Biography

I was born (1953) and raised in Helsinki Finland. My parents were born in Finland, but my grandparents were immigrants, on my father’s side from Poland and on my mother’s side from Ukraine. I graduated from high-school (gymnasium) in the spring of 1972 and started to study medicine in the fall of the same year at the Helsinki University medical school.

I have two adult daughters with my first wife, Sunna, born in 1980 and Sia born in 1989. I live together with my current partner in Helsinki. 

Academic education

I graduated from medical school in 1979. Thereafter I worked for two years as a general practitioner in the northern part of Finland until I returned to Helsinki in 1982 to start my specialization into psychiatry. My specialization included both inpatient and outpatient work in adult psychiatry and as well as a outpatient work in child psychiatry. I was accredited by the Finnish ministry of health as “specialist in psychiatry” in 1986.

I studied psychotherapy during my specialization and was accredited by the Finnish ministry of health as a psychotherapist in 1995 and trainer of psychotherapy in 2007.

International work

My books have been translated to over 20 languages and over the years I have taught so far on four continents and in 37 countries.

Computer programs and Apps

One of my long-time interests is developing apps for solving psychological problems. For example, I have created together with Lorenn Walker the Apology and Forgiveness websitethe Kids’Skills App, and a collection of free apps that help users overcome psychological problems that is called Self-Helper. Click the blue links to check these out..

Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute

I established together with Tapani Ahola the Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute in 1986. The institute is IASTI certified and provides training in solution-focused therapy and coaching. It also publishes books and other materials related to the solution-focused approach.

Innovations

I have developed over the years together with Tapani Ahola several tools based on solution-focused psychology. These include the coaching method Reteaming, Kids’ Skills, which is a solution-focused approach to helping children overcome problems, Cooperation, a training program for teaching solution-focused communication skills to teams in companies and organizations, and Steps of Responsibility, a step-by-step protocol for helping young people to apologize and to take responsibility for their wrongdoings.

Work in media

During my medical studies in the 70s I wrote articles to the medical students’ journal “Medisiinari” and was subsequently invited to act as the editor of the journal for two years.

In 1984 I became the founding editor of the Finnish Journal of Family Therapy published by the Finnish Association of Mental Health and acted in this role for a number of years.

In 1998 I started hosting a weekly psychological talk-show on Finnish national TV. The show aired for 8 years and covered all in all over 200 episodes. The video below is the original intro of the show.

In 2009-2010 I worked for the national public radio hosting a live weekly late-night call-in program entitled “Radio Therapist” in which I interviewed guests and talked with callers about issues related to theme of the evening.