I'm Here to Listen
But Also Here to Learn
I have been in private practice for nearly thirty years. My career started as the Deputy Director of the Brixton/ RAU Centre for HIV/AIDS in the early 90's. This culminated in the development of a ten-week cognitive behavioural stress management programme. I was offered a joint post as. lecturer for the University of the Witwatersrand and psychologist at TMI's Child and Family Unit, working with children and families. Following my own journey with infertility, IVF and early miscarriages, my passion grew to private practice focussing on infertility, coping with fertility choices and the impact on marriage. This broadened to include forensic work for the field of ART and developing a stress management programme for women prior to, or undergoing ART. The programme was adapted to manage a range of stress-related challenges including burnout, corporate coaching and cancer. Since then, I have specialised in miscarriage, infant loss, Post Natal Depression and grief. I lost my beloved mother to Covid, resulting in work done on the frontline, as a conduit between families and their loved one's isolated by the pandemic. I am the Chairperson of the SIG Counselling Group for SASREG, working on accreditation for clinics in patient care; as well as a contributor to the European Fertility Society's Standards Development Group.
My focus is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which strongly recognises that thinking drives action. Sometimes we can't change our circumstances but we can change the way in which we think about them. I am amazed at the insights I learn everyday from my patients. As a therapist, I never believe I have all the answers, but every person I meet fills in the blanks- to help others and myself!
I became a therapist because I know that all of us need a hand along the way. Freud said: "There are no happy lives, there are happy moments." I am there when the not-so-happy moments happen. It may be that I am here for a reason or for a season.
This is such a rollercoaster of emotions. Decisions are many, and the helplessness and lack of control can lead to depression, post traumatic stress and marital isolation. Having struggled to have children myself, it is a journey I know only too well. I have helped couple's make decisions, plans and perspective about their journey.
Making the decision to use an egg or sperm donor is filled with loss and confusion. There are also many issues on disclosure and transparency. It is a process, but one that can be managed. I have assessed donors for many years, and helped couple's come to terms with moving forward when other avenues have been exhausted. This includes the assessment of known donors and recipients, resulting in Known Gamete Agreements.
Perhaps one of the hardest and most invasive forms of fertility treatment of which not much is known. A beautiful gift of proportions that are inexplicable but an unknown journey that can be made easier with support. I have been doing forensic surrogacy reports for almost thirty years. South Africa is at the forefront of surrogacy in the world with specific law culminating in a Surrogate Motherhood Agreement, through the High Court. I also focus on mediating surrogacy journeys once the application is granted, managing the relationship between the parties.
When the question becomes "Is this it?" or "This is it", it's time for some guidance.
Communication skills and relationship decisions. How to navigate challenges in one's relationship.
Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy or an infant due to premature birth or a child is the most heart- wrenching pain to go through. It feels as though there is no-one who understands and sometimes there are no words...
Grief comes in waves, and those waves are overwhelming. We initially feel we grabbing onto anything to keep afloat. The waves never stop but the waves become more predictable.
Challenges with infertility
Africa's first Fertility Show
Infertility brings with it many cycl3es of grief and despair
The festive season means time with family and friends. But for many, this is the loneliest time of the year
The closing of schools due to the pandemic has repercussions for children of all ages
Understanding the impact of the pandemic on your health
Understanding the grief of losing a baby, from miscarriages to stillbirths and NICU loss
What role does stress play in IVF?
The effect of recurrent miscarriages
The relationship between stress and infertility
How to deal with egg/ sperm and gamete donation
My son Matt was one of the first teenagers to get the Covid vaccine