Clinical Social Worker – Family Therapist

Vanessa Saayman | SW Registration No 10-12092 | SA Council for Social Service Professions
BA, BSoc (SW) Hons (University of Cape Town), MSW (University of Toronto), RCSW (Canada)
T: 072 365 6435

personWho Am I?

I use a broadly based systems perspective, appreciating family, cultural and social contexts. I have over 25 years of experience working in community based and psychiatric settings with children, adolescents, individuals, couples and families. I work with the family as a whole, or with couples and individuals, as required. My approach is strength-based, non-judgmental and supports clients to discuss problems and feelings in a safe environment. I encourage clients to focus on underlying feelings and interactions in relationships and to develop solutions by transforming negative experiences and interactions into positive behavioral changes.

Techniques I use

Psychodynamic psychotherapy with individuals
Emotionally focused couples therapy
Systems based, solution focused family therapy

Special interests

Adjustment problems
Life cycle transitions
Family relationships
Divorce and blended families issues
Stress management
Military families

Why people come to me

I provide an in-depth approach in individual, couple and family work focusing on underlying feelings and repeating patterns that contribute to current problems. It is important for clients to feel heard and understood so that they can work through their issues and access their own inner wisdom. Validation is fundamental to this process as well as opening up other possible avenues of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Central to my therapeutic orientation is the assumption that clients are doing their best in difficult circumstances but may need support or guidance to build on existing strengths and develop more effective skills in communication and problem solving.

I believe in establishing a strong working alliance with clients and therefore provide the first 30 minutes of the first session free of charge to assess the ‘goodness-of-fit’.

More about me

My approach to living is to focus on the positive whilst accepting that we all face challenges at various stages on our journey through life. I believe in maintaining a healthy balance between body and mind and regularly practice yoga, Pilates, swimming, hiking and meditation.

I have spent the last 25 years in Canada working on several multidisciplinary teams with psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and social workers to develop a collaborative approach to mental health service delivery. Most recently I have worked with military families supporting the reintegration of service members following peacekeeping assignments in troubled areas of the world that are often traumatic and disruptive to normal family functioning.