Thea is a relationship coach for loved ones who experience fear and compulsion

Bee subway We like to dive into different professions. From positions you may not have heard of from jobs to jobs, you’ve always wondered “what exactly does such a person do”. This time: 54-year-old Thea van Bodegraven, who through her own experience became the only relationship coach in the Netherlands who helps partners and parents of people with psychological problems.

profession: Relationship coach for partners and parents of people with psychological complaints (strong in their strength training)
age: 54 years
Number of years of work experience: 10 years

Thea’s profession

Tell me what does your profession mean?

“I am a relationship coach for partners and parents of people who have received and/or been diagnosed with psychiatric complaints. These partners or children have, for example, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, borderline, autism or an eating disorder. You probably understand that this It can have a huge impact on the relationship.

My training really focuses on neighbor and relationship. They come alone or with their partners bring psychological complaints. My sessions are not there to oppose the diagnosis. that is it; this is the truth. But how do you deal with that in your relationship? How do we discuss it? “

What did you want to be when you were young?

“I’ve wanted to be a nurse for a long time. I’ve also been a nurse educator for 17 years. It never occurred to me during that time to start my own practice, let alone this corner.”

How did you end up in this profession?

“I have a partner and a child with OCD. When our son was diagnosed at the age of 9, we realized that my husband also had one. We were in a relationship for 15 years at the time. It is going well now, but then you realize that you are already in prison for Fifteen years.As a partner, you will be forced.

Thea van Bodegraven
Thea van Bodegraven | Photographer: Agapè . Stories


“The compulsion forces the person with OCD, but also the relatives. Things have to be done as they should. That is why the compulsion forces the neighbor to join in. As a neighbor you feel helpless. Lots of conflicts I’ve been through anyway.

At the time, things were not going well for me at all. I was just trying to make sure my son and husband were okay. My son’s diagnosis started a lot in motion. From that moment on I chose to take care of myself. Of course you read everywhere these days, “Take care of yourself,” but I never learned that.

Just to do something for myself, I started training. I was a nurse teacher at the time and decided to do a three-year course alongside my work, so that I could better train my students in the future. During this training I got to know myself very well and learned what I want and how I can refer to it.

The fact that I paid less attention to my husband’s compulsion had a surprising effect: he was eager to deal with that compulsion.”

Then I thought: Do I have to do something with this?

“After my education, I knocked on the door of the Anxiety, Coercion and Phobias Foundation. After being diagnosed, I attended a training course there for partners and parents of people with fear and compulsion. I asked if I, as an expert with training training in my pocket, could mean something in continuing The course, but they needed someone who could deliver the course themselves.

I decorated it a little differently. You are no longer focused on the person under duress and how you can best deal with your child or partner, but on the neighbor himself. As a result, my practice has grown very naturally. First only with parents and partners, but increasingly also with couples who come together to work on their relationship.”

So it’s training, not therapy?

“It’s not my intention to remove the diagnosis, this really requires definite treatment. But to teach them that not everything revolves around the diagnosis or the psychological complaints. For example, by making agreements so that coercion really becomes the responsibility of the obligor himself.”

When I’m not coaching a couple, but only the closest person, I remind them that there is only one person they can change: themselves. I often see that loved ones are just busy “rescuing” the other person. It makes sense to see that your partner or your child is going through a rough time.

But the funny thing is: If you change, it immediately affects the other person.”

What is the most special thing you have experienced in your work?

Miracles happen, I dare say. Every week I test special things, but the times when I can help parents aged 65-80 now stand out. They will then have a middle-aged child who has never left the house or returned to live at home due to his psychological problems. For example, their child has a passion for collecting, which makes the house less livable. But they do not dare to clean it, because they know that it leads to quarrels and conflicts.

Children themselves often refuse treatment and parents are confused. Then teach them to give up. This is very difficult, because it is your child, but this is of course different from dropping it and closing the door.

I still find it special that a compulsive person becomes motivated to go to therapy and that the doors suddenly open because the child can live a supported life.”

Do you have a partner or child with psychological problems, but do you feel the training is still too far away? Thea Books The Book (Including Training Book) When help does not help

Jiska is a “professional hug”: “Sometimes someone sits on someone’s lap, or I stand on top of someone else’s”

Did you see an error? Email us. We are grateful to you.

Reply to the article:

Thea Relationship Coach: “I help partners and parents of people with psychological complaints”

Leave a Comment