Different Challenges Require Different Solutions

THERAPY APPROACHES

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a collaborative process based on a safe and trusting relationship between a psychologist and a client. This healing relationship aims to explore various facets of a client’s experience in order to address the problems that brought them to therapy.

 

During the therapeutic process clients develop the necessary problem solving and life skills to solve conflict situations more confidently. By the end of the therapeutic process, the client will be better equipped to deal with challenges they may face in future. 

Various kinds of psychotherapy can be applied to adults, children, couples and families.

INDIVIDUAL THERAPY
 

Individual psychotherapy takes place between a qualified psychologist and a client on a one-on-one basis. 

 

When someone decides to seek psychotherapy, not only are they experiencing distress from their specific problem(s), they may also feel nervous about speaking to someone about it.

 

In a therapeutic relationship, a safe, trusting and comfortable environment is created where the client is invited to open up and share whatever distress they are experiencing. The causes of their discomfort, as well as possible solutions to these challenges, are explored in order to find relief.

Depending on each person’s needs and preferences, different therapeutic models are used to address clients’ specific challenges.  Each model serves as a roadmap, guiding both psychologist and client in order to identify, address and resolve the challenges they are facing.

 

Different techniques are employed which serve as tools to improve the therapeutic intervention.  Since historical (usually childhood) experiences and trauma shape a person’s view of themselves, their relationships and their world, my primary approach is psychodynamic psychotherapy.

 

By exploring these experiences, distress-causing conflicts can be resolved. 

I assist adults and adolescents with the following challenges:

  • Depression and bipolar disorders

  • Anxiety disorders (phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, performance anxiety)

  • Personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic, paranoid, schizoid, histrionic personality disorders)

  • Trauma and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Dissociative disorders

  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating)

  • Abuse

    • Spousal, workplace, religious

    • Sexual, emotional, physical

  • Sexual disorders (including conflicted sexualities)

  • Psychotic disorders

  • Addictions (alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction)

  • Anger management

  • Grief and bereavement

How long psychotherapy takes in order to resolve the challenge(s) one faces, depends on the kind of problem or disorder, each person’s own characteristics and history, their goals and external circumstances. Some people feel relief after one session, while others need several more.  There are no quick-fix methods, and the success of therapy depends on each person’s perseverance and work they are willing to put in. 

Adolescence can be a dynamic phase in young people’s lives.  Adolescents grapple with changes in their bodies, appearances, relationships, emotions and identities. 

 

Because of these changes and other developments, adolescents and their families may face various challenges that require psychological intervention. 

Through psychotherapy, adolescents are offered the freedom to explore and express their struggles. Ultimately, adolescents want to feel accepted, supported and understood while they come to grips with their emerging adulthood. 

I provide psychotherapy for the following challenges:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Relationship problems (family, peers, lovers)

  • High risk behaviour (drugs, promiscuity, rebellion)

  • Addictions

  • Suicidality and self-mutilation

  • Aggression

  • Sex and sexuality

  • Self-esteem challenges

  • Eating disorders

Psychotherapy provides adolescents with emotional support, helps them resolve conflicts, improves their understanding of emotions and offers them new solutions to their problems. 

 

As with adult psychotherapy, the length of therapy depends on the complexity of the challenge.

 
ADOLESCENT/TEEN THERAPY
COUPLE THERAPY
 

Oftentimes couples want something more from their romantic relationships.  Some want to rekindle the passion they once had, while others struggle to survive as a romantic couple.  Most couples who want to improve their relationships seek ways to overcome or work through their challenges.

 

The basis for any romantic relationship is essentially emotional connection which, in turn, shapes people’s behavior. 

 

In addition to addressing behavioral patterns in couple therapy, my approach is primarily emotionally focused couple therapy which is a clinically proven approach to addressing challenges of various degrees of severity within relationships. Couple therapy is offered to individuals who are dating, engaged to get married, in committed relationships or married.

Specific areas couple therapy can assist in include:

  • Common communication problems and conflict patterns, and resolving these by developing solutions together

  • Obstacles to intimacy, emotional vulnerability and trust, and working toward opening up toward one another

  • Addressing sexuality and sexual performance challenges

  • Finding workable solutions to relationship challenges within blended families

  • Dealing with psychiatric illness within the relationship

  • Recovering from infidelity

 
ERICKSONIAN HYPNOSIS & EGO STATE THERAPY

Among the tools I employ in therapy, to those who are comfortable with it, is Ericksonian hypnosis.  This form of hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis in which a person is taught to enter into hypnotic trance themselves. 

 

Hypnosis feels as normal as when one is deeply captivated by a storybook or film.  Because of the creativity of the mind and its desire to heal itself, rich imagery and storytelling can be used while hypnotised to work out solutions to challenges a person may be facing. 

Ego State therapy is a therapeutic approach combined with Ericksonian hypnosis.  Oftentimes people encounter difficulties with behaviour or situations in which some part of them wants to do one thing, while another part prefers something different.  Or a part of them feels compelled to do something while another makes them feel guilty or anxious about it.

In Ego State Therapy, these parts or states of a person are addressed while in hypnotic trance, and creative solutions to internal conflict are discovered.  Ericksonian hypnosis and Ego State Therapy are the preferred modes of therapy to treat drug addictions, sexual disorders, bereavement, eating disorders and PTSD.

FAMILY THERAPY

Family therapy is a systemic approach in which members of a blended or original family are offered the opportunity to express their needs, to enact their roles and seek alternative ways to address their issues. 

 

During family therapy, members observe the behaviour of other members and discuss the underlying needs of such behaviour in order to reflect on and understand each other’s experiences and views.  Strengths of each member are highlighted and built upon to address the challenges with which they present.

In family therapy, therapists do not take sides, blame or provide quick fixes to challenges families face.  Every family and family member is unique, and the therapist engages each member in order to share their understandings with each other and exploring different ways of dealing with a challenge.

Family therapy helps families with:

  • Resolving family conflict

  • Addressing drug and alcohol addiction in the family

  • Grieving and bereavement

  • Addressing challenges within blended families

  • Redefining roles and relationships during the process of divorce

  • Adapting to life stages of the family system

 
ASSESSMENTS

Psychological Assessment

Psychological assessment or psychological testing employs various techniques to better understand a person’s behavior, personality and capabilities.  By using these tests, a fuller picture of a person’s current presentation can be obtained, which in turn informs interventions at various levels. A variety of tests are used, including intelligence tests, personality tests, projective tests, neuropsychological tests and forensic assessment tools. 

Neuropsychological Assessment

Neuropsychological assessment “is concerned with the behavioural expression of brain dysfunction” (Lezak, 2015). The purpose of neuropsychological assessment includes diagnosis of impairment, identifying intervention needs, patient care and treatment and evaluation.  Typically, neuropsychological assessments are employed to assess and diagnose for the following possible disorders:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

  • Degenerative brain disorders/Dementia (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease)

  • Other progressive disorders (Multiple sclerosis, drug- and alcohol-related disorders)

  • Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes)

  • Seizure disorders

The impacts of neuropsychological disorders usually go beyond the daily and occupational functioning of the individual, and also impact their families and social functioning.  After diagnosis and the assessment of individual circumstances, appropriate treatment and intervention programmes can be planned.

Forensic Assessment

The purpose of forensic assessment may include determining the state of mind of an individual during the commission of an offence, and/or their competency to stand trial.  Furthermore, forensic assessment may seek to determine the static and dynamic risk factors that may increase or reduce person’s risk to re-offend.  Forensic assessments are normally performed in the event of sexual and/or violent offences.

 

Akeso Clinic, 875 Francis Baard Street, Arcadia  | Pretoria​

+27 82 264 5886 | ​jaco@jvanzylpsych.com

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