With the sad news today of the death of the wonderful actor James Gandolfini it got me to thinking about how many times my own clients have told me they have felt like Tony Soprano in the therapy room. Tony was the mafia boss so wonderfully portrayed by James in the six series of the Sopranos. Tony and his therapist had that kind of relationship that is essential to good therapy. He would tell her all the gory details of his rise to power and his everyday problems of being a mafia boss and she would help him explore his thoughts and feelings.
Being at the top of an organisation has its own set of problems not connected to the work in hand. For one, who else could he go to when he felt down, guilty or frustrated or maybe even afraid? Its hard to share your vulnerabilities and weakness with those that look up to and respect you. Then there was his family too. Issues with his mother, sister and children and keeping his lovely wife happy at the end of the day. I’m sure that his conversations with his therapist would have changed his ideas, perceptions and behaviour in that somewhere in his own internal dialogue thereafter the human side of his character would have been steered him.
Some people see therapy as a weakness. Others that are more enlightened see it as benefit like no other. Its like having a second you, or even a third eye on yourself when you can begin to look at life through a different lens. A psychological exploration of the self with you in the driving seat.
I have worked with many successful business people (I live in East london after all). City high flyers and CEOs, business men and the odd Tony Soprano type too.
Psychotherapy and counselling provide confidential space to run through the thoughts in your mind, discuss problems, issues, work or otherwise and this allows space to have clear thinking without fear of being judged in any way.
RIP James Gandolfino.
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