We Are Essex

Pia's story

Pia Popovic headshot

"Conversation is the key, the key for everything I believe."

I studied for my Undergrad degree at home, in Slovenia. I arrived here in September to start my Masters in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies; it’s my first year abroad. Slovenia is so tiny and psychotherapy is not really developed there. We only have one course that represents Jung and it’s not developed as I would want it to be. Certain events brought me to Essex, Jung would call it synchronicity, so these events brought me here and everything connected. Plus this course is the best in Europe for what I wanted to study so it was just perfect.

My interest in Psychotherapy started in high school. I had a professor, a psychologist, who I admired so much. She was the best professor ever and I was like ‘I want to have those kind of stories and experiences’. So then I decided I wanted to study Psychology, but then I couldn’t because you had to have really high grades. So these weird connections brought me to Sigmund Freud University in Slovenia. The course was about Psychotherapy; it was 3 years of basic knowledge of psychology and psychotherapy etc. and there I discovered Jung and Freud. I’ve always been interested in dreams, dreams inspire me so much. So when I realised that Jung was one of the pioneers on analysing dreams and working with dreams in psychotherapy I was like ‘that’s it, that’s my dream job’.

No matter which specific school of psychotherapy you choose, no matter the technique, the most important factor is trust - the link and connection between two people. It’s not that one of you is an important therapist and the other is a tiny client – no! You are one, you are the same and at an equal level. You meet the human in front of you; you don’t meet a patient, you don’t meet someone with mental issues – obviously these things exist, but you deal with the human. Everything is about empathy, I think that’s a compass for me; I have a high level of empathy. I can actually feel the pain they’re feeling. So the connection is even deeper.

One of the happiest moments is when you see the sparkle in someone’s eyes and someone says ‘thank you for helping me’. And sometimes you feel like you didn’t do anything! I worked with drug addicts for two years. There are a lot of stereotypes about them, but they’re such lovely human beings. The connection we had was so strong, if I see them I hug them. So many times they cried and talked and opened up. You hear their stories and you realise how lucky you are. That’s why I love this kind of thing; you can appreciate your own life way more than you would have. Sometimes you don’t even realise what you have, you come home and you see your family and you don’t realise how important it is. They didn’t have a normal family, in their whole lifetime they didn’t have a parent tell them ‘I love you’. To me that’s like ‘yeah mum, stop it already’ but for them, they crave it. They crave this love.

So if you asked me, regardless of money, what’s your dream job – I swear I would pick Psychotherapist. The best thing in the world is when you see a person opening up to you. You see that they trust you; they want to share something so deep and intimate with you. They chose to share this information with you – the relationship you create is amazing. And then you see how you help that person. I saw myself doing this with friends, and I enjoyed it so much, so I asked myself why I shouldn’t do it for my actual job? So that’s my goal; to be a psychotherapist and to come home each day and know that someone is feeling better because of our conversation. Conversation is the key, the key for everything I believe.

After I graduate my plan is to go to Switzerland, to Zurich. Jung, the guy I study, that’s his Institute. So he created the institute when he was alive, he was a Professor there. It’s in an old house next to the lake. It’s magical. After he died the centre continued and now it’s one of the most famous in the world. If you go there and become a therapist, a Zurich Therapist, it really means something. I think that might be the last step for me. I want to do that. And I think Essex and Zurich combination will open so many doors for me. The link between Essex and Zurich is so strong, everything just seamlessly connects.

Life can be hard, luckily so far I have enjoyed it! People who know me, my friends, my family, they always say to me ‘are you ever sad, you always smile, you always laugh’ and it’s true! I got a tattoo that says ‘no matter where life takes me, you will find me with a smile’. I got it when I was 18, now I’m 23 and it’s still true. That should be the motto of everybody.

 

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