About

I am a Finnish-Australian cis woman and I identify as queer and neurodivergent. I was born in 1983. My pronouns are she/elle/hon. I found myself drawn to mental wellbeing and equality work by a burning interest in the nature of being human, as well as my own experiences of burnout and being a member of a minority community. I have a PhD and specialise in minority history. I will be graduating as a solution-focused brief therapist from Helsingin Psykoterapiainstituutti in summer 2024. I am a student member of Lyhytterapeuttiyhdistys ry, with my eligibility examined and approved by the board. I have also completed 30 credits in psychology at the Open University of the University of Jyväskylä and the Reiki 1 & 2 Energy Healing courses.

My calling is to improve the world, one word, conversation and touch at a time. My own experiences of human relationships, single parenthood and burnout, as well as my ‘awakening’ on the eve of my thirties to my queer sexual identity in the midst of a heterosexual life led me to study solution-focused brief therapy at Helsingin Psykoterapiainstituutti (60 credits, due to graduate in June 2024).

I experienced a decisive turning point in 2015, when sex therapist Outi Santavuori and I founded a peer-support group for other ‘late bloomers’ like us. We also wrote a book together on the topic, entitled Entiset heterot (‘Former heteros’) (Atena, 2019). Leading a peer support group and moderating a Facebook group brought a deep sense of meaningfulness and I knew that one day I wanted to help people through therapy and equality work. During the Covid-19 pandemic, a form of energy healing called reiki, along with various other new kinds of spiritual reflection, came into my life with a bang, transforming my idea of well-being into something more holistic.

My educational background is as a PhD researcher focusing on minority themes. Humans in the past and present, as well as their role in all kinds of contexts, have always fascinated me, and so in the early 2000s I started my studies first in French philology and later in history at the University of Helsinki. I ultimately graduated with a PhD in general history in 2016. For my doctoral thesis, I researched the social work carried out by an order of nuns called the Daughters of Charity (Les Filles de la Charité) in the 17th century from the perspectives of gender, power and values. As a postdoc researcher, I’ve written on topics including queer nuns in the 17th century and chosen families in the 19th century. I have also taught and supervised theses. Highlighting the voices of minorities in my research, taking into account students’ diversity, and inclusive learning methods have proven to be key motivators for me in my work at the university. You can find more information about my research on Tampere University Research Portal.

I identify as a sensation seeking highly sensitive person and neurodivergent. I am following with interest research into the links between highly sensitive people and autism: according to some, the definition highly sensitive is grounded in an ableist attempt to make the characteristics of the highly functional end of the autism spectrum more ‘palatable’.

My nature means that, almost without exception, I put my heart, and a contagious sense of enthusiasm, into all that I do. As a therapist, I am empathetic and dedicated, and as a trainer my strength lies in my ability to create an atmosphere of positive interaction, yet never at the cost of genuine substance. My life experience is broad and varied, and I naturally cross paths with a wide range of people. I naturally take into consideration the atmosphere and physical space, and these factors are also important to me in creating a safe and functional therapy relationship.

I have personal experience as a client of brief psychotherapy, two different couples’ therapy and two longer-term psychotherapy reimbursed by KELA, both psychodynamic and cognitive, between the years 2010 and 2023. For the KELA reimbursement, I have been given the diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder and recurrent depressive disorder, which I both consider inaccurate. I feel I have profited especially from couples’ therapy and cognitive individual therapy as well as podcasts, books, articles, and peer support on mental health, spirituality and neurodiversity. The most important mental health insights I have gained are recognizing my needs and learning to set boundaries in addition to gaining a better understanding of the effects of codependency and neurodiversity.

Education

1 December 2022–
Solution-focused brief therapy training programme, Helsingin Psykoterpiainstituutti, 60 credits. Graduation June 2024. My studies also involve familiarisation with training communities.

14–15 October 2023
Reiki 2 course remotely. Instructor Reiki Master Teacher Pia Wikström.

17 January–24 December 2022
‘Psykoterpeuttiset valmiudet’ (‘Psychotherapeutic abilities’) course, the Open University at the University of Jyväskylä. This course includes 25 credits of basic studies in psychology and a 5 credit course unit entitled ‘Kliininen psykologia II’ (‘Clinical psychology II’), which is considered an intermediate-level psychology unit. I completed the overall course with an average grade of 4.6 (on a scale of 1–5).

10–11 December 2022
Reiki 1 course in-person in Helsinki. Instructor Reiki Master Teacher Pia Wikström.

31 March–1 April 2021
Reiki 1 course remotely. Instructor Reiki Master Teacher Pia Wikström.

26 January 2016
PhD, general history, University of Helsinki.

I have also taken a number of well-being and DEI work courses, such as the webinar ‘Palaudu ja vahvistu – ylläpidä kehosi jaksamista’ (‘Recovery and strengthening – keeping your body going’) by Psychologist Liisa Uusitalo-Arola and Well-Being Coach Kaisa Jaakkola in 2023. In 2022, I undertook more than 10 hours of training relating to DEI work. I have participated in webinars organised by Tampere University and Partners, such as ‘Yhdenvertaisempi työyhteisö: Lähtökohtia antirasismiin työyhteisöissä’ (‘A more equal work community: starting points for antiracism in work communities’), ‘Yhdenvertaisempi työyhteisö: Sateenkaari-ihmiset ja osallistaminen’ (‘A more equal work community: LGBTIQA+ people and inclusion’) and ‘Leading diversity in research groups and projects’. I have also studied the principles of safer spaces and gender diversity through training events organised by Rainbow Families Finland. In spring 2023, I participated in the training event ‘Sateenkaari-ihmisten perhe-, rakkaus- ja läheissuhteet’ (‘The family, friend, partner and other close relationships of LGBTIQA+ people’) organised by Sateenkaari-ihmisten perhesuhdekeskus.