Gerda McLachlan and Jacques Vermeulen are clinical psychologists, who are in private practice, situated in the Vaal Triangle.  We have offices in Vereeniging (Midvaal Private Hospital) as well as in Vaalpark (Netcare Private Hospital)

Services include individual psychotherapy for children, adolescents and adults.  Furthermore, couples therapy and family therapy are offered as well as clinical and neuropsychological assessments for adults and children.  Please visit the services page for a more detailed explanation of each of the services provided.

For appointments, please call:  016 971 1339 / 078 486 5211 / 079 763 9975.

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Psychotherapy is a general term referring to the therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained therapist and a client.  The “client” may be an individual (child, teenager or adult), a couple or a family.  The problems addressed are psychological in nature and differ from case to case.

Therapeutic factors such as – instillation of hope, universality, imparting of information, altruism, the corrective recapitulation of the primary family group, development of socialising techniques, imitative behaviour, interpersonal learning, catharsis and existential factors, to name but a few are focused on.

These factors represent different parts of the change process; some refer to actual mechanisms of change, whereas others may be more accurately described as conditions of change.  At its core, therapy is a deeply human experience, and, consequently, there are an infinite number of pathways through the therapeutic process.  Thus, to hypothesise as to the success, degree-, intensity- and sustainability of change during and following the therapeutic process is virtually impossible.

However, possible indicators of therapeutic success/progress, for a lack of a better term, are level of commitment, insight, acceptance of the process, challenging entrenched defence mechanisms and so forth.

The therapeutic process is facilitated by various therapeutic techniques employed by the clinical psychologist enabling the individual to grow.  Thus, the individual obtains a greater understanding of his or her own problems as well as intrinsic ways and coping with these in future.  The ultimate goal is a self-supporting and “coping” individual free from most debilitating “crutches”.

Examples of indicators for individual psychotherapy are

  • Bereavement (loss of a loved one)
  • Divorce
  • Illness and health related matters
  • Injury
  • Job loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Trauma (Victim of crime, Natural Disaster, Accident etc)
  • Abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Relationship difficulties (Family / couples)
  • Addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-mutilation (cutting etc)
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse (male and female)
  • Post-Natal depression
  • Sexual dysfunctions

Family therapy can be described as a therapeutic intervention that focuses on altering the interactions between and among family members and seeks to improve the functioning of the family as a unit and the functioning of the individual members of the family.

Family therapy has several goals:  To resolve or reduce conflict and anxiety within interpersonal relationships, to enhance the perception and fulfillment by family members of one another’s emotional needs, to promote appropriate role relationships between the sexes and generations, to strengthen the capacity of individual members and the family as a whole to cope with stressors in the outside environment.


The goal of couples therapy, similar to that of family therapy, is to treat problems from the perspective of bringing together all involved parties.  That is, the treatment of the couple as a whole, which involves complex interactions, rather than in terms of discrete problems of distinct members of the unit.

The underlying notion in this kind of therapy is that even individual problems often have roots in the couple’s system, and to treat the problem, both partners should be involved in working towards the solution.  The aim is therefore, to psychologically modify the interaction of two persons who are in conflict with each other over one parameter or a variety of parameters – social, emotional, sexual or economic.

As such, couples therapy is highly effective in helping couples to resolve interpersonal conflict, to reverse or change ineffective patterns of behaviour, to enhance communication and to encourage personality growth and development.

Play therapy is a process whereby the trained therapist allows the child to explore, at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda, those issues past or current, that is affecting the child’s life in the present.  The therapeutic intervention focuses on the improvement of emotional, behavioural and social problems.  The child’s inner resources are enabled by the alliance between the therapist and the child, to bring about growth and change.  Play therapy is child-centred, play being the primary medium and speech the secondary medium.


Younger children may benefit from play therapy sessions as a form of intervention. Children from 5-11 years can be assisted at the practice by using play therapy. Older children and teenagers will be provided with therapy that is age appropriate.


Sessions are usually approximately 45 – 60 minutes in duration, depending on the age and functionality of the child.  The number of play therapy sessions that are necessary will be dependent on the nature of the problem.


Examples of indicators for play therapy are


  • Abuse (post-abuse therapy)
  • Illness or accident
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Loss of a loved one (bereavement)
  • Adjustment difficulties (new baby, moving home, new school and more)
  • Inappropriate behaviour
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety or phobias
  • Aggression and anger
  • Social problems
  • Attachment difficulties
  • Eating problems
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Bed-wetting and/or soiling
  • Sleeping problems


Please note that forensic services (court work) are provided.  However, these services will only be conducted in a multi-professional team setting.  Each forensic request will first be assessed by the team prior to acceptance of the case.  Should the case be accepted details regarding structure, fee and so forth will be discussed.

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A number of assessments for adults, adolescents and children are offered.

  • Mood disorders (anxiety, depression etc)
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • General measure stress and resilience
  • Career assessment and personality profile
  • School readiness
  • Cognitive functioning
Neuropsychological screening for –

  • Dementia, Alzheimers
  • TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Functional assessment and assistance
  • ADHD screening

Forensic assessments of –

  • child custody cases
  • selection of suitability to adopt
  • selection of suitability to be foster parents etc

Please note that forensic services will only be conducted in a multi-professional team setting.  Each forensic request will first be assessed by the team prior to acceptance of the case.  Should the case be accepted details regarding structure, fees and so forth will be discussed.

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