What to expect from therapy

The change that people strive to achieve might range from minor personal issues to something that is incredibly profound and touches all aspects of his or her life. Whatever a person's reason for deciding to consult with a psychologist, I acknowledge that it follows on the heels of a ​big decision.

So if you’re that person – you’ve decided to allow a trusted professional to help you make important changes in your life – you might want to know what to expect. While sitting down in a psychologist's office is never easy, per se, being armed with an understanding of the process is key to developing the trust that is vital to the process.

​Here’s what you can – and should – expect when starting therapy:

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1. You’ll be asked why you’re there. It may sound obvious, but we will want to get a thorough understanding of what brings you to treatment. Even if you’ve alluded to “relationship issues” on the phone, he will want to hear in your own words (and in more detail) how you think about the problem, and why you’ve chosen to get help now. Even if you think that certain parts are irrelevant, share them. It helps us to help you if we have a richer context in which to understand the issue that concerns you.

 

2. You’ll learn about the nature of the therapy relationship. The therapeutic relationship is quite different than other relationships that we are used to. When you think about it, it can actually seem a little strange. You’re pouring your heart out to a person who just met you recently and you know nothing about. But certain therapeutic boundaries are in place for a reason. You should be able to trust that you will not have to take care of your therapist’s needs and feelings.

 

3. You’ll be invited to ask your own questions. It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of therapy is based heavily (very heavily, in fact) on the therapeutic relationship, so it’s vital to feel a good fit is in place. If you don’t initially, however, that might not mean the therapist isn’t for you; it could mean that you need to give the process time. Unless there is a significant issue, I always encourage patients to give a therapy relationship at least a few weeks for trust and rapport to develop. ​​

 
 

Dave's approach to therapy

I endeavour to stay up to date with current theory and research findings which assist me in formulating my clinical interventions. I believe that this blend of solid science with a warm, pragmatic and direct style has proven to be highly effective in my work as a clinical psychologist.

My work subscribes to a person-centred eclectic approach, which derives from a combination of Rogerian and Transtheoretical theories. This is a flexible approach, which allows me to apply and combine different methods of psychotherapy, suited to the needs of a specific individual.

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My preference for this approach is strengthened by extensive research on its use in a variety of therapeutic scenarios, including depression, anxiety, stress, anger, conflict management, poor self-esteem, compulsive behavior, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress, unemployment stresses, alcohol and other substance abuse issues, psychosis, domestic violence, as well as marriage and family issues.

I believe that by entering into a therapeutic relationship defined by warmth and unconditional positive regard that I becomes active participant in my patients' journeys to better understand their present and unresolved past issues which keep most human beings stuck from time to time. Avoiding present day challenges through addictions or unhealthy behavioural and thought patterns creates a downhill spiral. Effective psychotherapy allows for full expression of feelings and at the same time permits non-judgmental exploration of patterns a person engages in to contribute to their problems.

Terms and Conditions

Consultation fees are charged at standard medical aid rates for a 51-60 minute session. 

Medical aids:

I am registered with the Board of Healthcare Funders, which means that the practice can claim from the patients’ medical aid. This option is subject to the availability of funds in your savings account and or medical aid benefit schedule for psychological services. If medical aid funds are insufficient, it remains your responsibility to settle all outstanding fees.

Non-medical aid patients:

For patients who prefer to settle their account privately, the practice charges an hourly consultation fee of R800 (updated, January 2020).​ Patients are advised to settle their accounts in cash prior to each consultation. Unfortunately we do not have card facilities available at the moment.

Cancellation and late-coming policy:

Appointments not cancelled or rescheduled 24 hours in advance will be billed for at full consultation cost. In such cases, a patient will invoiced and personally held responsible for paying for the consultation. Consultations are scheduled in 51-60 minute sessions. Due to the practice schedule, patients who arrive late for consultations will be responsible for the entire consultation fee regardless of the shortened session.

“One thing I feel clear about is that it's important not to let your life live you. Otherwise, you end up at forty feeling you haven't really lived. What have I learned? Perhaps to live now, so that at fifty I won't look back upon my forties with regret.” - Irvin Yalom
 

​© 2020 Copyright by Dave Swart, Clinical Psychologist (Port Elizabeth)

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