NINA DU PLESSIS – Educational Psychologist

BA Psych (RAU), PGCE (RAU), BEd (RAU), Med (Educational Psychology)(UJ)


Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy:

Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy is based on the Adaptive Information Processing Model that is based on the belief that every person has an innate tendency to move toward health and wholeness as well as the inner capacity to achieve it. When this movement toward health is blocked – and is not related to organic difficulties or lack of information. – it is likely that the experiences related to the block have been stored in a way that does not allow the person to connect with any other adaptive information and thus maladaptive perceptual distortions, images, feelings and sensations can ensue. When these dysfunctionally stored memories are triggered, this unprocessed material/experience often results in maladaptive responses to what might be an ordinary event and/or event that does not warrant the type of response triggered. The goal of trauma therapy is therefore to unfreeze these dysfunctionally stored memories so that they can connect with the adaptive information held in other neural networks and resume normal functioning of memory processing. Over time, this type of maladaptive information processing – when unresolved – can result in a continuum of difficulties leading from maladaptive thoughts and behaviours, to psychological symptoms that can escalate into psychological disorders.

Sand Play Therapy:

In the course of our lives (children and adults alike) personas (our inner world) are created in interface with the external world. Often feelings and thoughts are repressed forcing us to lose touch with our true Selves. The constant activ­ity and demands of our everyday lives, the dissociation from traumatic and painful experiences, the messages we receive to shut off our feelings, to be rational or think linearly, to conform and to subdue our imaginations, all serve to block us from our Selves. The more we are blocked, the further we are from our true Self. The deeper the emotions and feelings are covered up, the more distanced we become from our conscious memories that form an integral part of our person­alities. “Sandplay” is a method I use in therapy with children AND adults in order to gain access to the contents of the unconscious. In sandplay it immediately becomes clear that the human being can come closer to wholeness. It becomes possible to break through the narrowing perspective of our bogged-down conception and fears and to find in play a new relationship to our own depth. Immersed in play, we succeed in making an inner picture visible. Thus a link is established between our internal and external worlds. Sandplay Therapy thus provides a means of self-discovery, healing and integration, a transformation or redirection of blocked energy, access to the childhood world of imagination and play, re-awakening our own creative nature, a means by which children and adults, unable to articulate their feelings and experiences, can find expression and integration, safe entry into the deeper archetypal, mythic and transpersonal realms of the psyche, an activation of our natural, self-healing capacity and an opportunity for a creative non-rational experience, as a balance to society’s overemphasis on the ego’s intellect. The use of sand and miniatures gives us a symbolic way of expressing our feelings and viewing our lives. Sandplay provides a fun, non-threatening approach to the unconscious, and a safe space in which to explore feelings and life situations that may feel overwhelming.


Neurotherapy, also called ‘EEG Biofeedback’ and ‘Neurofeedback which is a painless, non-invasive treatment approach that trains our brain to work in optimal ways that usually reduces most symptom complaints in daily living. HOW? Clients are taught to play computerized games using their brainwave activity. Changes in client brainwave activity are fed back to the individual through visual and auditory information by the computer. One example is a game where clients move a figure through a maze (similar to the popular pac-man game). The figure does not move because of the client’s motor activity (e.g., pushing a button or moving a stick). Instead, the figure moves whenever the client produces specific brainwave patterns. When desired levels of brainwave activity occur, the individual is reinforced, because the figure moves through the maze. By this method, clients learn to change brainwave activity. Clients also practice maintaining learned brainwave states when engaged in school- or work-related tasks (e.g., reading, writing). Through changes in brainwave activity, reductions in ADD/ADHD symptoms are expected to occur. Individuals who have received Neurotherapy have also reported improvements in school or work performance, social relationships, and self-esteem, as well as reduction in irritability and oppositional behavior. Neurotherapy practitioners will use various assessment instruments to determine whether the desired changes in brainwave activity and/or behavior have occurred. Individuals should be aware that Neurotherapy can have a significant effect on seizure activity of those with seizure disorders. This effect, however, is usually positive (i.e. a reduction in seizures). Neurotherapy has also been shown to show positive effects on problems such as stress, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and attention and hyperactivity deficit disorders, brain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, depression, eating disorders, epilepsy, low energy, low immune system, memory problems, obsessive thinking, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and unresolved emotional issues (for example, anger, unhappiness).