I am a registered counselling psychologist, which means that I am trained to help people to deal with life challenges and developmental problems to optimise psychological well-being through the process of psychotherapy. I practice at the Holistic Medical Centre on Jan Smuts Avenue and I work with adults, adolescents and children.
I work together with a client to process feelings and to develop self insight and understanding. This aims to alleviate distress as well as to provide different ways of thinking, being and relating to the self and others.
The decision to start therapy may not be easy; it takes courage to face painful feelings. This is why therapists place great importance on creating a confidential and safe space for clients to express their feelings openly. A person who enters therapy should be able to express all their emotional feelings, doubts and questions.
Some common reasons people may seek therapy include:
- Depression (which includes feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of pleasure)
- Anxiety / general feelings of worry
- Problems with regulating mood
- Low self esteem and self image
- Identity concerns
- Stress / Trauma / Bereavement
- Difficulties in coping / adjustments
- Difficulties in relationships
- Career counselling
- Sexuality / HIV concerns
- Personal growth
The type of therapy I provide
I will normally base the type of therapy on each individual need of the client. Sometimes a person may just want a person to talk to who is neutral and non-judgemental. This may prove helpful in a person’s life and is generally referred to as counselling. Generally a counsellor/therapist does not provide advice, but rather helps a person think and understand their problems so as to empower them to help themselves.
Psychotherapy, however, is a more in depth form of treatment that helps a person understand themselves and their reactions better so as to provide relief for emotional distress. It requires a commitment of a 50 minute session at least once a week over a period of time agreed upon during the therapy. I generally use a well established and researched method of working therapeutically called psychodynamic therapy. I find this therapy helpful because it views the person and their problems holistically and does not just focus on the symptoms.
Psychodynamic therapy is a method of treatment that is based on the theory that all humans have a mental life with two parts. Some parts we are aware of and some parts of this mental life we are not aware of. Sometimes we keep emotions and thoughts out of conscious awareness because they are too painful. However, while this may work to help us at some points in our life, it can also cause us more anxiety or difficulties in relationships at other points in our life causing us to react in automatic ways that we do not always fully understand. Psychodynamic therapy primarily aims to make less conscious behaviours, thoughts and feelings more conscious for the client within a safe, supportive and confidential space.
Psychodynamic treatment is concerned not merely with symptom alleviation but with self-discovery and this enables us to experience more freedom to think and be in our lives and in our relationships with other people differently. In this therapy, thoughts, feelings and associations about the therapeutic relationship become important. This is because the therapeutic relationship becomes the tool for us to understand how you experience yourself and other significant relationships in your life.
The length of therapy can vary. At different points in our lives we experience different developmental challenges and therefore a person can enter therapy at different times in the life cycle. Therapy can help with alleviation of symptoms and some people may choose to stop therapy once the symptom is alleviated. However, for more long lasting prevention of automatic responses to problems longer term therapy can prove more useful. A person may find that they have conflicting feelings about therapy and in therapy all these feelings are valid and important.
I generally work with adults and adolescents. However, I also work with children. Children may not find it as easy to express themselves as adults and play therapy provides a medium for them to express and process their emotions.
I generally charge slightly below most medical aid rates and I do work on a sliding scale from time to time. Please note that I am aware that some clients may want to research their therapists online. I generally don’t write online advice and there appears to be a few psychology based articles under the name Michelle Scott and these may not be written by me or representative of my views.