Some professions are like a tailor-made dress which is especially designed for the person who performs it. This is how this gracious and brave lady made me feel like when she was sitting in front of me as I was interviewing her. It wasn’t so difficult to guess what her profession was, even if she hadn’t told me about it. All in all, the words she chooses while talking, her presence, her attitude, and the look in her eyes would tell you that she was focusing her answers onto the analysis of feelings. Therefore, unavoidably, as the focus was all on the feelings, the interview developed into a ‘fully-emotional’ one…
Interview: Seral Çelik
You have been into a new kind of living style commuting between London- Istanbul as a psychoterapist. What does London mean to you?
Actually it was something that I wish to experience in my life; I mean the idea of living in two countries at the same time, to have a life both in Istanbul and in London. I have been commuting between these two adorable cities since January. You ask me ‘Why London?’ but there is not one, clear answer for that. It’s become a part of the transformation I guess, while trying to balance your spiritual age and calender age and while travelling through these spiritual transformation processes. Also, I was in the intention of getting out of the therapy rooms a bit. I think London is one of the reasons of this transformation as well. London for me is a particular piece of my transformation in the light of my existence path.
You have already had a ‘settled life’ in Istanbul but you packed your bags and left the city. Was this a scheduled plan?
What’s weird is, it wasn’t something that I had planned. I think I experienced a period that helped me feel ready for setting off for new horizons. It seemed the right time for it and I let it happen. It was a state of spiritual standstill, during which I had observations and began producing and then maybe dear London invited me. However, I think I had a period which prepared me to feel ready for such kind of journeys. I have a dual life now; I’m chasing for flight tickets, my travel bag is an indispensible piece of my life, which in total makes a state of dual migration. Yet, what we call migration is not only a physical action. As well as leaving a place physically, you also leave a place to travel towards your inner self. In this sense, even it is not an easy process, I believe that it will add a positive value to my life.
“Lots of feelings intertwine”
What do you think about your life in London? How do you feel about it? Are you always hopeful in this sense or do you feel scared occasionally or anxious about it?
Sure, you need a propelling power and a sound emotional regulation to motivate you commute between two cities even part-time. As for me, these propelling powers are my friends and my family who are always supportive to me by all their presence, as well as the will inside me that tells me to listen to my inner voice waiting to experience new things. To me, Londra means a new life which I see as a new-born baby to be raised with care after a long, painful birth. I feel different things from time to time of course. I am hopeful yet can be anxious sometimes. This is a period which I am trying to listen to and understand all my inner voices. We, as psychotherapists, call this self-activation process. To me, it is a process of being creative and brave to take steps towards experiencing transformation of one’s genuine existence.
Yes, I’m currently hosting many feelings inside me, most of which make me feel excited about pursuing a dual settlement, yet concerned about the uncertainties that a new start brings along with it. These intertwined feelings sometimes bring hardships as well but I feel great in the core of my existence. Therefore, it’s still a rewarding state of feeling according to me.
“I felt that I really belonged to this city.”
Have you known London before? Have you had any memories in this city before?
Yes, I came here 10 years ago and stayed for 3-4 months. That was the finest summer I have ever had. Thanks to the opportunity that my parents provided for me, I came here as a student. London has always been in a special place in my heart because I had a great time here then as if I belonged to this city, which was fabulous.
Well, what about other European cities? Have any of the European cities attracted you like London?
Sure, I have been to many charming countries and cities in Europe like Paris, Prague, Vien, Budapest, Bruges, and I love them, too. However, London has always been unique to me as of a feeling of connection. I’m not sure but it may be due to the fact that I stayed here longer and spent more time than anywhere else.
One day you said you were leaving for London and you did actually. What was the reaction of the people surrounding you?
Well, I didn’t receive any extreme reactions as my leaving was in the form of living in both cities. There have been people saying “Are you sure after all these years?”, also there have been some saying “Güniz you are doing great, I wouldn’t dare.” Or “You go first, we will follow you after.” Neverhteless, I can say that I felt supported in general thanks to my family and friends. I can never ignore their support. Being supported is beyond everything.
“It seems that I need london to feed my soul.”
What do you dream about doing in London?
I see a few options. We have been searching for opportunities for couples, women, young people and companies in cooperation with Turkish Consulate and associations in order to provide support to them apart from individual therapies. Currently, we are working on organising workshops and educational sessions together with a few colleagues. As far as I know, around 400 thousand Turkish citizens live here. We are planning over some one-to-one or group therapy sessions for these people. We are also rescheduling the educational meetings that I have facilitated in Turkey in terms of their needs. Art, in particular cinema, is a field that I work on and I feel nourished with. In my opinion, cinema, music, literature, dance, art, photography are the most special reflections of human soul. I know that it would be easier to convey my thoughts to people through a movie or a novel character. As human beings, we exist by creating relations. We are associational beings. Starting from the first moments of coming to life, we are in need of somebody to attach ourselves. Attachment, having relationships are amongst our basic needs in order to feel that we exist. When considered that I am experiencing such kind of feelings as everyone else had before, London means a kind of attachment to me I guess. As a therapist working both here and in Istanbul, I feel that this nourishes me. For instance, I experience at first hand the professional relativity that my university lecturer explained us. We’ll experience more as we go on.
Do you have any concerns about sustainability in terms of economical opportunities in London in long term?
There is no clear answer for this question. It depends on the point of view. London is not a place that I feel secure as of economical concerns or comfort and luxury as Istanbul. However, the feeling that London is going to add value in my life comes first, and it is going to be one of the most special stops that I stay at. Hopefully, this duality will find its balance in time. Actually, I have a few memories I want to tell you. For instance, one of them is a moment of hardhsip in the past. I was holding both Turkish Lira and Sterling in my hand. Technically they look the same but Sterling as being 7 times powerful in terms of purchasing. It was a weird feeling. I just stood still there and told to myself ‘Güniz, that’s you who loves collecting memories. Keep going on collecting them, note these moments down, add them to your stories to be told, stay in the moment, within the feeling of this adventure’ And I smiled…
A brief information about Guniz Kocakaya
• She was born in Manisa, in the west of Turkey, as a daughter of Thracian teacher dad and Aegean housewife mother. Her sister followed his father’s foothpaths and has also become a teacher. Guniz, her sister and their cousin were raised like three sisters.
• She studied Psychology. It wasn’t enough for her. She also had her Master’s degree on Clinical Psychology.
• She wasn’t satisfied and studied a four-year-programme of Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) in the Institution of Psychotherapy which is located in the USA.
• She chose a challenging field in psychotherapy. She is working primarily on relations. She is also an emotion-focused couple therapist. She can be the perfect one for you if you are married, and suffering from relational problems with your partner or children.
• She is doing workshops. By analysing movies and TV series on psychotherapy she tries to make sense out of people and their relations.
• If you think that you are overweight or just the opposite too skinny, she can be the right address for you as she has researches through eating disorders. She designes workshops and one-to-one sessions.
• Attention, Tango-lovers! She dances Tango. She likes “Zeybek”, Aegean folk dance, as well. She even has workhops and camps on relationships, associating couple therapy with Tango dance.
• She organizes workshops for individuals and companies called “intensive theory” to raise awareness effectively within a short period of time. She also designs workshops for couples, groups and companies called “Being Me and Being US”. Attending one of these workshops where this balance is explained in detail, could be an interesting experience for you.