Meet the psychologist

2020-06-03

We caught up with psychologist Björn Hedensjö about coping with a pandemic, his plans going forward, and how to dress like a therapist.

Björn Hedensjö is a psychologist, journalist, author, and speaker. Together with his co-founder Lina Thomsgård, Björn is the host of “Dumma Människor (Stupid people) a podcast about the psychological mechanisms driving human behaviour. He is also a clinical psychologist and has written books about sleep, stress, and leadership.

Björn is also one of the founders of Grey&White, a consulting firm working with companies to improve performance and mental resilience. During the pandemic, Björn’s been a frequent guest on Swedish TV — a comforting voice giving guidance on how to cope with distress and uncertainty. Björn is a longtime friend and has been an ardent supporter of A Day’s March from the very start. We caught up with him to talk about coping with a pandemic, his plans going forward, and how to dress like a therapist.

Hi Björn! There’s been a tough year for all of us. How do you think we are all generally holding up?
– Generally speaking, I'm actually very impressed with people. It's been a tough time in many ways, especially for those who have been socially isolated. But I think it's really impressive to see how people have managed to find fun, beauty, and companionship in this new reality. We're really a quite creative species.

What have you done personally to stay sane, healthy, and happy?
– I know I need exercise to stay happy, so I've increased that dose. Mostly running but I've also spent some time in the outdoor gym.

Is there anything special you have realized about the world this past year?
– That humans are resilient and awesome. But also how much we need each other. I really, really can't wait to get out there and engage with others in the world.

And what have you realized about yourself?
– I'm actually traveling to a secret location to participate in a tv show. It's a relationship reality show and I'm the psychology expert. So that's my life this coming month, and it's going to be so much fun.

If you would change your career (again), what would that be?
– Hmm, perhaps something that would allow me to work in the outdoors? Wilderness photography, forest management, an arborist taking care of trees, something like that. Dame Judi Dench's description of her life as being all about trees and champagne is an inspiration.

What do you do too much of?
– Work too much, at least right now.

What do you do too little of?
– Hang out with my friends, of course in part because of the pandemic.

Would you agree that the clothes we wear send signals?
– They definitely do, we signal authority, independence, and opposition, identity, connectedness, and loads of other things.

What do you wear for work when working as a therapist? Any dos and don'ts?
– I try to have a proper but not overdressed look. You don't want to distance yourself too much from the clients you're meeting.

What do you always carry with you?
– Headphones! I want music in my life almost all the time.

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