Debbie Marais - Counselling Psychologist - Pinelands, Cape Town

Dr Debbie Marais

Counselling Psychologist

I work in Pinelands, Cape Town as a Counselling Psychologist. Some people who come to therapy have had previous experiences of being in therapy, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Others are coming to the therapy for the first time. Either way, making and coming to that first appointment with a psychotherapist can be nerve-wracking. During our first session, I usually explain to patients how I work and what they can expect from therapy. We discuss together what brought them to therapy now, and work out a plan for moving forward together to get them to where they would like to be. For therapy to “work”, it is important to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to.

There is no right or wrong way of being in therapy, and no one thing you are supposed to say or talk about. There is also no single reason to consult a therapist. 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.

My approach in therapy is largely psychodynamic, although I am guided by the needs of my patients in how I work. A psychodynamic approach works at gaining insight into our emotional responses and behaviours on conscious and unconscious levels. We look at how you might be stuck in repetitive patterns, using the therapeutic relationship as a window on 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 in you certain patterns of thinking, feeling and relating to yourself and to others. 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.

I work with adult clients in the following areas:

  • Mood disorders (including depression, bipolar disorder)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Adjustment difficulties (coping with life changes and transitions)
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-mutilation (cutting & other forms of self-harm)
  • Personal growth and development

Practice Number: 0362484
HPCSA Registration Number: PS0109720