Meet The Therapist: Evija Melberga
What attracted you to become a therapist?
Growing up in the countryside in the Baltic states and spending much time on my own as a child, I had all the time in the world to observe nature and people's lives around me.
From a young age, I read all the books I could find in my parent's library and become curious about other world out there, and also about people and their perceptions of themselves.
Even as I graduated in teaching and speech therapy for children with special needs, deep down I always wanted to be involved more with psychology and work with adults.
Moving to UK and working for a few years in hospitality sector, I eventually reached the point that I wanted to use my potential but didn't had enough self-believe and didn't know where to start…until on one of my long night shifts, doing stewardess duties, I met someone who challenged me and encouraged to fulfil my dreams.
This new perspective, coupled with a hunger for knowledge, propelled me through the tiredness from long hour night shifts I was doing then, in order to complete my studies. The study process was quite challenging, but it felt that I had finally found my true calling…
Where did you train?
I studied at the Psychosynthesis Education Trust London and hold a post-graduate diploma in psychosynthesis counselling and psychotherapy.
What sort of people do you usually see?
People from different walks of life, and also very diverse ethnicities and nationalities. This makes my work so fascinating. From young students who might struggle with their time in universities to young people who try to find themselves in relationships and city workers who suffer with work stress and try to find the right work-life balance.
Some of my clients are disabled and I visit them at home.
I also work with people who are sent to me from various insurance companies with work-related problems where we mainly engage in short-term work. It is interesting to notice that many of them after a certain time become my private clients and I guess that our time together in therapy often awakes the curiosity and willingness to explore themselves further.
Some of my clients are from Baltic states and ex-Soviet countries and, apart from the opportunity to use my other language skills, I often sense the hope from these clients to work with someone who understands them better, knowing we share similar background.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I feel privileged and honoured by people's stories they share with me. London is very cosmopolitan and I am often fascinated and curious of clients different backgrounds – ethnicity, culture and mentality.
I feel that we all have to slip away from my own skin for a while and try to see things from another point of view, which sometimes might seem unfamiliar and strange, but I am very willing to understand and always learn something from it.
What is less pleasant?
Being therapist in private practice sometimes might feel quite lonely - we miss out on catch ups over the coffee machine or simple chats in the corridor.
The work is about the client and I have to be aware how much I am disclosing of myself - I am naturally quite an open and friendly person. There are moments when it feels like I am carrying a lot of client material which sometimes might be painful, complicated and it takes a time to digest it.
There is also certain pressure to make sure that practice runs well: being your own marketing person, IT expert, accountant.
And now and then I feel conscious of my accent. Obviously English is not my first language and clients can be curious about where I'm from. On the funny side, I always try to remember that Freud and Jung also had their accents in English.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I think I've been with welldoing.org since the beginning, approximately four years and find them very approachable, clear and easy to use.
I've written two articles that have been published. And I enjoy seeing welldoing.org emails in my inbox once a week and reading the latest articles. I find them easy to digest and they reflect most of the actual issues we are going through nowadays. I also appreciate the human element there, knowing that someone (Alice) knows me there and if necessary, I can always reach out for advice or help. I've also joined the Facebook group recently and am hoping to get involved more.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
It's funny, but actually instead clients have told me about apps like Headspace or Calm. I tested them myself and keep suggesting them further. Clients often ask me for advice what would be suitable for them to read, I am quite conscious what to suggest it and it depends on issue they are working with it.
I often go back to Scott Peck The Road Less Travelled, which is a classic for me.
Recently I discovered Esther Perel's books Mating in Captivity and State of Affairs, both of which were loved by clients who wanted to know more about relationships in our modern world.
What you do for your own mental health?
Learned to (and still learning) not to take myself too seriously and find moments when I can simply watch world going by with nursing cup of coffee and the newest gossip magazine.
I do plenty of walking and when I can I put my trainers on and go for a run along the riverside as I am blessed living near it. Apart from good exercise, it keeps me sane and gives me energy for rest of the day.
And I am still benefiting from being in a relationship with that person who encouraged me to fulfil my dreams to become a therapist whilst on one of my long nightshifts many years ago.
I do value my sessions with my supervisors and also try to catch up with other therapists who run their own private practices.
You are a therapist in London bridge and Canada Water. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
I work (and often walk) between Canada Water and London Bridge. Both locations are very central and easy to access with local transport. At London Bridge I tend to see many City workers or people who find it easy and convenient to commute there before or after work.
Canada Water is a new and vibrant area and is constantly expanding with a flow of young people setting up home. It has pretty peaceful pockets with waterways and wildlife amongst new buildings.
I feel privileged to rent a room in local Bodytonic Clinic which not only specialises in osteopathy treatments (massages, beauty treatments ) but also offers yoga and pilates classes.
What’s your consultation room like?
The rooms in London Bridge vary as they get shared between other therapists, it has comfortable chairs, table lamps, occasional decors on the walls for client to feel comfortable.
The room I use in Canada Water Bodytonic clinic is loved by clients as they find it spacious, calming and cosy. Clients can chose either to sit on a comfy sofa or chairs. It has also very friendly and welcoming reception.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I personally believe it's one of the best investments in our lives to build more awareness about ourselves and our perceptions about the world and our place in it. We find it easier to book a personal trainer in a gym and see transformation within our bodies, losing body fat or gaining muscles, than we do on our minds.
In therapy we work with a therapist but those changes happen more internally, gaining more awareness and taking responsibility of ourselves in a new and expanded way.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Acceptance and self-compassion