BA Hons Psych, M Psych
8 Cormorant Drive, Glenmarais,
Kempton Park, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 3914891 Cell.: 0823016848
I mainly work with adults and late adolescents in both English and Afrikaans and I adjust my approach to most effectively deal with the presenting problem. Although I am trained to use a variety of therapeutic styles and techniques, there are 3 primary styles I like to use - mostly because of the effectiveness of these styles:
It takes courage to approach someone you do not know for help with the problems that you are struggling with. Together with my clients I have been dealing with life narratives which are problematic in many ways and filled with stories of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive living and addictions. These “problem-saturated” stories tend to take over people’s lives and attempt to stop them from living their lives in the manner they would prefer.
In my training as a narrative therapist I discovered that it is possible to discover new ways of living without the problem being the driving force in a person’s life. When I have a narrative conversation with people, we discover together how the person’s strengths, abilities, values and commitments may have taken a back seat to the problem and how beliefs and ideas that the person may have, could be supporting the problem. My approach is one of non-blaming and acceptance of the person because I view the problem as separate from the person. To me the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
Narrative therapy assumes that the counsellor need the necessary counselling skills, BUT it also assumes that you are the EXPERT in your life! Narrative counselling therefore place your experience in a central position of importance and empowers you to work with your own experiences in a healing way. Some of the assumptions of this style of therapy are:
Narrative Therapy is therefore an approach that uses the stories we tell about of our lives as the key to the healing or growth process. In the face of serious and sometimes potentially deadly problems, the idea of hearing or telling stories may seem a trivial pursuit. It is hard to believe that conversations can shape new realities. But they do. And they help to shape events into narratives/stories of hope.
Often when people go to see a counsellor, their experiences of life are dominated by problem stories (for example: stories of ‘failure’, self-blame, a deficiency in something etc). Narrative therapists look for exceptions to problem-dominated stories because these exceptions are entry points into alternative stories (for example: stories of survival, of resilience, resistance, coping or managing etc). Although we sometimes find ourselves reducing our experience down to a few words (e.g. ‘I’m a failure at relationships’), other stories can and do exist. Therapeutic conversations can assist us to discover alternative ways of understanding our lives and recover lost or forgotten experiences of ourselves. A narrative therapist has learned and honed particular technical skills that can be used to investigate a range of problems and these kinds of counseling conversations can even be quite enjoyable!
The way we usually talk in psychology, churches, the medical profession, courts, schools, the workplace and the rest of our daily lives tend to glue the person and the problem together. Talk such as: ‘He/she is the depressed spouse’, or ‘They are a dysfunctional family’, or ‘She/he is a problem child’ or ‘He/she is the problem in the organization, is accepted ways of speech as common to kitchens as to the boardrooms in the corporate world.
In the narrative lifestyle we prefer to separate the person and the problem.
This approach not only frees the person victimized by the problem of guilt, but also empowers her/him to take action against the problem. Furthermore it helps the people surrounding the victim to join hands in a collaborating action against the problem.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
I was trained in CBT at the Centre for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy in association with the Albert Ellis institute in New York. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is an evidence-based, scientifically driven approach toward the treatment of emotional and behavioural problems. It is highly practical and has been shown to be highly effective in treating a variety of problems, including:
EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY
I was trained in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) by ICEEFT (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy) and continue with ongoing training under supervision with this institution. My work includes couples in a same-sex relationship.
Emotionally focused couple therapy is a relatively short-term, systematic intervention.
EFT is one of the most researched, delineated and empirically-validated approaches in the field of couples therapy. The significant role of emotional communication in the development of relationship distress is acknowledged in this approach. Rather than a focus on resolving content issues, EFT structures small steps to create safe emotional engagement so that partners can move from relational distress to a more secure bond between them.
WHAT ABOUT RELIGION?
Most people consider their religious beliefs or their spirituality as a very important part of their lives. I have had a broad exposure to various religious viewpoints and I welcome the inclusion of a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs in our conversations if and when the person chooses to do so. Therapy is ideal for helping people deal with relationships. As people we have different relationships and someone’s relationship with God in whatever way God is perceived, is one of the important relationships that often has an impact on how a person experiences life.