Frequently Asked Questions people put to us as Psychologists
When do you know that you need some psychological help?
Usually the first question I ask clients on their first visit when they have settled down in the chair is: “What is it that brings you to see me today?". Of course their answers are extremely varied but there are a number of common themes such as:
- A personal crisis which disrupts the usual ways of coping.
- A sense of feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.
- Having “too much on their plate” – having competing responsibilities, having to juggle, resulting in feelings of stress and burnout.
- Feeling depressed or anxious, to the point where the quality of life and relationships are being affected.
- Facing a difficult decision and feeling unable to choose the best course of action.
- Experiencing loss due to, for example, bereavement, health problems, retrenchment, relationship difficulties and problems with communication.
Who are our clients?
Our clients come from all walks of life and range in age from five to ninety-five. We see individuals, couples and families.
How would we describe our approach?
We are strong believers in a positive, solution-focused approach to psychotherapy.
We endeavour to help our clients rediscover their personal resources and their strengths so that they are able to make the changes they identify as necessary to the achievement of the goals that they are striving for. Within this general approach we utilize a number of ideas and techniques from various schools of thought, such as rational-emotive and cognitive-behaviour therapy. Our aim is always the empowerment of the client by enabling each individual to achieve personal insight into the nature of their problems and also equipping each of them with useful skills that they can incorporate into their lives to improve their ability to weather the vicissitudes of Life.
What do we as psychologists actually do during the psychotherapy process? Do I have to delve into my past?
In the first session we do a detailed assessment of the client in their life context and the client gets a unique intervention based on their own requirements and goals.
We listen very carefully to the way in which each client describes their current life situation and their particular reason for coming to see us. In order to fully understand the nature of their concern or problem it important to get a full picture of the client’s life, including their general health, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, relationships, world view, goals and aspirations. Aspects of the individual’s past are also discussed if deemed relevant to the successful resolution of the presenting concern.
We then develop an individualized plan of action which we discuss and negotiate with each client.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
“Counselling” usually refers to the practice of helping people resolve issues related to their current life situation such as career or health concerns and relationship problems while “therapy” is regarded as more in-depth, focusing on the personality makeup, dynamics and personal experience of the individual. However, in practice there is a great deal of overlap between the two modes of intervention, hence in our practice we use the term “psychotherapy” to encompass both.
How do I know which psychologist and what type of psychotherapy will suit me?
The most important element of all therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the client. Thus it is essential that you feel comfortable and experience a sense of rapport with the person you choose as your psychotherapist. You need to feel that he or she is able to empathize with you and understand your problem.
The type of therapy which seems right for you will depend on your individual world view and approach to life. Some approaches tend to be more long-term, such as psychoanalysis, while others are designed for short-term treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy.
How long is each session?
Sessions for individual clients are usually between 50 and 60 minutes in length. However, sessions involving hypnotherapy are scheduled for 90 minutes. Couple- and family-counselling sessions are also usually 90 minutes duration.
How many sessions will I need?
In our practice we favour a brief or short-term approach, with most courses of psychotherapy and counselling lasting between three and twelve sessions, with six sessions being more or less the average.
The number of sessions required depends on a number of factors, such as the nature, extent and duration of the presenting issue or concern, and the level of motivation and self-determination and personal outlook of the individual client, and, of course, the budget!.
How much do we charge?
We charge medical aid rates and offer a cash discount on the medical aid rate for clients who prefer to pay upfront. Substantial discounts are offered to students.
Fees are negotiated individually with each client.
Why choose to see us?
We have a passion for what we do, are well-qualified in our field, have fourteen years clinical experience and together have accrued over a hundred and twenty years of extremely varied life experience.
- We have comfortable rooms, centrally situated in Wynberg, not more that a half-an-hour by car from most places in the Cape Peninsula There is safe parking and 24 hour security in the building.
- We offer flexible hours to suit our clients, our last appointment is usually scheduled for 5.30 p.m., often clients choose to come for appointments after work so as to cause the least disruption to their work schedules. We can also see clients on a Saturday morning.
- We charge medical aid rates to clients on medical aids and are happy to submit claims directly to the medical aids. Clients who choose to pay cash are offered a generous discount. We also offer special rates to students. These are negotiated on an individual basis.
- Clients often have a gender preference when it comes to seeing a psychologist. We are in the fortunate position of being able to offer both options!