Reducing self-criticism

What you will get out of this course

Strong self-criticism can be experienced as a heavy burden and a constant source of stress. People suffering from it might try a host of approaches including self-affirmations and CBT, but these approaches generally have little lasting effects. 

In this course you will directly transform your self-criticism, live, during the sessions. To this end we will use one of the most powerful and transformative techniques from psychotherapy: chair dialogues. 

Each session, one of the participants is in the hot seat. The others will watch this participant doing the chair dialogue guided by the facilitator (me). We know from research that this format – individual work in a group setting – has an added benefit compared to individual therapy. Observing important emotions in other people who have comparable struggles like you, will help you both recognising some of these emotions inside yourself and to understand them at a deeper emotional level. This process is called vicarious processing.

Another advantage of the group format is that participants can come to see how universal their struggles are, and start to feel less isolated as a result.

I notice that most clients I work with who suffer from self-criticism tend to look for solutions/insights/strategies which they can use to reduce their self-criticism. In this course you won’t learn any of these. You reduce your self-criticism during the sessions by experiencing important emotions, like for example self-compassion assertive anger.

About me

The course is facilitated by me, Francisco Beisterveld. I’m a certified mindfulness trainer and Emotion Focused therapist. I work also as a POH-GGZ for the student GP’s office de Uithof/Janskerkhof in Utrecht and GP’s office UT Campus in Enschede. More information about me you can find here.


  • Language: English
  • Price: personal fee + costs paid by your health insurance
  • Personal fee:
  • 250 euro (standard price), 180 euro (part-time employment, PhDs), 150 euro (student price)
  • Please contact me if you can’t afford the set price. There are additional reduction possibilities for people in specific circumstances (like refugees).
  • Costs paid by your insurance:
  • As I work as a POH-GGZ under the supervision of a GP’s office, the course sessions are billed as POH-sessions. These costs are just like regular GP visits completely covered by your insurance (if you have a Dutch health insurance). Your deductible (“eigen risico”) is not used. Just like when you visit a GP or POH-GGZ: you don’t need prior approval from your health insurance to take part in the course. And neither do you need a referral letter from your GP.
  • In case you don’t have a Dutch health insurance, read this.
  • Location: online through zoom
  • Number of sessions: 8 + 1 follow-up session

For whom is this course

This course can be valuable for everyone who is bothered by self-criticism. Sometimes problems with self-criticism are experienced as perfectionism. 

Note: this is an intensive course. To reap the benefits, you need commitment and focus. It’s important that you make a conscious decision to participate and to complete the course. If you’re rather in the stage of orienting what therapies/courses/techniques exist and which ones you can consider doing, then I would recommend to not register (yet). You’re very welcome to have a one-on-one POH-session with me in which you can share your questions and possible doubts. 

For whom is this course not

This course won’t be the best help for you:

  • if you have strong dissociative symptoms 
  • if you have had serious thoughts about suicide in the past year and/or if you have ever tried to commit suicide
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are in doubt whether you can join.

If you’re not eligible to take part, then I will be glad to advise you where you can find more appropriate help. 


There are 8 weekly live online group sessions. We will start each session with some exercises that help to connect with our emotions. Each session, one participant does chair exercises guided by me  (Francisco). The other participants watch and process their own emotions by means of so-called vicarious processing.

There are 6 participants.

To safeguard an environment where everyone can feel safe, there are in this course a couple of rules:

– it’s not allowed to join the online session while being in a public place. 

– Preferably you don’t miss more than one session. You can’t miss more than two. If you miss more than two sessions, then your participation is automatically cancelled. 

– You attend the complete sessions from the start to the end.

The sessions are not recorded (contrary to the mindfulness and emotional intelligence course).

Structure of the course

  • Session 1: General introduction
  • Session 2: Chair exercises participant 1
  • Session 3: Chair exercises participant 2
  • Session 4: Chair exercises participant 3
  • Session 5: Chair exercises participant 4
  • Session 6: Chair exercises participant 5
  • Session 7: Chair exercises participant 6
  • Session 8: Bringing it all together


Is the listed price for one session or for the whole course?

The listed price is the price for the entire course.

Can I miss a session?

Yes. Preferably you don’t miss more than one session. If you miss more than two sessions, then your participation is automatically cancelled. 


Upcoming editions

14 October

Dates: 14, 21, 28 October, 4, 11, 18 November, 2, 9 December

Time: 16.00-17.30

Note: the dates & times were recently updated