Reconnect to yourself.
At times when you are finding yourself low on energy, not as happy, living in a country you were not born in can become isolating and feel like you have no ground underneath your feet. You easily start feeling very lonely and disconnected. If you have moved countries, many times your relationship (and/or your family) becomes your “home”, and it can be all the more difficult if you are no longer sure about your relationship, are considering separation or separated, or are dealing with loss. At such times, counselling may help to support you to find your own strengths again, feel more grounded, and be able to reconnect with yourself and others around you again
Enjoy each other again.
You feel you are no longer talking with your partner, but at each other. Or maybe you have stopped really speaking with each other at all? And even when you are trying to do or say something different, all the other person seems to hear are words of hurt. “Maybe we are just too different” is often what I hear in a first session, especially from couples who have different cultural backgrounds. But most of the time, what is going on is that it does not feel safe anymore to enjoy each other and your differences, as you feel too hurt or cannot forgive certain things that have happened. When it seems impossible to come out of some of these cycles that seem to have determined your relationship by yourself, it can help to speak to someone who does not take any sides, but helps the both of you, (or, in case of a family, all family members) to express some of the things you want to say in a safe environment, with the hope of getting out of these cycles and finding new, more positive ways forward, that are actually more in line with how you would like your relationship to be.
If you are an “international” or “expat” couple, this stress of communication may at times be even harder. It is not only about cultural diffences in the way you communicate, but also (and often more so) about sacrifices you had to make for each other, language fluency (with all the feelings of dependency that come from that), or having difficulty finding close friends outside of your relationship. If you have moved around a lot and your relationship and family have become your “home”, it hurts all the more to be arguing so much, to contemplate separation or to lose a family member.
My approach is systemic, which means that I pay attention to the whole of you: your body, your feelings, your thoughts and the people around you. In case of relationship counselling, this means I pay attention to each of you individually as well as what is happening between you, the cycles that you find yourself getting into and you somehow cannot get out of on your own. In my work, I use both my professional experience as a psychologist and family & couples therapist, as well as my personal experiences of having moved countries a number of times, living in an intercultural relationship, and raising my daughter with three languages.
I mainly work in English, but can include German, Dutch and Spanish in the session as well, depending on whatever languages you speak. Especially in the case of past traumatic or particularly stressful experiences, it can help to work through these issues in your mother tongue alongside the language you speak together as a couple and/or family. Please note my level of Spanish does unfortunately not allow me to conduct a full session in Spanish, but I could assist in translating some things to your partner or help you work through a traumatic experience in Spanish.
I very much enjoy working with people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages, abilities, cultures, spirituality, and ethnicities.