White Christmas in my mind

The night before Christmas Eve, I have just completed my responsibilities as an assistant of Santa Claus. I recently saw a video clip claiming the Santa Claus now travels with Finnair, and the reindeers are busy learning new professions. But I am convinced that they will arrive across the skies as always, with magic, not with Finnair… And good that they have this way of travelling, as there is no snow in Southern Finland, so traditional sleigh would be of little help.

As a little scientific Christmas present, a research group of professor Nina Lindberg (University of Helsinki) and me learned that another article of our doctoral student, Dr Svetlana Oshukova, has been accepted for publication in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health (www.capmh.com). Dr Oshukova is studying psychopathic traits in youth. Her PhD project is progressing in amazing speed! Her first article can be found in http://www.capmh.com/content/9/1/15 , and others will soon follow.

In the end of November I received the pleasing news that I have been accepted in the national specialist exam in forensic psychiatry. I did not mention this enterprise earlier, just in case I failed, but I have been training to qualify as forensic psychiatrist, and in October I decided to take the national exam. In Finland, we have four separate specialties in the field of psychiatry, namely psychiatry, child psychiatry, adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. I have previously qualified in psychiatry and adolescent psychiatry. One might ask why bother with one more. But in Finland, formal qualifications are highly appreciated. And I am really interested in forensic psychiatry. Of course, because of our adolescent forensic unit, I have been learning and practicing and doing research in the field for more than 12 years already, but of certainly can always learn more. In our system, there is a demanding written exam in the end of specialist training. In my experience that is an important finishing touch. I indeed enjoyed studying for the exam. (I was really the first in our faculty to read the enormous book required (Taylor J, Gunn P (eds): Forensic Psychiatry Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues https://www.crcpress.com/Forensic-Psychiatry-Clinical-Legal-and-Ethical-Issues-Second-Edition/Gunn-Taylor/9780340806289 )- they had not yet catalogued it in the library when I asked for it in September…) Forensic psychiatry is a very small specialty, even smaller than adolescent psychiatry. Clinical instruction is therefore very personal and inspiring. I am grateful to docent Markku Eronen from Unviersity of Turku and Vanha Vaasa Hospital (http://www.vvs.fi/) for inspiring discussions on everything in forensic psychiatry, and happy about our research collaboration which I hope will continue in the future.

With my own specialist trainees I have also had a most inspiring season. First we discussed adolescent development, and in the end of the fall term, suicide and self-harm. What an active and lively group I have! It is really a pleasure to meet them every Tuesday, I am refreshed every time! It is also challenging as the instructor, to provide a learning environment worth their enthusiasm. I do my best, and as I have confessed, I also learn a lot all the time.

To promote positive development of our adolescent forensic unit, I am currently busy learning about the Safewards model (http://www.safewards.net/) Our hospital has been active in introducing this model in adult wards. Actually, in our adolescent forensic ward we have already for a long time used many elements collected under the umbrella of Safewards, but I like the way how Safewards brings the good practices together, providing a clear framework and more comprehensive understanding of how the various positively de-escalating approaches are related.

Despite the lack of snow, there has been a lot of Christmas magic in this season. In the Christmas show of the dance school I had the opportunity to live out some ballet dreams. Our new teacher was really generous with princess dreams elements in our show attire! A personal victory for me was that I was able to complete two dances on pointé shoes. I have also had the opportunity to join a couple of milongas with a special Christmas season feeling, and I am also facing another tango week in Berlin in near future. And the Saiturin joulu (A Christmas Carol in Prose https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Christmas_Carol ) in Tampereen Teatteri is already a tradition. A lot of magic and glitter of dance show, season’s milongas, theatre, main street season’s illuminations and candlelight help for feeling like a white Christmas even if we will actually celebrate it in darkness and rain.