Anna Petterson, a Swedish psychologist living in Palma. | Pär Olsson


This week I had a little chat with Anna Petterson, a Swedish psychologist living in Palma since a few years back. “I had known for a long time that I wanted to settle somewhere in southern Europe, but I hadn’t really decided where. As my goal from the start was to start my own business there, the choice finally fell on Mallorca as there is a large proportion of Swedes on the island as well as many expats. It was a good start to find clientele.”

Previously, she has worked in the field of child- and youth psychiatry in Sweden. Nowadays she specialises as a private counsellor on Mallorca working with a range of mental health issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, and relationship difficulties.

As most Nordics have the idea that if they move south to avoid dark and cold winters, they will be much happier and have fewer challenges, I had to ask Anna: Are the Nordics in Mallorca just as depressed as the fellow Nordics that still live up in the north?

Absolutely. The challenges that life sometimes throws at us look the same wherever we are in the world. Even the human brain looks the same in all of us, regardless of nationality or geographical location, which means that mental health problems can occur virtually anytime, anywhere.”

Are more people experiencing hard times now than we were before the pandemic? In my experience no. I have clients both old and new that need help, just like before but this is not something that I notice as a connection to the pandemic we live in now. We continue with life and just make the best out of every day. However social distancing has made a lot of people avoid going out and staying in by themselves to avoid infection, and some of them are now very lonely. In this case they might benefit from counselling to get back on track again.

Annas says, “I work with everything from counselling and supportive conversations to the treatment of clinical conditions such as depression. Some people who contact me just want a professional to talk to, while others need more comprehensive interventions. Unlike in the past, I would say that having a psychologist contact nowadays is for everyone. We all benefit from getting to know ourselves a little better, understanding our own and others’ behaviours and developing as individuals. Sometimes you may be suffering, and it is my job to work with the client to find out the root of it, how it is reflected in their life today, identify any links between the past and the present and find strategies to help them feel better.”

In support and crisis counselling we address difficult adversities or events that have affected you in some ways. This is usually called a development crisis. In these situations, it may feel like your existence is turned upside down and we do not know how to understand and respond to what is happening. In a support or crisis counselling session, you will be helped to review the event, both objectively and emotionally. Questions like “What happened?”, “How should I understand it?”, “How do I move on?” are discussed.

Well, life is never always straightforward, and we all face difficulties at times. Unfortunately, these difficulties are too often faced alone. In most cases, you can turn to friends and family for support but sometimes there is a need to talk with someone from the outside too. Then it is important to know that whatever types of thoughts or feelings you may have, there is always professional help available.