I decided to become a mental healthcare professional in 2008. Like many others in treatment I wanted to become a counsellor. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, experiencing a difficult and troubled childhood with daily doses of desertion, rejection and violence. Boxing was my ticket out, a career that lead to several (international) championships, the Dutch National Team and as a professional career. Unfortunately, injuries brought this to a premature ending.
During another career in corporate business, I won several international awards, amongst others at Exact Software and SAP. I felt I was on top of the world, but was I really? In fact, a cocaine addiction and serious mental health problems had worn me out. The time had come to face my deepest fears. Treatment taught me to take responsibility for my own choices, not to blame others or circumstances. The corporate world just didn’t do it for me anymore. I really wanted to do something meaningful, connecting to people in need, helping them in their despair. I studied at the South African College for Applied Psychology in Cape Town and last year was certified as Bachelor SPH GGZ, Mental Health Care Specialist in The Netherlands.
After 6 years of working as a counsellor and therapist at various renowned organisations I joined Yes We Can Youth Clinics in January 2017. This gave me the opportunity to use my international experience and at the same time work with teenagers, young adults and families from all over the world. Being part of these life changing experiences, particularly of young people in the early stages of their lives, is simply mind-blowing and extremely rewarding. With every individual it is a miracle to see desperate looks change into twinkling eyes, to detect renewed levels of self-esteem, to identify authentic passions, to remount purpose in life, to see improved levels of self-image and to acknowledge the satisfaction that you are good enough as you are. Working in a professional way with young people and their families is what makes me tick, it’s a gift, to receive and to give back, every day!