Laura Bester

Clinical Psychologist
Wynberg, Cape Town
Masters in Clinical Psychology & Community Counselling – Stellenbosch University; Higher Diploma in Education – UCT
Mobile Number: 084 750 5775
Skype: laura_bester
Address:
3 Tiverton Road, Wynberg, Cape Town, 7800

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 come to psychotherapy for many different reasons. Some may feel like they’re not coping at school or work, they may be having problems in their peer, home or intimate relationships, or they may feel down, stuck, “not good-enough”, hopeless or empty. Others may be struggling to deal with a traumatic event or the loss of someone they loved.  Some may have difficulty controlling their emotions, becoming angry, tearful or irritated very quickly.  Others might feel like they worry too much, for example they may worry a lot about what other people think of them, or become very anxious about writing exams. Some people don’t know what the matter is; they just feel bad about themselves, or 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.

Talking with a good friend or family member can be very helpful.  However it can sometimes be difficult because you might not be comfortable telling them certain things and you may feel like they judge you for some of the things you say or do. 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 lasting psychological growth.

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.

In working with children I also conduct a thorough assessment, which includes both parents (where possible). Therapy with children most often takes the form of play therapy, as it is through play that children are able to express their thoughts and feelings, make sense of traumatic or difficult life experiences, and learn more adaptive behaviours.

Therapy sessions are usually conducted in person at my office, but I do offer Skype 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 children, 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:

  • South African Psychoanalytic Confederation (SAPC)
  • 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

HPCSA NUMBER: PS0138460
PRACTICE NUMBER: 999 086001 0790451

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