We spoke to the director of one of the most popular psychology websites.
Today we have the pleasure of sharing a talk with a person who has dedicated a lot of effort and work to promoting and coordinating a psychology website. This is Marta Guerri, director and content manager of Psicoactiva. A nurse and psychologist by training, she has an extensive and multidimensional curriculum. She combines her presence on the internet with talks and conferences at different universities.
Psychology and Mind: First of all, Marta, thank you for sharing this conversation with us. We want to start by asking you about the website you run, PsicoActiva. How and when did the idea come about? For what purpose did you create the web?
Marta Guerri: Well, the idea of creating PsicoActiva came up a long time ago, while I was studying my first degree in Psychology. At that time this whole world of web pages was beginning to grow, the Internet was already very popular, but not even remotely as huge as it is today. I’m talking about the year 1998.
The idea of making a page on psychology came more from my husband than from me, he is a computer scientist and he told me that it would be a good idea to make an informative page on this subject. And in the end it convinced me, although I hated computers! So he started doing the programming and all the technical part of the web and I did the content. He thinks that at that time there were no blogs as we know them, it was programmed mainly in HTML, which is how he created our home page. Later we have made the blog, our most dynamic and current section and the services section with other tools.
It has always been a joint effort between the two, but he has preferred to remain in the shadows and not come out as a co-founder or collaborator, so that only I appear as the director of the website, but it is not like that.
Our purpose was mainly informative and entertaining, for me more the first and for him more the second, because he loved programming psychotechnical tests and brain teasers, hence he subtitled our page as: “web of psychology and intelligent leisure”. In fact, he likes this field so much that he put together several more pages on his own just for mental training.
Psychology and Mind: I suppose that, over time, your expectations of what you wanted PsicoActiva to be have changed.
MG: Indeed, our expectations have been changing, for many years we only had it for our own entertainment, to do in our spare time, entering informative content so that it was accessible from anywhere in the world, we had no more expectations than this. Keep in mind that the boom in Google’s advertising business and the famous SEO is later.
Honestly, we realized that we could get something of benefit in terms of advertising on the web in 2009, after a call from a publisher who wanted to put a banner on us because we had many visits. We weren’t even aware! We did not do anything at all in that sense, and that was when we began to move the issue of advertising through Google AdSense, at least we began to cover hosting costs, which began to be high. Although, as you know, it is difficult to obtain a reasonable income even with numerous visits.
In any case, we remain focused on our initial objective of disseminating and entertaining, we like to do what we do, because it is still a creative process, a personal project that you set up and manage your way, with no one to tell you how to do it or how not to do it, and that is something that is very fulfilling, as it becomes a process of continuous growth on a personal and professional level.
Psychology and Mind: Let’s talk about your professional side. In what areas have you worked? Tell us a little about your professional career. Because besides being a psychologist you are a nurse. Interesting. Knowing both disciplines has surely been a positive point when it comes to understanding health in broad terms.
MG: Curiously, my professional career is somewhat varied, because as you say, I had previously studied Nursing, and in fact I had been working as such in a hospital for a few years before starting a career in Psychology. But it is that since I studied nursing I was very interested in the whole subject of psychology and mental health, in fact I chose my end-of-year internships in the specialty of psychiatry and I did them in the psychiatric emergency ward of Bellvitge, experience that I loved and with which I learned a lot. On the other hand, I have to admit that I didn’t feel fulfilled as a nurse, that’s why I rolled the blanket over my head and asked for a year’s leave of absence to start psychology.
Psychology and Mind: A Brave Decision.
MG: Well, and necessary. I was already married and with a mortgage behind me, so, although I started studying the first year in person, I had to switch to virtual mode after getting pregnant with my first child. I assure you that it is not easy to work outside the home, study a career, attend the web, housework and on top of that, being a new mother. I think it has been the hardest time I have spent in this regard, I do not recommend it to anyone!
In short, it is not easy when you already have financial burdens such as a mortgage and children, to leave a stable job like the one you had, to launch yourself on the adventure of trying to live practicing a new profession. There are moments in life when you have to know how to make the most correct decision not only for yourself, but for those around you.
Of course, having knowledge of both disciplines, nursing and psychology, has given me a lot of experience, I have been working alongside psychiatrists, I have dealt with all kinds of patients and everything is learned.
I finally left the infirmary now four years ago, for reasons of family organization, since I could not extend my schedule or my time to get to everything. That is why my husband and I talked about it and decided that from then on I would only dedicate myself to the website, to have more time to attend to the children.
Psychology and Mind: Going back to the web, it will have taken a great effort to write articles periodically to supply the site with updated content. How important is disclosure when building a professional profile on social networks? Has the presence on the internet helped you professionally?
MG: Well, as I was saying before, by dedicating myself now only to the page, I have more time to develop content, although I still lack it, don’t believe it. Fortunately, we also receive requests from professionals who wish to publish with us, which provide us with very interesting material on a more or less regular basis.
It is clear that social networks today are essential to obtain a good presence on the network. We started using them somewhat late, but I think that you have to work on them regularly and professionally to achieve a good profile, interesting and at the same time open and trustworthy for users, this is how you get to make your brand known in some way .
On the other hand, personally I am not currently engaged in psychotherapy, partly due to lack of time and hours of training in this field, because as you can see my career has not been the most common and, honestly, I have not been able to be at all . But currently I have set up an online practice where some trusted collaborators do offer their services and I can honestly tell you that it is more difficult than it seems to get patients, even though I am well known. Most of the content on the internet is free and if you also don’t sell a product that can be “seen and touched”, then people are reluctant to pay for it. Many people write to us asking for psychological help, but when it comes to hiring a paid service they back down, it’s that simple.
Psychology and Mind: One of your specialties is emotional intelligence. What are the fundamental keys for a person to develop this capacity? Why is emotional intelligence so important to cope with day-to-day success?
MG: The key to developing all abilities, be it emotional intelligence (EI) or any other, is of course first wanting to do it, and then follow the advice that the professional can give you as many times as necessary until it occurs. the change. For me it is like the phrase “Genius is made with 1% talent, and 99% work”, this is true and valid practically for everything we want to learn or achieve, regardless of what it is.
If we define emotional intelligence we will see that it refers to the human capacity to feel, understand, control and modify the emotional states of oneself and also of others. It is a type of psychological aptitude that governs and directs our emotions in every way. It is a way of knowing how to enjoy life events from a state of understanding and self-acceptance. It also allows us to know how to act on our shortcomings and at the same time expand our strengths. All this allows us to become aware of our emotions, understand the feelings of others, tolerate the pressures and frustrations we endure both at work and in everyday life, accentuating our ability to work as a team, for example, allowing us to adopt a more empathic and social in our interpersonal relationships. An adequate EI will ultimately give us more possibilities for personal development in every way.