Lizeth Ortiz is a Clinical Psychologist who joined Compass Psychology this August. To find out more about her professional background and the types of therapy she provides, you can read her Compass Psychology profile here. In this blog post, she will be telling you about herself on a more personal note.

“Writing about oneself is at the same time a reflexive ritual of wondering what I can say about myself and how to do it, from the past to the present or from the present to the past. Facing one’s life story is often an interesting exercise.

Psychology, beyond all the science and theories, is also the exercise of telling about oneself in relation to the world and in relation to others, and that is the magic that I find as a practitioner – to me it signifies the return to the roots of our ancestors, to the power of sharing a word.

I am from Colombia, a country of diversity and varied landscapes, from the lush greenery of the Amazon to the relaxing waves of the Caribbean, crossed by the Andean mountains – its territory is an explosion of multicultural and plural-ethnical life. From there, I have learnt about the importance of understanding multiple ways of connecting to the world and to others. I have learnt about the collective dreams of peace and the resilience of people when violence has come to their doors. I have learnt about the importance of education for breaking the cycle of poverty but overall, I have learnt about the importance of integrating decolonial thinking in our actions from the global South. 

I grew up in a poor area of my city where I witnessed the structural violence and the struggle people have every day to overcome poverty. I attended a public university, which is already a privilege. There, I learnt English and pedagogy, after which I worked at different schools as a Teacher for many years. However, alongside my practice, I had the feeling that something in life was missing, that I was connecting with people at levels I could not respond to in my role as a teacher. Following this, I made the huge life decision to start again in a 5-year degree in Psychology. This time, I went to a private university where I understood how much work it takes to pay for the education in a developing country and I got a closer look at what privilege means. 

With this background, I came to Finland four years ago, a country with a very different culture from mine; the cold, the dark and the individualist society became elements to integrate into my life and these years here have made me even more conscious about the importance of social support and mental health when integrating into a new society. I learnt about the importance of spending time outdoors and the huge importance of leisure time in life. This experience of being a migrant has taught me to slow down and to embrace the privilege of peace and silence. 

I joined Compass Psychology in an attempt to integrate the work that I do with communities as a school Psychologist with the individual dimension of society. I find meaning when listening to narratives of resilience, fears, dreams and worries that one may have and aim to provide support within a culturally-sensitive and safe therapeutic atmosphere. 

In my free time, I used to attend “circles of word”, a practice of sitting by the fire with other people every Thursday and listening to the narratives of the elders from different indigenous communities in the city, which is something that I really miss here in Finland. Instead, I have been discovering my new hobbies here: I enjoy listening to music, writing short stories and going dancing every now and then. I am still learning to swim and getting to know the Finnish baking culture which I find amazing. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my life-story and I am so grateful to join the Compass Psychology team. “