M Y S T O R Y
People are often surprised to learn that I am a psychologist.
I was born in Jelgava, Latvia amidst a wild thunderstorm on late July Sunday afternoon, 1979. The storm around me has somewhat calmed down, but it continues to be the source of my inspiration, my passion, my joy and misery, she is my constant companion. Challenge and courage, the ability to crystallize the important and cut out the superfluous – that is my personal metaphor of a thunderstorm. My passion for storms couples well with my love for relationships – what else, if not relationship illuminates both our bright and our dark sides – similar to a strike of lightening they make us stop for a moment and listen in. Relationship with ourselves and with the world around let us shine in our own uniqueness.
Living life in accordance with yourself is the most captivating and challenging adventure of a human life, the most beautiful and valuable gift that we can give to ourselves and to others.
Ever since I remember myself the desire to create, the desire to enjoy in me has been inexhaustible. I have rejoiced and reinvented myself in a number of characters and my surroundings have never been excluded from this transformative, creative process. I am ever so grateful to my parents, who always accepted and supported me in seeking my own authentic ways of self-expression, even though quiet often they were not in line with the general understanding of “good taste”. Their support has greatly contributed to the
development of my own special handwriting in everything I do and approach. These days it still continues to strengthen me in realising my creative potential in various interdisciplinary projects.
My school days started in Jelgava Secondary school no.4. However, due to the combination of a mere coincidence, circumstance, my mother and finally my own decisions, my years of high school were spent in Jelgava 1st sanatorium boarding-school for children with spine problems, which I am especially grateful to. The time spent there illuminated my love for people, affirmed the conviction that we are all given choices and opportunities. It made me respect individual differences, gave me the strength and courage to be the initiator of the happenings in my life. I learned to seek health in its broadest of meanings.
Psychology lessons at school inspired me to continue my explorations of the human in his full spectrum. Consequently, seven years of clinical psychology studies in the University of Latvia (1997 – 2004) and Jung Analytical Psychology and psychotherapy studies in Lithuania Practical Psychology Centre (2005 – 2009) followed. During the period, I conducted my first research in sexuality and gender identity, thus reaffirming the sense already attained during the childhood, namely, that both identity and sexuality has a pivotal role in creating a lasting partnership and successful realization of one’s personality. Here again I am ever so grateful to my family for their openness and their free attitudes towards sexuality, body and nakedness not linking them with shame and insecurities. The opportunity to grow and develop by observing the interaction of my parents not only in taking care of the children, household and work but also in their coquettish private moments of eroticism, has been a crucial support in both my professional and private life.
The psychology of sexuality, sexology, erotology and couple therapy is becoming an increasing interest of mine, a topic of passionate study, focus of interest, exploration and discovery, which is reflecting not only in my counselling job, but also in psychological support programs, lectures, seminars, experience groups and publications that I have developed.
Healthy sexuality is an important personality resource and basis for harmonious partnership. It has always captured the interest of people, but still keeps being one of the most embarrassing, least understood aspects of personality and source of many communication difficulties for inter-gender people.
I consider my family members to be my wisest teachers. Ever since I remember myself, I have wanted a big family - with a smile and gratefulness I can say that I have one. I have a fantastic husband Maris, two wonderful daughters Frida and Doroteja, son Dante and two lovely step-daughters Marta-Paula and Liva-Greta. Healthy lifestyle and living in harmonious relationships with your beloved ones is the most beautiful jewel to ornate yourself throughout your life.
Thank you for reading my story!
A B O U T K R I S T I N E
Kristine Balode is a clinical psychologist with more than 15 years of experience in both public and private sector. Currently she is running her private psychology practice, organising lectures and seminars and being actively involved in various interdisciplinary projects.
Kristine Balode is one of the leading authorities and most acclaimed experts on sexuality, relationships and personality development challenges based on sexuality in Latvia.
Her main fields of interest are personality identity, self-realisation, gender identity, personality sexuality and sexual autonomy, sexual awareness as basis for healthy and strong personality, erotic independence and sexual intelligence, taboo and sexual competence, maintenance of psycho-physical well-being at the age of contemporary sexualised culture, sexual orientation, the importance of sexuality in partnerships, loss of sexual interest and its revitalisation, sexuality during pregnancy and post-partum period, the arrival of a child in the family – the challenge of maintaining and nurturing the intimacy in a couple, misconceptions about masculinity and femininity, desire, lust, flirt, humour etc.
Kristine believes that exactly this kind of educational and supportive aid is an essential prerequisite to overcome any psychological difficulties.
Currently Kristine is developing two new psychological support programs - one of them focuses on strengthening and discover female sexuality, while the other is meant to serve as a foundation for ‘’Happily Ever After’’ intimate partnership model.
Many years of psychological counseling experience in crisis centres and psychological aid to children, adults and families in their toughest periods of life have helped Kristine to witness the frailty of human life, the crucial importance of psychological support, as well as the inexhaustible human courage and determination to free oneself from violence, loss, judgment and hopelessness.
Family mediation training in Italy had a crucial impact on her views on family structure and the connection between family values, sociocultural heritage and parental responsibility. Furthermore, it elucidated the narrow and fragile boundary between simple lack of communication skills and the onset of violence.
In her work, Kristine emphasizes the significance of a deliberate and constructive communication in successful self-realization as a social being.
Her experience and knowledge have allowed Kristine to work as a psychological supervisor, which she thinks of as a highly valuable and responsible form of professional cooperation.
Kristine is a member of the Latvian Society of Jungian Analytical Psychology. Not only did four years of study at the Lithuanian Association for Analytical Psychology advance her professionally, but also inspired Kristine to express her creative potential beyond the framework of psychology and psychotherapy.
Together with her businessman husband Māris Balodis, Kristine created an art space/restaurant Dorian Gray. In the process, she crystallized her view on how art can be applied as a humane, educational, self-analytic and enhancing resource that can be easily integrated in everyday life.
Kristine stands for the concepts of sex positivity, gender and sexual diversity, and promotes the need for open sexuality education and discussion that is rooted in the idea of sexuality as a valuable inner personality resource and not as a threat.
She eagerly continues to learn and refine her professional competence in psychology of sexuality, relationship psychology, sexology and couples therapy.
Kristine is an active supporter of the sexology society of Riga Stradins University.
For more than five years Kristine is involved in the seminar cycle/project ‘’Pregnancy 4days’’ (lat. ‘’Gaidību 4dienas’’) that supports new parents in overcoming personal and relationship difficulties, as well as in maintaining well-being.
She has been consulting journalists on various articles and publications in Latvian media, e.g., ‘’Annas psiholoģija’’, ‘’Klubs’’, ‘’FHM’’, ‘’Ieva’’, ‘’Mans mazais’’.
Throughout her work, Kristine emphasizes the necessity of understanding human sexuality and relationship in a way that is scientifically sound, adequate, free from prejudices and independently of any religious or ideological affiliations.
Large part of Kristine’s professional experience relates to socially significant and controversial topics including domestic violence and support and integration of socially isolated and stigmatised members of society. In addition to working as a counseling psychologist, Kristine has gained an extensive experience in academic work as a lecturer and by establishing a psychological education program in the Higher School of Management and Social Work ‘’Attīstība’’ and its branch campuses in Rēzekne and Daugavpils. Kristine has also taken part in other ‘’Attīstība’’ projects by supervising and lecturing in qualification improvement programs.
Kristine has enriched her professional experience by aiding the successful implementation of European Community Initiative’s project EQUAL ‘’Novel Solutions for Promoting Employability of Ex-Offenders’’ and the social rehabilitation program ‘’Life School 2’’ (lat. ‘’Dzīves Skola 2’’) organized by SDSPA ‘’Attīstība’’. She has also created a psychological rehabilitation program ‘’I Am a Good Beginning’’ (lat. ‘’Es- Labs Sākums’’) and led the training program for the professionals working with it.