Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where do I find a therapist?
There are many different types of therapists, ranging from psychologists with very formal education, training and registration to intuitive therapists working in a more spiritual realm like Reiki or Biofeedback. The most important qualities a therapist should have is to be trustworthy and have your best interest at heart.
Although some therapists are bound ethically to keep your information to themselves and not cause you any harm, there are people out there that seem to have the right intention, but fail to observe these basic principles. Therefore it is important to make sure you carefully select the therapist that will best suit your needs. The following resources could prove valuable when selecting a therapist.
Suzette Weideman works with a team of psychologists, counsellers and mediators at the Inpsyght Therapy Centre in Krugersdorp. If a clinical psychologist is not what you are needing then maybe we have a better fit for your need at our centre. Chat to us.
There are specific directories that can help you find a therapist;
With good reputations and clear instructions these could assist you to find a therapist for a specific problem in a specific area. Running the selected therapist’s name through a general Google search could also provide some useful information. Do take into account that anyone can upload information onto the worldwideweb and this is not always a trustworthy source. Always verify the information you receive.
Your General Practitioner, Specialist or other Medical Doctors
Therapists usually “market” there services to local GP’s and these are generally a good source for reliable information about the available therapists in your area. The GP’s unfortunately seldom verify this information. You are invited to contact Dr. Alexander (Lex) Muller on 011 953 1700 or Dr. Monique Smit both of whom have referred clients to me.
The learner support teacher at schools in the area where you live, might be able to provide you with a list of therapists that provide services to their students. This information could be based on more personal experience and therefor has the potential to be both more reliable and more biased. Jeanette Hart at Krugersdorp High School and Janette Lubbe at Bastion can tell you more about their personal experience with my service.
Newspapers often approach people, considered experts in the field, to provide a professional opinion on a newsworthy or lifestyle topic. If the opinion in the article resonates with your own, save that number on your phone as it may come in handy at a time when you really need it.
Look at these articles where Suzette Weideman’s opinion was sought by journalists on:
- Students trading home for campus life
- Friendship and marriage 1
- Friendship and marriage 2
- Animal Assisted Therapy
The public is protected by law from professionals making any unsupported claims in advertisements. That is probably why you don’t often see therapists advertising. Although advertisements can be misleading, they are still a valuable source of information that can be explored further, especially when used in conjunction with one of the other techniques mentioned here.
Word of Mouth
THE most valuable way to find a psychologist is through the age old grapevine. Listen when your friends mention going for therapy, take note and ask them about it. Talking about therapy might even debunk some of the myths and help normalize the process and remove the stigma. Therapy might be a highly private affair and always respect if a person might not be willing or ready to discuss it with you. Do keep in mind that therapists are not the “one size fits all” type and your need might differ vastly from your friend and therefore so might your opinion of her/his therapist.
How much does therapy costs
Therapy costs are determined by many factors, most influential is the length of the session. The most common rate is R950+ for an hour session. The medical aids predetermine rates that they will pay and most practices are bound by those rates, although some practitioners might charge more and expect the member to pay the difference. It is good practice to determine the costs of therapy and payment options before commencing the process to ensure no surprises along the way.
In my practice I require a cash payment of R950 for the initial session, during which we discuss the payment options and possibilities to ensure you are able to afford the therapy you need.
Where must I go if I can’t afford a psychologist?
Although this is a difficult position to be in, it is not a hopeless one. There are a variety of NGO’s, organisations and Governmental Departments offering free or much cheaper options. Below I provide you with a list of such services in the West Rand area of Gauteng .
FAMSA : 086 641 6882
Life line: 0861 322 322
Wits clinics: 011 717 1000
Sterkfontein Hospital: 011 951 8000
SADAG: 0800 11 12 13
Will my medical aid pay?
Often therapy is paid from your day-to-day benefits, however, some plans have an amount allocated for Mental Healthcare, which would include visits to a Psychiatrist, in-hospital psychiatric treatment as well as sessions with a psychologist (usually only a clinical psychologist and only for certain kinds of problems).
Other plans ‘group’ psychotherapy with the Allied Health Professionals and will allocate a certain amount for all kinds of therapy including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, etc.
Unfortunately, many plans do not pay for therapy at all, therefore, it is best to consult the website for your Medical Aid or to confirm this with your Medical Aid Broker.
Do keep in mind that there are therapists, such as myself, who are willing to come to an easy payment arrangement. I also provide five slots per week for pro-bono work for local school children unable to afford, but in dire need of, therapy.
Which qualifications should my therapist have?
In South Africa, therapy is framed as a psychological act, which is protected by law and registration with professional boards are mandatory. This helps in protecting the public from charlatans out to exploit the vulnerability of people in psychological distress. There are a number of these governing bodies of which the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is probably the most well-known.
This registration can be verified as all professionals registered with the HPCSA must display their unique number on all practice documentation. You can look for mine on the home page, my business cards, invoices etc. (PS0099872). Another registration number that you will find on these documents is 0860010321656. This simply means that I am registered with the Board for Healthcare Funders (BHF) in order to claim for payments from Medical Aids.
According to the HPCSA, “the use of a psychometric measuring devices, tests, questionnaires, techniques or instruments that assesses intellectual or cognitive ability or functioning, aptitude, interest, personality make-up or personality functioning in patients is constituted as being a psychological act. This, in view of possible harm and management implications of persons who may be adversely affected by test outcomes, requires appropriate professional qualifications, skills and experience”, just like therapy.
Unfortunately, registration alone does not insure competence and prospective clients should verify the credentials of therapists to ensure that they are not mislead.
The following are some guidelines to assist in educating the public:
All psychologists in South Africa have obtained a Bachelor’s degree (usually BA or BSc with Psychology and another subject as their majors), followed by an Honnour’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in the selected registration category (as listed below). This is then followed by an accredited internship and, in the case of Clinical Psychology, a year of Community Service. Some psychologists have also completed an academic research doctorate and are then referred to as Dr So and So or So and So PhD (although this is not required for registration as a Psychologist in South Africa).
Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and intervene in order to alleviate or contain relatively serious forms of psychological distress and psychopathology, or what is commonly referred to as “abnormal” behaviour. I studied at both the University of Pretoria and the North-West University where I obtained the following degreesBA (UP); BA Hons Psych (NWU); MA Clin Psych (NWU)
Counselling psychologists assist relatively well-adjusted people in dealing with normal problems of life concerning all stages and aspects of a person’s existence in order to facilitate desirable psychological adjustment, growth, and maturity.
Educational psychologists assess, diagnose and intervene in order to facilitate the psychological adjustment and development of children and adolescents within the contexts of family, school, social or peer groups and communities.
Industrial psychologists apply the principles of psychology to issues related to the work situation of relatively well-adjusted adults in order to optimise individual, group and organisational well-being and effectiveness.
Research psychologists address any of the above professional categories, not to render services (i.e. therapy) to the public in that field, but to apply research methods and techniques in order to contribute to the knowledge base of that particular field.
Psychometrists are psychological professionals with special expertise in the use of Psychological tests (i.e., select, administer, score, and interpret), may practice and bill independently (privately) or work in an organisation. When it comes to reporting the results, the psychologist needs to take final responsibility for the contents of the report, but the psychometrist may contribute to the content and sign the report. Psychometrists do not offer therapy, but are also required to register with the HPCSA as they offer a psychological service.
The category of Registered Counsellors is fairly new in South Africa. This category was intended to allow greater access and affordability to the greater public seeking professional services for mental health concerns. The R.C.’s have completed a 4 year B.Psych (or B. Psych equivalence) degree, which either included an internship or required an internship after completion of the degree. In essence R.C.’s do not offer therapy, but rather short-term, supportive counselling that focuses on the presenting problem and finding solutions in the management thereof. The R.C.’s are also registered with the HPCSA and therefor have to comply with a strict ethical code and are governed by law.
Previously, R.C.’s were divided into categories including, trauma, employee assistance, pastoral, sports, HIV and Aids, school, etc. Those categories are no longer applicable, although there are still R.C.’s that are known as Trauma Counsellors. Please be informed that because counselling is not regulated by law, as therapy is, there are many different kinds of counsellors, who have completed a variety courses and certificate programs in order to offer advice and support, but are not regulated by the HPCSA.
Social Workers register with the South African Council for the Social Services Professions (SACSSP).According to the very informative Wits website: “Social workers work in various fields of service such as community development; child protection; child and family welfare; youth programmes; disability; health; education; the workplace; and social policy development. Social Workers are sought after in any context related to people and their environments. Because the focus of social work is so broad, from everyday life to highly complex situations, practitioners deal with all kinds of people that are impacted by different aspects of situations.
Most social workers develop special expertise in their chosen areas, such as addressing the social needs of employees in large companies, working with the often neglected senior citizens of our country, helping communities find better ways to deal with problems such as crime and abuse of alcohol or drugs, and working with young people who are neglected or abused.
All social workers assist people in “direct” ways, for instance, by being involved in developing, empowering and changing individuals, families, groups and communities and indirectly through administering people-serving organisations; supervising or providing consultation to other professionals; and conducting research that could help the profession increase its knowledge about the interactions between people and society, and to learn better ways of intervention into difficult circumstances or when these transactions between people and their environments fail to occur.”http://www.wits.ac.za/academic/humanities/umthombo/socialwork/7292/the_profession.html. Some Social Workers have also acquired expertise in providing therapy to individuals, groups and families.
Pastoral Counsellor/ Therapist
“Pastoral counselling is different from mainstream forms of counselling, as pastoral counselling is guided by the conviction that emotional distress or problems can best be addressed by taking into consideration both spiritual aspects and knowledge of human psychology” (http://www.pastoral/explorefaith.org.Pastoral Counseling.htm).
In South Africa this kind of therapy falls outside the regulation of the law and the practitioners are not required to belong to any governing or regulatory body. There are, however, associations that can guide these professions in the quality of service they provide such as The Southern African Association of Pastoral Work (SAAP) and The Association of Christian Counsellors in South Africa (ACCSA).
A Psychiatrist has the same basic training as a General Practitioner – in South Africa usually a MBCHB – and has then completed the requirements for specialist registration in the field of mental health (lasting a total of 12 years!). Doctors registered in this category have a combination of skills from both the biological and behavioural sciences and can offer a unique perspective on the cause and course of a psychological issue. In South Africa very few Psychiatrists offer psychotherapy and tend to focus on pharmacotherapy (the treatment of disease through the administration of medication).
When seeking assistance from a Psychiatrist for a problem it is highly advisable to simultaneously enter into therapy with a Psychologist in order to ensure that both the biological and behavioural aspects of the problem is addressed. All Psychiatrists have to be registered with the HPCSA and the South African Society for Psychiatrists (SASOP). For a very clear breakdown of the difference between Psychologists and Psychiatrists, their training, roles, fees and membership please visit http://www.psychotherapy.co.za/GeckoLinks_show.asp?TYP=7&EntryID=859.
Children communicate through play and Play Therapy offers them a way to express their feelings, thoughts and even subconscious desires and needs. Play Therapy can be very beneficial to children who are not yet able to express themselves and some of the techniques can be adapted to older children, families and even adults, in the form of Art Therapy, Psychodrama and Sandtray Therapy.
For a brief period, one could qualify as a Play Therapist in South Africa. However, as this category was not acknowledged by any regulatory body (especially the HPCSA), this training is currently only offered as part of degrees in Psychology and Social Work and professionals offering this kind of therapy must meet the training and registration requirements of one of the above mentioned categories.
Much like Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses have a degree in a medical field (in this case usually a B.Cur) and then further specialized in mental health in a post graduate degree/s or diploma. They have to be registered with the South African Nursing Council (SANC), which regulates all their training and professional practice.
Although most Psychiatric Nurses are employed in the public sector, such as Mental Health Hospitals and Clinics, some do offer private consultation where they can assess, diagnose, and treat individuals or families with psychiatric disorders, identify risk factors for such disorders and address the therapeutic needs of those involved.
What is the Process once I start?
The process of psychotherapy is influenced by many factors, but mostly by the nature, duration and severity of the problem you are having difficulty with. The therapeutic perspective of the therapist and the techniques utilized will shape the content.
Specifically in the Rogerian perspective, the psychologist is trained to show unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding and congruence which, according to the founder Carl Rogers, are conditions that will lead to growth, differentiation, development, self-maintenance, change and ultimately self-actualisation.
As a client you should expect a certain level of discomfort, related to the content of the session and could even experience some resistance toward the process, but you should feel secure with the person whom you are sharing this process with and you have the utmost right to find the therapist that affords you that prospect.
Keeping in mind that therapy is not friendship, the emotional intimacy is very real and it offers the client an opportunity to connect with another human being in a trustful, respectful relationship. The difference lies in the objective perspective that the therapist holds, having no secondary gain and allowing the client to attain new insight and regain their balance.
The process of therapy is seldom an enjoyable venture, therefore you should take the time to ensure that it is a valuable one!
Suzette Weideman is willing to come to an easy payment arrangement should you need therapy and a monthly payment option would make it possible.