I utilize an integrative and holistic approach to healing that allows the physical, mental, cultural, emotional, and spiritual parts of self to be explored and reconnected. I used to see my clients from my office in The Hague, but have decided to continue my practice online, so that it is available to anyone, no matter where you are.
I am a firm believer that we all possess the strength and ability to navigate through the journey of life, but some journeys are better taken with the guidance of someone else. I am merely a guide, leading you to powers you already have.
Who I Am
I am a therapist from Los Angeles, California and my qualifications include a BA (Honors) in Psychology as well as a MA in Counseling Psychology. Additionally, I worked as a research assistant for the Bijlmer Project, a research and intervention based project that focuses on the psychological and social needs of victims of human trafficking. Up until February 2020, I had been living in the Netherlands since 2010 (in Leiden and The Hague). Since then, I moved back to California, although I still practice predominantly in the Netherlands, as well as all over the world with online sessions. I was a licensed therapist in the Netherlands and I’m currently a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and adhere to their ethical principles. I've decided to forgo the licensure process in California, so that I can stay more authentic to myself and my clients, however, I regularly attend psychotherapy conferences and trainings to stay up to date with advances in the field.
In The Hague, I worked mainly with the expat/international community. What I enjoyed most about working with this community is that I have had clients from well over 30 different countries and have worked with individuals in high profile jobs at the International Criminal Court, the Peace Palace, and Europol. This has greatly expanded my knowledge in more ways than I could have imagined and I am eternally grateful for those opportunities. My decision to move back to the US was not taken lightly. It was a hard decision, as I had established myself in The Hague, but I felt something was missing in my life – mainly a connection to nature. Our planet faces an undeniable crisis right now and I didn’t feel good about the way I was living and the lack of knowledge I had about trying to live in a way that works more with nature, rather than against. While I am still very much committed to being a therapist, I am also on a personal quest to learn how to do more things with my hands and with the earth. I recently completed a two-week internship on building an earthbag house and it is my dream to build a cob house one day and be fully self-sustaining.
In my practice, I work individually with adults and adolescents from the age of 16+. I am a feminist and have a strong passion for women's rights and empowerment, as well as the social, cultural and health issues that impact a woman throughout her lifetime. This includes difficulties surrounding pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, menopause, sexual assault, domestic violence, body image, discrimination, racism and harassment. As a human and a therapist, I believe it to be crucial to challenge the often rigid and stereotypical notions of gender. I also work with concerns of sexual functioning, sexual pleasure and alternative practices in sexuality and relationships. I am an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and feel competent in helping those who struggle with issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
I find it relevant to put issues a client may be facing into a greater context regarding the current state of our world. Things are changing at a rapid pace, which can leave many of us feeling fearful, anxious, and disconnected. We cannot deny that things like pandemics, climate change, social justice issues, politics, and our increasing reliance on technology and social media have a great impact on our mental and physical health. I will always help clients challenge the idea that their value is dependent on how well they fit into a society that is abnormal and unhealthy in many ways.
-Anxiety and stress related issues
-Depression and mood issues
-Sexuality and relationship issues
-Loss of meaning or direction in life
-Trauma, grief and loss
-Coping with difficult emotions
-Women's empowerment and feminist issues
-Coping with being highly sensitive
-Communication and boundary issues
-Coping with being a millennial in a world that often judges millennials
-Adjustment and acculturation/expat issues
It is a common misconception that those who seek therapy must be experiencing emotional distress. Therapy can also benefit those who simply wish to learn more about oneself and to grow personally, socially, or spiritually. Increased insight, self-acceptance, gratitude, and self-compassion are all potential therapy goals.
Therapy can be a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life. Very few of us are given the tools and information that contribute to a satisfying, peaceful life. Therapy can be an opportunity to truly get to know and understand yourself. It can help one deal with many personal topics in life such as, but not limited to:
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
My aim is to help you know your mind and heart better.
No two therapies will look the same, as a new therapy is developed for each and every unique individual. We humans are so very complex and we do not exist in a vacuum. We are all greatly influenced by the experiences of our past, the many unjust systems in our societies, our culture, our religion/spirituality, as well as our current relationships. Very few of us are given instruction on what to do with the pain from an unhappy or abusive childhood, how to have a loving relationship with others and self, and how to slow down and really spend time inquiring about what the self needs and wants.
I believe good therapy should ignite a sense of curiosity in one's self which can lead to more awareness and understanding of who we are - to really know our heart's and mind's intimately. In working from this perspective, I find it useful to emphasize self compassion and self acceptance practices, as societies have conditioned many of us to feel badly about ourselves around many things. Being at war with ourselves is one of the most debilitating things a human experiences. I find that when we are able to view ourselves through a compassionate lens and treat ourselves no different than we would a best friend, we can move through difficult times much faster and effectively. It can also give us an opportunity to do things differently we can break free from judgment and automatic patterns.
This is where I come in, my goal is to meet you exactly where you are and to collaborate together in finding ways that are most helpful for you. In doing so, I work in an integrative and holistic way and will use different approaches in my work. I am most inspired by existential, mind/body (somatic approaches) and Buddhist psychology. Those I draw upon most in my work are Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Irvin Yalom, Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Harriet Lerner, Sue Johnson, Gabor Maté, Dan Siegel, Esther Perel, Richard Schwartz, Carl Rogers and many feminist writers.
The world of psychotherapy has often neglected the connection between mind and body. This is a problem, as we cannot deny that they are in fact connected! Many of us live from our neck up (meaning: we're in our heads a lot!) and we often do not consider the great amount of insight and wisdom the body has. We also tend to forget that our minds secrete thousands upon thousands of thoughts a day! Many of which do not deserve our attention, yet we tend to give thoughts a lot of power and we're usually unaware of how these thoughts register in our bodies.
Working in a more holistic way, with a focus not only on thoughts and beliefs, but how the body feels as well is essential. I often incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices in sessions, as these have been proven to help individuals gain more awareness and connection with the body and mind. I enjoy including all of this, a bit of humor (because laughter really can be medicine) and whatever else my clients find most useful in our work together.
Above all, the quality of the client-therapist relationship is most important for achieving goals in therapy. A willingness to collaborate and be authentic with each other will maximize the outcomes of therapy. Therapy works best when you feel at ease, and a sense of trust and comfort to fully disclose with your therapist. My job is to provide a compassionate, safe and non-judgmental space for you to discuss whatever thoughts or concerns you may have. I encourage those seeking a therapist to “shop” around for a person that they feel most comfortable and secure with. With that in mind, I am more than willing to answer any questions or concerns via email or telephone before we decide to schedule a session.
*I only take on a maximum of 10 clients a week. Due to this, I may have a waiting list when you contact me. I find that this way of working suits me quite well. I love this job, but it’s hard work and I invest all of myself in it. I take this work very seriously and spend a great deal of time reading, learning, and thinking about ways in which I can help my clients. I also spend a lot of time on my own personal growth by journaling, meditating, being in nature, and engaging in my own therapy, as well as consulting groups with colleagues. I also recently discovered I am a highly sensitive person -maybe you are, too? Learning more about this for myself and my clients has really changed the way I take care of myself and also how I work with clients. Because of this, I believe I am able to create a very warm, compassionate and strong bond with my clients.
"Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”
"To be enlightened is to no longer have anxiety about imperfection."
I tend to make use of the full hour and sometimes longer per session. The first few sessions will focus on the concerns that have brought you to therapy as well as your past. This is to get an understanding of how past events could be influencing your present circumstance. The intake procedure will help me to get to know you better and provide you an opportunity to feel what it is like to work with me. After the intake, we can discuss your areas of strength, improvement and goals for therapy.
Clients are always responsible for payment directly to me, however, you may be eligible for reimbursement through your health insurance. International health insurances will generally cover the costs of therapy. I highly recommend that you contact your health insurance provider directly for more information and to determine your coverage. I am more than willing to help provide you with any information I know regarding this matter.
I am willing to be flexible with my fee in relation to your financial situation. I typically work with a sliding scale, as I feel that everyone should be able to access mental health services. If you have any questions about my fees, please contact me.
My cancellation policy is that sessions will be charged in full if I am not given 24 hours notice.
I am often available to schedule sessions in the evenings.
+1 (818) 620-2034
©2020 by Nicole Rand Counseling & Therapy