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Claire Haggard

Clinical Psychologist

Claire Haggard is a clinical psychologist practicing in Stellenbosch, offering psychotherapy to older teenagers (16 years and older), students, adults and couples. She is dedicated to promoting mental health and well-being by helping clients to overcome their emotional difficulties and improve their quality of life.

Areas of Special Interest

Psychotherapy, Couples Therapy, Neurodiversity, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Loss & Bereavement, Maternal Mental Health, Gender Identity

"Be patient with all that is unresolved within your heart, and try to love the questions"

 

Rainer Maria Rilke

People typically pursue psychotherapy for a number of different reasons. Some may seek therapy to address major life changes or adjustments (e.g., divorce, the loss of a loved one, the break down of a significant relationship, a change in occupation, the arrival of a new infant), whilst others may seek help managing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

In this sense, unlike typical misconceptions about people who seek therapy (i.e., that they are “crazy” – a commonly held and stigmatising opinion), most therapy clients share a common struggle – that of grappling with the human condition and the vicissitudes of everyday life.

 

An individual seeking therapy may have identified specific goals or issues that they wish to work on. Other individual’s may have been encouraged by a family member, friend or medical health professional to seek help.  And, in some instances, people are mandated to attend therapy (i.e., as part of a legal process or by a parent or guardian).

The choice to enter into therapy often requires courage – and requires a sense of comfort and safety with the therapist you have chosen to work with. Typically, client and therapist will determine the goals of therapy together, and will discuss whether therapy should be short or long-term in nature (depending on the nature of the issue at hand). In many cases, therapist and client will explore much more than the initial presenting problem (i.e., the issue that first prompted you to seek help). Within the context of a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship, therapy can promote self-awareness, self-growth an increased capacity to live authentically, and increased insight into possible factors maintaining or exacerbating a particular problem.

In many cases, therapist and client will explore much more than the initial presenting problem (i.e., the issue that first prompted you to seek help). Within the context of a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship, therapy can promote self-awareness, self growth an increased capacity to live authentically, increased insight into possible factors maintaining or exacerbating the issue at hand, and may thus reduce emotional suffering and the intensity of one’s symptomatic experience.

 

Whilst people often seek psychotherapy in a state of acute distress and are primarily problem focused, therapy can also be about providing the scaffolding to think about and work on aspects of life that may be functioning relatively well, but perhaps require some reflection. People may be hoping to explore issues relating to self-esteem, communication (both within the romantic and interpersonal context), one’s occupation (e.g., fulfilment within a current career path; risking initiating a new career path), parenting, reconnecting with self and authentic strivings and emotional expression.

Claire works with a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, as well as struggles coping adaptively within a number of life contexts (e.g. relationships, personality functioning, occupational struggles and emotional or spiritual/existential difficulties. She works from a predominantly psychodynamic frame, allowing for both insight and change. 

Services
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