Running therapy up and … well … running!

With the gradual opening up of the South African economy many people are curious about accessing a psychologist.

At level 5 the practice is open for serious or emergency consultations only – all other consultations take place online.

At level 4 all clients can come to the practice for treatment. We observe strict protocols around sanitizing and social distancing.

At level 3 the practice is open as at level 4 AND with the added option of running therapy once again! The level 3 regulations allow for exercise at any time of day, provided that social distancing is observed. Please bring a comfortable face-mask or buff to cover your nose and mouth while we run or walk together.

Pandemic and panic; social distancing and social isolation.

We are living through a #pandemic right now. The Coronavirus, which most of us South Africans had scarcely thought about a mere two weeks ago, is now the topic of almost every conversation and feels as though it controls most of our daily lives.

Management strategies are rightfully focussing on #socialdistancing and careful hygiene in order to slow the spread of the illness, protect the most vulnerable members of society from infection, and help the health care system cope with the large number of anticipated cases.

For most of us this means #lockdown: working from home, no school for kids, and keeping social contact to a minimum. For those of you who are still keen to risk it, restaurant hours and pub hours are reduced in any case. Sports events are cancelled, and gyms have way too many surfaces and sweaty bodies in confined spaces to be a viable place for most people.

Emotional responses vary widely: severe anxiety and panic about job security, infection of a vulnerable loved one are common states. On the other extreme others seem indifferent, are almost proud of their indifference, and continue their lives as if nothing is happening. Most of us have mixed feelings. We are worried, yes, but we hope for the best and long for an end to this all.

#Lockdown presents us with some unique psychological challenges. We face fear and uncertainty, the possibility of economic loss, a loss of personal freedom, the potential loss of vulnerable or elderly loved ones, a sever curtailment of recreational possibilities, and so on.

This represents a loss of our normal coping mechanisms. We use socializing, gym, even work or school, as coping tools that help occupy us productively, enhance self esteem, and distract ourselves from unwanted thoughts and feelings. When our normal coping mechanisms are no longer available we are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, or other symptoms. We also face the very real possibility of finding ourselves slipping into unhealthy patterns of coping, such as emotional withdrawl, substance abuse, or other addictive behaviours (e.g. pornography, online shopping).

Psychotherapy is a known and effective coping mechanism in and of itself. Talking to a therapist is proven to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and addiction, while building up resilience and healthy coping skills. If you ever had any doubts about taking the step to starting therapy as a regular part of your life, now is the time.

Throughout corona lockdown and beyond I will be available to offer therapy and counselling to those in need. President Ramaphosa has indicated in his recent speech the importance of maintaining access to healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in this is of course mental health care. A useful article on mental health and coronavirus can be found here:

The single best antidote to stress, anxiety and depression is meaningful social connectedness. The best advice I can give it to maintain meaningful contact with friends and loved ones. Social distancing is not the same as social isolation.

How much therapy is enough therapy?

This is a good question to which there is no general answer. How many sessions of therapy you need to attend depends on the individual person and the nature of the problem involved. In general, I adopt an approach of client-led ending – I will wait to raise ending therapy when my client raises the issue him/herself. In my experience this can be after five or six sessions, but often up to a year or more of regular, weekly sessions (50+ consultations).

Research in the area reflects my experience of this. Studies reported by the American Psychological Association ( show that there is no optimal number of sessions – it all depends on the individual case.

I encourage an ongoing conversation about your progress in therapy. If it feels like you are stuck, if the approach is not working, or if you are finding for reasons you can’t quite pin down that you don’t want to come to your sessions, the best thing to do is to raise it with me so we can understand what it is about.

It is normal to feel stuck in therapy at times, and it is normal to feel afraid of change. Even a manifestly positive change can leave people feeling unconsciously vulnerable, and it is natural to resist. I understand this, and I find that a gentle approach to change brings better results that trying to push too fast too soon.

A good psychotherapy process should start with setting goals about what you would like to work on and how long it might take to get there. However, I have found that this plan is one that is refined and elaborated along the way.

The goal for therapy also needs to take into consideration the reality of your budget and was is realistically affordable on a monthly basis. Most of my clients have medical aid which often pays for 15 consultations a year. I do suggest that you don’t rely exclusively on your medical aid for coverage, but plan towards an ongoing budget for your therapy that feels affordable. When we start, we are never sure where we might end up, and it is helpful to settle into a therapy routine where you know that you have the time you need to work through what you need to.

2019 Rates and Availability – Andrew

The practice is open on weekdays follows:

Kloof – 14 Usavolo Road

Monday 9am-5pm

Tuesday 2pm-7pm

Friday 9am-5pm

Durban North – 63 Adelaide Thambo Drive (formerly Kensington Drive)

Wednesday 10am-5pm

Thursday 9am-5pm



Fees are 100% of current medical aid rates, which is about R975 per 50 minute session (although the rate varies slightly from scheme to scheme). This rate applies to medical aid claims and EFT payments. A reduced rate of R850 is offered for payments made in CASH at the session. The practice can submit directly to medical aids; however, you remain responsible for your account should your scheme not pay. Payment should be made promptly in these instances. If you prefer to pay in cash, a monthly fee statement for you to submit to your medical aid for reimbursement can be provided.


Fees for couples are R1235-00 per 50 minute consult, which is about 120% of current medical aid rates (although the rate varies slightly from scheme to scheme). Payments need to be made by in cash at the session (note that card facilities for payment are not available). A monthly fee statement for you to submit to your medical aid for reimbursement can be provided.

Please note that due to the difficulty of scheduling last minute sessions, any appointment not kept, or cancelled within 24 hours of the appointment start time will be billed to you in full. Medical aids may not cover the costs of missed sessions.