Maia Zway

Clinical Psychologist

I am a registered clinical psychologist practising from a welcoming and homely space in Newlands. I work with adults, adolescents, children, and families. My approach is psychodynamic, but I also incorporate other modalities depending on the client’s needs. I aim to provide a safe, empathic, and collaborative therapeutic environment.

Why Therapy

People seek therapy for many reasons. Therapy can help you to:

  • Overcome distressing symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, and other psychiatric disorders.
  • Learn to manage overwhelming emotions.
  • Understand the patterns in your life that may be repeating themselves and hindering your development.
  • Improve relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and yourself.
  • Process past traumas and experiences that may be preventing you from functioning optimally in the present.
  • Improve you understanding of yourself and focus on personal growth and development.

My Approach

The initial phase of therapy involves a thorough assessment which usually takes 3-4 sessions. During this time, I will try to form an in-depth understanding of what your needs and difficulties are and my thoughts on the most appropriate treatment. This will also give you an opportunity to get to know me, and decide if I am the right match for you as a therapist. Research tells us that the most important factor in successful therapy is the therapeutic relationship. Therefore, I aim to develop a therapeutic relationship that feels safe, empathic, and collaborative.

I offer both long- and short-term individual therapy, depending on your needs. I work from an integrative psychodynamic framework, which means that, in addition to alleviating symptoms, the focus is on understanding the meaning and message of those symptoms in the context of your history and current circumstances. Understanding repeating patterns in your life, which often develop from past experiences, can help you make new choices in future.  Where indicated, I also incorporate other therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and mindfulness approaches.

Therapy with Children, Adolescents, and Families

I offer play therapy for children, individual therapy for adolescents, and parental guidance and support. I also collaborate with other other professionals (e.g. psychiatrist, OT, etc.) when needed.

The initial phase of therapy involves an assessment process, where I will initially meet with the parents to get a full history, and then meet the child/adolescent. I may also contact the child’s teacher and do a school observation if indicated. Together, we will then decide on whether the focus of treatment will be play/ individual therapy, parent work, or a combination of both. Because children and adolescents are embedded within a family system, I always work collaboratively with the family in treatment.

Areas of Interest

My areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Adjustment to life changes and stress
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Struggles with self -worth
  • Trauma (including childhood trauma)
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Medical conditions, chronic illness and chronic pain (adults, adolescents, and children)
  • Personal growth
  • Parental guidance and support
  • Children and adolescents: parent-child relationship problems, trauma, adjustment difficulties, mood disorders, behavioural problems, anxiety, self-esteem, self-harm.

About Me

I completed my MA in Clinical Psychology with distinction at the University of Cape Town. My research focus was on identity construction of adolescents who identify as lesbian and bisexual. I then completed my internship through Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, which included various placements at Valkenberg Hospital, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, and Groote Schuur Hospital. For my community service year, I was placed at the Division on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (DCAP) at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, where I gained extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and families.  Since then, I have intermittently provided further services at DCAP. I have also gained experience working with adults, adolescents, and children with chronic illnesses and medically unexplained symptoms at Groote Schuur Hospital, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, and Tygerberg Hospital. In addition to my private practice, I currently also work as a sessional psychologist at Tygerberg Hospital’s Pain Clinic, where I run chronic pain management groups, provide psychotherapy to patients with chronic pain, and consult with the multi-disciplinary team.

I am committed to ongoing learning and professional development. As such, I engage in regular supervision and am a member of the following professional organisations:

  • Cape Town Psychoanalytic Self Psychology Group
  • Cape Town Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Group
  • International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology
  • International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

HPCSA number: PS0134791
Practice number: 0745987