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Daniella Matthews

Clinical Psychologist

Daniella MatthewsMy Story

The Couch Light

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognise our shared humanity” - Pema Chodron

My passion for psychology began early in life and my entry into the field was born out of a mixture of empathy, (com)passion and curiosity to understand myself and others, to explore patterns of behaviour and their links to the past and to facilitate the improvement of client wellbeing and quality of life. Throughout my school and university years, I worked and volunteered at various organisations where I gained invaluable experience, not only in working with vulnerable populations but also in learning more about myself. These included, TLC Orphanage, AMCARE Place of Safety, WITS Emthonjeni Psychology Clinic, Helen Joseph Hospital and Star Academy School for children on the autism spectrum.

The enlightening, exciting and at times, challenging journey to become a Clinical Psychologist was actualised at the University of the Witwatersrand, where I graduated Cum Laude with a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. Following this, I interned at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where I was based in the adult male in-patient psychiatric ward, providing individual psychotherapy as well as group psychotherapy to the in-patients suffering from severe psychopathology. I was involved in the outpatient ‘suicide’ clinic, which included the provision of psychiatric interview and assessment, intervention and case management. Additionally, I provided outpatient individual and group psychotherapy, such as support groups and coping skills groups. A multi-disciplinary team approach was valued at Bara and I represented psychology in weekly in-patient ward-round discussions. Following this, I interned at the Child, Adolescent and Family Unit (CAFU) at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (formerly known as the Johannesburg General Hospital). My various duties included the provision of outpatient play therapy to children, individual psychotherapy to adolescents and parental counselling to parents and caregivers, many of whom came from surrounding orphanages and places of safety. I conducted biweekly emotional and intellectual psychological assessments as well as providing feedback and case management services to caregivers. During my community service year, I was based at the Johannesburg Metro Community Healthcare Clinics, which involved servicing a different clinic each day on a rotational basis. I provided individual and group psychotherapy to children, adolescents, parents and adults from the surrounding community. During the year, I completed the Child Psychotherapy course offered by an ICPC (Institute for Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy) affiliated trainer/child psychotherapist and the Parent-Infant Psychotherapy course offered at Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy trust. I currently provide weekly pro-bono parent-infant psychotherapy to underprivileged families at Ububele in Johannesburg.

My training at Wits provided a strong foundation in psychodynamic theory and practice and I enjoy formulating and working from a relational/intersubjective and humanistic paradigm. However, I tailor my approach and therapeutic intervention in order to prioritise the unique needs of each client. With this in mind, I consider self-reflection and growth a priority in my practice and continuously endeavour to do so by attending supervision and professional courses. I have a particular interest in helping families interact and relate in more fulfilling ways. This involves work in areas such as infant mental health, attachment, parent-infant psychotherapy, perinatal and parental support as well as working with adolescents. Other special interests include, group psychotherapy and mental health stigma and awareness.

Working within a variety of psychiatric contexts has exposed me to a range of psychopathology, therapeutic modalities and psychiatric systems and I have gained the invaluable experience of working with a diversity of individuals - namely, patients, students, supervisors and colleagues in psychology and allied professions. My professional development over the years has taught me to interrogate my established belief systems, challenge my comfort zone and critically reflect on ethical, cultural and social dilemmas. Working within the above settings has taught me, more than ever, to tolerate the immense trauma, pain and uncertainty that is inherent in our work as therapists, while remaining calm, attuned and hopeful. I truly believe each unique interaction with a patient offers an opportunity to collaboratively move towards change for both the patient and the therapist.

My Qualifications

Daniella Matthews The Couch

Clinical Psychologist

  • B.A. Psychology & Linguistics with distinction (WITS)
  • B.A. Honours in Psychology with distinction (WITS)
  • M.A. Clinical Psychology with distinction (WITS)

My Clinical Experience

February 2019 – Current

Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust

Duties and Responsibilities

Provision of pro-bono parent-infant psychotherapy for families

What is Parent-Infant Psychotherapy (PIP)

“The relationship is the patient”

PIP is a dyadic intervention that works with the caregiver/s and infant (up to 2 years old) together, with the aim of improving the caregiver-infant relationship and promoting infant attachment and optimal infant development. PIP aims to do this by targeting the caregiver/s’ view of their infant, which may be affected by their own experiences, and linking them to their current relationship with their child, in order to improve the caregiver-relationship directly.

Johannesburg Metro Clinics 1 February 2018 - 31 January 2019

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Administration of psychological assessments to children and adolescents, assessment report writing, assessment feedback
  • Individual play therapy with children and individual psychotherapy with adolescents and adults (outpatient)
  • Parental counselling and support
  • Outpatient group psychotherapy
  • Monthly multidisciplinary team academic ward rounds

Child, Adolescent and Family Unit - Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital 

1 July 2016 - 31 December 2016

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Administration of psychological assessments to children and adolescents, assessment report writing, assessment feedback
  • Individual play therapy with children, individual psychotherapy with adolescents and parental support and guidance (outpatient)
  • Adolescent Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) workshops
  • Family Therapy
  • Case management of child, adolescent and parent patients involving psychiatric review, in-depth history-taking, assessment, follow-up and MDT team liaison and collaboration

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

1 January 2016 - 30 January 2016

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Administration of psychological and psychometric assessments to adults and children
  • Individual psychotherapy (inpatient and outpatient)
  • Adult Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Medical consultations (Bedside therapy with patients from general wards including, Oncology, Burns, Labour and Maternity and Trauma ward)
  • Outpatient suicide Clinic
  • Bi-weekly MDT wards rounds
  • Academic ward rounds, case presentations and supervision

We are not able to guarantee availability unless an official booking has been made.

Head Office

37 Homestead Road,
Corner 12th Avenue
Block F, Homestead Park
Rivonia, Sandton
060 961 7882
Tel: (011) 234 0741

The Couch
Online consultations are now available

Please note that if you are unable to contact us on 011 234 0741 due to the Load shedding, kindly contact us on 060 961 7882