Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Life Coming Into View
At some time in our lives, the big picture starts to come together in our minds, in a clear vision of truth. When it does, we know we have to face up to it.
The big picture is this: We are either living in a relatively unconscious, disempowered, addicted and loveless state of conflict with ourselves and others, or we are living in a more conscious, clear-minded, harmonious and purposeful relationship with ourselves and life.
This is the inner truth of our lives that determines everything. So how do we make that shift?
A happier life
There are so many choices each day that lead us forward or set us back in our self-actualization. In my life and my work with my clients, I have found that happiness comes from expressing our talents in service of others, cultivating lasting relationships, working patiently with personal weaknesses, and taking courageous action every day.
What stops us from doing these things is our unresolved traumas, emotional reactions and addictive habits. These defenses keep us running in circles, avoiding the real business of life and neglecting our true interests. They make us defensive, reactive and uncertain of who we really are.
The sooner we turn with compassion toward our suffering, the sooner we can come into alignment with life.
Triumphs and tragedies
There is no doubt that life can be difficult. We all go through various triumphs and tragedies in our life's journey. Yet many of these tragedies are unnecessary and self-created. I think the biggest tragedy is when we neglect our real self and our task of becoming conscious. It comes down to learning love.
Yes - we've all heard we should love ourselves. But what does that really mean? Does it mean telling ourselves that we're wonderful no matter how rude and impatient we are, no matter how many people we've hurt, or no matter how often we procrastinate and abandon ourselves to distracting and destructive habits?
Self-love means being conscious
I don't think we are really loving ourselves until we start understanding what drives us, who we really are and what our highest good is.
Loving ourselves really means embracing our growth process and taking on the lifelong task of becoming more conscious, integrated and authentic. Loving ourselves means to soberly face up to our pain, which we're so good at repressing, and getting help when we need it. Loving ourselves means learning to be still, observe our mind and see how our attitude is shaping our daily lives.
From low-quality to high-quality relating
I'm sure you have found that others often don't know how to love us, and we don't know how to love them.
To put it simply, many relationships are of a low-quality, unconscious nature. Even in some loving friendships, marriages and families, there is a chronic inability to just listen to the other person, empathize and support. We talk at each other, we interrupt, throw solutions at each other and get angry if they feel hurt.
Meanwhile we all search everywhere for high-quality love, presence and connectedness. If one friend doesn't seem to get us then we stop calling them and turn to another. If our wife or husband isn't deeply present and connected with us, then we may find ourselves chatting, flirting and connecting with someone else -- hoping to find that special feeling of being seen, understood and cherished at our deepest level.
A lighthouse of support and connection
From our earliest years we have been searching for that precious connection and understanding that comes from high-quality, conscious relating.
Right now, your friend, family member or lover may or may not be willing to learn to relate to you differently. Meanwhile, where do you turn to find support for living from the real love, positivity and alignment that you are seeking in your life?
This is where the helpers, counselors and therapists of the world come in. We are here - I am here - to function as a lighthouse of high-quality presence, empathy and support for you.
This is a skill we develop as professionals and conscious beings. No one can be "perfectly therapeutic" but, I aim to live these principles to the utmost.
I believe I can help others only to the extent that I am walking my talk and living from this centered, loving and self-actualized place in my daily life. When I work with my clients, I am not delivering a script or gimmick (although sometimes there is homework!). I am being present in my full humanity to the humanity of another. I am utilizing the whole of my life experience as a counselor and coach.
When we finish the session, I am often reflecting on how all our lessons are intertwined and my clients' life journeys are reflected in mine - even if we are in different phases of it. When you experience a breakthrough, I celebrate that. It's magical.
I think the change we are seeking is a palpable, energetic experience of healing and empowerment. It's the experience of sanity dawning quietly in your consciousness, bringing new vision and energy for living.
I have seen people do anything and everything to find that experience. Disillusionment is very common.
In my personal and professional experience, the most reliable vehicle for this transformation is working with a highly conscious, experienced and compassionate guide to the inner life. Such a guide knows how to offer profound empathy and listening, while also being able to gently challenge us, and suggest new actions, habits and lifestyle changes that will make all the difference.
That is what I offer to my clients. I aim to be a lighthouse of high quality presence, constructive dialogue and fresh solutions. I don't have all the answers for your life, but I do have the ability to help you find yours.
If you're ready to get support for your inner life and start experiencing some breakthroughs, reach out today for a phone conversation about your present concerns.
Awakening the Authentic Self
From July to September 2021, we begin a new group mentoring program to learn the basics of self-actualization and living from your higher self. The program will offer a weekly group meeting and two private mentoring sessions per month. To inquire about participating, please get in touch by email.
Each stage of life requires a different attitude and approach. To develop wholeness and wisdom,
At every stage of life, we are called to align with our authentic self instead of living in service to negative habits, superficial roles, defenses and reactions we developed earlier in life.
The process of becoming conscious unfolds through the four basic stages of our lives from childhood, young adulthood, midlife and late adulthood. The work of Erik Erickson and Carl Jung describes these well.
With awareness of the common challenges and opportunities we face at these stages, I help my clients navigate their present phase of life with more clarity and competence.
At each stage, we have to look at the areas of our psyche that are less developed and are now causing difficulties. Young adulthood, midlife and late adulthood each require a different attitude from us. If part of us is stuck in an earlier stage, we will find ourselves unhappy and in crisis.
This might work well for you if -
You've felt stuck for a while now. You value self-awareness and want to get to the root of the problem.
You've tried to figure things out on your own but it hasn't worked.
You are a sensitive, thoughtful person who wants to feel seen and understood at a deep level.
You feel unsettled about your relationship and want clear, objective feedback from a highly intuitive relationship expert.
You have unresolved grief about difficult experiences that you're ready to face.
You feel excited to engage in a process that will change your life for the better.
Help for finding your way
There are times in life when we lose our way. It's a loss of clarity about what's happening and what we should do about it. We wonder, How do I stop this pattern? Do I have a serious issue? Am I the crazy one in this relationship?
The big question we face at these times is, what is the meaning of this? Because where we find the meaning that touches home for this, there we begin to find the solution.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.
Talking about what's real
We need to talk. In order to understand ourselves and our experience of life, we need to voice our thoughts and feelings, reflect on them with others and explore new perspectives. We go wrong when we try to figure it all out on our own.
The way forward starts with being as honest with yourself as you can, and then being honest with a counselor about what's going on.
So often when we are unable to be honest and straightforward to others, it's because we haven't practiced speaking the truth to ourselves and discussing how we feel with anyone.
The call of self-actualization - and self-love
We all have an innate urge toward growth, awareness and love. It's an natural call to evolve and grow.
Pain is the signal that we need to grow. The call comes in the form of emotional suffering, relationship problems and negative habits. We are called to look at the areas of our psyche that are unresolved and bring suffering.
So much of this comes down to learning self-love. We have to learn to honor our existence and to regard our difficulties with compassion.
I help my clients understand themselves, gain empowering new insights and relationship skills, and consciously shape the life they want to lead.
The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing.
Restoring meaning and purpose
When we lose touch with our sense of meaning and purpose, we tend to become anxious, angry or depressed. We live from an inauthentic self. And when a relationship loses its meaning, conflict takes over.
In the absence of inner fulfillment and a positive outward focus, the mind starts clinging to false comforts and negative habits. Addictions and distractions are attempts to fill the hole in our soul.
To find a higher meaning in life, we have to let go of strategies that don't work and get in touch with our authentic self. That means figuring out some new, constructive habits we can use to replace the negative ones.
In every session with my clients, I facilitate a deeper awareness of what is working and what no longer works.
I help each person create a more fulfilling vision for their life, along with the practical skills to make it happen.
Connecting with the world
From Amsterdam to America. That was the journey my grandfather made in the beginning of the last century, which planted my family's roots in New England. And it's a journey I made after studying in Amsterdam and realizing I would become a psychologist.
It was in that old city, a center of Enlightenment humanism, that the seeds were planted for me to abandon international studies and pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology. That was where the inner life came alive for me and I discovered that the world has a soul - full of pain, joy, and divine potential. From then on I became a passionate student of the human condition and our inner, psychological and spiritual life.
My life has been greatly been enriched by travel. Originally from Connecticut, I have lived in Amsterdam, London, Washington DC and northern California. At least once a year, I travel to the Netherlands to visit my relatives and friends, give seminars on personal development, and practice my Dutch.
My other passion is cycling. The cycling trips I have taken through the French countryside have been among the most magical adventures of my life. All my travels have instilled in me a stronger sense of connection with humanity.
Today I work with people around the world who are pursuing a conscious and self-actualized life. I am a strong ally for your authentic self to emerge from old pain and dysfunctional relationships. I feel honored to support people at critical times in their lives and to impart my faith in their capacity to grow.
Above all, I'm here to support you in living your best life. Your past is not equal to your future, so let's have a conversation about where you are and what you'd like to create.
Why didn't my past therapy work for me?
Many people are just not getting genuine, high quality psychotherapy. Patients tell me their therapist talked with them like a friend, or they were given CBT techniques which did not heal their emotional issues.
This is different from in-depth, psychodynamic therapy with a clinical psychologist. As a psychologist I am trained to facilitate your growth and healing at a deeper level.
Isn't CBT shown to be an "evidence-based" therapy?
"Evidence-based" is a misleading phrase often used to suggest that CBT is "proven" while psychodynamic is not. This is an outright distortion. Psychodynamic therapy is shown to be far more effective. But that doesn't stop new therapists, fresh out of grad school, from claiming to offer you 7 different types of evidence-base techniques.
Research proves that quick-fix, cognitive approaches like CBT are favored by the pharmaceutic and healthcare insurance companies but do not create lasting results. I must be blunt here: CBT, along with antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, has been pushed onto the public as the most basic, barebones kind of therapy that any inexperienced intern can provide. It does not address the needs of adults, couples and families going through difficult times.
Moroever, research shows that people know they need a deeper approach. They are just not sure where to find it. The answer is traditional, psychodynamic therapy. We're not talking about sitting on Freud's couch 5x a week here. We are talking about modern, humanistic therapy with an experienced psychologist.
The first session
In the first session, there's usually a big increase in the sense of hope and validation. My patients are often surprised at how quickly we get to the heart of the matter.
My first aim will be to accurately assess your situation and help you start feeling better. Long term, most patients experience much more well-being and alignment with the authentic self.
No - we will do far more than that. I often hear that,"My former therapist let me talk and talk, but nothing changed." Therapy should feel engaging and productive.
Effective therapy provides deep listening as well as an action-oriented approach. Half of healing comes from feeling things through and finding insight. The other half comes from doing things differently - now.
I practice traditional, psychodynamic therapy which has been shown to create stable, lifelong improvements in emotional well-being, relational health and life satisfaction. I offer a powerful combination of deep listening, intuitive reflections and pragmatic guidance.
I want to help you outgrow old patterns by deepening your self-knowledge and find a broader vision for your life. I work from a visionary, broad-minded and spiritually enriching vision of psychology.
Is therapy just telling my story?