Clinical Psychologist, Leslie Ebben B.A Psych (UJ), B.A. Hons Psych (UJ), M.A Clin Psych (UJ)

Mari-Elna Louw

Clinical Social Worker / EMDR Therapist

I am an experienced clinical social worker and therapist since 1967.

I am a SACSSP registered Social Worker in South Africa and also HCPC registered Social Worker in the United Kingdom.

I worked and studied in the United Kingdom for nearly 10 years from January 2003 until November 2012. In England I worked as a Family Therapist with a Children and Families Intervention Team and provided therapeutic help with a variety of issues. I also worked with two colleagues in a private practice, called Swift Counselling and Coaching in Swindon, UK.

I am a Europe Accredited EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Practitioner with EMDR Europe Association, using this psychotherapy with many clients for a wide range of difficulties such as PTSD and unresolved trauma processing.

While working in the UK I added extra qualifications to my CV, which enabled me to deliver more effective services to my clients. In 2007 while working in the UK I won the “Employee of the Year Award” – for excellent services delivered.

My current private practice is situated in the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth South Africa.  I specialises in working with adults, adolescents and children.

I received UK. Certification for the following:

EMDR Therapy – Practitioner Status

I started practicing in 2009 as an EMDR therapist and became an EMDR Europe accredited practitioner in EMDR from 2012.

When someone experiences a severe psychological trauma, it appears that an imbalance may occur in the nervous system. Due to this imbalance, the information-processing system is unable to function optimally and the information acquired at the time of the event, including images, sounds, affect, and physical sensations, is maintained neurologically in its disturbing state. Therefore, the original material, which is held in this distressing, excitatory state-specific form, can be triggered by a variety of internal and external stimuli and may be expressed in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts –  the so-called positive symptoms of PTSD.
[Dr. Francine Shapiro: EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Second Edition. 2001.]

Attachment Therapy

Attachment is the deep and enduring connection established between a child and caregiver in the first several years of life. Attachment to a protective and loving caregiver who provides guidance and support is a basic human need. Attachment is not something that parents do to their children; rather it is something that children and parents create together, in an ongoing, reciprocal relationship.
[Terry M. Levy and Michael Orlans: Attachment Trauma and Healing 1998]

The child’s early attachment pattern creates an internal working model, a mental an emotional reflection of early attachment relationships that determines perception of self and others and the world [Bowlby 1982]

Attachment Therapy is for those who struggle to bond with their babies and older children.

Nurture by Nature Group

My main goal with the Nurture by Nature Group is “to establish and maintain change in our customers lives – the vulnerable young children and their families.”

Research and clinical experience show that attachment capacity is easiest to shape if early identification and intervention takes place.  The Nurture by Nature Group – an Attachment Group, is for fathers and mothers of babies and toddlers up to the age of 3 years.

Dissociation in Children and Adolescents

For children and adults who are abused, neglected, bullied or terrorized in some way, dissociation becomes a protective mechanism and may be repeated over and over again. Although protective, this distortion of perception and cognitive integration causes the child to lose touch with a part of her feelings, with part of her experience of self [Wieland, 2011].

Clinical Child Assessments

It is an Emotional and Behavioural Child Assessment and is done in a child-friendly way.
During the assessment I obtain information regarding the child’s perception of the functioning of the family. The child doesn’t need to have the words to describe his feelings or trauma, because it is clearly indicated in his/her drawings and projections through play. I can do this assessment in 2-3 hours depending on the individual child’s abilities. Feedback is given to the parents or the person who made the referral.

The Assessment of Parenting Abilities

This is a thorough assessment of both mother and father’s parenting abilities and very helpful in the Family /Children Courts to identify the needs of the children involved and to make decisions about  the children’s futures.

The format I use for this assessment was very popular in England as mentioned in the feedback I got from the Court Professionals. See feedback on my Website.

Professional Registrations

  • South African Council for Social Service Professions, Registration No: 10-05611
  • Board of Health Care Funders,  Practice No:  089 000 0510068
  • Health and Care Professions Council in the UK, Registration No:  SW57597
  • EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner p. 5813 – EMDR Europe Association.