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Hi, I am Elretha Bartlett

 

Counselling Psychologist

 

Ps 0135364 Pr 0689394

 

I qualified as a counselling psychologist through Rhodes University after completing my internship at Rhodes University Student Counselling and Career Centre. After qualifying as a psychologist, I worked in two different addiction treatment centres where I worked with adults and young people presenting with a vast variety of addictions and comorbid psychological and emotional problems. I am also a qualified social worker with experience working in resource-poor communities, children’s homes and schools. I believe my background in social work has equipped me to work particularly well with children and the issues that threaten their emotional well-being. I have furthermore done extensive work with adults and children who have experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse. My master’s thesis focused on the experience of intimate partner violence in the lives of street-based female sex workers. This topic was developed from my interest in working with trauma, abuse, discrimination and power-inequalities.

In my therapeutic work with adults, adolescents and children, I tend to work from a psychodynamic (Jungian) perspective. This means that I help clients to better understand the issues they face in their lives by exploring unconscious and suppressed dynamics. I work with symbolism, dreams, poetry and the expressive arts to help clients connect to their inner lives. Through this process, clients discover internal resources and gain deep insight into themselves which equip them to deal more successfully with their external circumstances and emotional challenges. In my work, the therapeutic relationship is paramount. It is this unique relationship that gives me insight into the way the client interacts with and relates to other people in his/her environment. I try to establish an empathic connection to each client to help them feel safe, heard and emotionally held. I believe therapy is most effective when a non-judgemental, free and supportive space is provided in which each person’s individuality is respected.

Find out more about Elretha by watching this video

In my work with children, I make use of non-directive play therapy. I furthermore encourage child clients to use fantasy and other projective techniques to help bring out what is hidden and to help them connect to the rejected parts of themselves. I make use of symbols in the sand tray to help child clients tell their story non-verbally and to help them process and work through unconscious issues and feelings. I invite child clients to get in touch with bodily sensations and to link them to emotional feelings. This process helps them to better understand and regulate their feelings. To be effective in my work with children, I believe I need to be genuine, consistent and stable so that a relationship of trust can be developed. I also believe it is important to stay connected to my own inner child, so that I can better understand the difficulties that affect the lives of children. This helps child clients to open up and to relate to me more effectively.

 

People come to me with a wide range of issues, including trauma and abuse, relationship difficulties, parent-child relationship distress, life changes, loss and bereavement, mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, eating disorders, sexual identity matters, self-development and blockages to creativity. I work in both English and Afrikaans. Although I focus on long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, briefer interventions are also offered when required by the situation.

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become."- Carl Jung