Article by Psychologist Frederique Bicker

Psychologist Frederique Bicker has a practice in Amsterdam helping clients with a wide range of challenges, including stress. She also has a background of treating addiction at the Priory in London. Since doing the Hoffman Process herself in 2012 she’s referred many people to the course. Here she explains why she believes treating stress holistically gets the best results …...

frederiquesitting-timeout1‘In 2007 I spent six months in India studying the philosophy of yoga and different meditation techniques. I was inspired by their approaches to healing. Learning how to relax is key to stress recovery and starts with a quiet mind. From this place, emotions will be soothed and the body calms down. Since then I’ve been integrating western psychology with Eastern wisdom, with great results.

Many people nowadays live and work under a lot of pressure, feeling that they need to meet the high expectations of modern life, including achieving a successful career, financial stability, a loving relationship, healthy lifestyle, looking good, being a good parent, friend and lover etc.

As a psychologist I see the results: clients come to my practice suffering from anxiety, addiction or depression, as a result of prolonged stress over many years. I believe this is best dealt with using a holistic approach in order for people to reach a sustainable equilibrium in their lives.

Sometimes the first step is to take time out and β€˜reset’ in order to generate a clearer starting point. I learned in my earlier career at the Priory in London, working in the field of addictions, that taking people out of the situation which cause the problems may be the most efficient way – and sometimes the only way – to get people to refocus on themselves. This time out can allow you to get some perspective and implement new approaches to manage your life more effectively and to deal with stress in healthier ways in the future.

Finding Balance

In 2012 I decided to enrol in the Hoffman Process as part of my continuing professional development, as I’d heard some good feedback about it. In a busy life the value of 7 days off to focus purely on yourself is a unique opportunity! Key aspects of the Process, such as deeply ingrained patterns, had the chance to get my full attention, be addressed and turned around. The full undisturbed retreat week combined with a strong programme provides a great launching pad for change. I was able to experience first hand how helpful Hoffman could be for resolving stress and supporting a more balanced lifestyle.

flohopond300-timeout2For me, I returned home very inspired, personally refocused and refreshed. I felt highly enthusiastic about what can be achieved through a week long programme like this. I particularly liked the emphasis on creating a balance within all aspects of the self including mind, emotions and body.

Since then I regularly refer clients and friends to Hoffman especially in relation to excessive stress and related conditions. These people vary greatly in terms of age, education, profession, relationships and personality. Each client has had very different experiences and feedback to offer. The common denominator has been how positive it was to truly have time on their own giving themselves loving attention, building their internal resources and getting some inspiring tools for life changes. For me Hoffman is an effective course to support people with stress related conditions and provides an invaluable experience that can change lives.

Red Flags For Stress

matadorstresscartoon300-timeout3 1. Extreme exhaustion and very low energy
2. Feelings of guilt
3. Worrying a lot – ruminating
4. Restlessness
5. Disturbed sleep
6. Depression – low spirits
7. Bouts of crying and irritability
8. Lack of concentration
9. Suddenly experiencing feelings of insecurity
10. Physical symptoms can include stomach pain, indigestion and dizziness

Keys to Stress Prevention

Keep your life simple and clear: this will give you a healthy feeling of control and perspective so you know what’s going on in your life (instead of chaos and complexity, which creates stress).

Create time to charge your battery: building up stress is easier than releasing it. That’s why it’s so important to put aside time to have fun, do sports and be in nature to recharge.

Live in the moment: the so called ‘monkey mind’ likes to hop from the past to the future and worry about it, although the past no longer exists and the future hasn’t arrived yet, so what’s the point? πŸ˜‰ Try to be in the present with full awareness. It will calm the mind and stop stress from building up.

Five Easy Ways to Balance Your Energy

justbreathe200-timeout41. Energy lists – write down the things that raise your energy and the things that drain it. Check the balance on a daily level.

2. Just breathe – take 5 deep conscious breaths regularly throughout the day, setting an alarm on your mobile can be a good reminder to simply breathe.

3. Digital detox – limit your time on Social Media, for example 30 min in the morning and take a Facebook free Monday πŸ˜‰

4. Movement – movement is key to letting your life energy flow whether dancing around the kitchen, a yoga class or a quick walk in the park in your lunch break; make sure movement is a daily feature in your life

5. Creating time for lightness – Fun, laughter, playfulness on a daily basis. Don’t take life too seriously!

To find out more about Frederique visit (English version) or (Dutch version)

Edited by Nikki Wyatt