From 2007 to 2018, I worked as a spiritual counsellor in a regional hospital in Southeast Brabant. This function entails guiding people from varying backgrounds through crisis and trauma, which have often something to do with declining health or the passing of a loved one. This means that people under my guidance are always going through an emotional rough patch. After all, they’re dealing with questions regarding life and death. In order to mean something, I have to be fully present with these people. This means that I have to be prepared to be touched myself, without getting carried away in emotion. Sometimes, dealing with loss and sadness seems like an insufferable task. In my own lifetime, I have however learned that there is really only a single thing which is asked of me: to create an inner space in which emotions can be. Ultimately, sorrow and other emotions are ‘affairs of the heart’ which are required to be physically ‘felt through’. If we do that, the affairs of the heart will make us ‘whole’, instead of causing us to collapse. This can mean the difference between inner tranquillity or despair. This is what mindfulness and compassion are all about.
Sources of inspiration
My greatest sources of inspiration are the love for my partner, my three children and all other teachers whom I cross paths with. They have already taught me many wise lessons, and I can’t begin to think of not wanting to pass these on to others. There are many ways to do this, but mindfulness and Core Process are the most impressive tools I have encountered on my way. I am very grateful that I may help people to find wholesomeness, connection and peace in this way.
From my background as a religious scholar, I have an interest in all forms of historic and contemporary Buddhism, but I am not bound to any form of traditional religious Buddhism myself. As a therapist and trainer, I am therefore not interested in promoting any Buddhist denomination. Original Buddhism is about the human being in relational harmony with itself, the world around it and the planet we all live on (like all large spiritual traditions). It’s about repeatedly restoring these relationships, in order for them to flourish. This is the basis for Core Process therapy.
I have years of experience when it comes to guiding people in health care. I have worked as a nurse in a hospital and in home nursing. I have studied Religious Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen and worked as a spiritual counsellor in a hospital for ten years. I supervised interns in spiritual counselling and gave multiple trainings in mindfulness and stress reduction to patients and hospital employees. I worked as a spiritual care consultant for the consultative palliative team at the Integral Centre for Cancer Netherlands (Integraal Kankercentrum Nederland; IKNL). As a mindfulness therapist, I have been involved with ‘Be-Mind’, an online mindfulness programme for cancer patients. I have been practicing multiple styles of Buddhist meditation for years, and have followed an intensive and thorough Dharma teaching course for two years, at the Bodhi College, England. Among my teachers there were Christina Feldman and Stephen Batchelor. At the moment, I am training to become a Core Process therapist.
Qualification and certification
As a mindfulness trainer, I have received a postdoctoral training as a category 1 trainer at the Radboud University Medical Centre for Mindfulness in Nijmegen. I am a member of the Association of Mindfulness Based Trainers in the Netherlands and Flanders (Vereniging Mindfulness Based trainers Nederland en Vlaanderen; VMBN).
I follow my training to be a Core Process therapist at the Karuna Institute Devon & Middlesex University, London. As a therapist-in-training, I work under continuous supervision by this institute.
As a spiritual counsellor and student of Core Process therapy, I have been bound to the ethical codes of my professional organization, being respectively the VGVZ and the British association for psychotherapists, the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).