Dr. Elizma van der Smit clinical psychologist                      

Therapy for Individuals, Families and Couples                                                                                                     

       The Time Has Come!!! It is time to be better!!

Common Questions

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior and psychiatric problems. This field integrates the science of psychology with the treatment of complex human problems.


Clinical psychologists aim to reduce the distress and improve the psychological well-being of clients. They use psychological methods and research to make positive changes to their clients' lives and offer various forms of treatment.


A Clinical Psychologist in South Africa must have completed a Masters Degree from a recognised institution, as well as an internship in an often different environment.


How do I know if I need therapy?

You may have attempted to cope with the problem yourself and may have even discussed it with family, friends or peers. Sometimes just talking it out with a sympathetic listener helps. But you know you need professional help when nothing has worked, when you feel depressed, anxious or agitated, when you are unable to carry out your obligations. But the most important point is to select someone with professional credentials and experience.

You should consider counseling when you are unhappy, or when you wish you could be happier-when your anxiety or distress is interfering with work, relationships or self-confidence.

How does therapy work?

One of the biggest misconceptions about therapy is that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Recognizing the need for help and seeking professional therapy is a sign of both strength and your determination to live a productive and meaningful life! Working together, you and your therapist will identify your goals (what you want to have happen) and agree on how you'll know when you are making progress. Therapy has one clear and definite purpose: that something of positive value and constructive usefulness will come out of it for you. 

The thoughts and feelings you share and the professional techniques the therapist uses are not nearly as important as the relationship you build together. Because the relationship with the therapist is so essential to the effectiveness of the process, it is very important that you find someone with whom you feel a comfortable connection, a therapist who makes you feel understood.  


In South Africa, most medical aids do allocate some funds towards psychological services. In general however, these funds are somewhat limited and there is quite some variability amongst medical aids as to exactly how many sessions of psychotherapy they will pay for. It is a good idea to contact your medical aid before making an appointment to find out exactly to what extent they will fund psychotherapy.  The psychologist can claim from the medical aid, or you can settle the account (usually at a discount for cash payments) after which yourself claim from the medical aid. 


Advantages of Online Therapy

  1. Online therapy offers access to mental health information to people in rural or remote areas.

  1. Online therapy provides accessibility to individuals who are disabled or housebound.

  1. Online therapy is usually fairly affordable and convenient.

  1. The Internet makes mental health information more accessible. People may feel comfortable talking to friends and family about health care issues, but may not feel the same discussing mental health concerns.

  1. E-therapy can be an important tool to help people learn more about psychological health.

Disadvantages of Online Therapy

  1. Most insurance policies do not cover online therapy.

  1. Concerns about confidentiality, privacy and unreliable technology.

  1. Therapists cannot respond to crisis situations.

  1. Online therapy is not appropriate for those with serious psychiatric illnesses.

  1. E-therapy is not appropriate for people with complicated or detailed problems. The scope of the help provided can be limited.


If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to email me!