Expert Profile - Kristin Vikjord
MSc (cand.psychol), Integrative Psychologist
Co-founder of Delight Yoga (largest yoga schools in Europe), the Arctic Yoga Conference (Emphasizes the link between yoga & mental health), & the Inner Peace Conference (Amsterdam & New York)
Internationally recognized author of the self-help book Inner Spark (2019)
Has contributed to numerous popular publications on the topic of yoga and mental health, and has been featured in several magazines such as Harpers Bazaar & Yoga Magazine.
Kristin Vikjord’s Bio:
Kristin Vikjord is trained clinical psychologist, and facilitator of yoga and mindfulness. As a clinician, she has worked in psychiatry, both in inpatient and outpatient units, as well having a private practice periodically.
Kristin is an authorized Clinical Health Psychologist (EuroPsy). She graduated BA and MSc (cand.polit) at NTNU 2006, and MSc (cand.psychol) at UCPH 2009. She has been working as a clinical psychologist since 2009, authorized in Norway and Europe. She is trained in several psychotherapeutic approaches such as: cognitive therapy (CBT-E), mentalizing based therapy, motivational interviews, traume sensitive yoga (TSY), and mindfulness based therapy (MBCT). Kristin is currently training in emotional focus therapy, and accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP). In addition, Kristin is registered yoga teacher (E-RYT500), registered yoga therapist (IAYT) and mindfulness facilitator, and holds teacher training certificates in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT, Oxford), Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TSY), and Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training (MYMT, Spirit Rock).
With a special interest and competence in therapeutic yoga and mindfulness for mental health, Kristin ́s professional career has been filled with unique projects and amazing collaborations, allowing her to be part of the current global network of peers in academia, clinicians, yoga and wellbeing. Some of her endeavours has been founding acclaimed initiatives to nurture this particular bridging of western psychology and bio-medical science with eastern wisdom teachings and practices, such as The Arctic Yoga Conference – with emphasis on yoga and mental health, Delight Yoga Schools – the biggest yoga schools in Europe, The Inner Peace Conference and The House of Yoga – as significant online platforms.
In addition to having developed programs and trained hundreds of health care personal in yoga, she has been applying it as compliment to conventional therapy for patients for more than a decade. She has been clinical supervisor for multiple projects and part of research teams in the field of application of yoga for mental health, as well as presenting on the topic in several conferences worldwide.
Kristin is an international recognized author of the self-help book Inner Spark (2019), published across the globe in multiple languages (EN, NL, ES, NO). And as a writer she has contributed to numerous popular publications on the topic, as for example in magazines such as Harpers Bazaar.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to pursue a career in psychiatry?
In my early teens, I experienced an eating disorder, and read a lot to try to understand how and what – in order to sort out what was body related and what was embodyment related. As that was a differentiation I felt strongly. All the reading ignited a deeper wish to understand more of human embodiment and life itself, a wish that became explicit in regards of studying psychology, after reading a book by psychologist Irwin D`Yalom. when I was 16. I was intrigued by existentialism, philosophy and in general how to understand human beingness.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
It propelled me to read more, psychology, philosophy, study yoga, talk with people – and in the brief meeting I had with mental health care in my teens, made me understand that there’s a lot more than theory of the mind, that supports wellbeing. I was lucky to study yoga and meditation simultaneous with my psychology studies, and that everywhere I had clinical practicum, I was invited to share mindfulness and yoga with both personnel and patients. It taught me that there was room for complimentary interventions in conventional treatment.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on practicing Integrative Psychiatry, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
It evolved naturally as I’ve practiced as a clinician, as I’ve always shared and spoken about it, adjusting the language to the listener, co-workers and leaders.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
In addition to conventional treatment methods, I offer Mindful Yoga, breath work and meditations.
How did people react when you share this Integrative/Holistic approach with them – whether it be patients or other doctors?
Patients that choose for these interventions, are already motivated by individual interest. In my experience, doctors are very open for this, and for those more with less familiarity or little interest, I share what they are open to hear. My general experience with co-workers in psychiatry in Norway, is that they are very open-minded and non-judgemental. The attitude is more about “what can we do to empower patients, right now”.