“1 in 7 Belgians will develop severe depression during their lives.”
“1 in 4 Flemish people will face severe psychological problems sooner or later.”
“Belgium is still the world leader in the hospitalisation of psychiatric patients.”
I am convinced that if you do not confront your feelings, the pressure will just keep increasing until it bursts, and you could end up with depression or a burnout. Unprocessed events have a profoundly negative impact on the flow of energy and blood in the body. Our thoughts also have real power, which affects our whole being and how it functions.
I believe that acupuncture (alongside or in combination with medication) can fundamentally treat psycho-emotional complaints in a natural and holistic manner - and without side-effects.
I also want to give my patients a space where they can be fully and truly themselves.
Frequently, we are taught to suppress painful events and emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, and feelings of guilt. This can cause an imbalance between body and mind, and blocked energy, and can lead to physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations, headache, stiffness, and mucus formation. It can also produce psychological symptoms (especially irritability, bursts of anger, confusion, and mood swings).
We could use the image of a ship. A ship is not built to stay in the harbour (our so-called comfort zone), but after a tumultuous voyage facing all kinds of serious situations and circumstances, it is important to come back to a safe haven. So only when we come “home” to ourselves, in silence, do we notice how we are really doing.
When I graduated in Physiotherapy, I wrote my thesis about the perceptions of people with eating disorders. I did my research at the Kortenberg psychiatric centre and I focused on the interaction between body and mind. My main conclusion was that the people there (especially the women) were coping with a distorted self-image, and that the media and society play a huge part in this by making people believe that “being thin is perfection”.
For my postgraduate qualification in acupuncture my thesis was about “Depression as a consequence of an imbalance of emotions“. We are desperate to talk about our feelings and our psyche, but this is still a taboo. If you break your leg people will be sympathetic, but if you “do not feel well” they will look at you differently. So we prefer not to talk about it. What is a real pity is that almost 60 per cent of those with psychological problems do not seek help.
I like to compare having a psychological problem with being stuck in a diving suit that is too tight – you don´t get enough air, you don’t have space to move. Whether the situation is caused by our environment, our job, or is imposed by ourselves, it takes a lot of energy to change. Most of the time, we have been stuck in this diving suit for years and we get used to it without realising it. And our norms, values, behaviours, and convictions, good or bad, are then transferred from generation to generation.
I think it is particularly important to give a lot of attention to those psychological problems. I always make an effort to be sympathetic towards the person I see sitting in front of me, and to listen to them carefully. I am happy to go on a journey with you, to help remove the diving suit, so you can breathe again and get to the bottom of who you truly are. Once we have come up with your own unique blueprint, genuine and without qualifications (such as “This is how it is supposed to be” or “It has to be this way”) I am very happy to integrate this into my application of Traditional Chinese Medicine.