails i cut, the sweat I sweated.

I am Alberto, a Counsellor and a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist practitioner. I offer a counselling service with a difference: although I am happy to provide counselling and CBT in the traditional formula, my Counselling practice is particularly suitable to people who are facing problems related to ageing. These problems may be related to what is usually defined as "having a middle age crisis" or they can relate to a variety of reasons, which they might include:

  • Negative self-perception

  • Difficulty to relate to self-image

  • Retirement related depression

  • Loneliness and boredom

  • Facing ageism

  • Menopause

  • Changes in your libido

  • ...and many more

  • < A Counselling practice in South-East London that can help you to change your self-perception and give you back your lost zest for life.

    is very easy to allow a fundamentally ageist environment to affect the way we feel about ourselves and compromise our right to have a fantastic future as old people. Old means experienced, mature, knowledgeable. Old is not a dirty word. Too many negative associations have been made in regard of this word. It is time for old people to reclaim it as a chosen word to be used with pride. Don't be afraid to be old! Challenge the stereotype!

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  • I, Alberto Pavan, Life Coach, Counsellor and CBT therapist, can help you achieve your goals and make the best of what you were given by mother nature.

  • Life Coaching in Camberwell & Kennington in South East London will help you change your attitude towards how you look and feel. Find the determination to make those changes you always wanted to make.

  • I, Alberto Pavan, experienced practitioner in the ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOUR field for more than 20 years, can help you challenge those self-defeating habits and replace them with a healthy regime.

  • I, Alberto Pavan, have used my counselling skills to help people to make fundamental changes. I have been able to witness the turning of people's lives from chaos to success. I want to use my counselling and CBT skills to help you. I want to be your Fitness Therapist.

  • From my studio in Camberwell/Kennington, in South East London, I will offer you one Free Consultation to discuss a tailored Life Coach plan for your needs.

  • My charges for the service, like for counselling , vary on a scaling system. Fees are calculated on incomes so that my services are affordable to all. Invest in yourself and let me be your Fitness therapist.

  • Counselling and Life Coaching Practice

    Kennington, South East London

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