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.

Transformation of chronic negative emotions through emotion-image therapy

Transformation of chronic negative emotions through emotion-image therapy (EIT) N.D. Linde.

In the video below you can see how your emotions can change. During emotion-image therapy sessions you start a session with chronic negative emotion and you end the session with positive emotions.

Sometimes you begin with anger and resentment, then you move to self-criticism, then to fear, then amazement. And then you want to support yourself, but it isn’t easy because you also fight against getting help through self-pity, through falling into a fantasy world or into over-intellectualization.

Eventually with my guidance in your emotional journey you finally make an inner choice to trust yourself, to be kind to yourself and to live with dignity. You stop fighting with yourself. This is the point of healing. At this point you are able to express love, warmth, spontaneity and playfulness in your life. This is when you are able to live in a present moment without regrets about your past and hopes about future.

Emotional empathy

Imagine that a close friend calls you in a panic, because she just lost her job. If you say “don’t worry! you’ll soon find another one!” you might think that you are being encouraging and supportive, but this response may indicate a lack of emotional empathy, which can jeopardize your friendship.

If you find yourself not being able to sustain healthy relationships, there could be a good chance that you do not express emotional empathy. And there is a reason for that. Emotion-image therapy can help you uncover the reasons, and most importantly, it will help you to develop it. As a result you will be able to empathize with self and others. And this will help you develop understanding and warm relationships with people.

There are three types of empathy: cognitive, emotional and compassionate. Cognitive is about the desire to understand, emotional is about desire to feel and compassionate is about desire to help and support. There are many tools for developing cognitive empathy. However, cognitive empathy does not help your friend feel that you are there with them on an emotional level. At a cognitive level you do not internalize her feelings and you might appear “too cold to care”. Emotional empathy is when you know the feeling your friend is feeling. Like if you are in her skin. Emotion-image therapy can help you develop emotional empathy. And at the intersection of cognitive and emotional empathies compassionate empathy is born.

But what does it mean to have emotional empathy? It means that you are able to feel the feelings of your friend, but at the same time you are able to hold your boundaries and contain the feelings of your friend without joining in. Without merging, without dissolving into her problem. You are not falling into their desperate state. If you fall into her hole of desperation you will not be able to pull her out of it. Also it is not about pitying her, you are not empowering her with pity. You empower your friend when you are present with her, holding her and sharing her experience. You do not jump into action, you do not offer quick fixes, you do not take responsibility for fixing her problem. You are scaffolding her way, which allows her to find her own most optimal solution.

Emotion-image therapy (EIT) is able to change your emotional state, and as a result your ability to empathize, because EIT takes into account psychodynamic processes, which affect your emotional state today. It can quickly uncover the reasons why you feel cold, numb, irritated or indifferent to the feelings of your friend. Or it can help you understand why you cannot tolerate and are scared of certain feelings.

If you feel that it is hard for you to develop trusting long-term relationships, I, through emotion-image therapy, will help you create and sustain meaningful, warm, fulfilling and caring relationships.

To sign up for my one-hour long online consultation, email me. My time zone is EST (NYC time).

Hyman Spotnitz’s modern psychoanalysis

Just came across @anastasya_komarova Instagram post about why she likes Hyman Spotnitz’s modern psychoanalysis and how Harold Stern brought it to St. Petersburg Psychiatric Hospital No. 1 (named after P. P. Kashchenko) in 1991. The post reminded me of how I began studying modern psychoanalysis in 2010 in NYC. And then, when we lived in France in 2011, I continued studying it by attending two weekend trainings in St. Petersburg. And this year I finished my two last weekends online. And I want to brag about how my husband and I translated three articles from English to Russian for the Interregional Center for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (mcsp35.ru), Yan Fedorov.

Spotnitz is not easy to understand and it was challenging to translate, but I think we did a phenomenal job! As translators we complement each other. Roma was responsible for the beautiful language and I for the meaning and the essence.

Articles we translated:

McGowan K. (2014) The Second Coming of Sigmund Freud

Steichen, J. (1996) The Modern group psychoanalytic use of countertransference as a tool for enhancing empathy and growth

Spotnitz H. (1969) Resistance phenomena in group therapy (overview)

Introducing me

My name is Victoriya Makrishcheva. I am a psychodynamic coach. I earned my undergraduate degree in economics from Rutgers University and my masters degree in economics from Temple University. Later I studied modern group psychoanalysis at the center for group studies, emotion-image therapy (EIT) at psyhelpacademy.ru and EIT Psychological Center Linde. I have three years of experience as a psychodynamic coach.

Main approach in my work is emotion-imagery therapy. I help clients deal with their chronic negative emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, envy, jealousy, shame, guilt, etc. To illustrate, I had a client who experienced an intense anger while communicating with his boss, but he could not understand why he had that feeling. I ask him to locate the anger in his body. It was in his chest and it felt like something was burning. I offered him to associate and create an image of that burning sensation. Client said that it was a barking dog. We began a dialogue to investigate the meaning of this image. I asked: who is the dog protecting? Client: I see a young man holding a five year old boy by the hand. And at this moment a memory surfaced, the client remembered that his dad demanded a lot of emotional attention, and my client had to put aside developing his masculinity and was unable to be a care-free child. He needed to be a responsible care-taker to attend to the emotional needs of his dad. What we discovered during our session was that the client’s boss was evoking memories of this childhood dynamic. I invited my client to tell the young man and the boy that from now on he (the adult client) will be the one to take care of them. Now he will prioritize their needs above all. And because this dialogue was with a spontaneously created image it bypassed the client’s cognitive and rational mind. It reached the unconscious mind. And at that deep level the client was able to make a new internal choice, a choice to take care of his emotional needs. As a result, the image of the angry dog transformed into a friendly dog. There was no more need to protect the client’s developing masculinity and inner child. Now there is an adult client who is responsible for creating space for healthy and safe development of his underdeveloped inner selves. As a result of our work, the client was no longer angry at his boss. He felt empowered and learned to pay attention to his masculinity and his inner child. He stopped seeing his boss as an enemy, who consumes all of his life energy. Now, the boss was a separate adult, who is not his father, but another adult with whom my client has a business relationship.

An interesting fact about me, I dropped out of school at age 15 to sell home-made slippers in a street market, and at 24 I dropped out of graduate school to follow my passion and to develop myself into a helping practitioner, psychodynamic coach. Now I am introducing emotion-image therapy Linde to the English speaking world. My hobby is 5rhythms, a movement meditation practice.

Why do you need me? You need me so that I can help you understand yourself and other people. Gain psychological maturity. Why? Because when you really understand yourself you know how to live your life with pleasure, with interest, with joy, with health and with creativity. Your relationships with people become more fulfilling and warm. Your relationship with the world becomes adequate.

Why me and not somebody else? Because I am deep and crisp. Because I can quickly find your hidden inner conflict. And because I will not pity you, I will understand and accept you, the way you are, and I will help you hear your own inner compass, which is hidden behind chronic negative emotions.

When you hear the term wealth or inheritance what does it mean to you?

Thinking out loud. Combining my inner economist and my inner psychologist.

I used to associate wealth with money or financial resources. And generational wealth as financial or real estate inheritance one gets from previous generations.

Now I realize that wealth or inheritance doesn’t just relate to money. It relates to the value system, mindset, belief system and skills. And it can be either an asset or a liability.

How many people lose their financial wealth, but are able to get it back because of their mindset? Because they know where to find the right information, how to filter information and how to build healthy connections with people.

How many kids from wealthy families reject the mindset and values of their parents and waste that wealth?

And how many people you know, who are the first generation of educated people in their families, and they are not doing financially well because of their mindset, poor man’s mentality? I don’t know. But this mindset and understanding of the world is different from people who inherited a wealth of wisdom in relation to entrepreneurial skills, investment and money management.

I am amazed by people who judge uneducated, low social class people because of the choices they make. And when you start asking the judger about their background you find out that their grandparents or parents were highly educated and wealthy, but lost their wealth due to war, revolutions or pogroms. So, they lost their money, but they didn’t lose other kinds of generational wealth such as access to quality information, ability to network, the value of education, the value of reading books and going to libraries, of investing, of work ethics, etc. They kept their mindset and value system, which helped them make more effective choices from one generation to another.

So, besides money wealth there is a wealth of life’s philosophy, abilities to set boundaries, and prioritize that go from one generation to another. All that affects abilities to build healthy relationships with self and others.

Some of us inherit views of victim mentality and some of us inherit views that we are the creator of yourself and of your life.

Some believe that there is a wizard that will come and make us happy and some believe that we ourselves are responsible for creating our happiness, finding interest, joy and pleasure in life.

Some believe that every day, every morning is a gift of life and that you can find beauty in every moment if you prioritize it in your life.

Some believe that life is ugly and an unending exhausting struggles

Some with an entrepreneurial mindset see opportunities in making money on every corner.

Some are blind to seeing financial opportunities and are struggling to pay their bills each month.

So, wealth or generational wealth is not just about money, it is about mindset, belief system and life philosophy.

I believe that it is crucial for parents to pass on a healthy mindset and life philosophy, which can be developed, reevaluated and adjusted.

What non financial and not tangible wealth did you inherit?

Image is from internet

Où t’es, papaoutai? / Where are you? Dad, where are you?

I just watched a video of Stromae – Papaoutai, and was surprised to see how clearly it portrays the effect parents have on their children.  The child in a song is repeating a verse: “Où t’es, papaoutai? / Where are you? Dad, where are you?”  How difficult it is for a child to have a depressed or sick or rigid or indifferent or cold or unavailable parent.  A child of such a parent makes an unconsciously decision to make that parent happy, to unfreeze the parent’s warm feelings.  A child becomes an overachiever in the hope and effort to revive, to thaw out the parent so that the parent will love the child with a warm and tender love. By making such a decision the child devotes his life to his parents and is unable to live their own life. And then there is a point when they give up, life energy sips away because it is never enough and it is an overwhelming burden.

This music video reminded me of how important it is for parents to be responsible for their own mental health!  Be authentically proactive in learning how to generate joy and interest in life.

Also, I recently learned from Olga Berg that imposter syndrome forms in a child with a depressive mom.  Why? Because a person with the imposter syndrome does not own his success.  Such a person cannot accept it because it is done not for his own good, but is directed towards and for their mom!  So, they do not feel that achievements belong to them. They are unable to accept and own it because their results are for their mom!

Stromae – Papaoutai photo from the music video

My clients

I am at the point where I want to learn how to write case studies, which would illustrate how my clients overcame their problems and achieved their goals after working with me. At this point I struggle with it because I feel overprotective of my clients and even if they gave me permission to share their stories I feel that twisting things around to protect their identity will not be enough of protection. But I crave the ability and skill to share stories of my clients, which will be inspiring to others.

I wonder how other people feel about it?

For now I just want to share that my clients take responsibility for the frequency of our sessions. I count on their judgment of what is optimal for them. I have clients who see me once a month, and clients who work with me bi-weekly, and clients who come once a week or who come on as needed basis. Of course I share my opinion about how much time each situation might require, but it is up to the client to make that decision.

I respect all my clients and each session is growth for both of us and that is why I love my work so much.

My clients are curious about themselves, they are open-minded, many are experienced in self-development and they are eager to discover hidden parts of themselves and to resolve chronic emotional issues.

They are people who authentically want to expand their inner capacity to self-actualize, to love, to heal and to create. They are ready to work, to find time and to invest emotional labor to self-growth. They are not about pseudo growth or pseudo spirituality. They are with me for real change. This real change doesn’t have to come from experiencing the drama or suffering, it can happen in a safe and creative way, in a supportive environment, and improve quality of life in all areas of life.