An integrated coaching & bodywork approach to help you let go of what’s holding you back and release your full potential.
As we go through life, stuff happens. Sometimes, our emotional responses get stuck in our bodies. When this happens, we can experience physical tension, discomfort, and even pain. This stuckness can last for quite some time – years, perhaps – with physical, mental and emotional consequences such as procrastination, never feeling at home in yourself, over-reacting to friends, strangers, colleagues and family members, anxiety, depression, and undefinable general senses of malaise. Stuckness holds you back from reaching your potential.
I have the gift of being able to tune into, and have conversations with, the places in your body that store these stuck emotions. Through over ten years of exploring this gift, through experimenting with it, observing and testing it, and comparing that with what I’ve found in the literature, I developed the Contact Release method. In Contact Release, I combine observation, body awareness, coaching and counselling tools, and physical contact, to bring you in contact with yourself and help you to let go of whatever is holding you back, and release your full potential.
In a Contact Release session, your body tells me what it wants you to hear. You learn what your body needs by hearing from the body itself, and you respond to it too. We – you and I – make contact with your body and have a three-way conversation with it.
Through making contact with your body and emotions I help you to process and integrate whatever is stuck. By releasing the stuckness, Contact Release helps you to let go of tension and anxiety, and to come into a more relaxed yet also richer experience of yourself.
With the integrated approach of Contact Release, you come into a better, more whole relationship with your body and with yourself. Not only do you benefit from what happens in your sessions, but you also go forward with an increased understanding of how you operate, what your body needs, and in time you learn to make contact and dialogue with your body directly.
In autumn 2017, Andy Clark of the Here in Holland podcast interviewed me about this work, and offered himself as a guinea pig to test my methods for himself. You can listen to our conversation and his experience of what he calls ‘Emotional Plumbing’ here (38 min running time):
How does Contact Release work, in practice?
To get started with Contact Release, first send me a message through the contact form on this website. We’ll have a chat on the phone to scope out what you’re looking for and if my way of working is a good fit for you. We’ll also discuss how many sessions, and how often, roughly speaking, you benefit the most from. Some people have regular sessions, some clients engage in short-term work on specific issues, some people have occasional sessions as and when they feel the need. I review this with each client as we go along.
Over the course of a number of sessions, you build up your own bank of experiences of your body – how it tends to feel, which emotions tend to get stuck, and where in your body you experience this stuckness. You also build up knowledge of how to make contact and dialogue with your body yourself. I also share with you the most relevant practical activities to support your process of release and development.
You have two options: in-person sessions near The Hague, South Holland, or over the phone.
When you come to me for an in-person session, we start with a brief conversation about what’s most of concern or importance to you at the time. Then you lie, fully clothed, on the massage table and I tune in to what’s going on for you. Your body leads the process. The best I can describe this is as a sort of ‘magnetic’ pull type of feeling, which draws my hands to the part of your body that has things to say. I relay these messages to you as an intermediary. As the session progresses, we enter a three-way conversation between your mind, your body, and me. Do listen to the podcast above to get a fuller flavour of how it works.
Sessions are held at my location just outside The Hague in South Holland, easily accessible by public transport and just a couple of minutes from the A4.
Over the phone (Skype/WhatsApp/etc), we use more verbal dialogue than in an in-person-session. My ability to tune into your emotions also works over the phone, and I become aware of the broader picture of your emotions and feelings in my own experience.
I may lead you through guided body awareness or visualisation exercises to help you – and by extension, me – to come into contact with what’s really going on for you. Imagery can be a powerful tool to get to know what’s blocked, where, and how we can work together to free it up. We may use images and metaphors to help with the process of integrating and thereby releasing previously unacknowledged experiences or emotions.
In both in-person and phone sessions, I may share with you some conceptual models of how your mind, body and emotions work together, to help you understand the process and to give you tools for further reflection and greater self-awareness.
Sessions are a ‘fat hour’ as we say in Dutch (60 minutes, or just over). The fee for each session is €95,- including BTW (Dutch sales tax). When you commit in advance to 12 or more sessions, I may be able to offer you a discount of 10%. Do ask if this is of interest to you.
My first language is English. Dutch is also possible, or a mix of the two as we go along. Let me know what you prefer.
It’s also worth mentioning, on a practical note, that my working days are, in general, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my time zone is Central Europe (Amsterdam). I occasionally have sessions available on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, depending on the week.
To get started, contact me via the contact form and we’ll arrange a phone call to discuss what you’re looking for.
How does contact and dialogue with the body resolve psychological and emotional issues?
Recent research into trauma (and here, trauma means unresolved, unintegrated experiences) shows that the body stores memories, called implicit memories. These implicit memories trigger emotional and mental states in us, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and sadness. Through making contact with these implicit memories during a session and giving them a voice, you become able to know, resolve and integrate them. Touch and dialogue with the body is a direct way of facilitating the resolution and integration of these implicit memories.
If, like me, you’re a study bunny, you might like to read Bessel van der Kolk’s book The Body Keeps The Score. Peter Levine has also written extensively about somatically held trauma. Janina Fisher has synthesised various approaches to releasing trauma in her book Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors.
How does this work help Highly Sensitive and Highly Excitable (Intense) People?
For HSPs – Highly Sensitive People (as described by Elaine Aron in her book The Highly Sensitive Person) and HEPs (Highly Excitable People) – this way of working helps you to get a handle on your strong experiences of events and circumstances in your life.
If you’re HSP, HEP, or both, you’re more likely to have stuck emotions and responses in your body because your experience of the world itself is more intense than regular people experience. You’re also more likely to notice more – with all or any of your senses – and therefore have more input to process and respond to.
Contact Release helps you in two main ways. First, previously stuck emotions and responses get released, leaving you with less baggage to carry around (emotionally, mentally, physically) on a daily basis.
Secondly, the increased self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-management that comes from contact and dialogue with your body give you tools for working with your sensitivities and intensity, rather than fighting against yourself or getting overwhelmed by your intense and vibrant inner world.
How does this gift work?
I’d love to give you a properly researched scientific answer to this. As one doesn’t yet exist, I won’t.
What I can say about it is that there is a documented phenomenon called mirror-touch synaesthesia, in which people directly feel the sensations that they see other people having – for example a finger stroking the face – as though they were their own experiences. Joel Salinas MD has written a vivid and informative account of this in his book Mirror Touch.
My gift could perhaps be described in part as a type of mirror-emotion synaesthesia, in which I directly feel your emotions and feelings in my own body. As I’m also Highly Sensitive, I pick up on a lot more information than is obvious on the surface and I communicate this information from your body to you through conversation complemented by touch.
A second part to this gift is what I affectionately call ‘plumbing.’ As I tune into your body and emotion experience, I often experience sensations or perceptions of movement in you. This movement corresponds to releases of emotions and past experiences. I experience this both in-person (hands-on or hands-off) and at a distance. I’m able to help unblock your ‘energy plumbing,’ so to speak, the plumbing through which your emotions and ‘energy’ flow.
It’s worth mentioning, as I’m often asked about this, that I don’t get all of the information from everybody, all of the time. It’s like walking down a residential street: most doors are closed, most windows have curtains or blinds. Some houses you can see into as you go past. Other houses – those of my clients, for instance – have the doors open at certain times (during their sessions) and invite me in to have a look around. Even then, some rooms are out of bounds. Maybe I’m not allowed upstairs, or only in the dining room. My principles dictate that I follow my client’s lead: if a door is closed, it is closed. I can knock on the door, but if it doesn’t open, I won’t force it. I might strongly challenge it, but I cannot force it. A bud only blossoms by itself, not by force.
I’d love to be able to explain this ‘energy plumbing’ scientifically, with empirical evidence etc. When the scientific knowledge base has expanded to include tested theories, I’ll add them in here. Until then, take this explanation as metaphorical.
Ok! Let’s start!
Send me a message via this form to get started with Contact Release.