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Matleena Vanhanen, M.A., (UK)

Counselling Psychologist

Short- and long-term counselling and psychotherapy, and assessments for adults and couples (Certified Gottman Therapist) . Clinical supervision for mental health professionals and teachers. Services offered in English and Finnish.

My therapeutic approach:

Clients approach me when the ways they have tried to cope with life’s challenges are no longer working. My goal is to help the client find healthy and sustainable ways to cope with difficult life experiences as well as increase self–awareness and personal well-being. The client is an active participant in therapy and successful therapeutic work requires mutual trust and collaboration. Sometimes clients approach me when there is nothing in particular that is troubling them but instead they want to use therapy as a way to achieve personal growth, or explore some more philosophical questions in life, such as the meaning of life or how to live a good life.

My work is predominantly based on existential-phenomenological and cognitive-behavioural approaches. As each client is different and brings their own life experiences to therapy I am flexible in my approach and aim to find a way of working that best suits each individual.

Couples therapy: My work with couples is based on the Gottman Method. First, you will go through a thorough relationship assessment Then, in therapy, you will be taught research-based interventions to help you improve your relationship. Some couples seek couples therapy to improve their relationship and prevent problems from developing. Other couples need help because they are in distress. I also works with couples who are not sure whether or not to continue together and are looking for a space to discuss their future. Sometimes, couples who are separated need help in co-parenting their children in the best possible way. I work with a variety of couples, including couples in polygynous marriages.

My areas of interest include:

  • Mood disorders – depression, mood swings, irritability, sadness
  • Anxiety disorders – fear, worry, stress, panic
  • Sleep problems
  • Grief and loss – bereavement, divorce
  • Self-esteem difficulties – shyness, assertiveness, difficulties forming relationships
  • Chronic illness
  • Life-span development – transitions, ageing, role changes
  • Existential dilemmas – meaning in life, death, isolation, freedom

My qualifications:

I hold an MA in Psychology from Jyväskylä University, Finland and a MA in Counselling Psychology and Post-MA in Existential Counselling Psychology from City University, UK. I am also a Certified Gottman Therapist.

In Finland I worked both as a Clinical Psychologist and School Psychologist. I worked with children, adults and older adults, couples and families in kindergartens, schools and at health centres. In the UK I worked both in private practice and as a Specialist Counselling Psychologist for the National Health Service (NHS). I moved to Cyprus in 2006 where I worked in private practice and for an online counselling and coaching service provider. I moved to Dubai in 2011.

I am a member of the Finnish Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society. I am licensed by the National Authority of Medicolegal Affairs in Finland and the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai. My CDA license number is CDA-PL-0001031.