My Practice

Patients

People begin psychotherapy for many different reasons but most people seek help from a place of emotional discomfort. I work with a broad group of adults. Some suffer from debilitating clinical conditions (such as mood and anxiety disorders) while others come to therapy because they are struggling with a significant life event, difficult circumstances and/or uncomfortable dynamics in their relationships. 

Psychotherapy is effective in (and often focusses on) alleviating symptoms and helping people to cope. However, it can also support people without clinical symptoms in developing more meaningful and fulfilling relationships, greater self-awareness, healthier coping strategies and a greater resiliency to stress. Many people can benefit from psychotherapy at one point or another during their lives.

Psychotherapy

Therapy usually consists of one 50-60 minute session per week for a duration that varies between individuals and couples. In the first session, we discuss your needs and agree on the way forward together. 

There are many different kinds of psychotherapy, and each therapeutic process is unique. I work predominantly from a psychodynamic and relational foundation, although I integrate ideas from other frameworks when helpful to do so. From this perspective, therapy is about working in the context of a supportive relationship to explore one's inner world and one's way of relating to the inner and outer world. 

The way that we relate to ourselves and others, as well as the ways in which we cope with stress, develop throughout our lives as a function of our unique temperament, our relationships and our circumstances. These patterns are difficult to change but are sometimes (if unknowingly) responsible for maintaining distress. Therapy helps us to look beneath the surface so that we can understand how we came to be the way we are, and the conscious and unconscious choices (both past and current) which may be maintaining painful feeling states, repetitive relationship problems and/or clinical symptoms. With the support of the therapeutic relationship, one can explore and practice new ways of being that serve them better.

My therapy style is warm and collaborative, and sessions are confidential. 

 

Information for Prospective Patients

Session times

I have morning, afternoon and some evening sessions during the week (Monday - Friday). 

What to expect at your first session

I aim to provide a welcoming and comfortable space for us to discuss your concerns confidentially. I will start by asking you what you feel you need help with, and for some background information to help me build a picture of what you are struggling with. I will also answer any questions that you might have about the process of therapy. At the end of the session, we will decide on the way forward together. In many cases (and always in the case of couples) I will suggest that we give ourselves 3 sessions as an assessment, at the end of which we decide if we feel it will be beneficial to continue.

Referrals

I do not provide the following services but will try and refer you to a colleague who can assist with such services if needed:

  • Psychotherapy with individuals under 18 years of age

  • Family therapy

  • Custody and care work

  • Neuropsychological, scholastic or career psychometric testing

  • Forensic or legal assessments

Psychiatric medication

I do not prescribe medication. This is the role of psychiatrists (medical practitioners who have specialized in mental health). For people who suffer from a mental illness, psychiatry and psychology often work hand in hand to offer deeper and faster relief than either profession can do alone.  If I think medication may help you, I will discuss a referral with you.

MA Clin. Psych. (Stell) | 073 053 6877 | therapy@maryhartley.co.za