Life regularly made me take a new path. Looking back, it is fascinating to contemplate how many movements unmistakably followed from the ripples caused by earlier trajectories.

In 1994, I graduated from KULeuven as a master in English and German. That study brought me a great love for language, philosophy and literature. Three years later, I obtained a master's degree in Dramatic Arts at the Maastricht Drama Academy, and became a professional theatre director. Theatre taught me about courage, vulnerability and surrendering to the moment. It is about the flow and connection that arises when safety and trust are at the basis of a joint creative process. From this the spontaneous desire grew to guide individuals and groups towards personal transformation in an even deeper way.

So I enrolled at the University of Antwerp as a free student in Psychology, and complemented that study with a four-year course in 'Integral Multi-Dimensional Psychology' in Mechelen. This laid the foundation for my independent psychotherapy practice, which saw the light of day in 2007.

Over the years, my 'experience rucksack' filled up with trainings feeding my analytical mind as well as increasing my body awareness. Training followed in e.g. systemic constellation work (Johannes Schmidt), Voice-Dialogue (Marijke Leys), creative psychotherapy (Educatieve Academie Berchem), mindfulness and meditation (Wil Wauters), body psychotherapy (Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar) and body-oriented movement meditation (Movement Medicine).

Meanwhile, assignments presented themselves to develop me as a communication and speaker coach in companies and organizations. Over time, I co-created training courses around respectful feedback and authentic leadership. In 2014 ‘Echte leiders dansen’ ('Real Leaders Dance') was born, a coaching practice for transformational leadership.

In my practice, meanwhile, I focus entirely on executives, coaches and entrepreneurs. I feel deeply involved in their courageous quest to implement new, sustainable values and the clash this causes with old structures and ingrained (thinking) patterns. It stimulates me to think actively about what is needed to install a culture of mutual trust and safety. Increasingly, I am invited to share my insights and expertise during lectures. During these keynotes, I want to do more than just impart knowledge. I want to let listeners experience first-hand how they can participate in a bigger shift that is being felt worldwide at the moment. It is a transition to a society in which classical growth and result thinking is balanced with cooperation based on trust and deep connection. My thoughts on this global shift are expressed in a Dutch-language podcast called ‘Echte leiders dansen’ created in 2021.

PODCAST 'Echte leiders dansen' on SPOTIFY 




Gil unerringly exposed old, ingrained patterns and gave me tools to break them. She also taught me what real self-care is and how powerful vulnerability leads to deep connection and openness. So many beautiful gifts, so much gratitude and I am so looking forward to the sequel!

Joke Van Der Zypen
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