Raul Soisalo

I had the opportunity to sit down with Raul Soisalo to discuss education, life in general and the path he took to be where he is today. It was a fantastic hour with this multitalented man!  

He describes himself as a father of three children, a husband of one wife, a sailor and a thinker. It turns out he is much more than that and that the journey he took to be where he is today is quite interesting!  

Rauls Journey 

If you have followed Psyk for some time, you might have noticed his passion for music. But did you know that he started his career as a Church musician? This was at a time when you needed your parent’s signature to apply to any studies. A young Raul had one goal in mind, to become a hairstylist. A choice that did not go well down with his father, who gave him three options to choose from. He said you either become a lawyer, a doctor, or a priest.  

With the choices given, the creative young man chose to become a church musician, a profession that won his father’s approval.  He also studied theology during the same time. But the music stayed with him throughout his life, even to such an extent that he was a professional musician for many years.  

Being a church musician and working in the church gave him other insights about himself. Despite what he might have thought about himself, he realised he was good at listening to others. And found joy in it! Realising this, he started studying psychology, leading him to further studies. He started his first Psychotherapy training already during the time he was studying Psychology.  

Everything with passion and focus

After a stint as a researcher at the university, he decided to move on. Realising that the environment did not suit him as a person. He was looking for something where he could work more in a sharing than competing way. He found a research job outside academia, where he found more freedom in his research. His job at Suomen Mielentervys is a time of his life that he remembers with fondness. His research also led him to study Psychotherapy further and get more degrees in the field. The pace at which he did everything led me to ask him if he had a lot of energy or was just efficient. Probably both, he says. He is very good at concentrating when he wants to. To quickly memorise things is one of his traits, even though he says he has a selective memory 🙂 At the same time, concluding that his autism traits have helped him a lot during his life. When he gets into something, he does it with passion and focus.  

What comes around goes around…

Not being allowed to choose the profession you want is a trauma that Raul shared with his father. Rauls’s father wanted to become an actor, which was not approved by his father. And instead, he went to the seas and became a Sea Captain. Maybe his acting came out as a passion for magic instead? Rauls’s father used to be a magician when he was back home on leave. He passed on this skill to Raul, with hours and hours of training. And a skill Raul is now passing on to his son. A skill that he is also using in his work with the course Magic School . Doing magic tricks requires focus and concentration the same way as being a musician does. At the same time, it is building patience. Raul finds in this a resemblance to mindfulness. Where you also have to be patient and find your own way.  

Raul Soisalo

From the Church to Psychotherapy 

Thinking about his background working in the church, I wondered how his experience impacted his moving into Psychotherapy? The work in the church taught me a lot about life and death, Raul says. There is a lot of suffering, but there is also a lot of joy. Some people get more suffering than others. There are things to do in the world to make it more even. Music taught me that practice, practice, practice is what you have to do if you want something or want to master something.  

It was the work in the church that showed him the way the day he realised that he was a good listener and that maybe there would be a way to help people in need? And he went wholeheartedly into his studies and has continued to do research, read and write to help as many as he possibly can.  

What about the future? 

In the world we live in today, which in many ways can feel a little bit unbalanced, how does Raul look at the future, and what are his goals? “Here and now are still the most important things, even in the future. Yesterday has already passed. We do not know anything about tomorrow. The only thing that actually exists is here and now. And if we spend too much time worrying about what happened yesterday or worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow, it can so happen that the only thing we actually have we miss out on. And that worries me when I look at people who are more concentrated on their mobiles and tablets or digital distractions that they miss the things that happen here and now.” This is a topic that Raul touches on in the course Hooked on the net. 

Technology and its impact on humanity 

Discussing social media and how this impact today’s youth and adults, Raul says, “Social Media is actually not that social”. When I think about social media, people create illusions about a reality that does not exist at all.” With the digital world developing into Web 3 and Metaverses, you can spend your whole life buying land, houses, etc. It will be interesting to see the impact on the coming generations.  

Touching on technology in education, I asked Raul if teaching and education have changed or if it is still the same? Raul, one of the first to create online and live-streaming courses, hesitates and says, “technology is good. And I am not against it. But the problem is that we have forgotten to look at birds and flowers and walk in the forest. We do not spend that much time with one another. The illusion of interaction, for example, in social media, has made us lonelier than ever before, even though there are more of us and we have more means of communicating than ever before. But still, we spend more time alone than ever before.”  

The illusion of everybody else living a perfect life can be vital when looking at social media posts where everything is picture-perfect. “No one lives a perfect life. It does not exist. The illusion created can easily lead to a sense that I can never get that, and people give up”.  

Technology is good but let’s not forget the other things in life.  Having seen him work, I can also say that he is amazingly technical at the same time. He loves new gadgets, apps and everything new that today’s development has brought. 

Right here and now & more to come! 

After an hour of exciting discussions, I realised that there were so many other subjects that I would like to ask him about. Nature Therapy, one of the newly developed courses that Psyk. fi offers is one of them. How he looks at nature as part of a healing and therapy process. This is, though, a topic that would require its own session!  

Meeting Raul  was meeting a creative person that walks his talk. A creative person with a passion for food, music, learning and living in the present. He might not have had the opportunity to become what he wanted when he was a young boy, but we are all grateful that he is doing what he is today.  

Written by Chris Ansley