This time we thank Valeria for taking time from her busy schedule to give us more insight into the important work she does in the Amsterdam area. Helping people to make positive changes and improvements in their lives. Bravo !
1. Tell us about your products/ services.
My service is in mental health practice for highly educated people, travellers, artists, performers and creative minds through the Protea Expat Therapy and Mira Therapy methodologies.
Everyone who does not fit in in an existing category of diagnosis.
I have specialised in this area because I see that in this field there was a distinct lack of focused approaches. Also as an artist myself, I am very well placed to understand the mind-set and the logic behind the power of the immaginative unconscious, the brain and body connection creating communication via illnesses, and the art production of the person.
Creative minds need assistance in their personal development in their art process, highs and low, lucid explanations as to what is happening to them during a burn out, depression, borderline disorder or and other possible mental illnesses. Intelligent people often need to be guided by the therapist into understanding what is happening to them, initially by using the client’s own knowledge as the starting point. The underlying rationale of procedures and guidelines need to be elucidated by the therapist, who additionally has to take great care in the psychoanalytical use of communicative metaphor. With many patients this approach is not necessary because they can follow treatments in a more structured or straightforward way. However, this is not so possible with artists whose life and work are interdependent – and maybe more so in the case of students. (For e.g. MA students in the Arts: the Rietveld Academy, Design, Film Academy, SNDO etc.)
Often psychological issues obstruct their artistic development and they need support in understanding themselves within the meaning of their work and then in the illness itself. The antidote is based on both – through an existential approach, an equilibrium is managed between their life and (the development of) their work.
Performers such as musicians, dancers, singers and actors, at times may suffer from performance anxiety, even more so if they are well known. This also happens to CEOs, directors, scientists, Phd students and other powerful people who, due to illness or existential angst are seeking family or work-based conflict resolutions do not have anyone to turn to whom they can trust.
This approach uses Jungian psychoanalysis and psychosomatic psychotherapy combined with music therapy, improvisation workshops and traditional psychotherapy. When integrated, great results can be achieved in resolving the causes and not just the symptoms.
2. How long have you been in business and why did you choose this sector?
Since 2007 I have been working at the Expat Medical Center. I consider myself an activist as well because with my work I can offer understanding and as a consequence, social change. It is proven that when people love themselves and are more satisfied in their life, follow their purpose and are in creative flow, then they share more joy with others and inspire and influence others to do the same.
3. What is the thing you like most about your work?
I like to work with creative people because it gifts me the unique position to creatively discuss mental illness. Daily I find new challenging results when they discover how to transform their future. Their present in a full acceptance of who they are and want to be. For example an engineer becoming a full time musician or a nurse leaving the country to follow her dreams.
Since 2014 I have been working with Alfredo Genovesi who is a musician, improviser, performer and currently an MA music therapy student (Codarts, Rotterdam). We are currently helping people using psychotherapy in conjunction with live music, which is giving me the chance to see real changes. Music and sound is a powerful tool to access the human brain and emotions. Our approach appears to work particularly well with and teenagers. Through my therapeutic intervention, parents are grateful to see their children finding in the music and performance, a language and means of expression that communicates to them and helps them in resolving their conflicts and mental challenges.
4. Which different nationalities are your clients?
Although they are mostly English speaking, my clients come from all over the world they cover all religions and believes and they have the courage to meet their fears.
5. What do you think they love best about living in Amsterdam?
They love cycling around and the way that beautiful summer light reflects off the canals. They also feel accepted for who they are.
6. What do you like to do in your time off ?
In my time off I like to be with my family in Amsterdam, visiting exhibitions and of course looking for new art work and performances in town. I love reading as well and watching biographical documentaries of artists.
7. What is your fondest memory or proudest moment at work?
Working with an artist that could not play piano anymore due to a traumatic experience, to seeing her new performance after few months of therapy. Fantastic!
8. What do you think that the expats think of the Dutch people?
Initially, expats think that is difficult to be in contact with Dutch. When they understand they have to do the first step in giving, then they realise Dutch people are just reserved and how nice it is to be in contact and share intercultural moments.
9. Which product or service is your best seller and why?
Psychotherapy for artists, I am the only expert in town and in the world.
10. What good Dutch words should expats learn?
It is beautiful to thank a Dutch person and knowing that they did it without expecting thanks. I think this says a lot about the peaceful communication of this country.
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