An­drea Helten

In­ter­view with Louisa Scheel, Sys­temic Coach

“Li­ving and working with inner peace & ba­lance” — this is the first sen­tence that in­vites you to Louisa Scheel’s web­site. The site is clear and tidy — and it con­veys what Louisa’s work stands for: si­lence and un­der­stan­ding. Louisa Scheel is a sys­temic coach and cou­ples the­ra­pist and has turned to Zen Bud­dhism. In an in­ter­view that is well worth rea­ding, she told us how she de­fines the me­a­ning of life and how we can still re­main stable in­side du­ring chal­len­ging times, for ex­ample when we have the de­sire to have children or even du­ring the journey to have children.

Louisa, you have gone through many dif­fe­rent, in­te­res­ting stages in your life so far. Please de­scribe your per­sonal path from your job as founder of a con­tent mar­ke­ting agency to Zen Bud­dhism.

I had my first pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence in the media in­dustry after stu­dying busi­ness in Sin­g­a­pore and London. That was ex­ci­ting. A few years later, I was drawn back to my home­town Berlin and founded a con­tent mar­ke­ting agency. My pas­sion is sto­ry­tel­ling. Con­tent mar­ke­ting is sto­ry­tel­ling for brands. The role of en­tre­pre­neur ex­cited me, but it was also very de­man­ding and brought me to my knees after two and a half years. I was just to­tally ex­hausted. Zen me­di­ta­tion crossed my path and I felt a deep lon­ging for calm and inner peace. I fol­lowed my heart and went to the mo­nas­tery in Allgäu for a week to learn the ba­sics of Zen prac­tice in si­lence from the Zen master. Since then I sit every morning for 25 mi­nutes in power and si­lence and look at how I am in­side and this lets power­fully choose my own path.

Two years ago my life took a big turn. The agency was sold to an in­ter­na­tional agency group and I fol­lowed my heart’s path. A work that fo­cuses on the de­ve­lo­p­ment of the human being. I con­ti­nued my edu­ca­tion as a cou­ples the­ra­pist and sys­temic coach.

You also work with cou­ples and write on your web­site that cou­ples the­rapy is often only ac­cepted when the re­la­ti­onship seems to be at an end. What is your ex­pe­ri­ence here, why is that?

On average, it takes seven years be­fore a couple de­cides to go to cou­ples the­rapy. Cou­ples often think they can solve the is­sues on their own and it is still wi­despread in people’s minds that whoever gets help is not strong or clever en­ough. This is, of course, non­sense. What cou­ples the­rapy needs is a little bit of cou­rage. All of a sudden you hear your partner saying what you might not want to hear and that takes cou­rage to face it and grow tog­e­ther.

What I also hear more often is that cou­ples are worried that cou­ples the­rapy could lead to a break-up. Of course, a se­pa­ra­tion can be a so­lu­tion to the pro­blem. However, cou­ples the­rapy serves first and fo­re­most to bring cou­ples back into con­ver­sa­tion with each other and to create ac­cep­t­ance for the partner’s dif­fe­rences. Let­ting the other person “be like that”. By the way, the term couple coa­ching is much better re­ceived by younger people. What is the dif­fe­rence? Coa­ching is meant to help lead to a stable and happy re­la­ti­onship, whe­reas the­rapy helps to over­come crises and re­solve emo­tional in­ju­ries.

What do you think it means to be happy and live a ful­filled life?

I have been de­aling with the con­cept of hap­pi­ness since my youth. Only over the last few years have I un­ders­tood for myself what it means to lead a happy and ful­filled life: To re­co­gnise the uni­queness of every mo­ment and every en­counter and to give them my full at­ten­tion. 

I help my in­di­vi­dual cli­ents in the ses­sions to work out what is im­portant to them: “What has value in my life?” And then al­ways the big ques­tion, “HOW do I want to live?”

Life is not be­au­tiful or bad. Life is life and I choose life with all that it brings. Then I can only grow in life and not des­pair. Many people’s dis­sa­tis­fac­tion comes from a rea­lity that is not as they ima­gined.

Change hap­pens when you be­come what you are. Change does not happen when I want to be­come what I want to be.”

Many cou­ples wish for a child, which often puts a huge strain on the re­la­ti­onship. Star­ting a fa­mily is an ideal, which — if it doesn’t work out — can the­re­fore make people very unhappy. Be­cause often there is a long path of suf­fe­ring as­so­ciated with it. What is your opi­nion on the topic: Is a child ne­cessary to be happy?

You are right, the path of suf­fe­ring is often long and dif­fi­cult and al­ways very in­di­vi­dual.

The ar­che­type of the fa­mily is very strong in the collec­tive sub­con­scious. Ac­cording to the psy­cho­lo­gist Carl Jung, ar­che­types are primal images that have been linked to si­milar emo­tions and as­so­cia­tions for ge­nera­tions. Ha­ving children means be­lon­ging and con­se­quently: not being dif­fe­rent. We all un­con­sciously seek to be­long. In re­cent years, more and more mo­ve­ments have emerged that have taken a cri­tical look at ha­ving children, such as “Re­g­ret­ting Mo­ther­hood”. I also know many women who don’t have such a strong de­sire to have children, but who feel to­tally so­cially ob­liged to have a child. Here, too, I sup­port their in­di­vi­dual path in in­di­vi­dual coa­ching ses­sions to cla­rify this big life ques­tion for them­selves.  

When star­ting fer­ti­lity tre­at­ment, most people enter un­known ter­ri­tory. Me­di­cine takes over and this time can be quite emo­tio­nally chal­len­ging. In your opi­nion, how do you ma­nage to stay in tune with yourself du­ring such tre­at­ment? In other words, to rest wi­thin on­eself even when it gets stormy out­side?

In mo­dern so­ciety, people al­ways want ori­en­ta­tion, a clear path and a goal very quickly. Un­for­tu­n­a­tely, when it comes to ha­ving children, we don’t get any immediate ori­en­ta­tion. Neither on the out­side, nor on the in­side. It takes trust to go this way. Trust in life itself. In our­selves. Self-love and ac­cep­t­ance are the key to de­aling with our­selves well in un­cer­tain times. Zen me­di­ta­tion, as a si­lent me­di­ta­tion, helps to find one’s own centre, strength and trust. By stop­ping. By being still. Zen brings us to our­selves.

As a couple the­ra­pist, I ac­com­pany cou­ples and women through the tre­at­ment phases and stand by their side with sup­port.

What ad­vice do you have for people with an unful­filled de­sire to have children? What can they learn about them­selves in a Zen me­di­ta­tion?

Women in this si­tua­tion often feel in­cre­a­singly lo­nely and tend to wi­th­draw more and more.

My ad­vice is to break through the gro­wing iso­la­tion and to stay in con­ver­sa­tion with your partner as well as to ex­change ideas with other women in the same si­tua­tion. If the de­sire to have a child be­comes so do­mi­nant that it de­ter­mines your whole life and the de­spe­rate fee­ling arises that wi­thout a child there is no point to anything, then it can be very hel­pful to deal with the fol­lowing ques­tions with your partner or alone: “Why do I/we ac­tually want a child? “What does a child mean for my/our self-con­fi­dence?” “How did each of us ex­pe­ri­ence our own fa­mily?” and “What could our life be like wi­thout children?”

Zen me­di­ta­tion can help to get cla­rity about these ques­tions and to look deeply wi­thin. Wi­thout the noise from out­side. Com­ple­tely with our­selves.

When we en­dure this un­known space on the me­di­ta­tion mat op­po­site us, a new path opens up that we can walk power­fully and with joy. A life-af­fir­ming path. Even if life is so­me­times chal­len­ging.

 

Often women who can’t get pregnant so ea­sily also struggle with their own bo­dies. What can you give them?

Be lo­ving with yourself, even if it so­me­times seems dif­fi­cult. Self-care ri­tuals give sup­port. Ex­pres­sing gra­ti­tude for what we have is a won­derful way to focus our brain on the po­si­tive ra­ther than the lack. My ad­vice is to give thanks for what I have be­fore going to bed. This helps us to de­velop a life-af­fir­ming at­ti­tude — even in dif­fi­cult times.

Viktor Frankl said: “If life has any me­a­ning at all, suf­fe­ring must also have a me­a­ning. What mat­ters is not what one suf­fers, but how one takes it on.”

About Louisa Scheel:

Louisa is a sys­temic coach and cou­ples the­ra­pist in Berlin. She works with cou­ples as well as in­di­vi­duals.  She is the founder of Love Lab: Love Lab of­fers work­shops, retreats and coa­ching on a wide range of to­pics around buil­ding and main­tai­ning happy re­la­ti­ons­hips with our­selves and others. More at: scheel-paartherapie.de

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At Fer­tilly, we have made it our mis­sion to ac­com­pany cou­ples (ho­mo­se­xual and he­te­ro­se­xual) and sin­gles on the way to ful­fil­ling their child wish. In doing so, it is im­portant to us to create trans­pa­rency in the area of fer­ti­lity ser­vices, to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and know­ledge on the to­pics of pregnancy and fer­ti­lity and to help you to find the most sui­table Fer­ti­lity Center. Through coope­ra­tion with first-class Fer­ti­lity Cen­tres and cli­nics in Eu­rope, en­qui­ries about Fer­tilly are given pre­fe­ren­tial tre­at­ment. This means that our pa­ti­ents avoid the usually long wai­ting times and get ap­point­ments more quickly.

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