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Testimonials 

My clients value complexity, uncertainty, vulnerability and diversity. They prioritise people and relationships in their quest for embodied humanity.

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Liana Roodt
Breast, Endocrine and

General Surgeon

"It is like she has been gifted with the ability to be a witness and facilitator for your own soul to speak." 

“Maria personifies a safe space where one can truly just be - I have always walked out of our sessions feeling rejuvenated. Her unique ability to allow you to learn and discover at your own pace is what makes the lessons stick.

It is like she has been gifted with the ability to be a witness and facilitator for your own soul to speak. Each session came with new perspectives and the most powerful shift for any situation I found myself in.

What stands out for me about our sessions is the safe space for mutual vulnerability and respect. I absolutely recommend coaching with Maria - we all need a gentle voice to ask the right questions at the right time and allow us to find our own answers.”  

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Albert Viljoen
Life & Leadership Coach

"I was able to bring any aspect of myself - no matter how shameful, painful or uncomfortable - and be supported through it with ease, clarity and direction."  

"If I had to highlight one quality in Maria’s coaching style that stood out for me, it would be her depth of compassion. Her years of professional experience, combined with her personal journey, enable her to hold a truly powerful coaching conversation. I was able to bring any aspect of myself - no matter how shameful, painful or uncomfortable - and be supported through it with ease, clarity and direction. During my time with Maria I was undergoing a few massive transitions: I gave up my medical career, started coaching full-time, and came out as a gay man and married my partner.

 

As a result of my sessions with Maria I was able to face the uncertainties and fears of these massive transitions with courage, clarity and kindness to myself. She offered a space for me to process tough emotions and get crystal clarity in my thinking - a unique experience. I always walked away from our sessions with a sense of power and purpose, and she had an incredible intuition about what was going on for me at the time. Her questions and perspective helped illuminate subconscious truths which I had been completely unaware of. I have a suspicion that she might have been accused of witchcraft in the middle ages, because her intuition seems almost magical! And yet, despite this gift, she never made me feel exposed or intruded on, and held the space with true non-judgement and full acceptance.

 

I highly recommend coaching with Maria. She offers an intricate blend of professional rigour, artistic intuition and incisive coaching to facilitate deep transformation. I suspect that most people get to the other side of sessions with her, surprising themselves with how much they can actually transform. I did! Don't expect short-term, superficial tweaks, because she offers the opportunity for deep, fundamental shifts for the better. It’s hard to capture such a transformative process in words without detracting from the true experience, but I hope this inspires curious clients to seek her out. You truly have a gift, Maria!"

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Annemarie Hendrikz
Author

"Maria has been part of my journey for over twenty-five years and has accompanied my healing process through successes and failures, physical, emotional and spiritual turbulence, joyful good health, terminal illness and profound loss."

“Maria Christodoulou is undoubtedly an extensively qualified medical practitioner and coach in the full scope of what that means scientifically, academically, and in compassionate practice. More than that, the extraordinary element of her healing capacity is that Maria authentically listens to you, sees you, and in doing so, liberates your confidence in your own ability to make your own sustainable choices about personal wellness.

 

Maria will skilfully walk the healing path with you, examine the challenges with you and offer support when needed, with finely tuned intuition, but also with unique humility. Without creating any sense of dependence and yet with an unbreakable bond of trust, Maria has been part of my journey for over twenty-five years and has accompanied my healing process through successes and failures, physical, emotional and spiritual turbulence, joyful good health, terminal illness and profound loss.

 

Because Maria consistently treats one as an equal, in consulting her as a coach you would have the privilege of sharing with her too, her own journey of development - which will further enrich yours.

 

I recommend Maria warmly and without hesitation to any person who takes seriously her or his responsibility for being the best one can.”  

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Siobhan Dawson
Integrative Psychiatrist

Co-founder Anassa Retreats

"I have created the career I always dreamed of."

"I sought Maria's mentorship as she is held in high esteem as an educator in Integrative Medicine. I had the desire to create a practice which allowed me to offer the medicine I knew my patients were asking for – evidenced-based and grounded in science, yet deeply spiritual and transformative. This is in essence what I received through the coaching sessions from Maria.

 

They were practical, measurable and thoughtful, yet invited deep introspection and creative solutions. Maria's influence definitely catalysed my professional development and now I can attest that I have created the career I always dreamed of.

 

Maria is more than a doctor or mentor. She is a wise goddess and I would not hesitate to recommend her. She has the ability to create a safe environment, whilst still providing the challenge required to shift. "  

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Regan Solomons
Paediatric Neurologist
Executive Head of Department
Stellenbosch FMHS

"Mine was a journey of understanding myself better, understanding leadership and the nuances thereof, using my leadership strengths and perceived weaknesses to my advantage, balancing work, family and self-time, understanding my responses and decision-making in difficult situations, and really packaging and reinforcing my vision and strategy."

"I started out my coaching journey not knowing what to expect as I was newly appointed as the Executive Head in the same environment in which I had worked for the previous 20 years, relatively young for the position and having to make the transition from colleague to Head.

 

My coaching journey went way beyond my new appointment. Mine was a journey of understanding myself better, understanding leadership and the nuances thereof, using my leadership strengths and perceived weaknesses to my advantage, balancing work, family and self-time, understanding my responses and decision-making in difficult situations, and really packaging and reinforcing my vision and strategy. Sounds like a mouthful, but all of this and more was covered in the space of 7 months. Upon reflection I feel comfortable and confident in my role and have acquired skills that have equipped me for the challenges of Paediatrics and Child Health going forward.

 

I opted for my sessions with Maria to be open-ended. This suited me and we covered a vast range of scenarios. Maria with deftness and gentleness went way beneath the surface. She is so skillful in allowing one to always self-reflect and bring to the fore lessons learnt from previous sessions. The hour-long sessions sped by. I would highly-recommend coaching sessions with Maria; mine has been a transformative journey, personally and in leadership. I will definitely have more sessions in the future."

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Colette Gunst
Doctor, Family Physician, Academic Coordinator
1972 - 2022

 

"She challenged me to bring my individuality and spirituality to my work and to be congruent in what I say, what I believe, and what I do..."

"I first encountered Maria as part of a broader coaching initiative for our Family Physician forum and had the opportunity to participate in both individual and group coaching with her over a period of four years. At the time I was burnt out and longing for clarity about my role and responsibilities, as well as the broader role of Family Physicians in the Cape Winelands District Health Services. Today, I have that clarity, I love my work, I feel more confident about my specific areas of expertise, I know what I must do and I feel equipped to ask for help when I don’t. 

Maria’s ability to create and maintain a clear and structured container for our sessions allowed me to feel cared for as an individual, challenged my perceptions and ideas in a safe way, and kept me focused on the goals I had set for myself at the start. Her advice always felt authentic and easy to consider and follow. She challenged me to bring my individuality and spirituality to my work and to be congruent in what I say, what I believe, and what I do - I think this is what has led me to really enjoy my work.

 

It helped that as a doctor herself, she understood many of the challenges I described. She also emphasised and role modelled the importance of acknowledging our own humanity as doctors throughout. This has been carried forward in the way I conduct team meetings and interact with colleagues and students in different settings. On a practical level, I have learnt how to optimise meetings in terms of structure, preparation, time management and focus, and I have expanded my leadership and facilitation skills to include an emphasis on process and people. Before, clinical protocols and administrative tasks were the only priority. 

I continue to implement the lessons I learnt with Maria - to slow down, contemplate, reflect, ask for feedback and find the balance in everything I do. I also appreciated Maria’s extensive knowledge of, and access to, suitable resources - articles, books, TED talks and key principles/suggestions. Many of the learnings that I took from our sessions have also been useful in my interactions with family and friends. 

I highly recommend coaching with Maria for her expertise, integrity, clear boundaries and the high value she places on confidentiality, which made it safe for me to discuss things that would be difficult to discuss in other circumstances; for her ability to inspire, empower, and make me feel valued as a person; for her genuine and authentic humanity; and for her ability to see the “big picture” and give different viewpoints.  

23 September 2019

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Sheron Tanya Forgus
Family Physician

"My sessions with Maria were like an oasis for me in that difficult period."

"I received coaching from Maria in the first few months of being appointed in a new family physician post. Fresh from abroad, with an 8-month-old baby, a young toddler, and facing personal issues as well as my own insecurities, I had just landed my first consultant post. I felt like I had no map with which to navigate, found myself constantly overwhelmed, and immediately had to deal with disciplinary challenges regarding one of the doctors I was supervising in my new position.

 

I think I spent 80% of my sessions with Maria in tears. I was anxious, fearful and regretted accepting the post. Fortunately, my sessions with Maria were like an oasis for me in that difficult period. She held up a mirror for me so that I could see what things needed to be fixed, what relationships needed to heal, and why it was that I was experiencing things the way I was. She was the calm voice of reason when all I wanted to do was resign.

 

She taught me to set boundaries for myself and coached me through it all so that I was empowered to make the necessary decisions in my life and in my career, and take back control. Thanks to Maria I am still in my post and I am extremely happy there. When I find myself in a crisis situation I often still use the strategies she taught me. When challenged, I utilize the coping mechanisms she helped me to uncover within myself.

 

Most of all, she has shown me how to value my self-worth and coached me into being the leader and family physician I am today. Thanks to Maria, I can shine!”  

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Cornelia Bullen-Smith
Artist

"For me, time with Maria is always magical."

“I am what is generally termed a 'cancer survivor', lugging around some large suitcases of traumatic experiences. Fortunately, I met Maria in 2015, at a time when decisions about the way forward with my cancer treatment, and life in general, were very much in the tumble dryer. For me, time with Maria is always magical.

 

She is the professional, kind scribe and note taker to my utterances. She is the lexicon of knowledge of where to go next, what might be possible, what could be considered. She is the protective blanket sharing warmth, understanding and giving unconditional support, and she is the wonderful fairy who holds a mirror and lets me look at myself. She listens with an open mind and lets me hear myself.

 

Never judging, never. And in the end she tells me again that I know the answers and that I can trust myself. I have come to do just that. About time, at sixty-six!”

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Martha Tzellios
Leadership Coach

"Her approach integrates the importance of biology, psychology and spirit."

“Maria’s depth of experience in different disciplines gives her clients a multi-dimensional advantage. By this I mean that her approach integrates the importance of biology, psychology and spirit.

 

In my personal experience as Maria’s student and later her client, I found her capacity to hold emotional complexity to be notable. This makes her particularly competent in working with women in the areas of conscious empowerment and life transitions.

 

Maria is a heavy-weight coach with wisdom and heart and I believe her to be skilled in working globally with people from diverse cultural contexts.”

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Ashika Pillay
Professional Coach

Wellness & Mindfulness Practioner

"My journey with her helped me to see things more clearly and to start walking my own path."

“Maria has been one of the most influential role models for me. As a coach, she has an incredible presence and her care shines through! My journey with her helped me to see things more clearly and to start walking my own path.

 

I would highly recommend her as a coach and a mentor. Coaching is one of the most valuable investments that you can make in your own life. Having a thinking partner like Maria is invaluable!”

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Irene Sullivan

'Bean Chaointe'/ 'BanShee' for the Environment

Keening Woman Artist

"The work we did together opened the portal of claiming my power as a Keening Woman Artist.” 

“I entered into sessions with Maria carrying a violated, fragmented heart battered by the patriarchal medical industry. Maria was a wise mirror for my questions, reflecting choices back to me, holding space with validation, deep understanding, knowledge, care and humor.

 

She is a wise-woman physician-healer holding a needle and thread. The threads she carries are many. She helps the seeker find her own needle and together they weave a new space with beautiful shared threads.

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Trina Hinkley

Change Agent:

reformed academic, adventurer, life coach, energy healer

"I made some life-changing decisions during our coaching time."

"Maria asks the best questions! Right from our first interaction, her questions prompted me to think about myself and my options from a new perspective. 

 

Like many of Maria's other clients have stated, I also made some life-changing decisions during our coaching time. But more than that, Maria reminded me to think about the process of making decisions and that it's ok to change decisions if they don't work out. 

 

Maria, you have helped me have greater insight and awareness of myself and my thinking processes, and that is priceless! Thank you 🌼.” 

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Nicola Plastow
Associate Professor

Head of Division

Mother of 4

"She will ask you difficult questions, challenge you about things you had never even thought of and make you listen to yourself speak." 

“Coaching with Maria is not for the faint-hearted. She will ask you difficult questions, challenge you about things you had never even thought of, and make you listen to yourself speak.

 

Nevertheless, the rewards for being brave enough to be coached by her are increased understanding of yourself and others, prioritising the goals you want to achieve, and a renewed sense of purpose in what you do.” 

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Louis Jenkins
Head of Family Medicine

George Hospital

"You strongly encouraged us....to find our own solutions; moving the locus of control back to base - our hearts and minds, and hands and feet."

"The experience of spending time in coaching with you, individually and as a group, over time, had the major benefit of clarifying in my mind - and, it seemed, in the minds of the group - what exactly it was that made people frustrated or discontent, both at work and in their private lives. Together with this clarification, you strongly encouraged us with incisive questions to find our own solutions; moving the locus of control back to base - our hearts and minds, and hands and feet. The sessions created a safe space for us to explore and unpack and take risks with our thinking. 

Personally, I find it difficult to express my true emotions, often just working more instead. Now, I speak my heart more easily, and slightly more truthfully, and I work smarter. The thing is, it takes time to change, so it seems some of the things we discussed way back are only now realizing.

 

I have found a better rhythm (festina lente!), I listen more - also to myself, but particularly to other people - and still talk too much. Kindness is a key thing, together with patience for others and myself.” 

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Francois Coetzee
Family Physician

Stellenbosch University

Rural Clinical School

MBChB Program Coordinator

"I am fulfilling more of my dreams, working better in teams and communicating boundaries better.” 

“Maria’s coaching sessions helped me to reconnect with that which really gets me excited and that which motivates me. I could clearly identify what my core functions are and begin to recognize what were mere distractions during times of feeling overwhelmed.

 

The coaching sessions elicited practical solutions that suited me best and got me to develop a clear picture of what success would look like. As a result, I am fulfilling more of my dreams, working better in teams and communicating boundaries better.” 

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Keith Cloete
Head of Department

Western Cape Government

Department of Health

"Our coaching has facilitated significant progress in terms of self-insight and my ability to modify my behavioural responses." 

 

“I began my coaching journey with Maria with an intention to focus on career progression at a time when I had just been appointed to a more senior leadership position. My experience of the sessions was extremely positive and I felt at ease and very comfortable engaging with her. I also felt able to connect with her at a conceptual thinking level. She is very skilled at enabling new insights and approaches. Our coaching has facilitated significant progress in terms of self-insight and my ability to modify my behavioural responses. I am less hard on myself and my interpersonal relationships have improved.

 

I experienced Maria as authentic, genuinely engaged with the matters I brought to our discussions, and derived significant personal benefit from our sessions. I would not hesitate in recommending her to others.” 

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An-Maree Nel
Senior Clinical Psychologist, Stellenbosch University Centre for Student Counselling and Development

"Your insight into, and patience in, holding a coaching process is remarkable."

“I have found our conversations extremely valuable. Your insight into, and patience in, holding a coaching process is remarkable. I really enjoy how you are able to comment on process and encourage reflection, and hence enable development. Your perspective and insight into the bigger picture (including the culture and politics) within the University, the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences and beyond, has been affirming and enabling, your open-minded approach refreshing and rejuvenating, and your ethical behaviour and reflections about difficult dilemmas, exemplary.

 

I deeply appreciate and value our conversations and the way you remain authentic and open.” 

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“It was a relief to have a space within which I could celebrate my strengths and be honest about my shortcomings with someone I respected, and I felt had my best interests at heart.” 

Angela de Sa
Family Physician

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"Maria taught me to not be less than myself just because others might feel threatened."

“Although it has been a long time since I participated in group coaching sessions with Maria, I still use some of the skills I learnt and find them to be of great value. Life coaching was completely new to me at the time, but I came to see the value and the big role that it can play. It helped me to use my full potential and to not stand back.

 

Maria taught me to not be less than myself just because others might feel threatened. I also realised the importance of the wellbeing of my team and the need to focus on their life away from work – just like she did with us. As a result, I manage team sessions very differently. I take responsibility for managing my time effectively in order to prevent burnout, and regular check-ins with my team have become part of the way we do things – I don’t know how we managed without this before.

 

I felt well understood by Maria – as did everybody in the group. We were all so different, with unique challenges in our respective work environments, but she easily connected with each of us and provided the necessary support.”  

Herma Steyn
Family Physician 

"I made some major decisions about my professional life, which I had been thinking about for 2 years, but only felt able to act on after our coaching conversations."

“I found Maria to be an expert at eliciting responses and allowing me to seek solutions as she guided me through my own thought processes. As a result of our coaching sessions I made some major decisions about my professional life, which I had been thinking about for 2 years, but only felt able to act on after our coaching conversations.

I now find myself in a much better space professionally. What stands out for me about our sessions is Maria’s facilitation style and immense empathy, which I found so enabling. I would absolutely recommend coaching with her because it was such a positive and enabling experience for me.

 

She is one of the most insightful people I have come across, and also extremely knowledgeable – a rare combination.” 

Anonymous

"She contributed hugely to the holistic, health-conscious person that I am today."

“As a life coach, Maria was an invaluable support during a stressful transition in my life. She asked the right questions and provided a safe space where I never felt judged.

 

She provided me with practical coping tools and even put me in touch with business contacts, as well as amazing health practitioners. Maria’s questions and suggestions made me think that she aims to assist you as a holistic person – not just focusing on a single aspect of your life.

 

Furthermore, she never pushed an issue if she could see that I had already decided not to explore it further, or if I was against it. For these reasons, I thank Maria deeply for her incredible and immense support during that time – she contributed hugely to the holistic, health-conscious person that I am today, and I cannot recommend her, and her coaching, enough."

BW

Entrepreneur 

"Maria....helped me to unpack matters that I had no space to give attention to otherwise."

 

“Maria offers a uniquely thought-provoking coaching style that helped me to unpack matters that I had no space to give attention to otherwise. She offered guiding questions in a caring manner and helped me to focus my thinking on what was needed in order to shift gears in areas of difficulty.

 

I would highly recommend her to anyone who is an independent thinker and wants someone to guide them without forcing any specific approach on them.” 

Khairoonisa Foflonker
Manager Student Affairs, Stellenbosch University Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences

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Gita Amber Carroll
Founder: The Good Machine

“A goal that had been deemed impossible to achieve by many medical experts ... was conquered and uncovered within 4 months. Radically, yet gently ."
 

"Maria worked with me for a period of 6 months to specifically focus on my gut health and issues that I was having in this area. Needless to say, the process comprised much more than that. A goal that had been deemed impossible to achieve by many medical experts, even announced as life threatening, was conquered and uncovered within 4 months. Radically, yet gently.

We also conducted a genetic test - which was transformative to say the least. Maria's caring and wise guidance is something I still carry with me today, with all my life choices and my ongoing journey in living a thrivingly healthy life. I wish I’d known of the genetic testing a decade ago and Maria two decades ago! Months after my sessions with Maria her wise whispers continue to guide me.

Thank you Maria."

 

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MargueriteTownley-Johnson
Artist, Functional Medicine

Health Coach

“There is no question that my vitality, health, sense of adventure, and energy to step up to new challenges and live life to the fullest, would not exist if I had not had her coaching.”

“I met Maria Christodoulou in 2008, at a time when my life felt stuck and I was in a degree of crisis due to a sequence of stressful family events. She was my lifesaver, and exactly the support I needed. I have been to many other forms of therapy and counselling (psychiatrists as well as psychologists, and variations of other), and I personally believe that the coaching support Maria offered me was far more effective than anything I had received before.  This on multiple levels.

My nutrition was atrocious prior to seeing Maria.  I had been diagnosed with multiple disorders, mostly diet and lifestyle related, and the investigations Maria suggested were key to awakening me to the issues of my health and nutrition.  Without her, I would probably be a very ill and diminished person today - both mentally and physically.

In my time of crisis, I continually judged myself and felt I should be able to behave or respond differently to what was happening. Maria never once made me feel judged and always supported me to be at peace with where and how I needed to be in my own process, letting go the ideas of how I felt I should or should not be or do. She was also incredibly patient with me. It took me many, many years to recover enough to move on with my life. I never detected any level of impatience or attempts to push me forward in any particular direction. She never treated me as if I was broken and she always saw the best in me. She was encouraging without directing, and she would often suggest things or recommend reading material and other sources of information that were extremely helpful.

What stands out the most for me about our time together is that EVERY session contained new insights and ideas, new challenges to my thinking.  My life at the time felt like a spinning top, spinning wildly off its axis. Maria stopped the crazy spinning and set me back on my axis with clearer thinking and more direction. I still tell people some of the encouraging things she said to me. They remain in my life as tools to navigate my thinking and direction. Thank you Maria!

As a result of the help and the example that Maria gave me, I trained as a Health Coach at the age of 61. If I can do for just one person what Maria did for me, I will be happy.

I cannot thank Maria enough for her intervention in my life. There is no question that my vitality, health, adventure, and energy to step up to new challenges and live life to the fullest, would not exist if I had not had her coaching.

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