LOST IN TRANSLATION: Who am I without my language

Impressions of a Spanish ACT psychologist in London

just meI am Helena Colodro, I am an ACT psychologist from Spain, spending the summer of 2017 in London collaborating with Joe Oliver, Director of Contextual Consulting.
I’m here on a project from the European Union, Erasmus Entrepreneur, a grant  that is allowing me to immerse myself in the business world of clinical psychology in the UK. The grant is set up to help me understand the keys areas of the sector, receive advice on how to continue my career in Spain, as well as meet colleagues who, like me, work as clinical psychologists and counsellors both in public and private contexts.

I believe it may make sense to leave here some words (and some photos too) about it and also share some reflections with other colleagues who, like me, wonder where they are and how they could continue to grow.

Two years ago, I began my career as a therapist by setting up my own practice: Inspira Psychology (www.psicologiainspira.com). It is a project that I share with my business partner Juanm Guiote who is the other half of Inspira. We are two lovers of the profession and we work to help people who are, for one reason or another, suffering, hooked or struggling.

The months prior to my arrival in London have been filled with mail, skype meetings and expectations about myself as a psychologist and as a visitor. London is a familiar town (I lived here years ago) but it is strange at the same time. Now I’m back, no longer like the 24 year old girl who worked in Urban Outfitters to pay for her stay in London and learn English, but as someone who has found her place in this world and to start, brick by brick, to build a house within it. Every time I leave my known world and learn with other people and in different contexts, I add solidity to the founhelena traindations of that metaphorical house.
It is exciting to see myself walking the same streets years later, knowing that many things in me have changed and that the reasons that bring me here now take on another magnitude. London has changed, I have changed. Nothing remains the same, everything changes.

More than giving answers (I doubt I have them!) I write this blog to launch some questions about certain topics that have to do with psychology, psychological therapy, entrepreneurship, the models from which we work and the different systems of organization, among other issues. It will be very difficult, though, to avoid sharing reflections and some personal episodes and impressions about this time full of creativity, confusion and growth in equal parts.

The name of this blog is not only the title of one of my favorite movies, but it also defines very well how I am feeling in these days. It’s funny how I had forgotten how lost and naïve I see myself when I live here in London, where the language with which I relate to other people is not Spanish. These feelings of frustration, isolation and disconnection suddenly appear and challenge me to explore my limits when language is not on my side, and this is when I wonder, where do my personal and professional strengths remain when I am not in my context? Can I still relate to others without the help of those words that define me so much in my own language? Can I still learn and connect with others? Who am I when I am not my words?

So, what am I doing here then?  It is not just about having arrived to London and “feeling” or “thinking”, there is some action too. The conferences and meetings in which I am participating make me realize there are other cool ways of working and approaching psychology and clinical work. In my next posts I will talk more about third wave therapies, why I love ACT and what these professionals meetings are meaning to me. I hope we meet again in a few days!


Lost  but and Happy

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6 thoughts on “LOST IN TRANSLATION: Who am I without my language

  1. Helena, after the reading of your post I have evoked the feeling of lost when I teach in English. Anyway, your experience will bring you a broader knowledge of yourself, not everybody is ready to prove their limits, congratulations!

    1. Wow Merkel, thank you for this. This makes me even more pleased to have shared these thoughts here. I´ve heard you are “lost” too as your phone is broken and you are in the middle of nowhere near Almería, say hello again as soon as you find yourself back!

  2. This is truly inspiring my friend. Beautiful words. Beautiful soul, you are. Thanks for sharing your journey. Your feelings and emotions. Thanks for being you. That fun 24 year old girl from Urban Outfitters, now grown knto a beautiful woman.

    1. Thank you for these words Laura, I remember so well our days here and how you were such an inspiration to me while having fun, folding T-shirts and listening to music at Urban Outfitters ;))))) You found the way of living a fulfilling life here and learning how to be lost and happy too, so thank you!!

  3. What an insightful post. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Keep lost and happy and keep up the hard work!

    1. Thanks Javi. You know well how difficult is for me to keep quiet AND still be “me” without my words ;))))

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