Tributes to Gigi

ESCP Annual Conference 2003

From Bob Langs

It is with deep-felt sadness that we who knew Gigi Gatti-Doyle mourn her untimely death. Loss is always difficult to bear, but, with Gigi, this is especially true because of the void that stands in her wake. She was one of those rare human beings who at all times exuded a most welcome and infectious vitality, warmth and love of life. It was damn near impossible to be depressed in her presence. She was Elavil in human form.

In addition to our sporadic meetings over many years I got to know Gigi first hand one summer when I spent an entire month of July teaching at Regent's College. Her love for life and for other human beings led her to make and reach out to countless friends and to be there to help them at the drop of a hat, and, at the same time, enable her, personally, to pursue all of what life had to offer her.

Acting, writing, and, I must add, mastering the communicative or strong adaptive approach were all exciting adventures for Gigi, and she explored their territories and mastered their terrains with utmost passion. For many years, she was the only therapist, other than myself, who was doing or teaching self-processing, a form of emotional education and self-exploration that takes us, as humans, to the corners of the human psyche that are most terrifying to behold consciously, even as they secretly run the course of our lives. It takes a rare and fearless adventurer to enter that kind of emotional world and an even rarer person to do so successfully. Gigi was all that and more.

In recent years, with her move back to Italy, Gigi always kept in touch with me by e-mail or telephone. Rebuilding her new house became a fresh love for her, yet despite the time and effort involved, she continued to teach the communicative approach and to try to establish a stronger foothold for the approach in her native land. She was warm, soft, comforting and indefatigable.

Always the fighter, she fought her illness with the same verve and intensity that she brought to the endlessly creative side of her life. But, as we all know, there are forces that even the most gifted among us cannot master or defeat. Such are the ways of life - and of death as well.

I miss Gigi and all she stood for about life and the fields we both loved and love - psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. She is truly irreplaceable. Those who knew Gigi know exactly whereof I speak.

From Gillian Gordon

I was lucky enough to find myself in the company of an Italian whirlwind some five years ago. I had signed up for a course here at Regent's (College) on 'Dreams and the Unconscious and Creative Writing'. It sounded provocative enough and fitted into exactly what I was interested in as a writer and producer, where I really connect with psychotherapy dreams and their unconscious material. It was to take place over two weekends in the Spring. Looking back, those four days changed my life. For the impish, pre-raphaelite presence of Fiorella Gatti-Doyle (Gigi) made me feel that at last I had found my place.

I had been stumbling around the study of psychotherapy, but it was she who made me take it seriously and she who inspired me to discover the work of Robert Langs as well as introducing me to the grand possibilities of applying his model of self-processing to the craft and art of creative writing.

When Gigi stood before us something magical was imparted, a contagion of enthusiasm, an attunement and a sort of divine inspiration ensued. My fellow students and I were filled to bubbling over with Gigi's words and the meaning and the implication of the work... it was as if suddenly everything made sense - and the Italian cadence didn't hurt at all. She made it visual for us and, without turning this into a happy clappy revival meeting, I felt that I had received the 'word' - Hallelujah! We just couldn't get enough of her and this exciting communicative process.

Four of us students continued to meet one Sunday a month for a year to continue the work, to understand and practise self-processing but also to produce short stories, poems and other works... She told us to write and not stop writing, to not judge, to just write - and we did. We produced some good work, but most importantly we produced our own good therapy. Gigi put a human face on psychodynamic psychotherapy. She taught us to help each other and we were helped by Gigi to uncover our dreams, to look at our unconscious communications and processes, to analyse the triggers and to bring enlightenment and understanding into the here and now.

Gigi was my mentor and my friend. Her always generous spirit has encouraged me, supported me in my own pursuit and application of this work in the field of film and television. My life and my career have been enhanced and refined in her good and gentle hands. I owe Gigi a great deal and it is with a heavy heart and inestimable sadness that I remember her today. She, I am sure, has returned to her place among the angels who so kindly lent her to us for a very brief time...

Saturday April 26, 2003