Following a brief but exciting career as a television journalist in both the Netherlands and the UK, I followed my heart and began training as a professional counsellor. What followed was a rewarding personal and professional path.
Initially, I continued working for various satellite channels in the UK, while ‘testing the water’ by volunteering for the Samaritans, the Miscarriage Support organisation, and the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.
Becoming a counsellor
I soon realised that this was the work that made my heart sing, and I enrolled with the CSCT on a three year, accredited counselling training. In 1997 I became a BACP accredited Counsellor, and set about exploring opportunities to start my professional counselling career in Londen.
However, life had other plans for me, and that same year I moved to Sweden with my family. Building a practise in a foreign country took some patience, and so I started writing a book about our experiences of pregnancy loss. I also took long walks in the Swedish woods where I heard the songs that were later to become the Aviva psycho-spiritual song cycle. In 2000 Small Sparks of Life, was published.
Exploring the existential approaches
Since as far back as I can remember, I was fascinated by everything to do with religion, spirituality, and the existential questions that arise about the meaning and purpose of our lives. And so I took another step on my therapeutic journey and enrolled at the Psychosynthesis Academy in Stockholm to further my understanding of the so-called transpersonal approaches to therapy.
Aviva, a transpersonal song cycle
In 2004 I was proud to receive the Margot Russel Stipend for Aviva, a transpersonal song cycle about loss, reconciliation and healing. It was performed to great acclaim by an enthusiastic troupe of amateurs, all psychosynthesis guides, at the 2008 European Psychosynthesis summer school in Sweden.
Psychosocial therapist and Businesswoman
After I graduated as a Psychosynthesis guide from the PsA, I went on to pursue an MA in Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy from the University of East London, clinically accredited by the UKCP.
In the meantime I had founded the Turning Point Counselling center in Stockholm, which successfully grew into the main center for international and expat counselling in Stockholm, as well as serving the local Swedish community. I had an inspiring crew of international therapists working with me, from different therapeutic modalities and approaches. It was, and still is, a truly integrative, international melting pot.
As our reputation spread, I was asked to speak at international schools and organisations in Stockholm about the specific issues that affect expats, issues that we knew well from our client work, but also from our own experience as globally mobile psychologists and counsellors.
I understand the way a new environment can trigger old wounds, the challenges and joys of a bicultural relationship, raising children in a multicultural setting, and issues of long distance bereavements and family concerns. I was invited to become the national health editor for Your Living City where I wrote a series of articles on expat issues, and answered readers’ questions. I also led workshops for expats at the Stockholm expat centre.
The joy of writing that originally brought me to a career in journalism, now dances with my growing understanding of the ‘human condition’. From time to time I post my personal reflections from these frontiers of ‘being human’ on my Healthy Neurotics blog.
Returning to my watery roots
In 2014 it was time for new challenges, as life invited me back to my watery roots in the Dutch polders. I settled on an old houseboat in a unique location on the Vecht river, only 25 minutes from Amsterdam and Utrecht.
I had great fun remodelling this houseboat, designing a perfect little self-contained studio to enable others to share in the joys of this river location.
My dear friend and colleague, Beth Rogerson PhD, used the retreat to interview me for her Therapy Spot podcast, and worked on her own book writing projects.