Unfinished business with parents course

What you will learn

The relationship we have with our parents is fundamental for all relationships we have in our lives, including the relationship with ourselves. 

Many of us experience lingering, unresolved feelings related to one or both of our parents, such as hurt or resentment. We can also feel unmet needs, like the need to be more listened to or the need to feel connected on a deeper emotional level.

What can we do when we’re bothered by such feelings/unmet needs or when we keep encountering issues with partners that remind us of our relationship with our parent(s)?

What we can do is to to fully allow and express the feelings and unmet needs which we experience in relationship with our parent(s). In this way they become ‘unstuck’. As a result, the feelings themselves will be less heavy to carry. We can develop a more positive view of ourselves and others. This will improve our relationships. And also the relationship with our parents might improve. If that’s not possible, we might find forgiveness or at least learn to hold the parent(s) accountable and move on in our lives. 

It’s important to realise that we don’t need our parent(s) to allow and express our feelings and unmet needs which we feel towards them. On the contrary, it can sometimes even be better to work on these emotions without them, as the dynamics with the parent(s) can sometimes block a fruitful emotional expression like when a parent is unwilling or unable to take the child’s perspective.

I’m happy to announce a new course where you can process your lingering, unresolved feelings towards your parents. The empty chair exercise is the main kind of exercise we will be working with. You will have a dialogue with your virtual parent(s) under my guidance. Feeling allowed to fully experience your feelings and express them out loud to your (virtual) parent(s) without being restrained by unproductive dynamics can be a powerful experience. Doing this in a group has an extra advantage: watching others talking to their (virtual) parent(s) and seeing their emotions will help you becoming more aware of your own emotions. And recognising that others share similar feelings will make you feel less isolated. 

The group has another important role in this course: it will function as a safe container for your own process. To foster safety, there are some rules which are unique for this course (for example that it’s not allowed to miss more than one session).

A question that people can have when experiencing lingering unresolved feelings to a parent (or both parents) is: “Do I have the right to feel this?” or “Is it true what I feel?”. The simple answer is that in this course we won’t work with an ‘objective truth’. We will work with your feelings and experiences. And the basic premiss is that your feelings and experiences matter, no matter the ‘objective facts’.  You can for example have received loving care from a parent and still have  experienced that certain needs where not met. It’s sad, but even with the best intentions, parents can sometimes fail to meet certain basic needs of their children, for example when they experience stressful life circumstances like financial worries, a divorce or illness of a family member. 

The aim of the course is not to put parents on trial. The focus is on your feelings, whether it’s for example unexpressed anger or an unexpressed longing for love. 

About me

The course is taught by me, Francisco Beisterveld. I’m a certified mindfulness trainer and EFT-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: 180 euro (standard price), 150 euro (part-time employment, PhDs), 120 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).
  • The rest is paid by your insurance company. If you have a Dutch health insurance, then this is always covered by your “basispakket” and won’t be taken from your deductible. You will not be billed for this. This is because I work under supervision of a GP’s office. So the costs are billed like regular GP visits.
  • 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 experiences lingering, unresolved feelings towards one or both parents. A clear symptom of this can be present conflicts with the parent(s). 

For whom is this course not

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

  • if you experienced sexual or severe physical abuse with a parent 
  • if you easily re-experience difficult events from your past while losing touch with the present 
  • 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 a single session. You can miss one session by exception. If you miss more, 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?

Preferably you don’t miss a single session. You can miss one session by exception. If you miss more, then your participation is automatically cancelled.


Upcoming editions

23 May

Dates: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June, 6, 13, 20 July

Time: 17.00-18.30