Dr Di specialises in different types of therapies:
Click on the one you would like to find out more about:
- Individual Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Hypnotherapy / Ego State Therapy / Ericksonian Therapy
- Trauma Debriefing
Dr Di has more than 20 years of experience as a psychologist and offers one-on-one therapy for individuals who are experiencing difficulties, needing support or striving for personal growth. The difficulties a person experiences may arise within a work environment, home environment or social environment and may include issues such as stress/anger management; trauma; anxiety; depression; bereavement; pre and post divorce counselling; health/medical problems; interpersonal difficulties at work or at home: eating disorders; substance abuse and addictions; emotional, behavioural and educational problems; sexual identity issues; sexual/physical abuse.
What is Play Therapy? Play is the natural medium through which children ‘rehearse’ for life's interactions. It has three main purposes: cognitive development, motor development and emotional resolution. Through play therapy, the therapist assists the child in focusing on emotional issues, which leads to understanding and the re-establishment of balance in the child's sense of wellbeing. Through the play therapy process, children create play that resembles the emotional experiences they are struggling with internally. These experiences usually cannot be expressed verbally.
Where do parents fit in?
Parent involvement is important in play therapy and parents will be asked to meet with the therapist at various times. Parents will be asked to contribute to their child's progress by working with the therapist on changes that can be introduced into the home environment. However, they will not be party to the child's sessions unless the form of therapy calls for that particular style of intervention (theraplay).
How can Dr Di help?
Dr Di has many years of experience with children. Firstly, as a teacher at all levels; High School, Primary as well as Nursery School. Secondly, as a psychologist who specialised in working with children at Crossroads Remedial School and at Weskoppies Hospital in her two internships.
Dr Di has many years experience as a therapist working as part of a family therapy team. She now offers family therapy without the ‘team’ but still practises from a systemic perspective. The systemic model of therapy focuses on the problems that are experienced within the family context by looking at the dynamics within the family unit. How members of a family system interact with one another is, therefore, of central importance.
This type of therapy focuses on partners in a relationship who are experiencing difficulties and need assistance. A variety of issues may be covered, including parental support, communication facilitation, marriage preparation or guidance, and divorce mediation. Dr Di has many years of experience in working with couples and assisting them to resolve their differences in a safe and nurturing environment.
Cognitive therapy is also known as ‘talking therapy’ and is used by many therapists even when they use other therapeutic approaches/tools such as Hypnotherapy.
It relies on rational thought and the ability to resolve emotional issues logically. It is not always successful at resolving deeper unconscious issues or breaking deeply ingrained patterns of negative behaviour. However it does have an important place in all psychotherapy.
Why one of these?
All use Trance or Altered Consciousness. This is a natural phenomenon, which everyone can master and use individually. It is a very useful tool to learn to optimise health and wellbeing and is faster than the more conventional methods.
Why are some people scared of Hypnosis?
Myths abound about hypnosis but, in fact, it is little more than a heightened state of awareness in which you are more in touch with your unconscious mind than your conscious one. An example of this is driving a car home and being unaware on reaching home how many robots were red and how many green. Another is watching water moving or fire crackling and losing sense of time. These, like daydreaming, are natural ‘trance’ states.
What is Hypnotherapy?
In hypnotherapy you are guided into a relaxed state where both body and mind ‘let go’. You will not be asleep, only deeply relaxed, and you will remember everything your unconscious mind chooses to remember. You will not ‘lose control’. It will shift from conscious to unconscious. In fact, you will not accept any suggestions made by the therapist that are not in keeping with your value system and moral code.
Use of Regression and Progression
Regression and progression are two of the tools of hypnotherapy, and simply refer to a return to an earlier point in your life [regression] or visualize a point in the future [progression]. Memories are stored in the unconscious mind in the precise format in which they were experienced. Future thoughts and perceptions will assist in the client fulfilling healthy future predictions. It is the work of the therapist to assist the client in ‘reframing’ experiences, which may be causing emotional distress in the client’s present life in order to bring about more adaptive functioning. The unconscious mind, intent on protecting the client against perceived dangers from the past and future, continues to act on outdated information/fixated memories unless intervention takes place. While ‘past life regression therapy’ appears to be in vogue, it is still the domain of alternative or complementary practitioners and is not often a treatment modality found in mainstream psychological practice.
What is visualisation?
This is the ability to ‘see’, in your mind, pictures of different things while in heightened awareness. If you want to give up smoking you will then visualize yourself without a cigarette and feeling serene and content. Visualisation can be used for all diseases, which is in fact "dis"-ease in the body and/or mind. This technique can also be used, by all, for personal growth and sport/career/study enhancement.
What about panic attacks and phobias?
Hypnotherapy is classically indicated for phobic reactions and anxiety disorders, but is a useful intervention in a wide range of problems commonly seen in medical practice. Indeed, ongoing research suggests that most illness has a psychological component and it is in this domain that hypnotherapy can be particularly useful. Hypnotherapy can assist clients who are stressed and suffering from a wide variety of psychosomatic conditions, sleeping disorders as well as those needing assistance with chronic pain.
What is Ego State and Ericksonian Therapy?
Both are therapy approaches that make use of formal or informal trance. Watkins and Watkins of the USA developed Ego State Therapy and Eriksonian Therapy is named after the famous American psychologist, Milton Erickson.
You need a highly qualified therapist
Dr Di is a psychologist highly trained in hypnotherapy. She has reached the Third [final] Stage of training with the South African Society of Clinical Hypnosis [which trains all medical doctors and psychologists] in this field. She continues to update her knowledge in this area through International workshops and reading. Dr Di has been a member of the South African Society of Clinical Hypnosis, which adheres to rigorous training standards endorsed by the Health Professions Council. Dr Di's doctoral thesis focused on the treatment of anxiety disorders through the use of hypnotherapy.
What is trauma?
Trauma can be defined as an incident or event involving an actual or perceived threat of harm, injury and/or death.
There are many and varied; some of which are rape, physical assault, armed robbery, unarmed robbery, hijackings, combat in war, domestic violence, car accidents, near death experiences as being washed out to sea, near-drowning, shark attacks and other natural phenomena ie storms, lightening strikes, earthquakes and tsunamis.
What to do?
It is very important that after a traumatic experience, the individual or group seeks psychological assistance to work through the frightening experience.
However, in the first 24 hrs the person will be in shock, depending on the nature and intensity of the trauma. It is important that at this time the person receives support, physically and medically, if necessary, from family members and friends and is kept warm and safe. Debriefing at this time is not usually productive due to the natural defence mechanisms of the body kicking into play.
When to seek psychological intervention and how can it help?
Between 24 and 72 hours after the trauma is considered a good time to see the psychologist.
Debriefing helps survivors deal with the negative, uncomfortable and often very painful feelings and behaviour that come to the surface after a traumatic event. The survivor will be helped to explore everything that affected him/her during the trauma and given information and tools to help through the difficult time ahead.
At the first session you will be encouraged to ‘tell the story’ to help you deal with the emotional impact it had on you. Using all the senses to see, hear, smell, taste what you experienced, will help to reconnect with the ‘images/experience’ and release them over time.
How many sessions will be needed?
Rule of thumb indicates that between 4-6 sessions may be needed but everyone is different and therefore it depends entirely on the individual and the severity of the trauma. It is however, often unrealistic to think one session will suffice as it is a process and needs time to be worked through.
If you don’t seek help it may be that you ‘suppress’ that experience in an unhealthy way and it adds to the emotional ‘straws’ that finally ‘break the camel’s back’ metaphorically. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can then also develop over a period of time and is harder to treat psychologically than the initial traumatic stress.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
There are many symptoms and the duration, intensity and severity of these are important factors to consider. They will still be happening 4-6 months after the trauma. Some of the more common symptoms are mood swings, feelings of fear and/or helplessness, feelings of loss of control, exaggerated startle response, hypersensitivity to potential danger, recurring nightmares, changes in eating and sleeping habits as well as depression.