What to Expect
In order for me to render a service to you, I need to do a proper evaluation. In the course of this evaluation, I will ask you a number of questions about your reasons for seeking assistance, your symptoms, personal history, relationships and so forth. Some of these questions may be very personal, but I will not ask you anything that is not pertinent. In some circumstances it may be important to interview other people who know you in order to obtain additional information about you. I will only do this with your consent. The evaluation phase normally takes 1 or 2 sessions, lasting 50 minutes. At the end of this session we will decide on your goals for treatment and agree on a treatment plan.
Therapy usually brings about improved functioning and personal growth in the long term. In the short term however, it may be an unsettling experience, as it is usually an emotional experience. Some temporary emotional distress is possible.
The success of therapy is heavily influenced by the degree to which the client takes responsibility to bring about change.
In some cases such as depression or anxiety, I will provide a clinical diagnosis and suggest a referral to other professionals, such as a psychiatrist for medication. I may also provide guidance in situations where a client is very lost or confused or where I have knowledge that may be of assistance. I also offer a lot of support, both practical and emotional. However, I do not work in a highly directive manner. My approach is informed by the belief that within a safe and accepting relationship free of judgement or criticism, individuals have an amazing capacity to grow and heal. Often the individuals who come to see me know exactly what they SHOULD do, but for some reason are unable to put it into action. They do not need someone telling them what their problem is but require assistance in understanding what their barriers are, and why they are unable to move forward.
Information that is collected about you will not be disclosed to anyone without your permission. However, certain legal or professional rules may force your psychologist to disclose information about you in order to prevent you from harming yourself or somebody else. There are therefore limits to confidentiality. Specifically, these limits include situations where you may become suicidal or homicidal. In the case of children, a psychologist is legally obliged to report cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities. A statutory duty or a provision in any Act may oblige me to disclose information about you. A court order may order me to disclose private information about you. In terms of my professional rules I must, however, endeavour to do everything possible to prevent the disclosure of your private information. Subject to what is stated about confidentiality, I will not issue a medical certificate or report regarding you without your consent and until I have given you an opportunity to read the relevant document and discuss it with me.