Mental Health Therapist
M.Sc. Mental Health Counseling (University of Massachusetts, MA, USA)
M.A. Culture, Organization and Management (VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
U.S. National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Malaysia (AMFTM)
My role as a Mental Health Therapist is that of a helper and a partner in your journey of change: to heal and grow and accomplish your personal goals. I take a holistic approach, looking at inner, emotional, spiritual, physical, and behavioral health.
Having grown up in the Netherlands from Indonesian parents of Chinese heritage, I have a natural understanding of cross-cultural issues and questions surrounding one’s identity that arise from being from two different cultures, and living in a third.
I have been living an expat life since 1994, and understand firsthand the issues that expats are faced with – be they the trailing spouses or the working expat professionals.
Only later in my career did I come into the mental health field, which was 9 years ago when I decided to go back to school and get a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. I have a broad experience of corporate, entrepreneurial, voluntary, and humanitarian work. Looking back, they have all provided me with experience which is useful in my therapeutic work, and help me to relate to people from many walks of life.
As a mental health therapist, I worked for 4 years under International SOS (a world leading medical and emergency travel security risk services company) in Beijing and Tianjin where I provided mental health services as part of a comprehensive medical, nutritional, and emergency services team. Prior to that, I also did aid work in Papua for Médecins Sans Frontières, and worked for many years as a volunteer for Magic Hospital, a grass root charity that helps sick and underprivileged children in China. Just before coming to Malaysia, I was stationed in Jakarta for one year, where I worked with refugees using art group therapy to transcend language barriers. There I also did work at the pediatric ward of the Dharmais Cancer Hospital where I did art and play therapy with terminally ill children as well as provided support for their family members.
My approach to therapy is mostly based on attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology: I see people developing through relationships. I look at what is happening in client’s relationships and I look at what’s happening internally. I am optimistic about human potential and take a developmental view: building on people’s strengths and resources. If faith is a resource for you I can integrate spirituality into our work irrespective of your religious orientation or spiritual practice.
I also believe that every body has resources. By learning to (re) connect fully with our bodies, by learning the language of our felt sense, by embodying ourselves fully in the present moment we can begin to tap into our body’s wisdom and find solid ground. Therefore, I often integrate somatic elements in my approach especially when dealing with trauma and trauma related disorders.
I particularly enjoy empowering women who are struggling with issues such as anxiety and depression, stress, anger management, grief and loss, adjustment / transition issues, women who are coming to terms with traumatic childhoods, or who are facing relationship struggles or illness. I work with children who are anxious, have difficulties making friends, lack self-confidence or have behavioral issues at school. With children I often include creative and expressive as well as somatic elements in our work.
I’m very interested in the field of trauma and I closely follow the work of renowned trauma experts Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, and Peter Levine on Somatic Experiencing. My learning is an ongoing journey which is also required to maintain my certification with the National Board of Certified Counselors in the United States.
Outside work I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two children, two dogs and friends – the order is interchangeable! I enjoy traveling, reading, different dancing disciplines, music, sky and scuba diving, and skiing.
I am certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors in the US, and I am a member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association as well as the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Malaysia.
Dutch (native), English (fluent), and working knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, German, and Mandarin Chinese.
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