Hello and welcome!

I'm so honoured you're here and I'd like to help

This article translated into Dutch

My name is Elly; I am the founder, author and webmaster of this site.

I am Dutch, but I lived in the UK hence I write in British English (just in case you wonder about my dodgy spelling, if you're from the USA for example).

I aim to create the best website I can - based on my 24 years of experience as a professional (relationship) counsellor/therapist. And I'm now also building a Dutch relationship advice site: www.blijstel.nl.

I sincerely hope that the information in my articles will contribute to your happiness and contentment in your intimate couple relationship(s).

Tulips in the KeukenhofTulips in the Keukenhof in the Netherlands

What qualifies me to write these articles?

On leaving college I qualified as pharmacy technician. Thereafter I became a surgery nurse working for family doctors. And, after my move to the UK, I became a Operating Theatre Technician.

I retrained (again!) and became a professional counsellor...

  • I qualified as a RELATE counsellor, working with individuals and couples for 24 years. I received additional training in dealing with domestic violence, addictions, grief counselling and counselling young people. I mentored new counsellors and was a representative on the local executive committee.
  • I qualified as an NLP Practitioner with the 'father of  NLP': Richard Bandler and UK renowned hypnotherapist Paul McKenna.
  • Lastly, I gained the Human Givens Postgraduate Diploma accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). This qualification allowed me to get rapid results treating people with conditions such as depression and anxiety, and particularly trauma.
  • I was a trauma specialist with a large UK county police service for 12 years (see Certificate of Merit), a school counsellor at Mayfield Grammar School for 11 years and in private practice for 22 years. I also provided a counselling service in a doctor's surgery for 2 years.
  • Until I remigrated to the Netherlands I was an Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) until my 'retirement' (I work near-enough full-time on this site!)
  • I have the benefit of life experience and the wisdom that comes with age

CLICK HERE for testimonials and here⧉ for my LinkedIn profile.

My values

My values are kindness, empathy, integrity, loyalty, fairness, openness, self-awareness, personal growth and second, third and sometimes many more chances.

Do I screw up? You bet I do, just like you! :-) That's life and I'm learning and making changes as I go along.

I understand that I, like everyone else, unconsciously absorb dodgy beliefs from the culture in which we grew up - no matter how thoughtful, well-meaning and caring we consider ourselves to be. Therefore, I accept that I harbour subconscious prejudicial assumptions. I can only reassure you that I actively scan myself looking for such beliefs, in my thoughts and my communications.

Oh, and I support the Afghan Children's Mobile CircusAvaaz.org and Zidisha⧉ (person-to person micro-loans). It's my way of paying it forward to organisations that make a difference in the world.

Zidisha person-to-person micro-loans

Are you going through a difficult time?

If life is tough for you right now - hang on in there. I know you can manage it - I believe in you! I know that you were born not just to survive but to thrive, and I want you to hold on to that belief too - every single day.

I'm aiming to increase your knowledge, awareness and understanding of the psychology of human relationships so that you'll feel stronger in the face of any challenge in your relationship. I hope to empower you to be bold, and courageously make the necessary changes to enable you to overcome your problems. Ultimately, this will help you to regain your peace of mind and happiness.

Here's some inspiration for you...

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."

Nelson Mandela

In need of counselling or therapy?

Maybe you were hoping I could help you with your problems, in which case I'm really sorry to have to disappoint you. I'm unable to be there for you personally - click here to read more about why this is.

I am now focusing all my energy on making as much information freely available here on my site to help as many people as possible. More than 14,000 people a day visit my website and right now you are in the company of 50 other visitors at the very least.

Although I can't help you personally, I certainly can point you in the right direction though. You can connect with a professional, licensed therapist, who will take all the time it needs to really 'get you', and support and guide you.

Here is my sincerest wish for you...

Chief Dan George

"May the stars carry your sadness away. May the flowers fill your heart with beauty.

May hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all, may your silence make you strong."

Chief Dan George

Do remember though that your silence may not necessarily be golden. I therefore hope that you do find someone you can really trust so that you can open your heart and share your troubles.

Follow my blog...

Be the first to receive notifications of newly published articles with tons of tips and advice on your mind and relationship matters with BLOGLOVIN.

See also Datingnews.com's article about me. :-)

Just a little about me privately

Photo of Elly, with her dog TeskeWith my Frisian Stabyhoun Teske

My father printed the local paper in a small town in the Netherlands. I am the eldest of five children. I am divorced and have one son. I live in a tiny village (uhhh... it has city rights!), love to walk my dog, row (St Ayles skiff), read, and spend time with my family and friends.

I spend much of my time, however, maintaining and improving my website.

And then there's my very trusted Virtual Assistant Caroline...

Caroline - my VA

Caroline takes care of my editing, since I'm not a native English speaker (I have to admit though - I sneak in bits of text by stealth, so don't blame her if you find some dodgy text!).

In addition she takes care of my email box whenever I'm not available, as well as doing all kinds of other admin tasks.

Caroline over-delivers, is unmissable and always ready with ideas and advice. You'll find her here, but don't 'steal' her.

'Ode' to my father

My father was my inspiration. He was always cheerful, positive, kind and considerate. I feel immense gratitude towards him and my mother for their love and the great start in life they gave me.

printer:lettersMy father printed the local newspaper in the old-fashioned letter-by-letter way

Image of Elly courtesy of:
Maayke de Ridder Photography and Vis a Vis Designers