Feel free to email or call me me for an intake-session (face-to-face or online)

E info@marcelholtslag.nl

T (0031)20 6712140

First step

Telling a stranger about deeply personal issues can feel pretty daunting. And will it really help? It helped me once and later in my trainings. Being gay was not a choice for me but it made me free. I choose to examine gay bonds in all its aspects, starting with my self and my 20+ yrs relationship. Psychotherapy had been a journey to a place I have always known but couldn’t quite reach by myself; a journey to discover a vital and energetic self, hidden behind habits, reactions, and fears. I became a gay-specialized therapist in couple therapy as well as in individual counseling.

English sessions

Working in English is fine to me. On the Dutch pages here you find more about my CV. It might give you some clues about my 30 years of counseling-experience and trainings. I am a university-graduated therapist and specialized on trauma work and attachments. I write columns on gay-issues in Dutch. See below. Click here for contact.  Or send me an email: info@marcelholtslag.nl. Or just call me in the afternoon: +31(0)206712140.

I am based in Amsterdam-centre. When you live abroad we might work with Skype. My experience is that I can guide you this way as well to deeper feelings and more positive thoughts about yourself, friends and family.

Costs: € 80 each hour (couple sessions € 120). Cancellationcosts: 100 % within 48 working hours (2 working-days)

My approach

My approach to gender roles, sexual orientation and lifestyle choices is positive and open-minded. If you and I can build together a trusting, respectful “working alliance”, I’d say – and much research agrees – that it’s likely to make a difference in your life, and a life as a couple.

You may already know that you have to work harder than me. I listen well, but I don’t just sit there: I ask thoughtful questions and offer a range of techniques and concepts you might find useful. I am specialized on body-language and sensations in the body. It is the ‘highway’ to deeper insights about your self. Your individuality and uniqueness will guide us in our work.

I see the therapeutic conversation and relationship as a strong tool to facilitate this healing and change in a way that cannot be achieved alone. I offer you a safe, respectful and confidential environment in which to explore your issues, emotions, bodily impulses or thoughts individually or with your partner.

Every session I ‘ll invite you to little experiments for a clear understanding of upcoming troubling experiences. Clients come with many different issues – depression, anxiety, trauma, grief or sexual problems. Grappling with sexual orientation is often an underlying issue.

Gay life is a free life with many choices; sometimes to many. Pain, suffering, or unease gives us a reason to examine our lives, and in that lies a great opportunity. Close examining your connection with your loved-one(s), friends and family gives you insight, more abilities and satisfaction in your attachment.

If you need counseling on work-related issues I call it ‘coaching’. You might experience stress, discrimination-issues or lack in teamwork. Usually is coaching more problem-solving oriented. When it triggers you on childhood-issues, we are back to therapy for a while.

Tips for couples in distress

  • Monitor yourself morning, noon, and night. Take a pulse check of your stress levels (anxiety, irritability, impulsivity, anger, depression, despair, fatigue, passivity). Check your hopefulness levels too. If you are with others, encourage everyone to share their pulse checks. Acknowledging our internal levels helps us to not turn these feelings on one another and it helps us regulate.

  • Understand that we all have different coping mechanisms and different means of processing our experiences. Under acute stress, some of us become highly logical, others highly emotional. Use these differences to balance your perspectives instead of exacerbating tensions.

  • Agree upon a code word that may be deployed when you just can’t engage. But know that whoever uses the code word is responsible to open the door to conversation when they are ready so the other person knows they are not dealing with endless silence.

  • Communicate clearly, state what you feel and what you need. Clear requests are better than criticism of the other.

    • If you need more flexibility from your employer because your roles are overlapping, be explicit about your needs. This is new for them, too.

    • If you need dedicated time and space from your partner or family, give them a schedule of when you are unavailable because you are working, taking time for yourself, etc.

    • If you want someone to help you, tell them exactly what you need rather than having them guess or dumping a litany of complaints on them.

  • Don’t just talk—try intense listening and validate what they say. By listening attentively to another person speak from the inside out, you allow them to be at the same time inside themselves and with you. Which is actually what happens in sex, too. It’s the ebb and flow of the boundary, the together and separate.

  • Don’t be afraid to bring in peers to help you. A friend recently asked me to talk to her oldest daughter because she thought I could offer a different perspective than what they had been talking circles around. We are often smarter with other peoples’ problems than our own.

  • Try expressing appreciation not just for what another person does, but for what it says about who they are. “Thank you for doing the dishes” is good but “thank you for being so thoughtful” is even better.