In all of us there are stories we never found a way to voice…When we cannot find a way of telling our story, our story tells us.

Stephen Grosz  

In all of us there are stories we never found a way to voice…When we cannot find a way of telling our story, our story tells us.

Stephen Grosz

About Me

I am a counselling psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). I did my undergraduate degree and postgraduate training at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. I have been in private practice since 2010 and living and working in Cape Town since 2015. I also work as an academic and researcher. I am a member of the Cape Town Psychoanalytic Self Psychology Group and am involved in both individual and group supervision and reading groups. My therapeutic approach is primarily informed by psychodynamic and relational/intersubjective theories and by attachment theory research.

Qualifications

MA Couns. Psych (UKZN) PhD (UKZN)

Practice number

0362484

HPCSA number

PS0109720

What to Expect

Some people who come to therapy have had previous experiences of being in therapy, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Others are coming to therapy for the first time. Either way, making and coming to that first appointment with a therapist can be nerve-wracking. For therapy to “work”, it is important to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to. I have found this article on “How to choose a therapist” by Jonathan Shedler to be a useful guide on choosing a therapist and what to expect when you get there. In addition to theoretical understanding and knowledge, the qualities that stand out for me in a therapist are warmth, curiosity, and acceptance.

There is no right or wrong way of being in therapy, and no one thing you are supposed to say or talk about. Whether you are struggling with a serious psychiatric illness or trying to adjust to recent life stressors, feeling stuck or overwhelmed or experiencing difficulties in relationships in your life, therapy is a safe, non-judgemental space where you can work through, grow, understand, and explore. Therapy is a process and I encourage patients to allow this process to unfold, rather than expecting one session of therapy to be a “cure”. There is no set amount of time for how long therapy should take; it is different for every person, and you can choose to end therapy at whatever time feels right for you.

Therapy Services

I offer therapy consultations for adult individuals. Sessions are usually scheduled once a week, ideally at the same time each week. Each session is between 50 to 60 minutes.

A psychodynamic approach

While many people come to therapy for symptom relief, therapy from a psychodynamic perspective can help us to understand the meaning behind the symptoms and, with that, to change the experience of ourselves and our relationships in the world. Psychodynamic therapy can provide powerful insights into the ways in which we relate to ourselves and to others that might keep us stuck in negative patterns.

As a psychodynamically-oriented therapist, I am interested in both the conscious and the unconscious elements of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, and in helping patients to identify and make sense of ‘blindspots’ or avoidances in their emotional lives. In psychodynamic therapy, we look at how you might be stuck in repetitive patterns, using the therapeutic relationship as a window into how you might relate to important people in your life. We may explore past and present relationships and try to understand how these might hook you into certain patterns of thinking, feeling, and relating to yourself and to others.

Starting out in therapy

During our first session we will talk about what has brought you to therapy now and what is happening in your life that you might be struggling with. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. I will ask questions to try and make sure I have a clear understanding of what it is that you are needing help with. I will be interested in hearing what has or has not helped in the past, and what your expectations of therapy are. As it is important that you feel that there is a good fit between you and the therapist you work with, I will check in with you about any questions you have about my approach and how I work, and how comfortable you have felt talking with me.

If not covered in the first session, in the second session I will ask you to tell me a bit more about yourself and your life, as well as important family and other relationships. As we talk about this, it gives us the opportunity to explore together different ways of making sense of why you might be stuck or struggling in your life right now. As therapy unfolds, you will be encouraged to bring and say whatever is on your mind, to be as open and honest as possible, and to observe and share your reactions and responses to the therapy process. Therapy offers unique opportunities for meaning-making and relating to another person, as well as to yourself.

Consultation Fees

My consultation fee is R800 per 50 minute session. My practice is not contracted to medical aids but I am registered with the Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF). This means that patients are requested to make direct payment at the end of each month and to claim back from medical aids where their plans allow it. It is helpful if patients have consulted with their medical aids about what mental health benefits their plans cover prior to coming for their first appointment. Keep in mind that most medical aids will require a diagnostic code (i.e. a diagnosis) in order to reimburse claims for psychotherapy.

Contact Me

Please feel free to contact me should you wish to find out more information or to make an appointment. As I am usually in session throughout the day, contact via email is preferred. I am usually able to respond to all calls and emails within 24 hours.

Please note that I do not take calls after hours (before 8a.m or after 5p.m). If you are in crisis or have an emergency, please make use of the emergency contacts provided below.

Mobile

082 938 8378

Email

debraleighmarais@gmail.com

Address

West End Medical Suite, Mutualpark
Jan Smuts Drive
Pinelands
Cape Town, 7405

Preferred Mode of Contact

Emergency Contacts

South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)

Suicide crisis helpline: 0800 567 567 / SMS 31393
Adcock Ingram depression and anxiety helpline: 0800 70 80 90
Cipla 24 hour mental health helpline: 0800 456 789
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 hour helpline: 0861 435 787
SADAG mental health line: 011 234 4837
Department of Social Development substance abuse 24 hour helpline: 0800 12 13 14 / SMS 32312

Lifeline

Helpline: 021 461 1111 / Whatsapp: 063 709 2620 / face-to-face: 021 461 1113

Childline

Helpline: 0800 55 555

Rape Crisis

Helpline: 021 447 9762

Western Cape government services

Ambulance: 10177
Police Flying Squad: 10111
Cell phone emergency: 112
AIDS helpline: 0800 012 322

ER24  084 124
NETCARE 911  082 911