A Therapist in Pretoria that Offers Much-Needed Services Affordable to All

It is one of life’s many ironies that, so often, those who are most in need of help are the very individuals who are least able to afford it. Given the current state of the South African economy, in which redundancies, joblessness and uncertainties about the future are becoming increasingly widespread, and the parallel need for all kinds of professional help, coupled with the inability to pay for it, is fast becoming a cause for serious alarm. The state-funded healthcare system has been brought to its knees by a combination of excessive demand and an irreconcilable shortage of funding. Even if this were not the case, the facilities it offers for the treatment of mental illness are woefully inadequate to handle the growing number of those with mental health issues.

The private sector does, of course, offer an alternative, and it is a simple enough matter to find a private therapist in Pretoria, or in any reasonably large city in South Africa. However, finding the means to pay his or her fees may be somewhat harder and continues to remain a barrier for far too many of those who are in dire need of this kind of support.

Stress is now widely recognised as the single most common cause of mental illness, and a lot of that stress can be traced directly to financial pressures or to its social consequences. This is especially prevalent among those who have previously never been required to cope with circumstances such as joblessness and the inability to pay their bills.

As individuals, we tend to vary in our responses to stress. Some seem able to accept it and carry on regardless, but increasingly many are becoming depressed and withdrawn. Some are turning to alcohol or recreational drugs as a temporary refuge from a reality they would prefer to avoid, others may develop anger issues, which often lead to domestic violence and, almost inevitably, to the breakdown of relationships. Many have become victims of violent crime, while others are traumatised simply by the fear that they might also become victims.

These and similar issues could all prove less stressful and eventually be overcome with the help of a competent therapist, whether in Pretoria or elsewhere. Along with the treatment of phobias, eating disorders, self-harming and learning difficulties, these are conditions that respond well to counselling and to other forms of psychiatric help and, with the exception of those afflicted by severe addictions, in most other cases, it should be possible to receive effective professional support on an out-patient basis. Regrettably, however, this does not eliminate the need to pay for consultations, but these are a great deal cheaper than undergoing residential care.

The most obvious way to limit the cost of treatment is to make use of a medical aid but, although not all practitioners limit their fees to accepted medical aid rates, most insist on cash up-front from non-members. Dr Tienie Maritz, a prominent therapist practicing in the Pretoria area, however, holds the view that treatment should be affordable to all. To that end, he charges well below the rates of other practitioners and with regards to those covered by major medical schemes, he demands no up-front payments and will even arrange affordable instalments for those without medical aid.