• Counseling based on the principles of narrative therapy and collaborative practices


What does this mean?

In online counseling, the way the conversation is conducted is a central factor. There are different approaches to how counseling or coaching conversations can be conducted. The approach determines what is important during the conversation, depending on the approach, the conversation follows different principles and techniques. As the client, you determine the content of the conversation; as the counselor, I am responsible for how we talk about that content.


What is narrative therapy?

Narrative means something like "telling" or "story telling". So, in our conversations, I focus a lot on HOW you tell your situation and see every description of the situation as a "story". For example: How do you tell the story of your relationship? Or your experience of living in another country?

Depending on the stories you tell yourself, you limit yourself or allow yourself to see new possibilities. As an outside listener, it is easier for me to recognize the difference and suggest alternative narratives. We can tell different stories about the same situation.

In relationships, it is interesting to find out which story each individual tells about the same situation. Many of my clients were very surprised when they realized, that sometimes they were in totally different "movies", about the same situation.


How is a conversation collaborative?

Collaborative means working together. We work together. I don't try to pull or push you; I want to walk with you and we think together.

I see you as a guest in my online practice and want to treat you like a guest. But I also see myself as a guest in your story, which you share with me. The aim is to have a particularly honest and respectful conversation.

As a collaborative consultant, my role in the conversation is to create a dialog that generates new ideas and possibilities. I do this by asking specific questions to encourage reflection and reconsideration. In everyday life, we often go round in circles with our assumptions and also in conversations with others. Collaborative dialog is intended to open the circle.


Why did I choose this approach?

Both the narrative approach (according to White and Epston) and the collaborative approach (according to Anderson and Goolishian) have developed from systemic family therapy.

I specialized in these methods because I worked in the field of family therapy before and my clients often didn't want therapy at all, but were prescribed it by the judge.

Both the narrative and the collaborative approach are resource- and solution-oriented methods. This means that we don't focus so much on what went wrong in the past, but more on what you can do, what you have already achieved and what you hope to achieve.

Your current needs and questions always come first. This helped me a lot in family counseling, because the individual family members felt heard and understood and were able to let go of the idea that they had to go to therapy because something was wrong with them.


How does a conversation like this work?

I usually start with the question: "How are you feeling today and what should we talk about today so that this conversation was meaningful for you?"

My aim is for you to find yourself in the here and now and think about what is actually relevant right now with everything that is going through your mind. What are you looking for? What do you need?

You can tell me everything you think is important. I listen and make a few notes. Then I repeat what I've understood, share impressions I've gained and ask questions to help expand the story.


I´m often asked if I also give feedback or specific guidance 

Transparency is important to me, so I share ideas and make suggestions that come to my mind about your situation. This can be interpreted as "feedback". But it's also important to me that you see them as suggestions. You can accept them or leave them.

If one of my suggestions doesn't work for you, you can tell me. We will discuss your doubts. At the same time, part of the consultation is to see or do things differently. So, try to remain open to new ideas.


I am open to your questions

If you have any more questions about my methods and my way of working, please book a free initial consultation. We'll take 15 minutes during a Zoom video conference to get to know each other and the way we can work together.


  • Systemic coaching


You are always part of a system

In systemic coaching, you are not just seen as a single person with your own history and personality, but as part of a system or many related systems.

A classic system is the family system, where you are the daughter or son, the partner or the mother or father. Outside of your family, you move in other systems. At work, there is a certain hierarchy and you are a boss or an employee.


How can a systemic perspective help in your situation?

Depending on the situation or system, you are often a completely different person. At home as a mother/father, you are in a different role than at work as maybe a specialist for something.

The systemic view is a dynamic view. It takes in consideration that depending on how you move, everyone else moves too. There are no perpetrators or victims, everyone plays a role in the dynamic and contributes to its maintenance or can provoke change.

Recognizing yourself as part of a system helps you to understand yourself and your environment better and to recognize your different options for action more easily.


How do I proceed in systemic counseling?

During our conversations, images and ideas about the dynamic you are in come to my mind. I share them with you. I often draw them on a virtual whiteboard. These are intended to show relations and effects, for example. The aim is always to illustrate the dynamics of the situation by looking at it together from the outside. You can and should also help draw or guide me, for example if my sketches are not right for you. Perhaps you see the situation differently and we will draw it according to your point of view and then look at it together.


However, systemic coaching is not just about painting pictures

Understanding a dynamic is a bit like recognizing the hamster wheel in which you are spinning. This is particularly helpful in couple relationships and in general when communicating with others. You can learn to differentiate between your field of action and that of the other person.

In the dynamic you are currently in, what can you do? What do you have control over? What do you perhaps have no control over, but are trying in vain to make a difference? To understand the dynamic, I ask a lot of questions, such as:"What does your partner do when you bring up this topic?", "How do your children react when you argue?", "What would your partner say if he/she had just Heard us?"

So, we always include others in the process.


We look at classic relationship and communication patterns

What role do you play in your relationship or with your partner? Are there certain patterns? Unspoken rules, beliefs and expectations? Do you feel seen, heard and understood? Or do you sometimes feel like you're too different and don't fit in?

We discuss current situations, but can also include your past. In other words, we look at the systems you came out of to see how they affect your relationships today.


Where does systemic coaching come from?

The theoretical basis of systemic coaching and systemic family therapy is Ludwig von Bertalanffy's General Systems Theory. It originally comes from biology but can be applied to all forms and ways of life.

From the 1950s onwards, groups of psychologists and psychiatrists began to include family members in the therapeutic treatment of their patients and came up with completely new results. Systems theory became their foundation, from which other schools and methods emerged.

Systemic family therapy is a recognized therapy method in many countries worldwide. Over the last 20 years, other methods have developed from it. For example: systemic coaching, systemic organizational consulting or systemic social work.

Personally, I first came into contact with this approach when I did an internship with a child protection organization in Ecuador during my studies. Children and their families were always seen as part of a system. It wasn't so much about diagnosing and "correcting" them, but about understanding their situation and empowering them to process experiences in their system and try out new solutions.


Do you think a systemic approach to your situation could help you?

Feel free to book a free initial consultation, during which I will answer your questions about my methods and areas of focus. We will take 15 minutes during a Zoom video conference to get to know each other. You can then decide whether you would like to start counseling with me.


  • Crisis intervention


Crisis intervention follows a specific event

Crisis intervention is a very targeted procedure that is intended to help people deal with severe changes or shocking live events. Crisis situations are understood to be all those moments and experiences that upset the balance of everyday life in a way that causes particular distress. For example: the loss of a loved one, a separation or divorce. Upsetting realizations (lies, affairs, ...), diagnosis of a serious illness or natural disasters that cause great los.


We cannot make up for what has happened

Crisis intervention is not about repairing or trivializing the event. On the contrary, it is often only through the intervention that we can understand what has actually just happened. It is an accompanying process in an emotionally difficult momento in life.

Crisis leads to despair and blockages. You don't know where to start or how to proceed. So, crisis intervention is designed to help you gradually move from helplessness back into action.


How does this work?

It´s not about taking action immediately. It is quite normal that you need time to process what has happened. There are different intervention models, and every person is different and needs individual support. I will therefore describe individual steps that can be found in almost every model. There is no set time frame. We can proceed as I describe here, step by step in a single session or over several months. Ideally, however, a crisis intervention should not take too long. We first concentrate on the here and now in order to plan afterwards.


Catarsis: Step 1 of crisis intervention

At the beginning, you can tell me all about it and describe the situation from your point of view. What has happened? How are you feeling right now? What do you see from your perspective? What are your worries and fears? You should let everything out first so that we can take a closer look at it afterwards.


Understanding what has happened

In the second step, we want to define what exactly happened. Crisis situations often lead to you losing sight of the big picture and no longer being able to see the wood for the trees. It is therefore important to get back into a position that allows you to take a step back and look at the situation from the outside. What really happened and what is perhaps just going on in your mind? What do you have under control and what not?


Emotional support

Another important part of crisis intervention is emotional support and that you are given tools to support or regulate yourself emotionally. These can be relaxation exercises, but also new ideas and thoughts about your situation, which we first discuss and practice so that you can then apply them yourself at home.


Involve your networks

You shouldn't be alone in difficult times. In other words, we will think together about who is at your side and what other support you need. We mobilize your social environment, if this is necessary in your situation.


A way out of the crisis

The final step is to develop strategies to find a way out of the crisis. This involves concrete decisions, procedures and protective strategies. In the event of a separation, for example, an important decision is often to break off contact for the time being in order to prevent a "relapse". We will consider what needs to be done, how you can support yourself mentally and emotionally to stay strong and what alternative activities you can incorporate into your everyday life to move forward.

You can also be supported in the strategies you have developed. Practicing and revising the strategies is therefore often counted as the sixth step.


Do you still have questions?

Then you are welcome to book a free initial consultation with me. This is a good opportunity to clear up any doubts. In a 15-minute Zoom meeting, you briefly describe your situation and what you hope to achieve. Together we will clarify what would be a good course of action in your situation.

In acute crises with very severe symptoms such as deep depression, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts, you should attempt psychotherapeutic support offline.


  • Mindfulness and self-compassion


A process and an attitude to life

Mindfulness, strictly speaking, is not a method, but rather an everyday exercise. It is about bringing your mind or your consciousness into the here and now and adopting an observational but non-judgmental position.

Self-compassion as a targeted process may still be new to many people. It is about developing a kinder attitude towards yourself, which also requires mindfulness.

This approach was first developed by Kristin Neff, Ph.D., and has been extensively researched to date.


My personal connection to more self-compassion

Personally, I became interested in self-compassion when I tried out the various exercises on myself. I first heard about this method at a training course. At the time, it particularly appealed to me as I was often very strict with myself.

As my own boss, the expectations of me were high. I felt like being hunter and hunted at the same time, which is exhausting. So, it didn't necessarily make me more efficient at my work. Realizing that I can be much more productive and authentic when I am kinder to myself and accept my imperfections gave me an incredibly relieving feeling.

I have been applying this principle in my practice for several years now. The relationship with oneself is an issue with almost all my clients. We have all emerged from a meritocracy and have not learned how helpful it can be to be compassionate with ourselves.


How do I integrate self-compassion and mindfulness into my counseling?

As you simply flow in the conversation and describe your concerns in your own words, we will pay special attention to how you talk about your situation and yourself. We can pick out and discuss certain terms or expressions that you use regularly. This will automatically reveal which parts (critical, friendly, contemptuous, etc.) are present in your relation with yourself.

For example, I often hear clients in counselling say something like: "I haven't achieved anything I set out to do yet" or "I'm too lazy, I lack discipline, I need to organize myself better." „Ich habe noch nichts von dem erreicht, was ich mir vorgenommen habe.“, oder „Ich bin zu faul, mir fehlt die Disziplin, ich muss mich besser organisieren.“


We want to create awareness of your inner dialogs

This is not about correcting mistakes or "misbehavior". Rather, you should learn to look at yourself from the outside in order to recognize what is going on inside you at the momento.

Over time, you will come to say something like: "Wow, I'm really thinking a lot today, I can't let go of this topic and I'm going round in circles." Or: "I feel so much anger inside me right now. Where is it coming from? What do I need right now with this strong anger?"

So, an important step is to learn to observe yourself and describe what is going on inside you without judging it.


Understanding self-compassion

The thought of more self-compassion initially raises doubts and questions in many of my clients. While self-criticism gives us a sense of control. With self-compassion, many automatically think that they would lose control over themselves. It is therefore important that you understand the theoretical background so that you can apply it with confidence in everyday life.

During our consultation, we will therefore also take time to clarify what is going on inside you when you criticize yourself and what changes when you develop more compassion for yourself.

I often create sketches to illustrate the dynamics of self-criticism in your particular situation. We will also do special exercises where I will guide you. For example, guided mindfulness exercises.


I´m happy to answer any further questions

If you are looking for suitable counseling in your situation and think that more self-compassion could do you good in everyday life. Or if you still have questions about this or one of my other methods, I offer you a free initial consultation. We can get to know each other in a 15 minutes Zoom-Meeting. You can then decide whether you would like to start the consultation with me.