Hi, I’m your coach!
My name is Christel Vogels, and I’m a mental health coach specialised in practical methods to help people survive, manage and recover anything from daily stress to anxiety, depression, and the darkest moods in life.
People’s online bios like to tell you how old they are, where they live and how many pets they have. If you’re interested in this sort of thing: I’m 41, live in the Netherlands with my husband and son, and our total pet count is a solid zero.
Good to know, but all that isn’t what you are here for, is it?
You want to know why you should believe me when I say that I can teach you how to improve your mental health stamina, and thereby make life easier for yourself.
The short answer is I have walked the walk:
- At age 8, severe depression and anxiety disorder first set in.
- At 19, I became suicidal.
- By 35, I had sought help from doctors, therapists, and tried at least 15 different medications and treatments. None of them worked.
- Yet within 3 years after that, my mental health was stablising.
- Now, at 40, I have recovered beyond what therapists believed was possible for me.
Recovering was a long journey, and for the longest time, I was lost in a storm. On the outside, my life looked spic and span. I had a succesful corporate career, a loving family and a good income. But on the inside, I was dying. Literally. I was careful to hide it from the public eye, but I was well-aware that the risk of my son losing his mum to suicide grew with each passing day.
Fortunately, I’m incredibly stubborn. Giving up was not an acceptable option. So I fought to find another way.
A Solution To A Lethal Problem
When treatment after treatment failed, I did my own research: observe people, study interactions, study behaviour. I delved into various psychological theories, but mostly I did field research: talking with people about how they interpreted the world around them. Over the years, I collected data, tested and verified my observations and conclusions, then adjusted them when I had new findings and insights. I am an academic at heart, so with this academic approach, I tried to find out what the doctors and therapists had missed.
Meanwhile, the depression and self-destruction didn’t let up. Trying to distract myself from the dark thoughts, I told myself stories.
Such stories have been a part of my life since I was a kid. It was easy entertainment (I grew up before Internet), but also a coping mechanism. Reading back stories I wrote when I was young, it’s easy to see how they reflect the issues I was struggling with at the time.
That’s not surprising, because our brains know everything about us.
But the story that struck me most, was that of a battered ship and her estranged crew. This image resonated with everything I had learned and studied about practical psychology over the years – not just for me, but for everyone I told about it!
With that Ship inside my head as a lifeline, I finally stabilised my mental health. The Ship helped me bring to light the 30 years of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), which my doctors had missed but was the root cause of my depression, anxiety and suicidality. More than that, though, the Ship provided a method to recover from the extensive mental damage.
Because meticulous Captains like to know the facts 😉
Education: I have two master degrees, one in business management (Nyenrode Univeristy) and one in law (Radbout University), as well as a technical bachelor’s degree.
Corporate experience: I have over 15 years experience working as quality manager, financial manager and legal consultant, mostly in the aviation industry. My responsibilities involved people from all corners of the earth and all walks of life, often to mitigate and solve conflicts between them. From 2012 onwards, I have been self-employed as a business consultant, author, and coach.
In addition to years of studying the human psyche in action, I have extensive experience with different therapies and treatments, including cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy, gestalttherapy, hapnotherapy, behavioural therapy, neurolinguistic programming, and psychosynthesis.
That is my story, but right now, it is your story that is important. If you feel Ship Psychology could help you, but you aren’t sure where to start, send me a note and let’s get you underway!