A wealth of experience and expertise
These are the approaches, influences and sources of inspiration that are central to my work:
All the work I do is informed by neuroscientific principles. Recent developments in neuroscience have proved beyond doubt that the brain is neuroplastic – we can unlearn old patterns and learn new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.
We also understand now that the brain doesn’t need a real life experience to change its neural networks – an internal (imagined) experience can have almost as much effect as an external experience. By envisioning ourselves in a different life, we can start changing now, without having to wait for the experience.
These insights give us tools to create profound and lasting change. In fact, it is only by altering the brain’s neural networks that change can be permanent.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that has proven results – especially with disorders like anxiety, depression and phobias – although I have found it a helpful way to work with most clients. It challenges negative patterns of thought about the self and the world, and clients learn to interpret their negative thoughts and perceptions differently, which allows them to change their behavior. CBT breaks through self-destructive, negative, limited thinking and allows us to develop constructive, positive approaches to life.
I have been using system therapy for many years. It is based on the idea that groups (including families of all kinds and other relationships) create their own social systems with unique structures and ways of communicating. The work focuses on helping members of the group see things – themselves, each other, and their roles – differently. The goal is to improve communication, solve family problems, and create a better functioning home environment. System therapy can benefit families, couples, individuals and organizations.
Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT)
EFFT is a form of therapy aimed at families. The goal is to increase the interconnection between family members and strengthen the family from within. Family problems often arise from emotional misunderstanding between parents and/or children. With EFFT, family members learn how to deal better with their own emotions and with other people’s emotions. This helps create a safe environment in which relationships can blossom in a healthy way.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for partners (EFT )
Research has proven EFT to be a very effective and sustainable form of relationship therapy. I use it to help partners learn to recognize and understand the patterns that characterize (and disrupt) their relationship. The focus is on needs and fears and on mutual communication and connection. How do partners see each other? How do they talk to each other? How do they behave? To what extent do they understand each other and support each other? Where are the sore spots? Step by step, the obstructing patterns become visible and can be broken to establish a new foundation to build on the relationship.
The Hold Me Tight Program for partners. Dr Sue Johnson
The Hold Me Tight Program is a structured course for improving the love relationship. Couples work together under my supervision, using online video material as well as exercises and homework assignments. Over eight meetings, we look together at the most important aspects of their relationship, including love, connection and attachment, destructive patterns and sore spots; they learn how to safely communicate and discuss their needs and fears.
Mindfulness derives from Buddhist practice and is often described as the practice of paying attention in the present moment. It is a form of meditation that enables us to observe the flow of our inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations – and external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up our moment-to-moment experience – without judging them as good or bad. Mindfulness has been studied since the late 1970s, and has been proved to help with conditions including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety. It can also help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions and decrease stress.
‘The Work’ by Byron Katie
This is a therapeutic method based on the insight Byron Katie had during a long period of depression. She realized that her depression was not caused by the world around her, but by what she believed about that world. She felt pain and suffering if she accepted her thoughts and beliefs as true – but she did not suffer if she did not believe her thoughts. By searching for and exploring her beliefs, Katie found peace. She describes The Work as ‘a simple yet powerful practice’ of questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, sadness, and frustration in our world. Through that questioning, the thoughts lose their power over us.