In the family I grew up in, communicating clearly was not easy, partly due to a father who became increasingly hard of hearing. My sensitivity to disturbances in contact, became a driving force to study speech and language pathology.
I worked a lot with hearing impaired children, and children with autism, in the first phase of my professional career. Over the past 20 years I have worked in a large hospital in Amsterdam. There I examine and treat, among others, people who have communication problems as a result of neurological disorders.
I get my satisfaction from supporting them intensively in restarting their communication with the outside world. But it didn’t stop there.
At the same time I led a life as it was expected of me. I had a stress and conflict free marriage, with three children, mostly focused on “how things should be”. Life was rippling along. Apparently, I had chosen security and routine. A “well-oiled facilities cabinet,” as my husband called it.
I struggled to be in touch with my emotions and needs.
Love, affection, excitement, anger: I couldn’t always distinguish what something did to me. And then my marriage began to shake. A period of self-doubt, resentment and frustration, anger, sadness and disappointment, fear and emptiness set in.
I could not change my husband. I realized that I had to work on myself and began therapy. I had become so accustomed to looking outside myself for fulfillment in my life that I had lost sight of my own true essence. I had totally forgotten that the key to happiness, connection, and a sense of security could be found within myself.
I decided to enroll in the School of Life study program (www.schooloflife.nl), and became a Life Therapist. There I learned at a deeper level who I am, and how through my own experience and qualities, I could guide others and give them back their power and energy.
I also took many yoga, mindfulness, meditation and spiritual-relationship courses with Jan Geurtz, among others. I was Jan’s assistant for some time, which gave me more insight into the fact that relationship problems mainly arise from the pain that is within ourselves.
In the meantime I completed an international and fundamental training in body-oriented psychotherapy at the Netherlands Institute of Core Energetics (www.coreenergetica.nl).
The body is so fascinating: it speaks its own language and never lies. There may be more to it if, for example, a person can no longer give voice, if he breathes superficially, or becomes frozen, or ill/out of balance.
Whereas as a speech and language pathologist I used to treat physical symptoms for a long time, I now work with the whole person, the mind and the body.
In that context, my fascination with contact and connection goes back to what people really want, namely connection. I like to help people to reconnect with themselves, with their source which is love, to be restored. So that they can also be in a deeper connection with others.
And my marriage?
I am still married. My relationship did change because we both changed. Before the crisis in our relationship, we needed the other person to make us feel “whole.” Now we have a relationship within which we don’t need to take care of each other, but rather can “be” there for each other, loving and respecting each other’s needs and boundaries. And of course we still have our irritations and lesser moments.
We are there for each other, in the here and now, and at the same time retain our freedom, equality and autonomy.