Lauren Barkhuizen

Clinical Psychologist

I’m interested in getting to know each client’s authentic self, and in gaining an understanding of their struggles and desires in relationships. Sometimes we deny or avoid our issues because we’re afraid. I endeavour to provide a safe space for gently beginning to face and think about these difficulties. By talking and better understanding ourselves, we can begin to move towards resolving issues. My aim is best summed-up in the words of Adam Phillips, I attempt to:

“Create the conditions in which somebody can speak themselves as fully as possible.”

By becoming aware of patterns we unconsciously repeat in relationships, and defences or masks we rely on that are making our lives worse, we can begin to change unhealthy cycles. 

In a world where we tend to overthink things I want to help people tap into and understand their feelings. Often how you relate to your therapist might give a glimpse into how you relate to loved ones. Therapy is a safe space for reflecting on your relational style. My hope is that you get to know your inner world better, begin to take more charge, develop a stronger sense of self, get in touch with your playfulness and find your own sense of direction.

I trained as a Clinical Psychologist at Stellenbosch University. As a student, I volunteered at LifeLine and was involved in psycho-legal work, assisting in conducting custody case assessments. I completed my internship at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital where I worked with multi-disciplinary teams treating children, families, and adults. I completed my community service at Drakenstein Correctional Facility where I provided group and individual therapy for men. For the past two years, I’ve worked at Akeso Crescent Clinic with in-patients, dealing with a range of psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar, anxiety and addictions. I continue to consult on the Young Adult Programme at Akeso. I’m part of the team at Mindful where I enjoy seeing adolescents, adults, and couples.

My interest in relationships and power dynamics led to my completion of a Masters in Research Psychology at UCT where I investigated discourses around intimate partner violence. I’m interested in how gender, race and socioeconomic status intersect to constitute our lived experience. I believe our ways of speaking are incredibly important as they influence our ways of being, seeing and experiencing the world. Therapy is a space to become more aware of, understand, and change the ways we talk about ourselves.

I offer supportive psychotherapy that is psychodynamically-informed; I believe in the unconscious, that we tend to repeat past relational patterns, and prefer therapy to be client-led. Rather than seeing the need to start therapy as a sign of weakness, I see it as a sign of strength to be willing to explore and challenge ourselves to grow and evolve.

I’m particularly interested in working with those who have experienced trauma and loss. Traumatised people are caught between the extremes of reliving and blocking out the trauma, between feeling overwhelmed and not feeling at all. It’s common for people with PTSD to feel quite detached and estranged from others. At the moment of trauma, survivors might feel powerless and recovery seeks to restore their sense of power. Remembering terrible events and facing the truth about them are necessary for the healing of survivors. It‘s important that traumatised individuals establish safety, reconstruct the trauma story, and reconnect with their loved ones in order to recover.

My areas of interest include:

– Trauma and loss 
– Self-development
– Relationship and adjustment problems
– Anxiety and stress
– Depression and self-harm
– Bipolar
– Substance-use

Contact Lauren