Frequently asked questions

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is treatment based on talking to another person at a deep level. Psychotherapy is a confidential relationship that provides you with a confidential, safe and consistent space in which to explore and understand particular issues and difficulties. It can help you resolve emotional conflict, change negative thinking and behaviour, and support you in making positive choices. Psychotherapy can help integrate difficult and painful experiences, enabling you to enjoy a more fulfilling relationship with yourself and others. It may also focus on deep changes in someone’s personality. Many people engage in psychotherapy to discover more about themselves and to live in a more rewarding way. Psychotherapy can in addition be problem focussed where the process then addresses specific problems an individual is struggling with. Psychotherapy can be used as a treatment on its own, or in conjunction with medication, depending on the severity or nature of a client’s problem.

Do you need to be mentally ill to have Psychotherapy?

Certainly not. It is true that some people turn to psychotherapy in times of mental crisis, or with severe depressive or psychiatric illness. However, other people come to therapy saying things like: “I am not happy with how I am living my life”, “I want to understand myself better”, “I seem to keep making unhealthy decisions”, “I feel stuck in my life”, or “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is”. What is valuable in therapy is the opportunity to express yourself to someone who is separate from the rest of your life, who won’t be overwhelmed or shocked by what you say, and who won’t tell you what to do.

Why should I see a Psychologist when I can just talk to my friends?

There are times when sharing with and being understood by a good friend may be just what you need. However, when the degree of emotional pain and the severity of symptoms suggests a problem of a greater depth, then your pain, anger, or confusion may be too painful for a friend or your friend may struggle to listen to you without judgement. Even the best of friends may want you to cheer up or to not go on about the same thing for too long. But sometimes it is important to not cheer up and to keep going on until things are really understood. That is when you may need the help of a professional listener.

How long will Psychotherapy take?

Many clients wonder how many therapy sessions they will need or how long therapy takes. This may also be important when taking into account your medical aid provisions, your budget planning, or other practical considerations. Psychotherapy is never a quick fix and can last anywhere from 6 – 12 sessions in the short-term to some years in the long-term. Determining this recommendation is based on the individual presentation of each client, together with their needs and expectations, and is highly personalised.

Which Psychologist should I choose at the practice?

Although we are all trained in providing psychotherapeutic treatment across a wide range of psychological difficulties, our psychologists have different areas of specialist interest and expertise. We will be happy to accommodate your particular needs by matching you with an appropriate therapist.

Would I prefer a male or female Psychologist?

You may not feel a preference for either a male or female psychologist, however, if you do, you are welcome to indicate your preference when contacting us.

Are there special requirements when making an appointment for a young person?

When a child or adolescent is referred to us, we typically ask parents or guardians to attend an initial consultation with the psychologist for the purpose of obtaining vital background information before beginning work with the young person. This may involve consultation alone with parents at first, or together with the young person from the start, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What is child/adolescent therapy?

Approaches to therapy for children emphasise the relationship between the child and the therapist. Play therapy, in our dedicated play therapy room, is used for children up to the age of 10 years old. Occasionally older children are seen in play therapy depending on their individual presentation. From about 11 years onwards, talking therapy becomes more suitable. The therapeutic relationship facilitates the child or adolescent expressing their troubles and feelings, which may sometimes have gone undetected and unresolved for a period of time. There are a wide range of issues that affect children including bereavement, abuse and neglect, acrimonious divorce, family relocation, school issues, conflicted sibling or parent relationships, concentration and hyperactivity problems, mood disorders, and many other difficulties. Parental guidance is an inevitable feature of treating children, especially young children. Parental guidance is also offered to parents of an adolescent where necessary when there is a problematic parent-child relationship. Family meetings may also be part of the therapeutic intervention with a child especially if it is apparent that problems in the family are contributing and sustaining a child’s worries and unhappiness.

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy involves any two people in a relationship and seeks to recognise, better manage, or reconcile troublesome differences and repeating patterns of distress. The relationship in question may be between married or unmarried individuals or, less commonly, other family or working relationships – such as between a parent and child, or between two work colleagues.

People may need support at any time in their relationships. Partners may find it difficult to talk to one another, they may feel distant, or perhaps something has happened to change how they feel about one another. Many couples come to therapy because there has been a crisis in the relationship, shared life goals have changed or because there are communication difficulties. Couples may seek therapy because of issues related to sexuality within the relationship or when a problem with sexual compulsion and addiction has been uncovered and resulted in a crisis within the relationship. Couples therapy may also help couples recover from infidelity. In couples therapy, the couple meet with the therapist to talk about what is happening in the relationship and to explore ways forward.

What should you do if you have further questions about consulting with us?

If you have any further initial questions or concerns, you are most welcome to request a brief telephone discussion with one of our psychologists before setting up an appointment.