Dr. Flávio Gikovate

Flávio Gikovate was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1943, where he lived most of his life and achieved his MD, specializing in psychiatry in1966 at University of São Paulo, the most prestigious and important medical school in Latin America.

His private practice started in 1968; since 1978, he’s been well known in the country, and has, to the date, the largest psychotherapy practice in Brazil.

He has not affiliated himself to any specific school of psychological thought, nor has he refused any particular influences, being open to learning from various sources.

For instance, he never shied away from using pharmacology when necessary, and benefited from experiences with psychoanalytic treatment, which he attended for five years, and behaviorist therapy he learned in the University of London in 1970.

His eclectic psychotherapy practice is known, in the US as the “non-school of brief psychotherapy.” In the past 40 years, Dr. Gikovate has seen, in his private practice, about 8000 patients.

As for his theoretic work, in 1970 he presented studies about sex therapy; his first and critically acclaimed book, published in 1975, was about sex, love, and conjugal life. By 2007, he had published around 20 books.

From 1976 on, he deepened his studies on the nature of love, treating love separately from sexual issues, his first original and non-conventional position.

In the passing years, he published many studies about sex, love and married life; this would be the main theme of his life work.

His studies on couples generated various reflections on moral and freedom issues, which led to his first book on a duality of selfish/generous people and their behavior as couples, and then, a book about freedom.

Due to his immense success as a psychotherapist, he preferred his practical experience with patients over theoretic studies (although theory has always played an important part in his learning process, and has influenced him throughout the years). For this reason, he refuses to make bibliographical quotes, as he believes he owes his theories and knowledge to his patients, and not to the influence of other authors.

Alongside his literary production, in 1977, hr began to divulge his work through other, more direct means, by writing weekly articles for “Folha de São Paulo”, Brazil’s most important and influential newspaper – which he did for four years – and monthly articles in magazines of large circulation in the country, for over 20 years.

His work, devoid of quotes and bibliographical quotes, has a clear, straightforward writing style, while it dwells on the most complex issues of human behavior– not dissimilar to renowned Erich Fromm, for instance. Dr Gikovate’s main goal has always been to become accessible to a arge audience. However, this pursuit of clarity has caused his content, on occasion, to be dismissed as simplistic. This could not be further from the truth, however. His writings are dense in content, yet always through an approachable, readable text.

He has garnered respect for his theoretic work, as well as his practice; whenever he is published in the press, there’s always a vast reaction from the reading public.

His books, usually, hit the top of sales for theoretic, dense essays in Brazil (about 40,000 copies each, along the years).

He has also written three books directed to a younger audience, with a didactic slant; these books sold about 200,000 copies.

His 20 most serious, adult-oriented books have sold about 400,000 in all these years.

For instance, his most recent book — Evil, Good and Beyond has sold 24,000 copies in 24 months, and is still going strong, sales-wise.

His book about freedom hit 40,000 copies. The one about male psychology and one about selfishness, and yet other about love and loneliness, are among his most popular books.

Another recent book about the art of living well (this one was conceived and published in a different format, shorter and straighter to the point, in order to reach a more “popular” audience), sold 40,000 copies in 18 months. It has been translated to English, as well, and has been published in Italy already. Its rights have been sold to Spanish speaking countries, as well to the Middle East. A french editor is also currently negotiating the rights.

Sought after lecturer, he travels all over Brazil to attend conferences and meetings. He is also a frequent guest at the top-rated, most respected talk shows in Brazilian TV. Currently, he hosts a weekly talk show at the most prestigious radio network in Brazil.

His practice, however, remains his main activity. His passion for his work as a therapist has not diminished, not even against his activities as an author and lecturer.

After, his practice is, and always has been, his main source of learning about human nature. However, this does not mean he is not equally talented as a lecturer, writer and divulger of his thoughts.

Among his most important ideas that structure his life’s work, we have:

1. A clear separation between love and sex;
2. A deeper analysis of Freud’s reflections about the importance of the differences in male and female sexuality;
3. criticism to the psychoanalytical concept of narcissism, and his personal reflections on vanity;
4. the importance of love connections between people who have similar qualities, instead of believing opposites suit each other;
5. developing, from his initial reflections on Freudian thinking, his studies of the differences between men and women, and vanity in our social life: sexuality is associated more to aggression than to love;
6. studies on a human will for self-destruction, related to a phobia of happiness, which would be responsible, among other things, for superstitions;
7. A criticism of the traditional set of values; hr very clearly and courageously sees both selfish and generous personas as flawed; Selfishness exists only when juxtaposed against overt generosity (or goodness); however, a search for fairness could be the answer for both social and individual relationship problems.