These programmes are often led by qualified experts, most of the times mountain guides: their profession gives them the utmost authority in terms of safety in the mountains, knowledge of the terrain and risk evaluation. In some cases, however, such as that of Pauli Trenkwalder from Colle Isarco, a small hamlet close to the Brennero, this figure has a true “therapeutic” role. Pauli is, in fact, a psychologist, in addition to being a mountain guide. Together with his associate Jan Mersch, he offers strategic coaching for CEOs, for instance, and groups and individuals alike often value his work as a potent tool in terms of personal and professional growth.
Why are we talking about him here? Most people retrace with horror at the thought of psychology, let alone thinking that they do need to see a “shrink”, but this is a different story altogether. We know we feel better in the mountains, for something happens “up there” and so why not dig deeper? You don’t necessarily need to have a nervous breakdown to explore your issues, as these may simply imply your behaviour or your relationship with the others. No need to be afraid of exploring what goes on around us and deep within us.
How does this work?
Pauli says he is “close to his clients as a psychologist, but far from them – 30 to 50 metres – as a mountain guide”, so that they can be free to move and explore. He may ask a series of questions during an outing, on things the client may have said or hinted to beforehand, all leading to some specific issues. Pauli may well direct clients to this journey of exploration, but in the end, it’s the client himself or herself who has to do the work. He can take you “by the hand” but you need to push your limits and test your endurance. This does not equal to your nature being completely overturn: what defines you as a human being will always characterise your behaviour. This is, instead, a matter of exploring yourself. What’s more, in the mountains you learn to deal with the cold, the heat, long efforts, and can thus transfer this resilience to other fields and other parts of life. You do not necessarily need to climb really hard routes to feel that you have achieved something. Sometimes you just need to be out and about. Go out and explore what marvels nature throws at us. You will be amazed and feel deeply enriched.