Mignon Burkhart: "The solution to problems is often hidden in the person"

Portrait series Psychologists | 12th Dec 2023

Even as a teenager, she noticed her great interest in mental health and the experiences and life stories of other people. At that time, Mignon Burkhart began to dive into books on the subject and decided to study psychology after graduating from high school.

A decision that was put to the test by a stroke of fate in her family, which forced her to think carefully about where she wanted to go and how she would get there. In hindsight, however, this situation turned out to be a great gift, as she was more certain of her decision than ever and discovered her passion in psychology. After a period of restlessness, she later decided to complete training as a career counselor in order to integrate even more new knowledge into her work.

Despite setbacks, you pursued the path to becoming a psychologist and held on to your dream. How has your own life story influenced you on this journey?

Of course, the decision has (a lot) to do with my personality and my life story. I enjoy supporting people and feel comfortable doing so. I also have a strong awareness that there can always be big and small crises in life, and that it is good and right to seek help.

Of course, this interest didn't come out of nowhere. My mother also worked as a psychotherapist, so I learned a lot about the importance of the psyche and how to deal with psychological difficulties at an early age. In addition, there was often room in our home for known and unknown people in crisis. This left an imprint on me early on that was allowed to develop until I wanted to study psychology.

Where do you see the power of psychological coaching and psychotherapy?

In general, it is extremely important that we take care of our well-being, our soul and our body. In a crisis, we often can't find a way out of the situation. We are too close to the situation and can no longer take the view of an objective observer. We then become more and more entangled in unfavorable behaviors that build up into a vicious circle.

This is exactly where I come in as a coach. I create a safe and pleasant atmosphere in joint discussions so that the client can describe his or her situation and find words for what is going on inside him or her.

The solution to the problem is often hidden within the person. I can then help to discover and name it. In this way, coaching is a shared journey.

As part of my training, I was also able to learn how it feels to talk about myself and discuss my problems in one-to-one and group sessions. It was a very valuable learning process to take on the role of the supported person myself and to get fully involved. I was also able to learn a lot for my own therapeutic work and find my own individual style. I strongly believe that this part of the training is indispensable.

In which moments do you appreciate your work the most?

I love working with people, the conversation, the discussion and the support. By using different exercises and methods, wonderful processes with lots of creativity and space for change can emerge. I don't take it for granted at all and it shows a lot of trust when I can meet clients on a very personal level and they share aspects of their being or experience with me, that their immediate environment may not be aware of. It is very important to me that I create a space of appreciation, acceptance and respect. I want my clients to feel safe and secure in the therapeutic relationship.

How do you deal with going through mentally difficult times yourself?

In professional matters, it is good for me to maintain a professional exchange with colleagues. I benefit from my own reflection on the conversations and the input of others. I like to meditate in my free time. Furthermore, I need retreat and peace, moments in which I can simply "be". My family is also indispensable to me, as is spending time with friends. All these aspects together keep me in balance.

For many people, it's difficult to recognize when talking to family and friends might no longer be enough to get out of a challenging situation. How do you know when the time has come for professional support?

We face various challenges in our lives. If you notice that you can't deal with them on your own or that you keep reacting with the same rigid patterns and are unhappy with them, I help you to find a way out of this vicious circle.

In psychological coaching, I accompany and support people in their encounters with themselves. This is helpful in many situations in order to recognize one's own patterns, imprints, resources and vulnerabilities. I also look together with the client at their strengths and the strategies they (subconsciously) use to deal with problems.

We often need a trigger to develop sufficient motivation for this process. However, a moment outside of an acute crisis is helpful, as we have more scope for change in such a situation.

I support people in discovering their own resources. We design this journey together and the client's autonomy is respected at all times. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that we also uncover difficult aspects and deal with painful situations. But these phases are also part of coaching. I try to actively accompany the process and carry difficult memories with me. The client is not alone, but can be aware that I am on board.

How do you actually know if you've found the right psychologist? And what's the best way to deal with it if something doesn't feel right?

This is an important question and Aepsy gives this process the space it needs. I think it is crucial for the client to come to terms with their own needs. The consideration: "What do I need?" should always be present.

In an initial intro call, you can find out whether you feel comfortable, respected and valued. Of course, the question of expertise should also be addressed directly. However, it is particularly important for the success of a coaching session to be able to open up. For this reason, the first three sessions should consciously discuss whether the feeling is right for the client. This is a very subjective matter and cannot be explained down to the last detail, which is why the client should listen to their intuition alone.

As a coach, I also try to think about whether the topic suits my expertise and me from the very first message. In the intro calls, I repeatedly experience that this picture is corrected, which I am absolutely open to. I also give space to my gut feeling and take it seriously. I feel intensively whether I can imagine working together.

**What would you like to pass on to our readers?

We only discover what we are made of on our journey to ourselves. And in the words of the Little Prince: "You can only see well with your heart. The essentials are invisible to the eye."

How did you come to Aepsy?

I (unfortunately) only really learned to appreciate the potential of online work during the coronavirus pandemic. Before that, I was critical for a long time about whether the online relationship component wasn't being neglected. Then I was forced to conduct the majority of my conversations online. This "jumping into the water" felt right – more than that, I was excited about what was possible.

During this time, I had been busy for quite a while looking at new visions for the future. That's when I discovered Aepsy and spontaneously signed up. Offers like Aepsy make it easier to make space for your own mental health despite a busy schedule.

I combine in-person and online work and find it a great enrichment. I appreciate both types of advice and enjoy the variety. In general, I experience a lot of creative freedom and flexibility in online work. In addition, the administrative part is significantly reduced and the acquisition of clients is also taken over by Aepsy.

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About Mignon

Mignon Burkhart has been working as a therapist and counselor for almost fifteen years. After studying psychology, she initially worked as an inpatient and then moved into her own practice. In her work with clients, she specializes in personal development, professional challenges, relationships and parenting. With Aepsy, she combines in-person work with online conversations and supports her clients in the areas of psychological counseling, psychological coaching and career counseling. Mignon on Aepsy

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