About us

About us - Barends Psychology Practice

Barends Psychology Practice

Located in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Barends Psychology Practice brings together an international team of licensed psychologists based in Cairo (Egypt), Stuart (Florida), Madrid (Spain), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Rijeka (Croatia), and Stockholm (Sweden). We offer a range of treatments both face-to-face and online. Our peaceful, friendly practice is an ideal setting where you’ll feel safe and confident to explore your mental health and emotional issues.

Barends Psychology Practice was founded in January 2014 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands by psychologist Niels Barends. The practice was later relocated to Ljubljana, Slovenia in October 2015. Late 2016, psychologist Maja joined the team, and since early 2017, Barends Psychology Practice started collaborating with different online counselors from around the world: Youssef Ehab, Roberta Fenili, Marylise Zwarts, Tijana Debelić, and Youstina Demetry. At the moment, Barends Psychology Practice offers its services in 10 world languages: English (Niels), Dutch (Niels), Slovenian (Maja), Portuguese and Spanish (Roberta), Arabic (Youssef), Italian and Croatian (Tijana), French (Marylise), and Swedish (Youstina).
For the office locations in Madrid, Cairo, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Stockholm, and Stuart (Florida), please click here.

If you want to schedule a first, free of charge, appointment at Barends Psychology Practice, click here.


In Press

  • In May 2014, an interview with Niels Barends about summer depression was published in De Telegraaf Magazine.
  • An interview with Niels Barends about Post-traumatic stress disorder was published in UP Magazine in June 2015.
  • In April 2016, an interview with Niels Barends about expat problems and culture shock was published on Telegraph.co.uk.
  • Maja wrote an interesting article about the psychological and social aspects of the popular game Pokémon GO in December 2016. Click here to read the full article.
  • In January 2017 an article by Maja and Niels about loneliness in relationships has been published in Moje Zdravje: Kako premagati občutek osamljenosti v partnerstvu. (The article is written in Slovenian).
  • In May 2017 Maja and Niels wrote an article about the effectiveness of online therapyin Moje Zdravje (article is written in Slovenian).


Education and working experience


Online counselor Niels Barends

Online counselor Niels Barends

Niels Barends

Niels is an online counselor and psychologist with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Developmental Psychology from the University of Amsterdam. He is specialized in cognitive behavioural therapy, schema therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, competitive memory training, and WRITEjunior (ptsd treatment for 4-18 year olds). He completed these post-masters courses at acknowledged training institutes (EMDR opleidingen, Cure Care Development, Van Genderen opleidingen), and Uva Minds. Before he started working as an online counselor, Niels worked for two mental health clinics in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. From the summer of 2005 until the summer of 2014, he worked at Mentrum, Arkin (formerly known as: AMC, de Meren) as a case manager and a therapist with a population presenting with long-term severe psychiatric and/or addiction issues.

Additionally, he also has worked as a therapist at JellinekMinnesota, Arkin for almost a year, before emigrating to Slovenia. At JellinekMinnesota his main focus was addiction, often accompanied by PTSD, trauma, personality disorders, and various emotional problems, such as low self-esteem and perfectionism. He also gave group sessions as well as individual sessions. The group sessions were based on Acceptance and Commitment therapy and the 12 steps of Minnesota. Niels offers his services in both Dutch and English.

Online counselor Maja Gaspari

online counselor Maja Gaspari

Maja Gaspari

Maja is a psychologist with Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She is specialized in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). She completed this post-masters course at the Croatian Association for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, recognized by CBT Europe. Maja has experience in individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy. She also offers online EMDR therapy.

Before she started working as an online counselor at Barends Psychology Practice, Maja worked for three mental health clinics, and as a volunteer she worked with children and adolescents. In 2014 and 2015 she worked for the Pediatric Clinic at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana as an intern with children with epilepsy and mental disabilities. In 2015 and 2016 Maja worked as a therapist for the Health Care Centre Vrhnika in Vrhnika, Slovenia. Here her main focus was stress and anxiety treatment. In 2016 Maja also worked as a therapist at Logout, center for digital addiction help and treatment. Maja is, besides Barends Psychology Practice, currently working as a teaching assistant at Faculty of Education, where she gives workshops and seminars for students (1st year) on Developmental psychology. She also lived abroad (Antwerp, Belgium) for several months.

At Barends Psychology Practice, Maja works as an online counselor and traditional (face-to-face) counselor. She offers (online) treatment for anxiety, PTSD, phobia, depression, stress, addiction, self-esteem, communication skills, eating disorders, relationship counseling, and more. She offers her services in both Slovene and English.

Online counselor – Ehab Youssef

Ehab Youssef

Ehab Youssef

Ehab provides psychotherapy for individuals and couples; he believes psychotherapy is more than simply changing certain behaviors (i.e. just eliminating symptoms) and views psychotherapy as a powerful process of self-discovery, which leads to a place of understanding, self-acceptance, and ultimately, greater relationship happiness and life success. Ehab Youssef received his BSc with Honors in Psychology from the University Of Derby, UK, a Diploma of Counseling, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis from Glyndwr University, UK and his MSc in Psychology from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He has completed his clinical training at the University of Derby Hospital, UK in 2013 and the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands in 2015. He believes that it is extremely important to work on whatever it is that a client or couple deeply cares about. Forming a strong therapeutic alliance is crucial. Ehab Youssef applies and delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psycho-dynamics along other evidence-based treatments to adult and adolescent clients with a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and adjustment problems, such as anxiety, stress, depression, gender issues and relationship problems.
Ehab offers his services in Arab.

Online counselor – Marylise Zwarts

Marylise is an (online) counselor with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Paris 8 University (2002). She has been practicing for 15 years in France and in the USA as a clinical psychologist, mental health counselor and fully trained EMDR therapist. Marylise offers individual, couple and EMDR therapy online and face-to-face.
Marylise has worked with adults in various environments, including mental health institutions (hospital Ville-Evrard and Hospital Sainte –Anne in France) , not-for-profit organizations (sos Suicide in France and House of Hope in Florida), substance abuse treatment centers (BHOPB, Florida and Amitie presence Paris) and in private practice in France and in the USA.
Trained in criminology and victimology (university Paris V Descartes in Paris), Marylise completed her EMDR training in 2008. She also completed in 2015 a specialization certificate “The use of EMDR with complex trauma and dissociative symptoms” (EMDRIA institute of the USA).
Marylise provides (online) treatment to individuals and couples struggling with depression, grief and loss, addiction, emotional and anxiety disorder, personality disorder, phobia, OCD, PTSD and more.
Being herself an expat residing for 10 years in the USA, Marylise is particularly qualified to help other expats to overcome the grief and difficulties they experience while adapting to a new culture.
Marylise utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques, such as the person-centered approach (Carl Rogers), Cognitive and Behavioral approach (CBT), solution focused brief therapy (SFBT), the psychodynamic approach and EMDR, to guide her clients through a fast healing process.
Further to her role as online psychotherapist at Barends Psychology, Marylise attends particular patients in the USA both face-to-face and through online services.
Marylise strongly believes in people’s capacity to use their own resources to recover from difficult experiences and to develop their coping skills to embrace a fulfilling life.
Marylise offers her services in French.

Online counselor – Roberta Fenili

Roberta Fenili

Roberta Fenili

Roberta is a psychologist enrolled with the Madrid’s Official Psychology Professional Association, with the number M-22494. She is also qualified to exercise at healthcare level in Spain. Roberta has an Honors Degree in Psychology (2003, Brazil) and a Master course in Psycho-oncology (University Complutense of Madrid, 2007), and a Master in Integrative Humanistic Psychotherapy (2010). Roberta has a sound experience treating both, patients suffering cancer and guiding their relatives (during the several stages of sickness) at hospitals and with non-profit associations/charities, and also in individualized psychotherapy, whether by face to face service or through online facilities. As a psychotherapist specialized in humanistic integrative psychotherapy, she uses different tools fitted to each individual in order to treat a wide range of matters, including self-esteem concerns, anxiety, depression, grief, emotional matters related with chronicle illness conditions, psychological treatment of physical pain and self-knowledge processes, among other matters.
Likewise, being herself an expat -resident for more than 12 years in Spain- she knows the different phases, the issues which may arise and, in the end, the long process which in turn is needed to shape one’s self to a new culture.
Further to her role as online psychotherapist at Barends Psychology Practice, Roberta works as volunteering coordinator at the Spanish Association Against Cancer. She also attends particular patients in Spain on a regular basis, both, face to face and through online service.
She offers her services in both Portuguese and Spanish.

Online counselor – Tijana Debelić

Online counselor Tijana Debelić

Tijana Debelić

Tijana is a psychologist who was born and raised in Rijeka, Croatia in a Croatian and Italian family. In 2004, Tijana moved to Italy where she received her M.S. with Honors in Psychology from the University Of Padua. In 2013 she decided to return to Rijeka, Croatia and to start collaborating with the family consulting company as well as working for the only Italian high school in Rijeka in the role of School Psychologist. She completed her post-masters course in Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) at the Croatian Association for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, recognized by CBT Europe.
She thinks of herself as a born psychologist. Since she can remember, she was always interested in understanding the reasons behind human reasoning, emotions and behavior (e.g. why people become addicted to things they know will hurt them, why some people have low self-esteem and how does it reflect on their life etc.) and with adolescence and the increase in self-consciousness this interest became even stronger. When she was a teenager, one of her favorite hobbies was to observe people in buses, bars, school halls and elsewhere and try to figure out what was going on in their head to make them act the way they did. And it still is!
Furthermore, since she lived and worked in Italy for 9 years, Tijana perfectly knows all the stages necessary for adapting to a new culture and environment, as well as the difficulties that arise from that condition. This is why she also provides counseling for all the Croatian and Italian expats who decided to search for happiness far away from home
Tijana provides (online) treatment for anxiety, depression, phobia, self-esteem concerns, relationship counseling and more. She also delivers business coaching and counseling in regards to soft skills (effective communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, etc.), human resources management, career path changing, among other matters.
She offers her services in both Croatian and Italian.

Treatment techniques

As online counselors, Maja and Niels engage in Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) and online Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Niels also engages in Schema therapy (ST), EMDR therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT). These types of therapy are all evidence based therapies and we have chosen to master these treatment techniques, because:

  • (1) Some patients prefer one treatment over the other. Where one patient will benefit from a solution-oriented approach, another may be turned off by such an approach. For instance, someone diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may benefit more from ACT, than from EMDR, because of the differences in approach. Ultimately, patient satisfaction is the most important.
  • (2) Some treatment techniques are more effective in treating certain disorders that others. For personality disorders, for instance, schema therapy is more efficient than cognitive behavioural therapy.