Areas of Specialization:

Mari-Elna received UK certification for:
My Areas of specialization are: 

1.   EMDR Therapy - Practitioner Status for Unprocessed Trauma:
I started practicing in 2009 as an EMDR therapist and became an EMDR Europe accredited practitioner in EMDR from the end of 2011. 
When someone experiences severe psychological trauma, it appears that an imbalance may occur in the nervous system. Due to this imbalance, the information-processing system is unable to function optimally and the information acquired at the time of the event, including images, sounds, affect, and physical sensations are maintained neurologically in its disturbing state. Therefore, the original material, which is held in this distressing, excitatory state-specific form, can be triggered by a variety of internal and external stimuli and may be expressed in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts -  the so-called positive symptoms of PTSD. 

2.   Attachment Therapy
Attachment is the deep and enduring connection established between a child and caregiver in the first several years of life. Attachment to a protective and loving caregiver who provides guidance and support is a basic human need. Attachment is not something that parents do to their children; rather it is something that children and parents create together, in an ongoing, reciprocal relationship. 
Attachment Therapy is for those who struggle to bond with their babies and older children.

3.   Nurture by Nature Group:
My main goal with the Nurture by Nature Group is “to establish and maintain a strong bond between the parents and their children. The costs are R100.00 per person per group session and it is covered by your medical aid. The course runs for 6 to 8 weeks = one session per week. 

The program consists of the following areas: 
  1. Attachment and Life before Birth. Discussion and view the amazing new DVD of the baby's development in the womb.
  2. Attachment in practice.  What is attachment?  And a film to demonstrate it.
  3. How my child's inner working model is formed.  The first year attachment cycle.
  4. Building your baby's brain.  The meaning of crying and how to calm your baby down.
  5. The developing brain of the infant.  What is happening inside the brain when you nurture your baby and what happens when the child is traumatized or abused? The world's award-winning video about the baby's brain and Developmental Trauma Disorder.
  6. Abused and traumatized children are unable to regulate or control their emotions.  How parents can help to calm their children to calm down - Video. Second half of this session: Baby massage plus Video.
  7. Attachment and domestic violence. The impact of domestic violence on our children.  Questionnaire and video made by a 13-year-old boy whose father forced him to take a video while the father abused his mother.
  8. Play with your child.  Why is play important in child development?  All about toys and games you can use to build a happy relationship with your child. How the brain develops through play. And how to strengthen the bond between you and your child..  Practical Play and how to make playdough at home. I will invite somebody with a shop full of the right toys to buy for your child.
 Research and clinical experience show that attachment capacity is easiest to shape if early identification and intervention takes place.  The Nurture by Nature Group – an Attachment Group,  is for fathers and mothers of babies and toddlers up to the age of 5 years.

4.   Dissociation in Traumatized Children and Adolescents.
For children and adults who are abused, neglected, bullied, or terrorized in some way, dissociation becomes a protective mechanism and may be repeated over and over again. Although protective, this distortion of perception and cognitive integration causes the child to lose touch with a part of his / her feelings, with part of his / her experience of self. Dissociation has been connected, for the most part, with trauma.

5.   Clinical Child Assessments
It is an Emotional and Behavioral Child Assessment and is done in a child-friendly way. 
During the assessment, I obtain information regarding the child's perception of the functioning of the family. The child doesn't need to have the words to describe his feelings or trauma, because it is clearly indicated in his/her drawings and projections through play. I can do this assessment in 2-3 hours depending on the individual child's abilities. I can offer this assessment to parents with children from the age of 3 years to 18 years. See also under Specialization and Therapy.

6.   The Assessment of Parenting Abilities 
This is a thorough assessment of both mother and father's parenting abilities and very helpful in the Family or Children Courts to identify the needs of the children involved and to make decisions about the children's futures.  
The format I use for this assessment was very popular in England as mentioned in the feedback I got from the Court Professionals. See under Court Work.