“We deserve to live better, don’t we?” Inspirational psychologist shortlisted in British Council Alumni Awards

  • Date

    Fri 15 Feb 19


An enterprising Essex alumnus who founded his own psychology centre has been selected as a national finalist for the British Council Alumni Awards.

Dionysios Sourelis from Greece studied psychology at Essex and has helped and supported over 100 patients and families as a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist.

He said: “I have always been curious to observe and understand how the human mind and psyche work on an individual and social level. As I progress in the field, my interests expand to more complicated issues, for example, our interaction with the physical environment.”

Dionysios is a member of the Association of Greek Psychologists (SEPS), British Psychological Society, as well as an accredited europsy psychologist (in the fields of Counselling Psychology and Forensic Psychology).

Additionally he is the winner of the Hans W. Cohn Scholarship (2015) of the Society of Existential Analysis and is an international member of the organisation.

In 2013 he founded the Purpose of Existence centre which offers counselling and psychotherapy for children and their families in Greece.

He was honoured to be chosen as a British Council finalist. He said: “I feel very happy! It’s a recognition for my hard work as a student and professional! I also see this as a sign that I did something good for the community and motivates me for the next step in my life and career.”

Dionysios was only 19 when he moved from Athens to Colchester to study at Essex, and he found the experience transformational.

He said: “I was surrounded by great professors (I still remember them and follow their work), and fellow students! The level of education was high, and the life on campus was fantastic! I also made some lifelong friendships.”

He felt his time at Essex gave him great insights for his future career.

“I think I gained a lot of knowledge in the field of psychology; but most importantly I learned how to be selective, critical, reflective and patient, both as a psychologist and a person.”

Despite suffering from long-term illness, Dionysios was determined to succeed as a psychologist and credits his British education for inspiring him to challenge convention and progress in his career.

He said: “As a chronic disease sufferer, the flexibility and organisation of British institutions inspired me to improve myself on both a personal and professional level.”

He completed two years at Essex before having to return to Greece and then completed his undergraduate degree through the Open University. Dionysios holds a Masters in Forensic Psychology and Criminology from the Open University and is currently studying for a doctorate (DCPsych) in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy at Middlesex University, London.

Since 2016 he has worked as an associate instructor in child psychology, forensic psychology, counselling and coaching at the University of the Aegean. In 2017 he joined the Aegean College as a Psychology lecturer.

He said: “I feel proud that clients and students trust me and feel comfortable to share some of their life experiences with me. It’s a daily reward. Additionally, I am very proud of reaching the doctoral level of my own studies.”

After he finishes his doctorate, he hopes to work again in the UK.

He said: “One of my biggest dreams after finishing my doctorate is to work as a visiting lecturer at a British institution. I want to keep my connection to the country alive and give back to British education as well.”

“My motto in life is learning, freedom, and love”. I try to remind myself of these words on a daily basis. It’s a map for me to know that I live my life to the fullest.”

“If I could see one big change in the world, I would love to see more people have deeper care of themselves and others. We deserve to live better, don’t we?”

The British Council Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education.

This year, more than 1,200 university graduates from more than 100 countries across the world applied for the awards.

The winner will be announced in March. Winners will then go on to compete for the prestigious Global Alumni Award with the global winner being announced in April.