Éva Pollák, Counsellor Psychologist, Mindwell Psychology Center Budapest

  • 5 Sep 2023 4:43 AM
Éva Pollák, Counsellor Psychologist, Mindwell Psychology Center Budapest
Éva Pollák is a counselor psychologist and couple/family therapist working in Budapest.

Multiculturalism is a fundamental aspect of Éva's life, evident in her international education experiences, bilingual family life with her Italian husband and children, teaching international students at Semmelweis University, and assisting expatriates in her private practice.

In her therapeutic approach, Éva places a strong emphasis on the present, recognizing that it holds echoes of the past and shapes the future. She is convinced that inner strengths, experiences, and truths are an integral part of who we are and cannot be lost, destroyed, or taken away. 

Her core philosophy centers on the idea that each person possesses innate value and can contribute positively to the broader human community. As a psychologist, she sees it as her mission to extend dignity, respect, and opportunities for growth to others, helping them uncover and nurture their unique gifts in their journey towards a fulfilling life.

Since May  Éva has been the Lead Psychologist of Mindwell Psychology Center, a dedicated institution that firmly believes in the power of mental health.

1. Where did you grow up?

Mostly in Hungary, in the Buda hills, but I’ve lived in Perth, WA for a year during my teenage years and studied for a year in Rome, Italy during university so my upbringing was quite international.

2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

I would love to go back to Australia for a while … I’ve really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and the multiculturality embedded in that culture.

3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?

My family, my siblings and the hills on the Buda side, streets twisting and turning helping you to get lost in your thoughts and find yourself again. I have always had my practice on the Buda side for this reason and I’m very happy that Mindwell - a new psychology center where I have the honor to be Lead Psychologist - is situated in a calm neighborhood surrounded by a lush garden. 

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?

‘Absolutely do’ would be taking those friends to the ruin pub area in the inner city and tell them one of our million stories from how it used to be in our twenties when we have met there with my Italian husband. ‘Absolutely see’ would be the city from Normafa, possibly after a hike up through Harangvölgy. 

5. What is your favorite food?

Melanzane alla parmigiana (takes hours to prepare and is very rich in calories so don’t eat it every day)!

6. What is your favorite sport / form of exercise?

Yoga at home or jogging in the forest, mother-daughter dance-fitness classes. Apart from physical exercise I find it important to make time for mindfulness exercises and ground myself in the here-and-now. 

7. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

I was quite the overachiever during my school years so I actually studied English literature /majoring in Australian literature and culture/ while following my courses in Psychology.

Around third year though it became very obvious that all my literary essays were written from the perspective of psychology so it was clear that my final choice of career would be this.

This said, I would love to write books, especially about difficult topics such as fertility problems or pregnancy loss - these things affect so many people and I believe we have to become better at giving them support.

8. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I just love working with my team at Mindwell. All team members bring in different perspectives, ideas and this is so valuable when it comes to giving complex care to children or families! And we can bring prevention to a whole new level.

I have organized ‘mental health weeks’ in May in our center, at present we are working on summer workshops for teachers and people working with children - I enjoy working in these projects of psychoeducation.

Most psychologists work alone so being head of team really gives me new opportunities. We have many ideas - and behind each there is the team effort that makes us all very enthusiastic about what we do.

9. Where did you spend your last vacation?

We went to Athens for a getaway with my husband, we loved it!

10. Individual therapy or couple/family therapy?

That is a question I often meet and there is no reply that fits all. If we are talking about an adult we have to see if the source of discomfort/suffering is an imbalance in the relationship dynamics - in which case I would suggest couple’s therapy - or a lack of balance within the self  - that might call for individual counseling. 

11. What about children?

I have two:) But if we are talking about children in therapy - “there’s something wrong with the child, fix it” can never work. Parents should be involved in helping the child, through family therapy or parental counseling. 

11. Did you ever work with groups?

Before my children were born I was leading tale-based parental groups and I just loved it.  Some groups even asked for extension I think mostly because groups provide a safe space where all members may experience being seen, heard and supported and this is something parents really need in order to function well. 

Some parents enjoy parental support groups more than parental counseling sessions, so in the fall we hope to launch parental support groups (at Mindwell), and even a support group for fathers!

12. Why would you recommend groups to people?

Being part of a group fosters a sense of community and connectedness, it can help individuals realize that their thoughts, emotions, and struggles are normal experiences shared by many - this in itself can enhance overall well-being and satisfaction. 

Groups work wonders for children and teens as well. In therapy or support groups children can learn coping strategies, communication skills, problem-solving techniques but most importantly they can learn from each other's successes and setbacks. Whether it is a short workshop, an intensive summer group or an all-year group - i recommend them all!

13. What was your favorite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

I really loved arts and crafts, I still do. Creating things helps me to be in flow and enjoy being one with the activity whether it is crocheting or furniture hacking the feeling is always the same.

14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

A good coffee or a good ice cream. Possibly the combination of the two! 

14. Red wine or white?

Can I say Rose? 

15. Book or movie?

Book - in paper form, kindle, or audiobook. The latter has been a great help in the past busy months of turning a 20year old dream into reality with the help of dr.Mònika Dura, the CEO of Mindwell. I really enjoy reading books by Irving Yalom but when I need to switch off, the best choice would probably be full-immersion into the discworld universe’s witty humor  /of Terry Pratchett/.

16. Morning person or night person?

If I can have my coffee first I can be very pleasant even in the morning, otherwise I bite.

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?

I think you can guess by now that it is emotional well-being and families!

18. Buda or Pest side?

Buda - you already know why.

19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?

Being a good enough mother, wife, friend, therapist - and now hopefully a good enough team lead too.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?

There were these words stuck in my head in my teens - turns out they are from the lyrics of a jazz song  - I still like them, so here it goes:

“So dream when the day is through
Dream, and they might come true
Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream”

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