Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a Psychologist?

Pick up the phone and speak to them directly.  Ask if they deal with the issue/s you are struggling with (some psychologists are trained in certain areas and not others)

Ask how they work and if that feels comfortable for you.

From there, set up a first appointment and in that session see how it goes.

Does he/she explain things well to you?  Is he/she open to you?  Is his/her approach caring and professional at the same time?

How many sessions will I need?

This will require some the psychologist getting some background information, history, summary of the issue/s . After receiving this, they will need to make some kind of assessment.   So much depends on your actual problem/s and how long it/they have been around. Do you have good support structures outside of therapy and are you open to therapeutic process and to exploring issues?

What happens in the first session?

You fill in the forms and I take some time to explain them and what will happen in the session.  I find out some information from you : firstly why are you here today, what you think are your main issues and difficulties; a bit of an overview of your life, and if time, some history.

We explore what you want to get from the sessions, your expectations, and then I share how I work as a therapist.   If you feel comfortable so far, we set up 3 more sessions to begin with. They are once a week (unless you are in a major crisis), on the dame day and same time where possible.   In the 3rd session we assess together : how are we doing?, is  this what you want, is it helpful so far?  Then we explore “where to from here?” –  more sessions or decide to end.
So much depends on what you need and want.

Short term or longer term therapy?

This depends on what you are looking for and the nature of your issues.
You may want to just “touch base”, get a bit of support and a basic understanding of what is happening.  This may be enough to assist you, for you to make some  changes you need, or to understand certain issues.

You may want to get to grips with certain issues at a deeper level, and start to deal with long standing difficulties and struggles.    Usually the longer and deeper the issues/challenges, the more time it can take to understand what is really going on, get some perspective and to start to ease and heal some of the emotions, mind sets, behaviours and dynamics of what has been troubling you.

This will be different for each person


What about medical aid?

Most Medical Aids support psychotherapy with a registered Clinical Psychologist.  You need to check:

  1. What Medical Aid you are on
  2. What PLAN /SCHEME within the Medical Aid you are on. (eg Classic Comprehensive plan in Discovery Medical Aid).
  3. Most plans give you an annual limit; most take the amounts from your “daily savings” first.
  4. Some plans have a specific limit for psychotherapy (apart from daily savings).
  5. Some plans have a Wellness department, and a motivation may have to be done to apply for psychotherapy benefits.

Phone your medical aid and ask the above questions.  If you are unsure, please phone me and we can explore how to go about this.

Why a Clinical Psychologist?

A clinical psychologist does 6 years of training (a masters degree at University) including an internship, community service and a Board Exam.  The basic approach is that of talking and exploring issues that are of concern to the client (psychotherapy is often referred to as “the talking cure”).    A Clinical Psychologist can diagnose where necessary, but cannot prescribe medication (a Medical Doctor G.P.  or Psychiatrist can prescribe).

With “no judgement”, and a neutral yet empathic attitude, the psychologist assists people to address every day concerns and worries, as well as other troubling and deeper issues including depression, anxiety, stress and other distressing states of mind and emotion (refer to other pages on this website).

This is different for each person.

Is coming to see a psychologist a weakness?

Everyone is in search of greater happiness and every single person has some challenges or difficulties in their live.  This can be day to day issues, or sometimes life gets tough, and issues that we were able to manage, accumulate and then just get overwhelming. You get tired, cant think straight, cant find solutions any more.

I believe it takes courage to start to face yourself, to become really open and honest with yourself.  To see if you can make some changes in your life, or even start to accept and manage the difficulties you cannot immediately change.   It is too easy to run away and find distraction in other things (harmful or otherwise).  On the other hand, you may even receive confirmation that you are on the right track anyway, or that you are coping with things better than you realised.

So if you decide to give this a go, who says this is a weakness? Maybe you can start to say that this is courage and strength.

Can I learn things like better communications and problem solving?

Techniques and skills can definitely be introduced, and at times are essential to cope in everyday life, and will then enhance your well-being.  These include how to resolve conflict, more effective communications – how to express yourself and listen better, how to be more assertive and set healthier boundaries, learn to manage stress, learn to enjoy life and relax a bit, learn to manage anger a bit better, learn when to speak and when to keep quiet.

We are not always taught these skills by our parents or caregivers for many reasons.  Psychotherapy offers a safe place to learn some skills and practice them.