Laura Bester

Clinical Psychologist

Claremont, Cape Town

Masters in Clinical Psychology & Community Counselling – Stellenbosch University; Higher Diploma in Education – UCT

084 750 5775


3 St Davids Rd, Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa

Areas of interest

My areas of interest include (but are not limited to) anxiety, depression, anger, trauma, bereavement, self-limiting or self-defeating behaviour patterns, identity, self-esteem, relationship conflict / interpersonal difficulties, and major life stressors and changes.

Why come for psychotherapy?

People choose psychotherapy for many different reasons.
You or your adolescent may:

  • Feel anxious or depressed.
  • Have problems in your peer, home or intimate relationships.
  • Feel down, stuck, “not good-enough”, hopeless or empty.
  • Be struggling to deal with a traumatic event or the loss of someone you loved.
  • Have difficulty controlling your emotions, becoming angry, tearful or irritated very quickly.
  • You may not know what the matter is; but you feel bad, like “something’s not right”.

There are many more reasons why people might come to therapy, but people come because they want something to change.

While talking with a good friend or family member can be very helpful, it is sometimes easier to engage with a third party who is non-judgmental, more objective, and is trained to listen and think with you in a professional way. Psychotherapy is a process that allows you to explore your difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a safe, confidential and contained space. Working together with an empathic and non-judgmental therapist will give you the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and explore the dynamics that may be contributing to your psychological distress. Through this exploration and understanding you may be able to make positive changes in your life and experience psychological growth and lasting change.

My approach

I work primarily from a psychodynamic orientation, with a focus on bringing underlying unconscious dynamics to a conscious level but draw on other modalities when needed. Our way of being in the world is often shaped by our past experiences and relationships, yet we are often not conscious of how these affect our sense of self and interactions with others. Using an in-depth psychodynamic approach, together we will explore dynamics that give rise to the symptoms and difficulties you may be experiencing. Where certain coping skills are needed, or where traumatic experiences or anxiety is debilitating or hindering progress, I may also incorporate elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and BrainWorking Recursive Therapy.

The process begins with an assessment in order for me gain a better understanding of you and what you are grappling with, and to ascertain the most appropriate way forward – which may or may not include psychotherapy.  This also gives you a feel for how I work and whether you feel comfortable working with me. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, and if it includes psychotherapy, then we will meet at regular times, one or more times a week.

Therapy sessions are usually conducted in person at my office, but I do offer online sessions under certain circumstances.

My work experience

Prior to embarking on my career as a clinical psychologist, I worked as a primary school teacher and as a journalist and producer in the broadcast industry. I use my diverse life and work experience in my work as a psychologist.

Aside from private practice, my work experience includes working with, adolescents and parents at the Tygerberg Child & Family Unit, assisting adults at the Stikland therapeutic ward and outpatient unit, rehabilitation of inmates at the department of correctional services, and providing psychotherapy to people of all age groups at the Elsies River Community Health Centre.

To ensure my ongoing professional growth and development I belong to the following professional bodies:

  • The Cape Town Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CTSPP)
  • Cape Town Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Group (CTCAPG)
  • Western Cape Association of Infant Mental Health (WCAIMH)

I also attend South African Psychoanalytical Initiative (SAPI) and Institute for Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy (IPCP) events and training programmes