Like many raised in the U.S. culture, I learned from a young age to “put my best face forward,” which for me meant showing the world I had it all together, at all times. By the time I was an adult, I found myself living with a harsh inner critic with impossibly high standards, working hard with little room for play, a practice of avoiding conflict, pleasing, being nice, and a must-hide, smiling mask that I didn’t even realize I was forcing myself to wear most of the time.
Giving 100% to each of my roles – partner, mother, partner, employee, colleague, daughter, friend, etc. – wasn’t working out very well. My inner critic was constantly letting me know I was failing at everything, which wasn’t true, but in reality I was on a destructive burnout path. When I moved with my family of four to the Netherlands in 2010, all things familiar were gone and none of my old patterns were working anymore in my favor. I was 40 years old and realized that I had lost myself, not knowing who I really was or what I really wanted, and most of the time I felt quite frustrated and lonely. My inner stress showed up at work, at home, and in nearly all of my relationships.
I rarely use labels, yet I realized one day that I was in a “good ole mid-life crisis,” and that’s when I knew I wanted to seek out some support to help me gently find my way out of it. I found it in the many coaching and NVC training sessions that helped me discover myself, the “real me.” I learned how to speak to myself compassionately and listen to what’s MOST important to me; how to stop pleasing others for belonging/connection and to rely on my authenticity instead; to get in touch with my personal needs and how to come up for them, and care for myself AND stay in connection with important people in my life.
NVC has fundamentally changed not only the way in which I speak with myself, but also the way I approach the people in both my personal and professional life. It is one of compassion, trust and acceptance while seeking clarity and deep honesty. It helps meet my needs for well-being, authenticity and connection more than anything else I’ve encountered. Next to my role as certified NVC trainer, I also hold the European Mentoring & Coaching Council’s European Individual Accreditation at Senior Practitioner level. This distinction alludes to my training, experience and commitment to ongoing learning, supervision, reflection and a code of ethics.
What I am doing now with NVC:
I spent the 2010’s engaged in teaching NVC to people who chose to learn it and in “relationship coaching” – with individuals and couples. Both my coaching and mediation work is heavily based on the NVC model. Since 2020 (thanks in large part to the certification process), I have been inspired to focus my work more on systems change. Systems are everywhere, though often inexplicit, with little awareness about them or how they affect our daily functioning. I want to make a difference in making systems explicit so that there is more opportunity for equity, showing up authentically, care and well-being. Miki Kashtan’s “convergent facilitation” has been an inspiration and super useful method in this work.
I am increasingly working with established international teams and communities, as coach, mediator and trainer as well as facilitator for conflict transformation and needs-inclusive decision-making. I am at my best when I can put on the appropriate hat based on the needs of the team as they are engaged in looking at their systems and altering them so that the needs of their members and target groups are included. My services aim to help develop high functioning teams, especially those in service to environmental protection or education.
I am introduced by Marianne van Dijk (Cup of Empathy) in this video.
“I fulfill a diversity of roles—coaching, mediation, training, facilitation—in which contributing to safety, understanding, equity and inclusion are but a few of my underlying intentions. Next to supporting individuals and couples, I serve teams, ideally in an ongoing, needs-based way via a quarterly subscription service.”
- Conflict Transformation
- Counseling and Therapy
- Family and Interpersonal Relationships
- Leadership (including organizational culture and executive coaching)
- Social Change