Leatia Stemmet

We are often tainted by life, whether by prior experiences that originated from our formative years, or perhaps our current stressors that can become overwhelming. Some might argue that the reason for why we are experiencing certain emotions is irrelevant, though I prefer to look at this as part of the many elements that contributed to who we are today. This may form part of the understanding as to how to change what we have identified as the catalyst that lead to the decision to seek help. As human beings, I believe we are constantly evolving, forever searching for more… more understanding, more growth, more relief from the suffering that we sometimes endure.

Each of us presents as distinctive, which is applicable to all the different realms of life. The relationships we chose, the career choices we make, the manner in which we parent, all act as a representation of an underlying system by which our behaviour is governed. Granted, some of us have turned to coping mechanisms that have become our only place of refuge or lack of judgment, though my belief is that these can be understood, challenged, and changed, within a space of emotional safety and non-judgment.

A therapeutic process to me is exactly that, a process. It is a process of becoming who we are meant to be,

whilst discovering parts of ourselves that we have either forgotten, or ignored, for whichever reason. Yes, life can taint us, but it is also constantly teaching, if you are willing to listen. It is a collaborative effort, a relationship that aims to explore and make sense of what we feel, and how we respond to the environment. It is sacred in the sense that it assists us in making active changes, and as such becoming the drivers instead of the passengers; and for those times where you feel incapable, it forms a supportive structure, until the time is right for you to take the reins once again.

There is not a more powerful feeling than being allowed into the world of my clients, an honour that I experience to be humbling, as I understand that we often build walls around us to protect ourselves from the pain that we have endured in our lives. It is difficult to learn to trust again, and to be allowed to be a part of that process is nothing short of remarkable. I believe that my clients have the internal resources to redesign their lives, and I am always excited to form a part of that process and growth.

My approach is client centred, during which I work from an integrative perspective, thus utilising various modalities, tailoring each session to my client’s presenting problem or needs. Working from a systemic based framework, I incorporate all areas of my client’s functioning, thus looking at patterns of behaviour and the reciprocal impact of these on my client’s well-being.

Leatia experience and history

I completed my undergraduate as well as honours degree in psychology at Rand Afrikaans University (R.A.U), where I graduated cum laude. I completed my Masters degree in Counselling psychology at The University of Pretoria (U.P), where I conducted a thematic inquiry into the dominant cultural and familial factors as it relates to anorexia nervosa for my masters dissertation, particularly focusing on the South African culture. I have an additional qualification as a psychometrist, which I obtained from Rand Afrikaans University (R.A.U), at the Institute for Child and Adult Guidance (I.C.A.G/ I.K.V) prior to entering my masters training programme.

I have worked in private practice since 2009, where my initial practice was based at JMD Psychological Consulting in Linden. I decided to expand my practice in 2013, and am currently a private practitioner at Mindful Life Psychologists, of which I am also the owner and practice manager. I believe in working closely with psychiatrists, teachers, and other significant role players when indicated, in an attempt to alleviate and align the process and difficulties that my clients face.

I have gained extensive experience as it relates to substance abuse and addiction, specialising in illicit substances and alcohol addiction at Stabilis Treatment Centre. Addictions and the associated discourses has remained a keen interest of mine, which more often than not includes a familial process in order to understand and address this complex concern that so many people struggle with.

I have been involved as a volunteer with the Teddy Bear Clinic for abused children for several years, where the preparation to testify in court was the main focus, particularly as it relates to sexual misconduct. I have a profound interest in the functioning and well-being of children and adolescents, where I have worked within the scope of several schools, in remedial, primary as well as high school systems. Whilst completing my degrees, I obtained experience in various fields as it relates to the profession of Psychology, which included working as a telephonic counsellor at the Depression and Anxiety Support Group (SADAG) and PMG, as well as acting as a facilitator at PMG, Kumon, and 4th Avenue Tutor.

Edrich Smook

In time, the ebb and flow of life – uncertain by design – drives us to a world inside ourselves where we are confronted by the reality of our humanness… at times strong…powerful…dynamic

at times frail…uncertain…worn down

at times enraged…frustrated…captured

at times sad…solemn…alone

at times happy…playful…radiant

…so that in all your uniqueness you cannot deny the commonness of being a complex, interesting and integrated being, living your life filled with stories from the past and dreams for the future. You are part of this world, and in the way that you purposefully change things in your life, you too are changed by life happening around you. It is in this reality of being in this world, living as a part of it, that one truth stands clear, whatever it holds, your life is now.

Conversations between myself as a psychologist, and each unique individual in front of me revolves around this truth, understanding this very moment what you experience – as this is fundamental in creating the space to change this into a possibility of creating a life where you can radiate the joy that you want for yourself. Understanding the past and the challenges it held can guide our future, and even though you may remember

the sadness associated with it, you can construct a future filled with dreams and ideas. We unpack the brokenness that this life sometimes throws into the mix, we start with who you are right now, and then gradually move on to what you could be, and what you want to experience. As this process unfolds, you get closer to yourself, making peace with your past, embracing this moment, and again believing in your future.

At the core of my working methodology, be that corporate, individual or interpersonal well-being, the focus always looks toward the sense of self and how the identity correlates with your expectations, that is how you want to perceive yourself versus what reality tells you about myself. I work from a Narrative life & therapeutic perspective, thus acknowledging the importance of culture and our historical experiences as the primary stories that we use to understand our current reality.

That we can rewrite these stories in a way that we will be more equipped to deal with our current reality, a process which requires a journey through each individual’s own understanding of her or his stories, which allows them to remove themselves from the ‘problem’, externalising the issue in such a way that it becomes manageable and changeable. In addition, integrating a systemic perspective and a solution focussed perspective into the therapeutic model.

Edrich experience and history

I completed my undergraduate Baccalaureus Psychologiae degree at the University of Pretoria, and graduated cum laude. I furthered my studies at the same institution, and obtained my Masters degree in psychology, specialising within the sport realm. I completed my thesis titled “When darkness summons”, which explored a fatal diving accident, and the narrative of the surviving diver. In the process I explored society’s dominant views on death and the safekeeping imperative.

I have been consulting as a private practitioner since 2009, where I started my initial private practice in Midrand. I repositioned my practice in the Linden area, and remained in full-time private practice at J.M.D. Psychological Consulting for several years. I am currently an associate at Mindful Life Psychologists. At present I consult at Poortiview Life Hospital, whilst simultaneously maintaining my private clients in their ongoing processes.

My experience is wide-spread and multi-faceted, for I have developed skills in a variety of contexts. Working within a psychiatric setting, I run group processes within the Dual Diagnosis Unit (DDU), which entails working with patients that struggle with substance addiction

as well as other diagnoses, such as depression and/or anxiety, to name but a few. I form part of a multi-disciplinary team, and work closely with the resident psychiatrists, social workers, and occupational therapists within this setting. I have developed a deep understanding of substance abuse and addiction, gaining experience with individuals, families, as well as group work at Stabilis Treatment Centre.

My employment as a trauma counsellor at Tswane Emergency Medical Services involved counselling and diffusing emergency scenes, where I gained first-hand experience as it relates to trauma, as well as the interventions required to aid the individuals involved.

I worked within a corporate setting for several years at Towerstone, where the intervention was focused on leadership development, with the objective being to strategically align management with the vision driving the organisation.  I worked as a recruitment consultant and skills facilitator at The Associates, where the focus was on structured as well as unstructured group facilitation, in order to identify and evaluate the interpersonal and leadership capacity of job-applicants, subsequently determining their suitability for available positions.

My experience as a team building facilitator at the Team Building Institute (T.B.I) involved the co-facilitation of various teams, with the goal of enhancing intra-team performance through creating insight into diversity and effective communication patterns, by means of adventure related experiential learning. I am an adventurer at heart, which resulted in me obtaining my qualifications in becoming a registered scuba diving instructor at various organisations, as well as qualifying as a yacht skipper with the Ocean Sailing Academy, where I worked in Mozambique for several years, prior to embarking on my journey of becoming a trained psychologist. I am registered as a ARA Level 2 facilitator at the Adventure and Recreation Association of South Africa, which enables me to guide various adventure processes as part as experiential learning or team building.

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