Department of Psychology

Visiting address
3022 Parkstead House, Whitelands

Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 3249


'He who has a WHY to live for, can deal with almost any HOW.' (Nietzsche)
In our dynamic time of financial, societal and ecological crises, the ways HOW we live our lives are continuously questioned. More than ever, we need to focus on what motivates us and offers structural stability. Many people can benefit from discovering their WHY, such as psychologically distressed individuals, physically ill patients, immigrants, jobless, individuals in intercultural conflict zones, policy makers and politicians. There are many different ways to find our WHY, to support individuals in searching, and to measure this scientifcally.


My interests and expertise are broad. They often focus on developing and validating new types of counselling for individuals in 'boundary situations' in their lives when they have to cope with existential uncertainties. This frequently involves individuals with a physical problem, such as cancer patients and genetics. I have extensive experience in the development, scientific validation and clinical application of innovative psychological interventions, trainings and instruments/questionnaires. I have published cutting edge articles in both scientific journals and popular literature; my theses have been received positively by clinicians, researchers and politicians. Many research projects are collaborations with some of the best institutes in the world, e.g. NHS London, Leiden University Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, and Twente University.


The lectures and workshops that I give tend to focus on conducting scientific research in counselling psychology, and on existential psychology.

In the past, I have been employed at universities. I also hold my private psychological practice. I give trainings, lectures, counseling, assessment and consultancy to individuals, companies, national politicians, NGOs.


2012: Winner of audience & jury prize in national talent show for young philosophers: So You Think? LowSofie/Brandstof.
2010: 4-year research grant by the Dutch Cancer Society / Alpe d'HuZes for the project 'Living meaningfully with cancer'.
2008: René Vogels Stichting / Dutch Association of Oncology: personal grant for following post-master training.
2006: Leo Polak Award (University of Humanistics, Utrecht) for the best master thesis on the humanization of society: my theses were about the phenomenology of migration.
2006: Inter Religieuze Werkplaats Essay Prize for an essay on the integration of migrants in society.
2003: 1st prize Serge Heederik Award for an essay on the impact of 9/11 on society.
2001: honourable mention Serge Heederik Prize for an essay on ethics in mental health care.


PhD Psychologist NIP; philosopher (Leiden University, the Netherlands).

Research interests


counselling, clinical, health and medical psychology.


pluralistic counselling; existential counselling and psychotherapy; group psychotherapy; contextual family therapy; positive psychology.


developing and testing the efficacy of cost-effective counselling and psychotherapy; development and validation of psychometric instruments; systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses; exploring existential themes in counselling such as meaning in life, coping with uncertainty and existential denial; building and testing conceptual models in counselling psychology; ethical analyses; communication processes between medical doctors and patients (e.g. in the field of genetic counselling).


individuals in turning points in their life, such as physically ill individuals (cancer patients; HIV+; individuals with a genetic susceptibility for a physical disease receiving DNA-test results); immigrants; students; existential crisis, e.g. in the context of quarterlife crisis, midlife crisis, burnout, pension; homeless, jobless; psychotrauma; employees in a re-organising company.


randomized controlled trial; retrospective and prospective studies; philosophical studies of the foundations of psychotherapies and counselling; systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses; three-step test method; semi-structured interviews; mixed methods; focus groups; phenomenological study.


statistical descriptives; basic statistics (t, ANOVA, MANOVA, regression); advanced statistics (mediation analyses, repeated measures, non-parametric, structural equation modelling, multilevel analyses); qualitative (phenomenological and content analyses).

Research projects


1. Exist-study: systematic literature review & meta-analyses of existential therapies & counseling.

2. Review-study: literature review & development of psychometric instruments for anxiety and need for psychological treatment.

3. Threat-study: development & testing psychometric instruments for coping with existential threats.

4. Meaning-study: development and testing of meaning centered group therapy and counseling, via focus groups, pilot study and RCT.

5. Supervision of more than 10 other projects of my PsychD and PhD students.


6. P-UV study: descriptive questionnaire and interview study on the psychological impact of genetic testing in individuals with heritable cancer.

7. Student & zingeving: descriptive questionnaire study on existential and religious experiences and needs of students in Leiden.

8. Life review-study: testing a structured life review method to train the positive specific autobiographic memory in palliative care, to decrease distress and increase well-being (RCT).

9. Spiritual autobiography: testing a narrative counseling intervention for cancer patients.

10. COME: evaluation of meeting seminars between Israelian and Palestinian young highly educated individuals.

11. Context study: evaluation of a family contextual intervention in a youth mental health care institution.

12. Migraine: questionnaire study on the psychological aspects of coping with migraine in daily life.

Consultancy work

Consultancy to NGOs (e.g. Israel/Palestine COME Foundation; Leidse Studenten Ekklesia), human resource managers of commercial companies, and politicians (details available upon request).

Research outputs

  1. Existential psychotherapies.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Existential therapies: A review of their scientific foundations and efficacy.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (7) »

ID: 24980