About Me

Dr. Sandy Hoffman

Counselling Psychologist

I am a counselling psychologist and have been in private practice in Cape Town since July 1998.

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 am registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. My registration number is PS 0061050, and my practice number is 8640998.

In 1986 I received a Bachelor of Arts degree through UNISA, majoring in psychology. In 1991 I received an Honours degree in Psychology from Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

My master’s thesis explored the way in which prisoners use relationships to cope with stress. In July 1998 I went into private practice and my practice has continued without interruption to the present. From 2000 until 2003 I also worked full-time as a psychologist in one of South Africa’s largest correctional centres, Pollsmoor in Cape Town.

In 2007, I completed a doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Cape Town.

The title of my doctoral thesis is, “Breaking the silence of violation in South African prisons”.

Much of what I learned during studies involved book knowledge. Looking back, the most valuable learning didn’t come from books, but through relationships. Clients in therapy, and therapeutic relationships have taught me that as humans we (me and clients included) blossom when we risk being authentic. Behaviour is often labelled by society as good or bad, mad / bad or noble good depending on the consequences of it. What is missed is that there is always a reason for behaviour that has nothing to do with pathology.

When we don’t know the reason for our behaviour, we often fear it. We fear also the judgement by others of it. So our terror of what it might mean, impels us to hide it. Clients found guilty of crime taught me that avoiding and denying shame can increase behaviour with antisocial consequences, while identifying personal shame, claiming and working with it to understand why it happened, is key to rehabilitation and respect. In time, I learned that this learning applies to all human beings, whether having been found guilty in a court of law or not.


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.


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.