The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
Katherine Mansfield

Why Therapy

The reasons for making contact with a psychologist are invariably personal to each individual – after all, we all have our own unique wild places, overgrown woods, and pools that we haven’t quite got to the bottom of. On a practical level though, the motivation for therapy may start with a wish to meaningfully explore one’s own personal development; a desire to better understand personal relationship dynamics or difficulties; the need to seek relief from transient emotional or psychological distress; or for the treatment of more demanding mental health challenges. Irrespective of whatever one’s motivation may be, the overarching objective of psychotherapy is invariably to improve ones' own sense of well-being and to further develop one’s personal functioning across different life areas – relationships, family and work.

What happens in therapy

As happens when you visit a doctor, dentist, physiotherapist or other healthcare practitioner, a consultation with a psychologist (should) include two fundamental processes – a clinical assessment, followed by an appropriate intervention, treatment or solution process.

You may thus expect a detailed clinical assessment over the first few therapy sessions (usually the first four to six sessions). This process includes a mental health assessment, and may also require a physical health assessment by your own physician (or other specialist/s). The assessment will include an inquiry into your specific circumstances, as well as other relevant information such as your personal and family background.  Professional feedback and any relevant clinical diagnosis and possible solutions or treatment options will be provided to you.

Should therapy be a good option for you, you will have the opportunity to commit to a process which will include weekly sessions, at set and regular times. During these sessions we will develop a working relationship that will help you discover and understand how (often unrecognised) thoughts, feelings, and behaviours may contribute towards the difficulties you may be experiencing. We will also work towards developing personal resources and strategies that may be used to help prevent, resolve, or better manage the type of difficulties and challenges you may currently be facing.

My practice

As an independent clinical psychologist I facilitate assessment and psychotherapy services for adolescents (16+) and adult individuals. I also offer consulting services to private sector corporate’s and at the University of Cape Town's Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

My professional interests include psychotherapeutic practices that assist individuals who are experiencing or struggling with:

  • trauma or loss;
  • anxiety and stress;
  • mood difficulties like angerdepression and mania;
  • relationship difficulties;
  • professional or career related difficulties;
  • transitional and life challenges relating to parenthood, separation or divorce, and personal existential questioning.

I also have an interest in working with people who are finding it difficult to cope with a family member who is struggling with psychological or psychiatric difficulties.

I practice psychotherapy primarily from an integrative psychodynamic framework. This means that I foreground a working relationship with my clients and patients, and work towards making sense of the thoughts and feelings and behaviours that may be causing distress in their life.

Why psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy encourages a more substantive, in-depth therapeutic inquiry which focuses on not only symptoms or conditions (such as anxiety or depression) but also on the reasons why such symptoms or conditions may have arisen, what sustains them, what makes them worse, and what helps reduce or alleviate them. The distinct aim of psychodynamic therapy includes the development of personal psychological resources, self-awareness, and reflectivity – which enhance one’s capacity to better prevent, cope with, and manage life (or other) stressors.

About me

I completed my formal academic training as a clinical psychologist through the University of Stellenbosch where I completed a BSc (Honours) (Psychology) and an MSc (Clinical Psychology). My internship was through the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, which included various placements at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital. During my public service year I managed the clinical psychology and mental health services unit at Abraham Esau District Hospital and various Community Health Centres in the southern Karoo region.

I am registered with a number of professional organisations and groups, including the requisite statutory organisations in order to lawfully practice as a clinical psychologist and independent practitioner in South Africa, including:

  • The Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • The Board of Healthcare Funders
  • Psychological Society of South Africa
  • Cape Town Psychoanalytic Self Psychology Group
  • Centre for Group Analytic Studies

Further information & contact links

For more information about my practice and the psychology services that I offer, please visit my website at: www.psydyn.com or alternatively email me at: marksteyn@psydyn.com