Dr Deborah Bernhardt has a practice in Fourways, Sandton, Johannesburg. Areas of work include Psycho-Legal, Counselling, and Divorce and Family Mediation.
Areas of Work
Psycho-Legal: Dr Bernhardt has twenty years of experience in the Psycho-Legal field. Psycho-Legal Psychologists work closely with legal professionals assisting in matters such as (a) divorce cases where there are disputes regarding parental rights and responsibilities, (b) adoptions, (c) relocations / immigrations, (d) criminal cases such as sexual abuse, assault, and theft, (e) personality profiling, (f) labor disputes, and (g) insurance company claims. Dr Bernhardt conducts evaluations, coordinates reports, makes recommendations, monitors/supervises contact arrangements, conducts reconstructive therapy, and acts as Case Manager in high conflict matters when appointed to do so, and presents evidence in Court / role of Expert Witness when required.
Divorce and Family Mediation: Dr Bernhardt is an Accredited Divore and Family Mediator with SAAM (The South African Association of Mediators). Mediation differs from therapy. Parties are not encouraged to work through feelings, the focus is on solving problems and is present- and future-orientated. It is a conciliatory as opposed to an adversarial approach. At the end of the mediation process a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ is drawn up by the mediator and signed by the parties and usually forms the basis for the final legal documents.
Parenting Plans and Maintenance Agreements: Dr Bernhardt mediates Parenting Plans and Maintenance agreements with parents who (a) never married, (b) are divorcing, or (c) are divorced.
Individual Counselling: Cognitive Behavioral / Social Cognitive Therapy is used to assist individuals with the following challenges / problems: depression/anxiety, interpersonal problems, addictions/substance abuse, lack of coping skills, and low self-esteem.
Pre Marital Counselling: Pre marital counselling contributes enormously towards promoting happiness in marriages. Pre-marital counselling aids couples in communicating better and acquiring skills to resolve conflicts.
Couple counseling: Couple counselling is usually triggered by a crisis and the couple is generally under great emotional strain. The topics that couples begin counselling with are usually those that have contributed to the fragmentation of the relationship.
Pre and post divorce counselling of adults and children: Presenting problems in pre and post divorce counselling are generally of an emotional, behavioral, and/or social nature. Individuals benefit from therapy in adjusting to their new life circumstances.
‘Most people at some stage in their lives experience problems or challenges that they perceive as overwhelming. These problems/challenges may be of a personal/interpersonal nature and present in the home/education/work environment. People benefit from talking/working through their problems/challenges with a Psychologist. Research shows that after psychological intervention people generally rate themselves as feeling happier, coping better, and being more in control of their lives.’