What made you come to Russia?
This job came to my attention when our doctor here at Finnish Medical Centre told me about it. We were colleagues in Helsinki, and we already knew each other. The embassy was looking for somebody who is experienced in a variety of contexts and problems and who can also work in English. The opportunity to establish something new was interesting for me. Also, the demand for counselling and psychology services had been an issue for years here. Living abroad under stressful economic and political circumstances affects our wellbeing, reasoning and our relationships at home. Rather than being psychiatric concerns, we feel that many expats are facing adaptation challenges. Stress and emotional well-being require constant attention â talking, resting and new supportive perspectives. We want to reach people and provide a confidential space for reflection and support under any challenging situations.
What is your approach in psychotherapy?
I think that despite of how much knowledge and scientific training a psychologist has, the relationship with the client is not going to work out unless it is respectful and co-operative. To be able to express our thoughts and feelings requires trust and an experience of being listened to. This sets off a process where new insights can be discovered and new concepts and perspectives emerge.
Where do you work, how do you work and what are your plans for immediate future?
I work at the Finnish Medical Centre Moscow in Kropotkinskij Pereulok 15, at the Finnish embassy. The first goal is to reach expats in Moscow so that our services become known. I work with both individuals and couples, and we also deal with work related problems. A strength in our services is co-operation with our two doctors. That allows us to deal with many kinds of problems, medical and psychological at the same clinic. A client does not have to know what the problem is to come to us. Our services always begin with a co-operative assessment that leads to an expert opinion and a mutually agreed treatment plan. Sometimes counselling helps. Psychotherapy can also be a process that takes longer, up to 2 years if needed.
Who are your clients?
We provide services for all expats in Moscow who speak English. I can also work in Swedish. Organizations and private sector companies can also contact us, since both our doctor and me have long experience with occupational and organizational well-being.
Are you for or against the prescription of drugs in psychotherapy?
I work within a scientifically based framework. We always look at what is best for the individual person. Sometimes the best treatment can be a combination of therapy and medication. My experience is that in the field of psychology, we should not dismiss treatments that have proven efficacy. Rather we need to discuss options together with our clients to find the best solution available.
Please share your personal background, degrees, places of work, etc.
My background is from clinical psychology. I have worked in general psychiatry, couples therapy, family counselling and addictions. I have a 4 year training in adult psychotherapy, and specializations in occupational health and crisis psychology. 5 years ago, I became interested in how our environment impacts our psychological well being. I also started working with work and organizational development, using my experiences from clinical psychology as an approach. I think that combining a group and individual psychological approach is very fruitful, since we are both biologically and psychologically attached to the people around us. My hobby is ocean sailing, which has taught me a lot about group work, co-operation and resources under hard conditions.