My academic path
After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Psychological and Educational Sciences at ULB (Brussels) in 2018, I went to England to do my Master’s degree at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Having done an Erasmus there during my third year, I fell in love with the quality of English Universities, and the constant openness to scientific debate with professors and experts. I have always been passionate about childhood and development, so my choice of specialisation was easy: Master of Science in Developmental Psychology.
Throughout the year, autism and other developmental disorders (attention, language, social) were the main topics. My dissertation project explored early markers of autism in an at-risk sample for autism spectrum disorder. I worked together with Dr. David Kelly and PhD students. This gave me a lot of experience, as I was in the lab twice a week working with these infants. During this Master’s degree and these research projects, my interest in this field kept on growing!
However, I have always had a strong belief in holistic approaches to health and functional medicine, and these aspects were not included in my education. I studied the symptoms, the theories, the therapeutic and inclusive approaches, but the possible cause remained enigmatic. We were only looking at treating the symptoms, not understanding them.
Yet, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her colleagues have described many cases of severe autism that improve markedly with the GAPS protocol, which consists, in a nutshell, in repairing the gut lining, repopulating the flora with good bacteria, and reactivating our detoxification systems while reducing the toxicity in our environment.
This resonates with the fact that children and adults with autism systematically face gastroenterological problems: constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating, restricted diet, complicated mealtimes. This aspect was not even shortly mentioned during my studies, yet I am convinced that these problems – that stem from our gut flora – are an integral part of a holistic approach to autism. And this is what Dr. Natasha Campbell also advocates by highlighting, very scientifically, the link between gut health and mental health.
The more I read on the subject, the more I started to believe that this approach to autism applies to any health issue: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD, allergies, Crohn’s disease,…
Being a psychologist and therefore having a strong desire to help people, I just knew; I had to learn more about GAPS. So, from October 2020 to January 2021, I followed the official GAPS Coach training, given by Dr. Natasha Campbell and her colleagues.
Since then, I have had the honour of being integrated into the research team of Dr. Campbell and her academic colleagues. We are now working on case studies to be published in scientific journals, to give more credibility to this vision of health that has been abandoned for some decades. That’s right! Before the explosion of traditional medicine, a large majority of doctors saw nutrition as the main medicine – something that nowadays has been categorised as ‘alternative’.
Continuous learning is a key concept for me. Because being a therapist has always been my goal, I am not stopping here! As of September 2021, I will be studying a second Master’s in Clinical Psychology of the Child and Family. This will allow me, in two years, to help my patients with both nutrition and psychotherapy and, more importantly, help every member of the family. We never know everything, and we must always nourish curiosity and progress.
If you are interested in the GAPS approach and are convinced that nutrition could have an impact on your health, your child’s health, or someone you love’s health, please contact me! I will be happy to discuss the GAPS protocol with you in more detail and to accompany you in this lifestyle change. I will help you in a positive way to change your view of food, buy quality products, learn the necessary cooking and fermenting techniques, and build new habits. I have been through the whole protocol myself, so the experience I will offer you is both academic and personal!
My extracurricular trainings
- 2020: Gut and Psychology Syndrome Coach Training (GAPS certificate)
- 2020 : 8 week Positive Neuro Plasticity Course (PNP certificate)
- 2019: 8 week-mindfulness course intensive format (Minduflness Certificate)
- 2019: Care Certificate (Care Certificate)
- 2019 : Medication Awareness and Safe Handling of Medicines (Medication Awareness Certificate)
- 2017 : Formation au Diagnostic Psychologique par le Pr. Guelfi (Certificat Guelfi Sophie Delaunay)
- 2017 : Formation au TAT (thematic apperception test) par le Pr. Verdon (Certificat Sophie Delaunay)
My personal path
My own health path is a testimony as to how the GAPS protocol, and good nutrition in general, can change one’s life. I was born from a mother with bad gut flora, as she suffered from an eating disorder from a very young age. This gut flora was passed on to me at birth. On top of that, I was not breast-fed and given formula milk. Very soon in life, I developed chronic ear and throat infections and was given a plethora of antibiotics. At the age of five, I was declared lactose-intolerant. I grew up with poor quality food. In my early twenties, I was living my life as any young adult – not worrying too much about my health, eating and drinking whatever processed industrial foods I could find. I started suffering from repeated tonsillitis. In six months, I had high fever every two weeks and was told to take antibiotics non-stop. After a year of constant illness, I started resisting to antibiotics and was hospitalised with a high fever that would not drop. They gave me a new type of antibiotic. It only took me two weeks to get high temperature again. In the end, I got my tonsils removed. The doctor said he had rarely seen anything like that before. I was infested with bacteria. The tonsils they removed were completely deteriorated and I had three abscesses that were also removed during the tonsillectomy. After the surgery, I kept living normally. Soon, I started suffering from anxiety, sleep disturbances, low mood, and tinnitus. I did not feel healthy at all, I was constantly tired and demotivated. Then I thought about GAPS. I had known about this protocol for a long time since I had read the book many years before that. I decided to read the book again. How could I have missed this? All of a sudden, it all made sense. I started eating GAPS and saw so much improvement. Having done the introduction diet myself, I know how daunting it can seem. I believe the fact that I have applied the diet to myself (and still do) is one of my biggest strengths when it comes to support my clients. I know what you are going through. To me, honesty, compassion, and respect are the key to a successful collaboration.