Martina Holzach: From the Himalayas to America and back to Switzerland

Portrait Series Psychologists & Psychotherapists | 8th Aug 2023

In 2020, life brought Martina Holzach back to Switzerland abruptly and earlier than expected. With her: a master's degree in psychology, another master's degree in contemplative psychotherapy and Buddhist psychology, and a wealth of knowledge and experience from the Himalayas. With Aepsy, the trauma specialist and sports psychologist regained her footing in her home country after several years of study abroad. Since 2021, she has been working independently with clients via the Aepsy platform.

In an interview with Aepsy, she tells us more about her vocation of supporting people through challenging phases in their lives.

**You are a psychologist and psychotherapist and help your clients to navigate difficult times, to grow and maybe even to find themselves. In a world where we would love to just push a button that solves all our problems, what is it about talk therapy that makes it so effective?

It's not just therapy alone that helps. With a psychological professional as an external reference person, a space is created in which the person seeking help feels safe and secure. The combination of somatic and reflective work gives clients the opportunity to get to know themselves better, to better regulate their nervous system and to create new neurological connections. This contributes significantly to feeling more comfortable with oneself and better equipped for certain life situations.

Many people are unsure when and even if to seek help. How do you know that the time is right to start therapy or a psychological counseling? Is there even a right time for this?

Personally, I think you can start therapy or psychological coaching at any time. During my time in the US, I was always fascinated by how people around me had been seeking therapeutic support for a long time. Some because of psychological problems, others to illuminate dark places or to become a better version of themselves. This was also always talked about openly.

I myself always find it exciting to work with my therapist to better understand and reflect on my inner patterns and behaviors. It helps me to discard what no longer serves me and to absorb what could support me on my current path.

**It is important to understand that you don't have to wait for an acute crisis to ask for help.

The personal relationship with the therapist or psychologist contributes greatly to the success of talk therapy or coaching. How do you know if it's the right match?

I always say that it's okay to do some "therapist-shopping." It is certainly helpful to do about 3 sessions and then reflect together with the therapist or psychologist how and if it fits. However, sometimes you can sense from the beginning that the synergy doesn't feel right. It is important to know that it is absolutely okay to say "it doesn't feel like the right match" The treating therapist would never hold that against anyone, and it doesn't have to be explained or justified in detail.

**Helping people navigate small mental challenges or big emotional storms in life is your job - your calling. When or how did you figure that out for yourself?

The passion to be there for other people has always been in me. Working with people, diving into their processes together with them, gave me joy early on. My own life story with the one or other life crisis certainly also influenced me.

**Is there anyone who has influenced you on your way to becoming a psychotherapist?

The presence and clarity of my own therapists and supervisors definitely influences my work. They always give me new food for thought and I continue to develop as a psychotherapist myself. My Buddhist teachers have also influenced me on my way to becoming a psychotherapist. When I face mental challenges myself, my personal reflection and these very conversations help me. In addition, I have gotten into the habit of a meditation practice that helps me a lot.

What do you value most about your work?

The creativity and openness to always learn something new. Not only from my teachers and through continuing education, but especially from my clients.

What gives me particular pleasure is to see how clients, after dark times, begin to shine again in the course of our sessions and find their own personal power again.

Why did you decide to become self-employed and use the Aepsy platform to do so?

The pandemic led me to come back from the USA to Switzerland. Since it was initially difficult for me to re-establish myself in Switzerland at that time, I looked for alternatives. When I came across Aepsy, the concept appealed to me. The Aepsy team made it easy for me to get started with the platform. They created a warm and loving atmosphere, thanks to which I felt really welcome again for the first time after moving to Switzerland.

What I particularly appreciate about my work on the platform is the freedom that self-employment gives me. I also get the right support from Aepsy to be able to fully concentrate on my vocation. I think the intention of Aepsy is super. It's nice that people who need support can get it quickly and easily.

**What would you like to give to our readers?

Personally, I think it is important to say that working with therapists or psychologists is not a sign of weakness. I work a lot with athletes and I always say that more than 80% of the performance (depending on the study) is mental power. However, in our society there is still a lot of focus on the body (physical health) and the mind is too often still neglected. Our mind and therefore mental well-being is a fundamental resource to live a full and good life. Thus, I would like to encourage everyone to think about it and, if necessary, simply try out psychotherapy or psychological coaching.


About Martina

Martina Holzach has been working as a psychotherapist since 2018. After receiving her master's degree in psychology with a focus on motivational psychology, she spent seven seasons in the Himalayas (Tibet, Nepal, and Ladakh) studying Buddhism at Kathmandu University and on her own, among other things. At the same time, she led high mountain tours and cultural trips. In the winter season, she returned to Switzerland, where she worked with professional athletes and as a yoga teacher and therapist. In 2017, she moved to Boulder, Colorado to follow her passion at Naropa University and further her education in Eastern and Western science, Buddhism and psychotherapy. Since 2021, she has been using Aepsy in her self-employment to assist her client:s. Learn more about Martina Holzach on Aepsy.

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