So, you've ended up in Denmark...
Denmark is one of the happiest country in the world and it is, unarguably quite lovely, and it's world renowed for it's good social support system, including its free access to medical help.
But... It can also feel like a lonely and isolating place. Danes don't tend to do small talk and often aren't very open towards foreigners or to adding new friends to their existing circles. It's an expensive country to live and pay tax in and it can feel confusing and overwhelming navigating the bureaucracy. And as progressive as Denmark is known to be, it has a huge problem with it's mental health services and its views on mental health problems. It's outdated, often shaming and based on the problematic and unreliable medical model. There's an old narrative of 'what's wrong with you' and offering non-valid and stigmatising diagnoses rather than using the more helpful stance of 'what happened to you?' and working towards solutions and thriving, adding to the stigma of normal and common experiences such as dealing with low moods, overthinking, stress and worrying, while dismissing the seroiusness of dealing with a harsh inner critic, perfectionism, feeling like an imposter and negatively comparing oneself to others.
For any therapists outside of Denmark, it'll be hard to understanding what it's like living under this oppressive mental health system and for any therapist born and raised in Denmark, it might be hard to see why the Danish way is so outdated and harmful.
I was born in Denmark in the 80s but left when I was 21 and moved around for most of my 20s, including living in London, Wellington, across Australia and Scotland, while travelling through Europe and visiting Asia and America. And despite having a Bachlors and Masters of Science in Psycholgy and a 3-year postgraduate diploma in counselling, as well as a diploma in coaching and coaching supervision and being addicted to personal development books, my biggest and most influencial teachers have been the different cultures I encountered while travelling and moving around and the many people I met along the way. It was via my travels my eyes were opened to just how small-minded and insular Denmark is and many Danes can be.
I now call myself an international as I've never really felt at home anywhere and I've always found it easy to settle in a new country or city. However, this flexibility, sense of adventure and need for freedom has also come with a deep-seated sense of lonliness of never feeling like I fully belong anywhere and lacking a sense of feeling rooted.
For me there were many different and often unexpected feelings attached to my wunderlust.
There was the joy and excitment of a new and fresh start. There was the zest for learning everything I could about my new 'home' country and diving deep into the culture, as well as wandering around neighbourhoods to absorb what it meant to be a local.
But with that also came loneliness and uncomfortable questions as to why I was so okay to move and start over somewhere new time and again - what was I running away from or what was I hoping to run towards? As well as questions around whether I was being more flexible than my boyfriends when agreeing to live whereever they preferred and what that said about the quality and equality of the relationship, questions around my need for them to acknowledge this 'sacrifice' more than they did and questions around what I was giving up on for me to adhere to their needs?
But no matter how many times I moved and or how many fresh starts I got, my mind always followed. "Whereever I go, there I am" as Jon Kabat-Zinn called one of his book. My problems, my obstacles, my fears and my past always moved along with me no matter how many times I practiced minimalism and tried to leave my 'stuff' at the charity shops at the previous location.
And as well as my mind, the exhaust of forming new friendships, of starting a new job, learning to navigate a new system and new neighbours and both local as well as national politics also followed.
Now, I'm back at being a Dane in Denmark but I still don't feel 'at home'. I still had to start anew, after 18 year abroad. There was no foundation left here from my first two decades in this country. I'm still trying to get my head around Danish bureaucracy. And my mind - that's still there too - now unpacking my international identity and feeling like a stranger in my home.
Working with me, you'll work with someone fluent in English, who understands the turmoil (and joys) of having relocated to a new country and trying to navigate a new system, social rules and cultural expectations. And whereas I work extensively with mental health problems (though I don't offer diagnoses), I work just as often with people who's main goal is to thrive more in their already good lives, to move closer to their dreams, addressing motivation, inspiration and hindering perfectionistic standards or who just want to be happier in life.
I work with humans from all walks of life and I work with where they're at, not where I think they should be, accepting and honouring any 'otherness' they might feel.
I work from a place of being psychologically informed, offering educational means, while working therapetucially with your emotions but also staying dynamic and future-focussed via coaching strategies.
If you want to know more and whether we're a good fit, get in touch for a free 20-minute chat here...