David van der Want

MA Clinical Psychology (RAU)

Clinical Psychologist

4 Halvery Holt
46 Camp Ground Road
Cape Town
083 703 2398
Contact details


Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes - Oscar Wilde

Psychological Services

I offer the following psychological services from my practice in Rosebank / Rondebosch Cape Town.

Individual Psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy refers to one-on-one consultations. A wide variety of people experiencing many forms of emotional distress consult me and my doors are open to all. Many of the people who consult me are having experiences of self and the world that resulted in diagnoses ranging from major depression, panic disorder, generalised anxiety and sometimes psychosis. I do have some areas of special interest though. These include;

  • Psychotherapy with men. Men experiencing difficulties in relationships, adjustment during and after divorce and separation, men experiencing discouragement related to work and family issues, depression and anxiety
  • Self harm. I have a special interest in working with clients who engage in self harming behaviour. This includes the spectrum from inflicting physical injury on self to less extreme forms of self-damaging behaviour.
  • Negotiation of major life transitions . I have a further special interest in working with people at critical junctures in their lives. This includes the various developmental processes of leaving home and establishing an adult identity, to negotiation of the mid-life passage and retirement.
  • Issues relating to family of origin. Work involving difficulties relating to adult relationships with parents and siblings. Exploration of family of origin patterns and norms and their effect on living in the here-and-now. Development of strategies and behaviours to deal with problematic family of origin relationships.

Marital Therapy / Couple Counselling

Perhaps because our intimate partnership relationships offer the most apparent and intense arena in which to explore and encounter ourselves I have a particular interest in marital and couple therapy. I also believe that one of our greatest challenges as people is to live fully as individuals while sharing an enduring and nourishing partnership with another person. My approach is to sensitively explore the patterning of couple relationships and to clarify and deepen the partner's understanding of self and other.

Sometimes couples seek counselling because they have a sense of having "grown apart" over the years. Sometimes marital therapy is sought to assist with adjustment to a specific event.

My work with couples includes the following;

  • Preparation for marriage
  • Dealing with infidelity
  • Adjustment to significant changes in life circumstances
  • Restoration of communication
  • Adjustment to children leaving home
  • Negotiation of differences between marriage partners and resolution of conflict.
  • Facilitation of healthy separation and divorce processes

Parental Guidance

I consult with parents whose children are between the ages of 7 and 21. The focus here is on the identification of less effective parenting strategies and the development of more effective strategies for dealing with a variety of challenges that parenting creates. This includes;

  • Parenting in a second or third marriage and issues relating to the integration of two single parent families
  • Dealing with problematic behaviours in young children such as general unruliness, disobedience, school refusal.
  • Maintaining and developing deeper relationships with children following separation and divorce.

Family Therapy

In some circumstances it is useful for an entire family to come for therapy. Such encounters are aimed at exploring and elaborating on the relationships in the family in order to ease tension and create possibility with regard to a problematic situation. Such situations often include;

  • issues relating to the mental illness of one member of the family
  • resolution of long term and entrenched conflict.
  • adjustment of a family to the illness or death of a member.

Crisis Intervention

I offer a crisis intervention service during normal working hours. This includes,

  • debriefing after traumatic event
  • mobilisation of medical / psychiatric resources if necessary
  • admission into private clinic if necessary
  • development of a management plan and structure for dealing with ongoing crises and after effects of a crisis situation.

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