Mielen Portti -artikkelit

Welcome to the Autumn!  

Hello friends, you are welcomed and invited by Trapesa! We are situated in the Espoo centre, and are open already. As usual, our organization cares about social life of everyone who feels lonely or who is looking for new activities and friends. 

Since the beginning of 2020, all of humanity has been going through an ambiguous and difficult time. We have been–and still are–experiencing many changes. Do you remember how many uncertainties there were at the beginning of the pandemic? We were faced with a virus we were not familiar with and it has affected the way we relate to our entire lives. Our routines, family life, school life, activities, travel–they all changed. We had to wear masks all the time outside the house. We tried to follow the measures we were told to. While some were easy to follow, some required more time and effort. We tried not to get sick. We tried to protect our loved ones. Still, some of us got sick. We all experienced loss, some different and some similar to each other. We acquired new habits.

Autumn 2022 is coming, and as usual we are enjoying the last days and the aromas of the summer. However, not so rarely, for some of us, autumn is associated with the beginning of a new school year, the looming stress of holiday season, or any other changes. The autumn season is often accompanied by a deterioration of the emotional state, and a decrease in vital energy. For some of us autumn has a taste of possible regrets from not having achived desired goals over the summer.

So, what can you do with these emotions when you are having a hard time? How about making some room for them? Is it possible to stay in them, even if they make you feel uncomfortable? Just as we all experience the transition from summer to autumn differently, there isn’t any single way to experience difficult feelings. We are all unique, and so is the way we experience emotions. It can be helpful to tell yourself that your feelings are welcome, without any judgment and with compassion. Singing, dancing, exercising, meditating or engaging with art are all good ways to release your feelings. Sometimes, you might not feel like doing anything or just can’t find the strength to start something new. Sometimes, you can show yourself some compassion by brewing yourself a cup of tea or watching your favourite TV show. It’s also a good idea to remember that you can get support from a mental health professional to help you through this change. Experts also say that changes in diet, daily exercise, and increased exposure to daylight are all ways people can minimize the effects of autumn emotional distresses.

In the frames of project called Mielen Portti, Trapesa suggest our clients to visit our professionals in case if the emotional life is difficult, or person or family undergoes changes or various crisis situations. We offer professional supportive conversations, that put you think of “being human” as something you can get better at, and your skill level is the biggest determining factor in how good your life is. Getting better at being human comes down to how good you are at a set of skills that schools don’t teach: managing your moods and reactions, stopping your mind from talking so much, losing your self-consciousness and shyness, getting over the past, setting up a life that makes use of your talents, quitting habits that drain you, dealing with problems without getting mad, or even enjoying ordinary moments like waiting for the bus. Welcome to talk with mental health professional! We speak different languages.

This year Trapesa, as an international living room and the place for intercultural encounters invites you to participate in many interesting support- and training groups. We will be assisting you to follow through the autumn times with a good mood. We have arranged groups in different languages. For example, “Arabiankielinen naisten hyvinvointi- ja terveyskurssi”, that gives you the insights into proper learning of healthy lifestyle. With our worker, Sura Zubaidi, as a facilitator of the group, it will be possible to explore the healthy habits, discuss the individual plan for developing one’s personal goals and approaches in individual weight regulation. The course “Conscious Parenting” continuing its meetings. The group is aiming to provide the support for families, especially parents, who are eager to learn more about their parenthood styles and challenges. This autumn the course is organised for the family- and  social work practitioners and specialists. It is easy to get in contact with Clara Vazquez, neuropsychologist, family expert, and developer of psychosocial work in the Mielen Portti project. Trapesa continues working with children and adults throughout art activities with Irina Rebnitskaya, talented artist, and attentive teacher, who organizes water-colour workshops on Thursdays, starting from the 8th of September. Please, check the timetable of events and groups on our new website on www.trapesa.com. You can easily find us and all the contact information about our living room. Welcome to visit Trapesa!

Irina Preis

specialist of psychosocial work, gestalt-therapist, Mielen Portti hanke

To my anonymous heroines  

Clara Vazquez is Family expert and psychosocial work developer at Mielen Portti project and PhD student in University of Jyväskylä in Department of Psychology. 

You can read this article in english and below in spanish. 

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠To my anonymous heroines: 

It is a fact that the emotional wounds and traumas that we carry from our childhood influence how we raise and relate to our children and the world in general. However, for many people it is not so obvious: unfortunately, there is very little information available for parents about it.  

During my work at Mielen Portti I have seen many parents who make an effort and sacrifice themselves to "give their children what they could not have", or who wish not to yell or punish their children, but they find many difficulties in order not to do so, or they do not know how to set healthy limits because they confuse authority with authoritarianism, parents who have difficulties to acknowledge the needs of their children because they do not know how to approach them or how to establish an empathic conversation. I also see how the feeling of guilt paralyzes many parents and it becomes very difficult to take care of themselves or do something meaningful for them, I see them not prioritizing themselves, I see them cry, I see them afraid of doing the same things as their family of origin, and, in many cases, I see them alone, tired, and with the feeling that they are doing everything wrong. 

On many occasions, these situations occur because there are unhealed emotional wounds that come, in many cases, from their childhood: yelling and punishing happened because, possibly, it was what their parents did with them, not prioritizing themselves could happened because they parents or the society made them believe that they were not important enough, they demand themselves a lot because they were taught that  their value was what they do and not what they are, and, eventually, they want to do things differently than their family of origin, but they don't know how. 

Giving tools and information to families is a priority job, and, from my point of view, this job should be supported by emotional accompaniment in which professionals help parents to rise their level of consciousness about their self-knowledge so that they can improve their self-care and reach a fuller life, consistent with their own ideals and, therefore, give their best version to themselves, their partner, their children and the rest of society. 

This is what we do in our Conscious Parenting courses and in the individual sessions at Mielen Portti: supporting these parents to increase their level of awareness of their own needs, desires, concerns and their past empower them to take decisions according to their own being, which leads to an increase in vital coherence and inner peace. 

If any of these words resonate with you, I invite you to our Conscious Parenting courses that I facilitate every fall and spring. It doesn't matter how many children you have, their ages, or if they have any diagnosis: this course is about us, about our personal development and our self-knowledge as individuals and parents.  

And to you, who have already come to my courses, you are always welcome, both to the news and old topics. And I take this opportunity to thank you. Thanks to all the parents who have passed through Mielen Portti, parents who fall and get up and who are everyday learning to be the parent they want to be. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to witness incredible stories. Because it is true that I see many difficulties, but I also see daily stories of overcoming hope, stories moved by unconditional love for their children. To you, my anonymous heroines, thank you very much for letting me see all this and more. I admire you. 

Sinceraly, Clara Vázquez 

A mis heroínas anónimas:  

Es un hecho que las heridas emocionales y los traumas que arrastramos desde nuestra infancia influyen en cómo criamos y nos relacionamos con nuestros hijos y con el mundo en general. Sin embargo, para muchas personas no es tan evidente: desgraciadamente hay muy poca información accesible para padres al respecto.   

Durante mi trabajo en Mielen Portti he acompañado emocionalmente a muchos padres que se sobre esfuerzan y se sacrifican para “dar a sus hijos lo que ellos no pudieron tener”, o que desean no gritar o no castigar a sus hijos, pero no saben cómo no hacerlo porque pierden el control de sus reacciones cuando se enfadan y les faltan herramientas para establecer límites de manera más saludable, o no saben poner límites con sentido porque confunden la autoridad con el autoritarismo, papás o mamás que no conocen las necesidades emocionales o afectivas de sus hijos porque no saben cómo acercarse a ellos o cómo establecer una conversación empática. Veo también cómo el sentimiento de culpabilidad los paraliza y cuidarse o hacer algo por y para ellos se les hace muy difícil. Los veo no priorizarse, los veo llorar, los veo con miedo a parecerse a sus madres o a sus padres, y, en muchos casos, los veo solos, cansados, y con la sensación de que lo hacen todo mal.  

Pues bien, en muchas ocasiones estas situaciones ocurren porque hay heridas emocionales no sanadas que provienen, probablemente, de nuestra infancia: se grita y se castiga porque, probablemente, era lo que sucedía en sus familias de origen, no se priorizan porque les hicieron creer que no eran lo suficientemente importantes, se sobre exigen porque les enseñaron a que su valor como personas recae en lo que hacen y no en lo que son, y quieren hacer las cosas de manera diferente a como su padres lo hicieron con ellos, pero no saben cómo.  

Dar herramientas e información a las familias es un trabajo prioritario, y, desde mi punto de vista, dicho trabajo debería estar apoyado de un acompañamiento emocional en el que los profesionales ayudemos a los papás y a las mamás a conocerse y a cuidarse más y mejor para así llevar una vida más plena, coherente con sus propios ideales y, entonces, dar su mejor versión a ellos mismos, a su pareja, a sus hijos y al resto de la sociedad. 

Esto es lo que hacemos en nuestros cursos en Crianza Consciente y en las sesiones individuales de Mielen Portti: apoyar a esos padres para aumentar su nivel de consciencia sobre sus propias necesidades, deseos, inquietudes y su pasado, y así facilitar que, posteriormente, tomen decisiones más acordes con su propio ser, lo que conlleva a un aumento en coherencia vital y paz interior.    

Si alguna de estas palabras resuena contigo, te invito a nuestros cursos en Crianza Consciente que facilito cada otoño y cada primavera. No importa cuántos hijos tienes, sus edades, o si tienen algún tipo de diagnóstico: este curso va de nosotros, de nuestro desarrollo personal y nuestro autoconocimiento como personas individuales y padres.    

Y a ti, que ya has venido a mis cursos, sigues siendo siempre bienvenida, tanto a los nuevos como a los antiguos temas. Y aprovecho para darte las gracias. Gracias a todas las familias que han pasado por Mielen Portti, mamás y papás que se caen y se levantan y que siguen ahí aprendiendo a ser los padres que ellos y ellas quieren ser. Es un privilegio y un honor el tener la posibilidad de ser testigo de historias increíbles. Porque es cierto que veo muchas dificultades, pero también veo diariamente historias de superación, de esperanza, historias movidas por el amor incondicional hacia sus hijos. A vosotras, mis heroínas anónimas, muchas gracias por dejarme ver todo esto y más. Os admiro.  

Atentamente Clara.  

Self-care means permit yourself to Pause

When our groups focus on self-development we speak about wellbeing, is very common to think about things that we should do or start doing, like go to the gym, see more of our friends, eat healthier, learn something new, etc. 

And then we arrive at the same issue: the lack of time. I hear very often the sentence: "but I don't have time for this or that". Is true that we have to work or study, or maybe we have family, responsibilities, and sometimes can be very difficult to balance all our responsibilities and our quality time for ourselves. 

So, for starting to take care of yourself more and better, and if it is difficult to manage the time, I invite you to reflect about if you could start stopping doing things that harm you. Stopping doing things, little by little, step by step does not take a lot of time. We all have time to stop doing certain things that are not good for our health. 

For example, instead of learning to cook healthier food, we could start, little by little,  to stop eating unhealthy food, candies, etc. We could also pay attention to our habits and be more aware of them. We do many things in an automatic way, so it is very good to stop every now and then and just ask today myself questions like these: 

Do I spend unnecessary time in front of the computer or scrolling the screen of my phone? How are my posture and my movements when I am working, or with my children, or when I sit? can I take just 10 seconds now and breathe deeper? Do I hear myself complaining about the same situation so much? Can I focus my energy a bit more on finding a solution for that specific situation? Am I comfortable and do I feel accepted in my relationships? Is it worth having those people in my life?  

In my opinion, our time and our energy are our most valuable resources. Let's invest them wisely. If we do not have time to do healthier things for our body and mind, let's stop doing things that cause harm to us or other people. Besides, stop doing negative things for yourself or others is going to give you so many positive effects, but also, is going to give you more of our most valuable resources: as I said, time and energy. 

How are you going to spend that extra time? 

Spend it wisely. 

Stay active. 

Stay healthy. 

Clara Vázquez 

Family expert and psychosocial work developer at Mielen Portti 

040 729 5355

Promoting Mental Health of Immigrants

Mielen portti -asiantuntijat, psykososiaalisen työn kehittäjät  Irina Preis ja Clara Vázquez pitivät otsikon mukaisen esityksen Espoon kaupungin Active NGOs -hankkeen päätöstapahtumassa  Järjestöjen päivässä 15.4.2021. Mikäli aihe kiinnostaa sinua, powerpoint-esitykset ovat saatavissa pyydettäessä: irina.preis@trapesa.com.

Mielen portti experts Irina Preis and Clara Vázquez are developers of psycho-social work with immigrants and their families. They had a common presentation on special focus of mental health among immigrants in Järjestöjen päivä 15.4..2021,  when Espoo City's collaborating European project Active Ngos was completed. If you are interested in the theme, you may have the presentation by request: irina.preis@trapesa.com.


Irina Preis

The importance of having a safe space to talk

My name is Clara, I am from Spain, living in Finland for 5 years with my family. After finalizing my internship during the integration course that I was studying for 9 months, I started to work for Mielenportti as an expert in family and psychosocial work development. 

During the current world situation that we all are living in due Covid-19, I have seen in my counseling sessions many people with some common needs: the need to talk, the need to express themselves, the need to be heard. 

Last year was a difficult year for many of us, but in many multicultural families who are living in Finland, I have realized some added problems: anxiety and depression due to having their family of origin away in times of a world pandemic, and the feeling of impotence and guilt because of not being able to be there for them. 

 This is one of the reasons why  in some cases, they don't feel like they have the right to express themselves or speak about their own concern with their own families. 

“If I can go out with my children, if I can go to work, if I can send my children to school, if we are healthy and the number of deaths is lower here in Finland than in my home country,... how can I complain?”

 Some of the multicultural families that I am working with have taken the role of the listener, the helper, during a conversation with their families who are living difficult situations in their home country. They don't really feel the right to express themselves if they believe that their situation here in Finland is better than in their home country. 

 And here comes our objectives in Mielenportti´s team: give a safe space to people in need to talk, to share feelings, to be heard, decrease the feeling of loneliness and empower themselves so that they feel with the right to express their worries, fears, sadness developing a healthy relationship with themselves. 

 In our team, mental wellbeing is a priority, and give space to people to feel free to talk and get help if is needed is essential. This is the reason why in our groups we discuss and learn about our needs, about how to take care of ourselves in an individual way, we help them to increase the awareness about what they want and they wish, about their emotions and how to manage them, focusing on how to develop healthy and full parenthood and motherhood. We also come up with difficult topics like bullying and how to empower our children, how to develop respectful communication in the family and much, much more.

 A conscious parenting group is coming soon, together with different workshops where our goal is to improve mental and emotional wellbeing. We also are creating a group of volunteers, people that want to be active in society, and you are all very welcome to our Trapesa Virtual Café, every Wednesday at 12, and to our support groups facilitated by Irina Preis. Individual counseling can also be arranged if is needed. 

 If you are in need of our services or you know someone who might need it, or if you want to be a member of our wonderful team of volunteers you can find us on our website, call our team, visit our Facebook Page or write an email.

For more information, contact Clara Vázquez


040 729 5355

Thank you. 

Clara Vázquez – Welcome!

Clara Vázquez is the new member in work team of Mielen portti. She's originally Spanish psychologist and neuropsychologist (Málaga University, I.S.E.P Madrid). You are warmly welcome, Clara! We all wish you will enjoy your work in Mielen portti networks.

Clara Vázquez on Mielen portin uusi työntekijä, joka kehittää psykososiaalista tukea mm. erilaisten perheiden ja yhteisöjen parissa. Hän on valmistunut Espanjassa psykologiksi ja neuropsykologiksi (Málaga University, I.S.E.P Madrid). Nyt hän on asunut Suomessa jo viisi vuotta. Tervetuloa Clara, toivomme, että viihdyt työssäsi henkisen hyvinvoinnin kasvattamisessa.

Contact: clara.vazquez@trapesa.com, tel. 040 7295355.

Psychosocial support for Immigrants

There are many overlapping problems that affect the mental well-being of immigrants in Finland. Individuals who escape from a crisis situation are often in a very vulnerable psychological position and have to go through psychological adjustment in the Finnish social setting, which is alien to them. The crisis may be normative or non-normative, so the support that is required is also specific to an individual.

In Finland, even immigrants who have faced severe volition of human dignity, often remain untreated, because of language barriers, religious values, and unmet social conditions, according to mental health expert Irina Preis.

Irina Preis is a psychosocial support development specialist at Trapesa and works for the Mielen portti project. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist from Latvia and certified social worker (sosionomi) with Valvira licence here in Finland. She provides short-term counseling, provides psychosocial support in Finnish, English, Russian and Estonian. She also runs peer support groups.

Irina says that at Trapesa they decided to start the Mielen portti project to provide psychosocial support to immigrant communities.

Psychosocial support basically brings together Psychology about socialization. It's a support given to help meet mental, emotional, and social needs, of clients and their families.”

Mielen portti provides short-term counseling services. People typically come in with small assistance needs, like help with Kela paperwork. Their work does not end here, more often it only begins. We also listen to their stories. As clients see and feel that someone has a friendly ear and is truly interested in their story, they gradually open up and much deeper issues find means to come to the surface.

Mielen portti sessions are at least 1 hour long and can extend if needed. Trapesa’s purpose is not just to help clients with their immediate needs but also to evaluate the need for psychosocial support. Official councilors and social workers have a lot of work, they may only have 20 minutes per client for example, and some clients are referred to Mielen portti if support need is extensive. And in turn Trapesa is indirectly supporting Espoo City’s and other officials’ work.

Irina says that at Mielen portti, we appreciate client’s willingness to talk. Then depending on what we observe, we decide how to help client, to get an appointment with a general practitioner for example. If the situation is very bad, for example, client’s personality or dignity is already crushed, then we connect the client with a professional who comes from the same background and shares the same language. For this Mielen portti is building a network of immigrant physiologists or psychotherapists, who are qualified but not eligible to practice in Finland as they are not certified by Valvira.

She continues by saying, even an initial conversation or the understanding of what is going on with a client, motivates her. Although she is not fully treating her clients, she can help them gain awareness of their mental state. It is one of the most important things, for a person. She says the main task is that clients understand that they can cope with what they are going through. There are always options, one has to choose from, but in stressful situations, our abilities are often limited.

One of the important aspect of support work is to form communities. There is a lack of social supportive communities in society. Communities form the basis of peer support groups. Through these groups, people develop social and emotional skills. Over time a peer support group becomes the channel of communication, that helps one understand oneself and own needs. It is not uncommon that people find their best friends in these groups. Irina says "we are all social creatures first and then biological creatures; being part of a community promotes positive emotional response in us".

Irina's email is irina.preis@trapesa.com. Trapesa’s office address is Kirkkojärventie 1, 02770 Espoo (Espoon asema, asemasilta, 2nd floor).

Written by : Anisha Raj

Keski-Espoon Sanomat

Masennuksesta voi selvitä

Millainen on masentunut? Makaa sängyssä, ei liiku, puhu, toimi, syö, nuku?

Kouluttajapsykoterapeutti Maarit Kallion mukaan mielikuvat masennuksesta ovat usein varsin yksioikoisia. Masennus oireilee monimuotoisesti ja voi piiloutua sosiaalisissa tilanteissa. Osa masentuneista on toimintakykyisiä, jopa korkeasti suorittavia. Murskaavat yksinäisyyden, kelpaamattomuuden, riittämättömyyden ja toivottomuuden tunteet jäävät piiloon mielen sisälle.

- Masentunutkin voi olla ”sairaan reipas” – siis niin reipas, että masennusta on vaikea ulospäin tunnistaa. Masennus on tärkeää tunnustaa ja tulla hoidetuksi sekä yksilön että ympäristön toimesta. Masennus vaatii usein terveydenhuollon ammattilaisen apua. Lisäksi on paljon keinoja, joilla voi auttaa itseään tai läheistään toipumisessa tai uuden masennuksen ehkäisemisessä.

On tärkeää, että masennuksen mieli tulee kuulluksi, jotta sen alla olevaa hätää voidaan hoitaa ja lohduttaa. Vaikka sairaus on ankara ja raskas, voi siitä ajan kulussa seurata myös hyvää.

Psychology Todayn mukaan masennusta voitaisiinkin ajatella enemmän kokemuksena kuin häiriönä tai sairautena.

Masennus voi lähteä liikkeelle tilanteesta, jossa keho havaitsee vaaran ja aktivoi puolustusjärjestelmän. Jos emme pääse vaaraa pakoon emmekä pysty taistelemaan sitä vastaan, keho reagoi lamaantumalla. Jos tilanne vain jatkuu, myös mielemme lamaantuu eli masentuu. 

Jokaisella on oikeus ja velvollisuus pitää itsestään ja omista tarpeistaan huolta. Masennuksen sairastaneella siihen on aivan erityisen painavat syyt.

Joka viides suomalainen sairastuu masennukseen elämänsä aikana, ja yli puolella sairaus uusiutuu. Naiset sairastuvat miehiä tavallisemmin. Masentuminen näkyy olemuksessa, mutta tuntuu myös fyysisinä kipuina kehossa. Onneksi uusien hoitomenetelmien kehittäminen on vilkasta.

Aiheesta ovat kirjoittaneet kaksi täyskaimaa, toinen Elina Hiltunen on futuristi ja toinen Yleisradion tuottaja. Kirjoittajina he pyrkivät katsomaan masennuksen hoitoa ennen kaikkea masennuksesta selviytyneiden potilaiden silmin. 

Masennuksesta selviää! on kirja, jossa potilaat kertovat miten he ovat parantuneet keskivaikeasta tai vaikeasta masennuksesta. Masennuksen asiantuntijat selvittävät, miten uudet menetelmät tehostavat masennuksen hoitoa jo nyt.

Filoksenian käynnistämässä Mielen portti -hankkeessa yhdistetään järjestöjen ja Espoon kaupungin ammattilaisten voimat, monimuotoinen tietotaito ja erilaiset palvelut. On tarkoitus, että eritaustaiset ihmiset ja heidän läheisensä voivat tulla ymmärretyksi palveluverkostossa, saavat apua ja tietoa elämänsä voimavaroihin, turvallisuuteen ja mielenterveyteen liittyvissä haasteissaan. 

Masennus on yksi aiheista, mistä tarvitaan tietoa kaikissa väestöryhmissä. Tulossa on asiantuntija-webinaareja ja keskustelutilaisuuksia, erikielisiä vertaistukiryhmiä ja koulutuksia aiheesta mm. yhteistyössä Mieli ry:n kanssa. Tavoitteena on lähestyä vaikeitakin asioita myönteisessä hengessä, toivoa ja toipumista esillä pitäen ja kokemusasiantuntijoita kuunnellen.

Lähteenä mm. Maaret Kallion blogi sekä teos Elina Hiltunen-Elina Hiltunen: Masennuksesta selviää (Docendo 2018). 


Raisa Lindroos

Projektipäällikkö, Mielen portti -hanke, Filoksenia ry


Kuva: Venera Mustonen