She, a Danish psychologist specialized in cognitive-behavioral methods. Him a psychoanalyst with an orientation towards Carl Jung. Both charged with prejudices of each other's orientation of psychotherapy, with experiences to back it up.
Johanne remembers the "male-only" club of psychoanalysts, while she studied psychology at the University of Copenhagen. Dressed in tweed costumes and manchester, discussing Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage, they seemed more like pretentious characters of a 70's Woody Allen movie, than trusted mental health professionals.
Jakob, himself a Zurich-trained psychoanalyst, remembers his first encounters with freshly-baked psychologists in the psychiatric ward. Their eagerness to help, give advice, fix the patients gave him a feeling they were somehow engaging with cars, not people.
Prejudices aside, there was still somehow a match between the two. At the first meeting five years ago at a Berlin café, their differences sparked a chemistry and a conversation about what psychology's role is today (as well as a dream that Johanne had, where Jakob gave her a tattoo of a black cat, but that’s a whole other story). This conversation continues to this day and it led to the founding of It's complicated. But first there was an intermezzo.
This first conversation led to the joining forces on a project of bringing "psychology out on the streets". This took the form of group conversations between psychologists, artists, environmental activists, authors and architects in bars, cafès and galleries around Berlin. The purpose was to continue to explore psychology as something that happens also outside of the clinical room.
In addition, they were working side-by-side in establishing a platform for online therapy together with an American corporation. A project that although initially successful, failed as money and male ego came in the way.
The learnings from these projects left them with a clearer idea of what their ongoing conversation, wished to materialize into. In 2017 they established Mittelweg 50, a practice space for international therapists in Berlin. A space defined by the diversity of its practitioners. All therapists are from different schools of psychology as well as different parts of the world.
The value in this is not only in the creative exchange between practitioners but in that it offers patients, seeking a therapist, a better potential for the right “match”. Research shows that the personality of the therapist (and not the school of therapy they are educated in) is the most important criteria for a successful therapy *.
Mittelweg 50 became a physical proof of this insight and the question of how to simplify this match between therapists and patients lead Johanne and Jakob to finally found “It’s Complicated” (a name that came to Jakob in a dream).
Carl Jung once wrote that, “Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble”. One does not have to be a psychologist though to realize that life is complicated. Finding a therapist doesn’t have to be though. This simple premise, laid the foundation of It’s Complicated.
What looked like a bad match between two people turned into a really fruitful conversation. Our vision is that “It’s Complicated” makes conversations that help change people’s life, one conversation at a time.