Mari-Elna Louw is an experienced social worker and therapist since 1967. I qualified and worked in South Africa until the end of 2002 and moved to the UK where I continued working as a Social Worker.

I am a SACSSP registered Social Worker in South Africa and currently also a HCPC registered Social Worker in the United Kingdom. 

I worked and studied in the United Kingdom for nearly 10 years from January 2003 until November 2012. In England I worked as a Family Therapist with a Children and Families Intervention Team and provided therapeutic help with a variety of issues. I also worked with two colleagues in a private practice, called Swift Counselling and Coaching in Swindon, UK. 

 I am a Europe Accredited EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Practitioner with EMDR Europe Association, using this psychotherapy with many clients for a wide range of difficulties such as PTSD and unresolved trauma processing. EMDR is a Trauma Therapy.

While working in the UK Mari-Elna added extra qualifications to her CV, which enabled her to deliver more effective services to her clients. In 2007 while working in the UK she won the “Employee of the Year Star Award” – for excellent services delivered. 

My current private practice is situated in the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth,  South Africa. I specializes in working with adults, adolescents and children. I am working in both languages, English and Afrikaans.

Mari-Elna received UK certification for:

EMDR Therapy - Practitioner Status
for Unprocessed Trauma:
I started practicing in 2009 as a EMDR therapist and became an EMDR Europe accredited practitioner in EMDR from the end of 2011. 
When someone experiences a 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, is 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. 
[Dr. Francine Shapiro: EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Second Edition. 2001.]

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. [Terry M. Levy and Michael Orlans: Attachment Trauma and Healing 1998]                                                                                                                  
The child's early attachment pattern creates an internal working model, a mental an emotional reflection of early attachment relationships that determines perception of self and others and the world [Bowlby 1982]
Attachment Therapy is for those who struggle to bond with their babies and older children.

Nurture by Nature Group:
My main goal with the Nurture by Nature Group is “to establish and maintain change in our customers lives – the vulnerable young children and their families.”

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 3 years.

Dissociation in 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 her feelings, with part of her experience of self [Wieland, 2011].

Clinical Child Assessments
It is an Emotional and Behavioural 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 Specialisation and Therapy.

The Assessment of Parenting Abilities 
This is a thorough assessment of both mother and father's parenting abilities and very helpful in the Family /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.