HISTORY OF ELEPHANT

Adriana Giotta re-located to Singapore in 2013 having spent most of her life living between New York City, Paris, Milan, Tokyo and London working with multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people from all walks of life.

As a curious and passionate learner, recognising a clinician's need, within the young and fast growing field of psychology, to maintain a life of Continuing Professional Development ('CPD'), Adriana soon noticed the scarcity of opportunities in Singapore and the neighbouring region for regular CPD workshops and conferences to learn, connect and share with fellow researchers and clinicians. She thus took responsibility to fill the gap, developing the arena within the fields of clinical psychology, psychotherapy and depth psychology in South East Asia, in particular where clinicians were looking for further high quality CPD to better equip themselves in serving the community, thereby becoming more empowered as clinicians.

Adriana began this journey when she took on the role of Director at a leading private practice in Singapore, where she forged relationships with foreign training experts in the field of psychotherapy and clinical psychology inviting them to Singapore to upskill the local clinicians. The courses proved to be extremely popular, selling out well in advance. Over time, this has grown to a significant contribution for Singapore's CPD and is congruous with the Government's intent to invest in the population. Indeed, as Singapore has grown, so too has the need for training of clinicians to help support the wider population through some of the growing pains of an expanding nation, as is evidenced by the Ministry of Health's focus on a five-year Community Mental Health Masterplan launched in 2017 which boosts integrated health and social care services, and manifests itself through investment in counsellors, occupational therapists and psychologists.

Adriana and Andrew, the co-founder, took this journey to the next level in January 2018 by setting up Elephant Therapy & Training with its dedicated training facility and an overarching mission to empower communities. Further training and seminars will also be offered to the larger population. Adriana and Andrew see the organisation growing over the forthcoming years and indeed their aspiration is for it to become a training institute in its own right.

WHY ELEPHANT?

The elephant embodies the perfect metaphor to eloquently symbolise the founders’ mission and vision:

Elephants are considered to be part of the keystone species; animals that play a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.

Being some of the most intelligent creatures on Earth, elephants have three times as many neurons as humans and whilst many are used to control their large bodies, they manifest a wide variety of highly sophisticated and adaptive behaviour, including those associated with grief, learning, mimicry, play, altruism, compassion, cooperation, self awareness, communication and, of course, memory.

Indeed elephants engage in interesting rituals, such as returning to the site of dead ancestors where they mourn and process old wounds from previous generations. In so doing, they appear to be able to process and thus release the ancestors’ energetic ties and lineage, one of the most important tasks for the psyche to develop freely and adaptively.

The elephant has one of the most closely knit societies of any living species and evidence shows their families can only be separated by death or capture; this reflects the importance of the relational and inter-subjective dimensions of existence, a pivotal developing field in postmodern clinical psychology and neuropsychology.