‘I became a psychotherapist not just to support people, but to find answers.’ An interview with Marina Sabolova, founder of OK Talk, Portishead
March 7, 2024

Marina Sabolova had wanted to become a psychotherapist since she was a teenager. Determined to better understand herself and those closest to her, she left her home in Slovakia to study in Manchester, spending eight years in training.

“I could see my mum struggling, and I always wanted to help. Once I got qualified, I found out that she lives with OCD.”

“I had absolutely no one to help me or listen to my worries as a teenager. I became a psychotherapist not just to support people, but to find answers.”

Marina is the founder of OK Talk, a small counselling practice based in Portishead. According to Bristol City Council, the prevalence of depression in the city increased to 14.6% last year, significantly higher than the England average of 13.2%.

As the region recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, Marina affirms that face-to-face communication is more vital than ever. The workshops that she runs, such as ‘Happy for No Reason’ and the weekly Chatty Café provide a “safe space” to foster conversations and positive interactions.

She also highlights that more funding is needed to help young people, in light of the fact that the 16 to 24 age group has been named ‘the loneliest generation’.

“I’ve noticed that young people are more open to talking about their issues, which I think is brilliant. But access to ongoing support is essential; it could be workshops, 1-to-1 sessions, anything.”

“You just need to find the right person to talk to.”

This interview was conducted by Madison James, a student and journalist in her final year of a Politics and French degree at the University of Bristol.


Bakhtiari, K. (2023). Gen-Z, The Loneliness Epidemic and the Unifying Power of Brands, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kianbakhtiari/2023/07/28/gen-z-the-loneliness-epidemic-and-the-unifying-power-of-brands/.

Healthwatch Bristol (2019). Impact Report, July 2019: Mental Health in Bristol – a year-long project. Available at: https://www.healthwatchbristol.co.uk/sites/healthwatchbristol.co.uk/files/Mental-Health-in-Bristol-a-year-long-project.pdf.

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Bristol City Council (2023). JSNA Health and Wellbeing Profile 2023/24. Available at: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/files/documents/1557-jsna-202122-depression-vac-final/file.