Areas of Expertise

Being a well-rounded person means being mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. At EXIST, we understand that dealing with your mental health issues means recognising everyone it affects. This is part of our mission to create healthy communities and give as much help as possible.

Couples & Family Therapy

Existing as part of a family, in its diverse forms today can be challenging. The family system and the way it functions has various implications for the development and well being of its members. Adopting a systemic perspective, here at EXIST, we take the broader view that issues such as parenting, communication, divorce and step-families, violence and other emotional or behavioural problems, can be better understood and addressed in the context of the family system.

We aim to help families examine the stories they have lived by and to search with their therapist for new, empowering ways of viewing and resolving problems and relating to one another.

Couples may experience difficulties in their relationship, communication, and intimacy. They develop spoken and unspoken contracts, communication styles, as well as patterns of dealing with or avoiding conflicts.

At EXIST, Couples Counselling aims to help our clients understand what is affecting their relationship as well as their ways of relating to one another and to the world around them to be able to develop and sustain more functional, rewarding and satisfying relationships.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addicts get the same rush from gambling as other addicts get from drugs or alcohol. Gambling can alter the mood by activating the same reward centers in the brain activated by drugs and alcohol, causing the addiction to develop. While it may begin as a recreational activity, gambling can develop into a compulsive habit that is difficult to stop.

Whether you bet on sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots—in a casino, at the track, or online—a gambling problem can strain your relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial disaster.

Although it may feel like you’re powerless to stop gambling, there are plenty of things you can do to overcome the problem, repair your relationships and finances, and finally regain control of your life.

OCD & Phobias

A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear response. If you have a phobia, you may experience deep fear or panic when confronted with the source of your fear. Fears can relate to specific places, situations, or objects. Unlike common anxiety disorders, phobias are usually related to specific things.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).

Some forms of OCD include fear of contamination, doubting, excessive need for being orderly, fear of losing control and harming yourself or others, unwanted thoughts.
At Exist, we are able to help you through psychotherapy and CBT.

Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Anxiety is an inevitable aspect of being human. Healthy anxiety keeps us safe and serves as a motivator for change. Extreme anxiety –when consistent or out of proportion to the situation- can be extremely distressing. People often attempt to avoid anxiety by creating the illusion of security and control, by reducing their choices and limiting their exposure.

A panic attack is a burst of intense fear & anxiety that causes both physical & psychological symptoms. The level of fear felt is irrational & out of proportion to the events or circumstances that triggered the panic attack. A single panic attack can happen to anyone, but frequent & ongoing episodes may require treatment.

After a thorough assessment, we help clients find the treatment that best suits their needs. Cognitive-behavioural therapy together with relaxation & mindfulness techniques can help reduce the anxiety & stress that lead to a panic attack.

Work Addiction

Work addiction (or workaholism) is a mental health condition that affects a person’s ability to set healthy boundaries around their work schedules. Just like other addictions, the behaviours of work addicts are often rigid, stem from emotional pain, and cause great distress to the individual and those around them.

While the work addict spends almost all of their time at work, typically any success does not result in pleasure or a reduction in the time and energy they spend on work. The work addict just keeps right on working and avoiding other activities. While on vacation, they are preoccupied with work and are unable to relax and enjoy anything but work.

Work addiction often originates from a compulsive need to achieve status and success or to escape emotional stress.

Am I A Workaholic?

Child Therapy & Parenting

Here at Exist, we offer a range of specialised child and adolescent mental health services for children and adolescents up to the age of 18 years with emotional and behavioural struggles.

Emotional disturbance in childhood and adolescence may present in a variety of ways: hyperactivity, nightmares, fearfulness, bedwetting, language problems, refusal to attend school, and stealing are among the behaviours that may indicate distress or disturbance.

Other common mental health issues are related to bullying, depression, anxiety ranging from simple phobias to social anxiety and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). We are also able to help with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) & PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Trauma

Trauma is a psychological wound as a result of an overwhelming experience. That experience can be a single event, for example, losing someone, injury or a natural disaster. Or a more consistent and repetitive form that takes place over time, for example, regular emotional abuse.

Trauma changes the body’s response to stress. It affects the stress hormone neurotransmitters which disrupt day-to-day activity. If untreated, trauma can be extremely debilitating. For example, flashbacks, avoiding places, people, or thoughts that keep reminding you of the event. As a result, an exaggerated response in the form of fight, flight or freezing occurs.

At Exist, we offer treatment that can address trauma at various stages through psychotherapy, EMDR, and somatic experiencing treatment.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction is a disease that includes alcohol craving and difficulty controlling one’s drinking on any given occasion. People struggling with alcohol tend to feel a strong need or urge, to drink, hoping for the positive effects that may come of that. However, over time, changes in the brain circuitry occur due to repeated alcohol use they often notice that with time they need more and more of the drink to achieve that positive effect, finding it difficult to stop once they have started drinking. Some might even experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety when they are not drinking.

Excessive alcohol use –regular or binge drinking- both can have negative consequences for the individual, including accidents, family and work problems.

At EXIST, we help our clients understand and recover by working on both the symptoms and the underlying issues causing the addiction. We offer treatment in the form of one-on-one sessions as well as group therapy.

Am I an Alcoholic?

Relationship & Love Addiction

People struggling with love addiction use it the same way that an alcoholic would use alcohol: to numb the feelings and escape the painful parts of reality. It is often a way to deal with the effects of early attachment issues, trauma and neglect.

Love addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. They may have their mind set on unavailable people, some cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy. Love addicts obsess about their loved ones, while some may use sex to manage feelings; others may become love avoidant.

Love addiction involves distorted thoughts, feelings and behaviours where fantasies replace reality.

Sexual Addiction

People struggling with sex addiction use it the same way that an alcoholic would use alcohol: to numb the feelings and escape the painful parts of reality.

For sex addicts, sex becomes mood-altering and soon becomes a central aspect of the struggling person’s life. The person experiences a loss of control over the thoughts that preoccupy him or her and behaviours become compulsive. Sex Addiction may also manifest as sexual anorexia (avoidance). The person may suffer from negative consequences related to his or her sexual behaviour that may include feelings of guilt, fear and depression as well as various problems including legal, family and in the work setting. Recovery needs time for addressing and healing the core issues and traumas.

At EXIST, we follow Dr Patrick Carnes’ Task-Oriented Model to help our clients understand and recover by working on both the symptoms and the underlying issues causing the addiction. We offer treatment in the form of one-on-one sessions as well as group therapy.

Grief & Loss

Losses bring about an ending: an attachment is broken making us lose meaning and direction. After a loss one may experience all sorts of feelings, including shock, numbness, fear, guilt, anger, sadness and despair. We feel emotional as well as physical pain. We may feel tired, without any energy. Often feeling breathless and hollow, and as if nothing is real.

Here at EXIST we support our clients and help them work through intense emotions and facilitate their grieving process, allowing them to discover what they can yet become.

Codependency

Codependency is any relationship in which two people cannot function independently anymore. It describes a relationship characterised by preoccupation and extreme emotional, social and sometimes physical dependence on another person.

Codependency refers to an imbalanced relationship pattern where one person assumes responsibility for meeting another person’s needs to the exclusion of acknowledging their own needs or feelings.

Codependent relationships often exist within families where addiction is present. Some of the issues that codependent people have to overcome include lack of boundaries, low self-esteem and poor communication.

Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction is a complex brain disease characterized by compulsive and at times uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences. Drug-seeking becomes compulsive, in large part, the abuse of drugs leads to long-lasting changes in the structure and function of the brain and, thus, to behaviour. For many people, drug addiction becomes chronic, with relapses possible, even after long periods of abstinence.

At EXIST, we help our clients understand and recover by working on both the symptoms and the underlying issues causing the addiction. We offer treatment in the form of one-on-one sessions as well as group therapy.

After a thorough initial assessment, we help our clients find the treatment that suits their needs. Being extensively networked with other treatment facilities, clients may also be referred to detoxification centres and residential programs according to their needs.

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

You may have trouble doing normal day-day activities and sometimes feel as if life isn’t worth living.

After a thorough assessment, we help clients find the treatment that suits their needs. With compassion we aim to help depressed clients find meaning in their lives and their suffering, to be able to regain their sense of control as well as hope to shape their lives and their futures, allowing for feelings to be lived, felt, and expressed.