How did a Finnish woman end up being a teacher and Clinical Supervisor at the ICTCM in Dublin?
I have always been drawn to teaching – my younger sister knows this well. When I first went to Primary School, after coming home in the afternoon I would sit her down and try to teach her everything I’d learned that day. She may not have appreciated this much – I do hope that my current TCM students are able to make better use of my efforts of imparting knowledge!
Originally, I started out in General Linguistics at Helsinki University. Language and grammar were my first love. I had hoped to arrive at some kind of deeper, more profound understanding of human cognition, perhaps even human nature, through the languages that we use as the interface with the world and with each other. But as I progressed with my studies, I begun to realise how theoretical and book-bound a career as a linguist would be, and that seemed daunting. So I took a break and went traveling, left for an adventure.
I had always been into theatre and literature and there were a great many Irish authors and playwrights that I was fascinated by, James Joyce of course, Oscar Wilde, John Millington Synge, and others. That is what brought me to Ireland and to Dublin. I wanted to know more about this place that had produced such incredible writing.
What attracted you to the Acupuncture TCM profession in the first place?
While in Dublin I had acupuncture treatment with Professor Tom Shanahan. I had never even heard of acupuncture before, but it worked so well that I really wanted to understand what it was, and not just understand at a theoretical level but I wanted to be able to do it myself. He pointed me to this great little book called ‘The Web that has no Weaver’ by Ted Kaptchuk. I read it and it gave me the first little glimpse into the medical system that is TCM and soon after I enrolled into the Acupuncture Training Lic.TCM course at the ICTCM.
As I learned TCM I could see that, compared to General Linguistics, it had one huge advantage. When I studied linguistics, my very accomplished professor said to us students:
“Listen, don’t think you will ever make a difference by being a linguist. If you want to bring about a political change, if you want to bring about a social or individual change, you need to do it elsewhere, you will not do it through linguistics. This is a theoretical endeavour, this has no practical relevance”.
Well, Acupuncture TCM is hugely relevant. It can make a difference. It can make a difference at an individual level, and through the individual it can change the family, the neighbourhood, perhaps even the society. TCM is not just an elegant, pretty theory – it works, and it can be applied directly to help people. And there is no better feeling in the world than to be able to help somebody, especially when other things they’ve tried have failed.
Also the medical tradition that is TCM is so old and vast, that you never really run out of things to learn. Your patients prompt the search for a better understanding and you go back to the medical theory to be able to better help them. Then you go back to your patient and back to practice and apply what you found in your research. It never becomes stagnant, or boring.
Editorial Note: Titta is one of the Acupuncture TCM Teachers and one of the Acupuncture Clinical Supervisors working with third year students in the Teaching Clinic.
What’s it like being a Clinical Supervisor?
Being a Clinical Supervisor in the ICTCM’s Teaching Clinic is incredibly demanding but also incredibly rewarding. You have to keep track of everything, be on top of multiple things all at once, and be able to diagnose and devise a treatment strategy and points selection on the spot, all the while overseeing the running of a busy student clinic. However, it is doubly rewarding in a way. Not only do you get to see patients getting better, but you also get to see students transitioning from a TCM student to a TCM practitioner, learning how to put the theory into use. It can be very exciting and the Clinical Supervisor himself or herself also learns a lot from each clinic.
Do you run a clinic of your own?
I run three clinics in London, in three different locations although one of them is now closed until the Autumn due to the Covid-19 lockdown. I also work with vulnerable women through a charity in London’s Kings Cross. Practising in different clinics is interesting because different sorts of people with different kinds of problems find their way to you depending on the location and type of clinic you’re in.
Editorial Note: Titta is a fully qualified and insured Acupuncture TCM practitioner and also has a Diploma in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is also qualified as a Medical Qigong practitioner.
What do you do for enjoyment?
I am a passionate swimmer. There is no such thing as a bad day that a few lengths of butterfly-stroke could not wash away! This year because of the lockdown, I set up a little pool in the back garden where I could swim with the use of a “tether”. That means being tied to a pole with a bungee and swimming stationary. I’ve also been traveling out of London to lakes and the sea because the pools have not been open, and that is actually great. Less chlorine, more fresh air and much better scenery.