Offering both Long-Term and Short-Term Psychotherapeutic Approaches
The sad reality is that the majority of South Africans cannot afford long term psychotherapy. The few that can afford to be in long-term psychotherapy usually feel pressured to get better quickly in order to attend to the demands of the fast-paced world that we live in. It is against this background that I have found it fitting to employ both long-term and short-term psychotherapeutic approaches in my practice. My initial training was rooted in psychodynamic approaches, which I have found to be effective in helping the client process or come to terms with the history of relational trauma dating back to childhood. Such exploration of childhood trauma requires time and patience. There are mental health issues or presentations whereby such an exploration of the past cannot be avoided lest therapy be reduced to merely scratching the surface. Sadly, only a few South Africans can access long-term psychotherapy due to a lack of resources. But those who are fortunate to have the financial means to benefit from long-term psychotherapy are afforded the opportunity to unpack and process their trauma in a safe non-judgmental space, emerging from this process as fully-functioning beings whose quality of life is no longer reduced by the impact of trauma.
It is noteworthy that some presentations do not require a long-term approach. Some of the mental health issues we face are reflections of the difficult times we are experiencing. No one is immune from experiencing difficult or stressful times: be it losing a loved one or being under pressure at work or not performing well at school or breaking up with an intimate partner. Sometimes all we need are coping skills to handle our difficult experiences in a manner that does not compromise our daily functioning. Short-term psychotherapy, which focuses on the present, is sufficient in helping us cope with such difficult experiences. Working in an academic institution of higher learning where everything is fast-paced, has led to my training in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). As the name suggests, SFBT focuses on helping the client find a solution to whatever problem they are faced with. It is brief, requiring only up to 6-8 sessions.
I offer individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. My experience in working with students at an institution of higher learning has broadened my understanding of mental health issues that afflict adolescents and young adults. Both adolescence and young adulthood are exciting developmental stages whereby individuals, filled with hope for a bright future, are forging their own identities and pursuing their dreams. However, they can also be very challenging developmental stages to navigate, bringing their own share of emotional trauma and pain. Some individuals need psychological support to navigate these developmental stages. That is where I come in. It is important to note that my services extend beyond adolescence and young adulthood. I also see individuals who are in middle and late adulthood, navigating married life, stressful careers and the losses and traumas that adulthood brings.
Couples and Family Therapy
Healthy intimate relationships provide us with warmth and emotional support. One of the most beautiful experiences in life is to be loved by someone who sees you, validates you, believes in your dreams and encourages your growth. Like all relationships, intimate relationships are not immune from conflict. When caught up in conflict, it is sometimes advisable to find someone who is willing to offer an unbiased perspective, helping both parties reach a resolution. Couples therapy entails this process and more. It offers a safe space whereby intimate partners can explore the dynamics of their intimate relationship in a manner that inspires growth and fosters stability. Similarly, families also experience conflict. Some family members may feel invalidated in their home environment. Some may experience others as emotionally abusive. Some families may experience trauma that threatens to destabilize the family system, such as surviving a motor vehicle accident or the death of a family member. These experiences, which can lead to instability in the home environment, need to be explored and processed in a safe therapeutic space where all parties feel that their voices are equally heard.
Imagine individuals with similar or not-so-different experiences coming together in a safe, non-judgmental space to share their experiences in a manner that fosters healing for all parties involved. Group psychotherapy offers this opportunity to individuals. Not only does the individual experience empathy from a therapist, but also experiences other individuals as empathic and emotionally supportive. This becomes a learning experience where the healing progress of one individual may inspire the healing progress of another. It leaves the individual with a feeling that their journeys are not unique and that they are not alone. It also gives individuals an opportunity to learn how other people experience them, thereby providing a safe space for them to work on their interpersonal skills. I have training and experience in facilitating such a space.