About psychodynamic coaching

My goal is to help you understand yourself and help you to transform something inside yourself, so that you can feel better

— Your psychodynamic coach

Experiencing difficult emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame, envy and jealousy is a normal part of life. However, few people know how to process these emotions and support themselves during challenging times. As a result, people make wrong decision in life that entail long-term negative consequences.

As a psychodynamic life coach, I help my clients to alter their chronic negative emotional state at the unconscious level. Our unconscious minds “speaks the language” of images and bodily sensations, which are metaphors of our inner world.

During our sessions we explore these images, sensations, and emotions in a safe space using Emotional-Image Techniques (EIT) or Metaphoric Associative Cards (MAC).

Together, we work to determine the underlying causes of internal conflict or suffering. During this transformative process, my clients learn to see hidden obstacles and works through difficult emotions in a gentle way.

Through creative use of imagination, during our session we take action to let go of burdens, to lower tension, to relieve distress, to resolve internal conflict and to transform the emotional state.

As a result, my clients acquire a sense of inner peace, self-confidence, lightness, wholeness and clarity. They start to experience more joy in life and to make healthy decisions.

Joy, creativity and life philosophy

Yesterday I was asked to give advice on three ways that people could support themselves during the challenging time we are going through right now.

This is what I recommended:

First, when you wake up in the morning, ask yourself: What can I DO today that will give me JOY?

Second, what can I CREATE today that will bring me JOY?

Third, write down your LIFE’S PHILOSOPHY and adjust it if it is outdated. Answer a few questions: How do you feel about other people? How about yourself? And about the world? And about life? How do you feel about stressful situations? How do you deal with stress? Do you isolate yourself? Do you overdramatize? Write your own life’s philosophy. And when you have your value systems and life philosophy updated, it will be a foundation, which will support you during shaky times.

If you want support on the journey of self-reflection and adjustments, I will be happy to hold the flashlight for you.

What is perfectionism for you?

According to a few articles perfectionism is heading toward an epidemic and public health issue.

“As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists,” says Katie Rasmussen, who researches child development and perfectionism at West Virginia University.

There are studies that suggest that the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer, says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at the Curtin University in Perth who specializes in perfectionism, eating disorders and anxiety. Eating disorders, which often are driven by perfectionism, are on the rise across the globe.

Data on 40,000 college students in the UK, U.S., and Canada from 1989 to 2016 shows that perfectionism is on the rise, and may be to blame for increasing rates of anxiety and depression among young people.

Perfectionism is increasingly considered to be a risk factor for suicide.


Being and feeling burnout is a reaction to chronic stress.  Chronic stress leads to an exhausted immune system, hormonal disbalance and a weaker nervous system.  We become more vulnerable to all kinds of infections and viruses.  We also become vulnerable to emotional infections, we have difficulty filtering mental garbage and negativity, we begin having trouble remembering things and sustaining healthy relationships.  Our endorphins hormone, which is responsible for happiness; serotonin hormone, which is responsible for stabilizing our moods; and dopamine hormone, which is responsible for motivation, gets out of balance.  Our muscles get tense, blood flow doesn’t circulate optimally, our organs don’t get what they need and it creates grounds for formation of diseases.

When we experience burnout it is a signal that  our psyche is unable to cope with stress anymore. It is unable to relax, there is mental and physiological spasm.  We start having tunnel vision, are easily irritated, our brain is focused on paying attention to our mistakes, to self-criticism and feeling of worthlessness.  As well as giving negative criticism to others and/or feeling indifference.  We lose the ability to see possibilities and fall into a trap of negativity.  

There could be many reasons for chronic stress, but one important thing is that we take on too many responsibilities on your shoulders.  There are a lot of shoulds and not enough wants in our life.   Our standards and expectations for self and others are too high and are toxic. It is time to renegotiate our boundaries, to reevaluate our values, priorities and life philosophy.

Winona State University identified five stages of burnout. In the first three stages: going to a café, eating chocolate, spending weekends in nature, doing barbeque or going on vacation can help to get back on track. At these stages it would be helpful to do self-exploration, to find ways to understand your deeper self, your hidden desires, inner conflicts, to shed some outdated beliefs and unrealistic expectations in a non crisis mode. Instead of waiting for a crisis, take preventive steps through a curious journey into self where you can integrate your lost or forgotten parts and create space for new positive experiences.

At the fourth stage, vacation is not helping anymore and some people, if they are wise, are seeking help from a clinical psychologist.  If people are not getting any help at this stage, they downfall and get physically sick. This is when people start seeing medical doctors, having serious relationship problems and problems at work. Hopefully at this stage they get mental and spiritual help in addition to medical help. If not, people from this stage move to stage five.  At stage five the health, mental and spiritual problems can lead to irreversible consequences.  This stage is also hard because often when a person is at this stage he/she already destroyed relationships, burned all the bridges and there are not many people around who can help and support.

It is possible not to hit the wall and go through a crisis if you are mindful of the burnout stages and take appropriate measures to support yourself when you are at the beginning of the burnout journey.  

Burnout prevention is very important for anyone, but it is crucial for parents, caretakers, people working with other people such as teachers, doctors, nurses, hairdressers, healers, coaches, sales representatives, nail technicians, etc.

If you want to start  or continue a journey for deeper self understanding, greater integration and wholeness, which will improve your relationships, contact me.

The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage

Sometimes external changes bring health and harmony. But, there are times when change is not about destroying what you have and running after a fantasy or ideal, but to stop devaluing the treasures in your life and start appreciating all that you have. Sometimes it is about changing inside, and not about changing what is outside. Changing yourself is way harder, but more effective and fulfilling than changing everyone and everything around you.

The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage

By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

“Once upon a time a mouse, a bird, and a sausage formed a partnership. They kept house together, and for a long time they lived in peace and prosperity, acquiring many possessions. The bird’s task was to fly into the forest every day to fetch wood. The mouse carried water, made the fire, and set the table. The sausage did the cooking.

Whoever is too well off always wants to try something different! Thus one day the bird chanced to meet another bird, who boasted to him of his own situation. This bird criticized him for working so hard while the other two enjoyed themselves at home. For after the mouse had made the fire and carried the water, she could sit in the parlor and rest until it was time for her to set the table. The sausage had only to stay by the pot watching the food cook. When mealtime approached, she would slither through the porridge or the vegetables, and thus everything was greased and salted and ready to eat. The bird would bring his load of wood home. They would eat their meal, and then sleep soundly until the next morning. It was a great life.

The next day, because of his friend’s advice, the bird refused to go to the forest, saying that he had been their servant long enough. He was no longer going to be a fool for them. Everyone should try a different task for a change. The mouse and the sausage argued against this, but the bird was the master, and he insisted that they give it a try. The sausage was to fetch wood, the mouse became the cook, and the bird was to carry water.

And what was the result? The sausage trudged off toward the forest; the bird made the fire; and the mouse put on the pot and waited for the sausage to return with wood for the next day. However, the sausage stayed out so long that the other two feared that something bad had happened. The bird flew off to see if he could find her. A short distance away he came upon a dog that had seized the sausage as free booty and was making off with her. The bird complained bitterly to the dog about this brazen abduction, but he claimed that he had discovered forged letters on the sausage, and that she would thus have to forfeit her life to him.

Filled with sorrow, the bird carried the wood home himself and told the mouse what he had seen and heard. They were very sad, but were determined to stay together and make the best of it. The bird set the table while the mouse prepared the food. She jumped into the pot, as the sausage had always done, in order to slither and weave in and about the vegetables and grease them, but before she reached the middle, her hair and skin were scalded off, and she perished.

When the bird wanted to eat, no cook was there. Beside himself, he threw the wood this way and that, called out, looked everywhere, but no cook was to be found. Because of his carelessness, the scattered wood caught fire, and the entire house was soon aflame. The bird rushed to fetch water, but the bucket fell into the well, carrying him with it, and he drowned. “

Personal boundaries and metaphor of a cell

The cell membrane separates the interior of the cell from the outside environment. It senses its surroundings, gets nutrients from the outside environment and exerts waste from the inside. It protects and nourishes the nucleus. It keeps it whole and safe.

Tatyana Ivljushkina psychotherapist, emotion-image therapy teacher and practitioner covered the topic of personal boundaries in great detail and from many angles in her 2021 emotion-image therapy conference master class. I found a cell metaphor to be very helpful.

We have many types of boundaries: physical, sexual, social, emotional, spiritual, financial, time and role boundaries. Without boundaries wholeness is impossible. With rigid boundaries development is impossible.

Interestingly healthy boundaries develop when we are able to say what we do not like and do not want instead of when we say what we want or like. Learning to say “no” in a socially acceptable form is crucial in developing healthy boundaries.

How do you know that your boundaries were crossed? How does your body react to it?

How do you restore your boundaries?

Why do some people succeed and others don’t?

This post is inspired by an interview of Lucius Usmanova with Nikolay Linde.  Lucius is the author of the project “You can do it!” and Nikolay Linde is an author of emotion-image therapy, an original psychotherapeutic approach.

There may be several reasons for it.  

  1. It could be due to some trauma, which leads to fear of taking action.
  2. It could be due to being out of place. For example, an artist by spirit is doing IT work because of parental pressure to choose a practical college major.
  3. It could be due to living in the fantasy world and believing that things just happen on their own without exerting any effort into them. In unwillingness to take action, to invest energy into the project, a goal, a person or a relationship. Such people quit after a first failure.  They do not persevere.
  4. It could be due to negative parental messages: Don’t do, Don’t succeed or Don’t be. Messages that are psychologically damaging to a child (from transactional analysis).

“Don’t do”. For example, parents may say to their child: “you will never amount to anything”, “you cannot do anything right”, “I will do it for you”.   People who received such messages in their childhood feel as if they are fragile and incompetent.  They have trouble making decisions and taking responsibility.

“Don’t succeed” or “do not do better than me”. For example, if a father fails to build a business, a son, unconsciously, cannot succeed.  Son feels that he shouldn’t get better results than dad.

“Don’t be”, which often is expressed through hidden / latent depression.  Those are people whose parents didn’t want them or told them: “You were a mistake”, “I wish you’d never been born!”, “I wanted to abort you”, “I struggled in life because of you.” The person gets a message that they are not needed in this world and as a result they do not have a drive for life.

Some of the above reasons are easier to work with and some are more challenging.  I use techniques from emotion-image therapy to discover the reasons for your failures and then to dissolve the obstacles.  Contact me if you struggle to succeed in a particular area of your life, be it any type of relationships, a career or a project.

Types of motivation

There are three types of motivation: financial, neurotic and metaphysical. Financial when you do things to improve your material life like buying a house, car, etc. Neurotic one is when you try to prove something to someone. Metaphysical is when you follow your spirit or flow, etc. Which type of motivation drives you? Which one is more stable or predictable?