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Deeper cooperation between mind and body

Geneesi Tara Tuomisilta ja Maiju Rissanen. Kaksi naista soittamassa shamaanirumpuja. | Business Joensuu, yrityspalvelut

External perspective, ideas for productisation and new milestones for development. This was what Tara Tuomisilta from trauma and psychotherapy centre Geneesi and Maiju Rissanen from body therapy centre Nexus were looking for when they joined the Business Joensuu VIRTAA coaching programme in autumn 2023.

Cooperation between mind and body. It is something that Tara Tuomisilta, who has been an entrepreneur for 15 years, has upheld persistently. Having worked as a nurse, trauma psychotherapist and psychotherapist educator for more than 30 years, Tuomisilta has encountered the whole spectrum of life. 

In most cases, customers come to Geneesi with payment commitments from all over Finland. Psychotherapy, short-term therapy, work guidance, psychophysical physiotherapy, neuropsychiatric coaching, yoga, workplace health and work ability services – and much more. Customers are served by four permanent and one part-time psychotherapist.

“Young people are mentally unwell.” “Students and adults of working-age are exhausted.” “The increase in mental health disorders is a cry for help caused by change in society.” Familiar headlines from media. The growing rate of problems has been identified in many ways, but there is a huge amount of work waiting to be done in the service range of alleviating measures. New tools and solution models are needed, which is why Nexus was established alongside Geneesi. 

-  There are dozens of psychotherapists in North Karelia alone, but available appointments are few and far between. People call in daily, but we often have nothing to offer. Appointments do become available, but slowly. For a customer who needs therapy, waiting for six months may be far too long, Tara Tuomisilta explains the motives for expanding the range of services.

From talk to touch

Psychotherapy and long-term therapy are not always absolutely necessary. The people at Geneesi started to wonder whether there should be a separate place where people could come to seek wellbeing through bodily treatments while getting help from short-term therapy.  

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Geneesi energiahoidot. Ihmisen kädessä pyöreitä kiviä, taustan seinällä valoisa teksti "Ihaninta ikinä". | Business Joensuu, yrityspalvelut

-  Although the work done in trauma psychotherapy already revolves around the body quite strongly, thinking about the bodily side of things is not very conventional in Finland. Many types of psychotherapy are based solely on talking. In Finland, a bodily approach is unusual compared to places like Germany, where psychotherapy and acupuncture or reflexology are seen to have a natural complementary relationship. On the contrary, Finland is more likely to legislate against them as quackery, says Tara Tuomisilta, taken aback.

The discussion was sparked by a group of innovative people with bold ideas. Cooperation between mind and body became a reality in the collaboration of Geneesi and Nexus, which was established in 2020. Nexus first operated at a small scale on the same floor as Geneesi on Siltakatu in Joensuu. In 2022, Nexus moved one floor up to great facilities. 

Nexus’ extensive range of services includes various beauty therapies, energy healing and massages – and more short-term therapy as well, going forward. Maiju Rissanen is responsible for the range of services at Nexus.  

One of Rissanen’s previous career roles was a hairdresser. In hairdressing, you gain experience and perspective not only about hair but also the human mind. Many of us can attest that, at best, a moment at the hairdresser’s or a cosmetologist’s is a therapeutic and empowering experience. 

Focused on training

Nexus employs a total of seven welfare professionals. Some of them have permanent positions, while others are responsible for individual appointments and group guidance sessions. Maiju Rissanen has undergone short-term therapy training that lasted 1.5 years, and two other Nexus employees are currently completing the same programme. The training is provided by the psychotherapists at Geneesi as well as external professionals. The training is built on a solid foundation of trauma competence and cognitive behavioural therapy. 

Tuomisilta and Rissanen are well aware of the problem related to “social media therapizing”. 

- Processing your own trauma does not make you a qualified therapist. Offering peer support is ok, but that’s not how you become a therapist. For us, training is an important part of responsibility. This is one of the things we need to learn to communicate more clearly.

Ongoing process

The way mental health and wellbeing services are interwoven at Geneesi and Nexus has gained a fair amount of curious attention. As pioneers of this combination of services, Tuomisilta and Rissanen wonder whether the world is ready for their way of joining body and mind while lowering the threshold for mental wellbeing.

-  We started our development process in the Business Joensuu VIRTAA coaching programme. We worked on our service range, productisation and communications. The VIRTAA coaching group will have an after-meeting in January 2024. In any case, it’s an ongoing process.

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Photos: Jarno Artika

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