Entering therapy is a self-affirming decision that takes courage.
People entering therapy usually have a concern they would like to resolve. Intentionally or unintentionally they are acknowledging that previous ways of managing some issues in their lives or relationship/s may no longer be that helpful or sufficient. New and different skills to engage with others, which help a person feel more true to themselves and their relationships, need to be explored.
There needs to be sufficient profound trust and feelings of safety for a person to risk being ‘real’ with another person. In therapy, one often exposes parts of one’s self that, in the past, one may have suppressed even from personal view.
“Therapy requires talking openly about
one’s ‘self’, aspects of one’s identity
and how one fits into one’s community.”
My decision to study psychology followed an intense adolescent period. It proved to me that our relationships with other people influence the way in which we feel, act and assess ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes we are fortunate and people ‘see’ and ‘hear’ what we mean. Other times our voices are punished and what we see is denied and we experience ourselves to be negated. In such moments we may become ashamed, seek masks and wish that we could find some place (physical and/or emotional) where we can belong and feel safe. In my therapy room I try to see and hear, and to create that place of safety.
I work in private practice with women, men, adolescents, couples and partners, from many different backgrounds. Therapy may be one-to-one, group therapy, family therapy or partnership therapy. Therapy can be brief and deal with short-term situations or it may be long-term. Yet each therapeutic consultation seems to uncover more and deeper layers of fascinating, important and sometimes scary aspects of how we fit into life and our relationships.
Dr. Hoffman has an extraordinary ability to recognize and interpret the ways in which anti-social behaviour cycles through all facets of society. Her vision is a product of an honest examination of painful personal experiences and of her profession, along with a nuanced understanding of socio-political complexities. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ should be required reading for students, for governing officials, and for any who work in a professional capacity.
From a professional perspective, it is not helpful to run away from the shame of people who are typically silenced in society (perhaps because it reflects our own fears and shame). The lives and narratives of these people can be a major resource base of insights that has not to date been explored. Mutual learning, respect and empowerment can be the long-term result of approaching and actively listening to these people.
This is an important and challenging book. Transformation is a word much used in South Africa but mostly at a very superficial level. Hoffman requires us to examine how little the authoritarian mindset and practices of apartheid have truly been transformed. Many of our institutions are still characterised by the punitive, oppressive, disrespectful and alienating behaviour that flows from this. Nowhere is this is more evident than in our prisons where both prisoners and staff are alienated and disempowered.
Through her own personal and professional experience Hoffman offers vivid insight into this largely hidden world. She calls for a truly transformative approach to antisocial behaviour that recognises the fundamental need all humans have for acknowledgement and personhood and how our failures to meet that need help to co-construct an anti-social culture. She concludes:
If I am unable to answer the telephone, please leave a message with your name and contact details and I will telephone you back as soon as I can.
If I have not made contact within 24 hours, please assume I did not receive your message and contact me again. The telephone message may not have recorded properly or I may not have received your e-mail.
PHONE 021 788-8910
LOCATION Lakeside, Southern Suburbs, Cape town
Any person who wishes to explore therapy can be referred by their general practitioner, a psychiatrist, any other person or, even better, refer yourself (this means you are already empowering yourself by owning your right to be healthy and using the environment to help you). To ensure that focus is maintained for all of us in the consultation, therapy sessions last for 50 minutes or at most an hour. In order to avoid resentment and guilt contaminating therapy, yet taking into account the importance of accepting that health means we respect that we are imperfect, you as the client will be charged if you fail to give 24 hours’ notice that you can’t make an appointment (except if such absence occurs due to a crises in health). Similarly, if I double book and you are inconvenienced for your session, you will get a consultation for free.
FEES AND PAYMENTS
I am registered with the Health Professions Council as a counselling psychologist (no: PS0061050), and my practice is registered under practice no: 8640998. Relevant medical aids packages should therefore cover fees for consultation. Fees for therapy are in accordance with medical aid rates.
Clients are responsible for prompt payment of their accounts, and for negotiation with their medical aids regarding their reimbursements (or problems of with payment), if any. In accordance with the aim of therapy to encourage mutual respect and personal and relational empowerment, if a client has a problem with making payments, you are urged to speak directly to me about this so that an alternative and mutually suitable arrangement can be reached.
At the end of every month, you will receive a statement of account which indicates how much has been paid and how much is owing, and banking details for payment. Payment can be made in cash after every consultation, or by EFT at the end of the month.