Expat zone
Posted on: Sep 24, 2016

Fani Traikou talks about Harmonia Coaching and gives advices for anyone planning moving to the Netherlands


This post is also available in Greek

Fani lives in the Netherlands the last several years. You can find here sharing online online, tips and experiences through interesting blogs or meet her at her private practice as a psychologist, helping anyone in need.

She is always very positive, cheerful and bright yet pragmatic and serious, she is the person to speak if you feel you want to talk with someone.

She believes that the best way to approach a problem is with the calm way and advise anyone thinking moving here, to be armed with patience and perseverance, to be well organised , do good research, search everything and have a specific plan of action.

If you feel the need to talk to an expert, do not hesitate to contact her.

What is the story of Fani Traikou? How did you decide a profession in Psychology field?

Fortunately or not the story of Fani Traikou could not be analysed in a few lines. Let's say that as old as I remember myself I was a really energetic, curious kid who wanted answers to all the questions. At the same time I had a deep need to know more about myself, I wanted to know who exactly I am and to deal with myself in the better possible way. I think these elements could lead a person to study Psychology. First there is the personal need and then the pure and unconscious idea that you will save the world.

You believe in the power of meditation and management of negative thoughts and emotions. Which is the best way to deal with a problem regarding your opinion?

During the last decades meditation has been an important part of Psychology field. Of course it's not a new trend, it's an act and a life style of millions of people which has been applied for centuries. Benefits of meditation are a lot and people will know it when they will start applying it. Here, I want to mention one thing that once I heard in a training Mindfulness course: If we teach to the next two generations to meditate, we will save the world. It seems unbelievable but I believe it.

The best way of dealing with a problem is the cool way. But since we cannot always be cool, we should try at least to be balanced. We should always avoid extreme behaviours and try to find a solution somewhere in the middle. This can be succeeded with meditation.

In Greece there is not a culture of a personal psychologist as it is in Netherlands. Here seeing a mental health specialist is considered as something important. Which are the differences between these two countries that you can mention?

Things are kind of strange in both countries regarding Psychologist field. In Greece a series of sessions with a psychologist is still a taboo for some people since psychologists are considered as professionals that work with “crazy” people and they are not seen as counselors or guiders. On the other hand, people in Netherlands feel much more comfortable to start therapy sometime but still that does not apply for all the people in the country. I didn't feel much surprised when I heard Dutch people saying that psychotherapy is a waste of time and money. So every person – no matter what is their nationality – sees differently this subject.

There are enough differences between Dutch and Greek psychologists. First of all there could be a different way of applying work in every country and every patient/client is handled in a different way based on their culture. A psychologist will probably speak differently to a Dutch than a Greek and culture always plays an important role. For example, a Dutch will probably find it much harder to talk about his emotions than a Greek. A good mental health professional should manage this efficiently.

Moreover, there are big differences between the health systems of the two countries and the way the profession is applied by professionals. In Netherlands the title “psychologist” is not protected and anyone could open a private business and start seeing clients as a psychologist. In Greece if you don't have a professional license you cannot claim that you are a psychologist.

What problems could have someone that just moved from Greece to Netherlands? When someone should think to ask for psychological help?

Often people who leave their homeland and move to a new country where they have to adjust as soon as possible feel a lot of stress, panic and fear. Most of the times the first days are difficult but as time passes things seem and eventually become better. However, psychological help is necessary when things don't go better. In other words psychological help is needed when a person that moved here keeps feeling dysphoria for a long time and cannot adjust or whether he/she is full of negative thoughts or thoughts of abandoning the country.

Which are the criteria to choose a psychologist to help you with your problem?

Good question! There could be many criteria. It depends on what someone is looking for, what he/she wants to try and how deep someone is willing to dig inside himself/herself. Many people visit a psychologist just because they heard good things by a friend or read really nice reviews. This is of course something natural and rational.

If I should mention some objective criteria for a competent psychologist then I should say that studies and all the training courses that a mental health specialist has followed could play an important role. In addition, professional experience and also the fields of interest of every professional are important. Last but not least chemistry is absolutely necessary between a psychologist and a client in order to have a good therapeutic relationship.

How much time therapy could take?

Fortunately or not there is not a specific answer to this question. It depends on every client's needs. Most of the time a psychologist could provide an approximate schedule of sessions after the first introductory sessions. Personally I had a client who didn't need more than 10 sessions to reach his goal but there were other cases that clients were visiting me for months.

What do you advice someone that is moving to the Netherlands?

To well organise his coming here. To do good research, search everything and have a specific plan of action. Be possessed of determination, strength and optimism. Above all, to move here because its his choice and not because he was affected from what he heard of friends and people.

You like a lot to write. We can find posts of you in “Iamgreek.nl”, “Ms Psyche Blog” and “Της Φανής της φάνηκε ωραίο!”. What makes you creating posts based on your thoughts that you share with others?

My first blog worked psycho-therapeutically for me and I started it by the time I moved in Netherlands. There was a lot of new information that I had to process and also to share so I started writing. The next posts and blogs just came up because of the same and also different reasons. Writing usually makes you wanting more and more to write and share experiences of different subjects. Writing is one of the most interesting, productive and also healthy “addictions”.

How could someone contact you?

In many different ways. First of all someone could text me through my professional website site www.harmoniacoaching.net or via email [email protected]

Alternatively, please leave me a message here in Iamgreek.nl or find me in my other two blogs Ms Psyche Blog and Της Φανής της φάνηκε ωραίο!.


Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.