Denise Grobbelaar:

My Approach

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

My therapeutic approach is characterized by a deep exploration of the unconscious mind and the promotion of personal growth through self-awareness and the recognition of archetypal patterns at play in our lives. My work is tailored to each client's unique journey of self-discovery and transformation, often involving long-term, in-depth therapy. Clients are encouraged to explore their inner worlds and insights at their own pace, invoking a sense of safety that allows for deep self-discovery and understanding of the intrapsychic forces that govern our lives. While I provide guidance and interpretation, Jungian therapy is often less directive than certain other therapeutic approaches. In this often meandering, circumambulatory process, we return again and again to patterns as they are elicited by triggering events.

Central to my work is a focus on images and body sensations to explore clients’ personal mythology or narratives about who they are and their place in the world. I take a holistic view of the individual, considering not only psychological but also spiritual and cultural dimensions. I work respectfully with the defensive structures’ clients create to keep themselves safe, gently challenging the early imprinting. From a Jungian perspective, we understand that the body and the psyche are intricately intertwined and place great importance on the wisdom held within your body. We generally explore the profound connection between your bodily sensations and your emotional experiences, addressing psychosomatics - where unresolved psychological matters can surface as physical symptoms. This process empowers you to uncover and address hidden psychological conflicts affecting your well-being.

Working with images, I guide clients to develop a symbolic understanding of their challenges and life experiences, to find meaning and purpose in their struggles. Dream analysis is central to my approach, and clients are encouraged to recall and share their dreams. Together, we explore the symbolism, characters, and narratives within the dreams. I also incorporate active imagination, engaging clients with the figures and symbols emerging from their unconscious to gain deeper insights into their inner worlds. My therapeutic approach draws on mythology, literature, and cultural symbols to help clients understand their own stories and narratives through a process of amplification. Clients are encouraged to explore and express themselves through creative means like art, journaling, or active imagination. Soul Collage is a method that honours the various parts of ourselves in a creative process.

I guide clients in dialoguing with, understanding and nurturing their autonomous inner parts - unique facets of the psyche. My approach emphasizes the value of honouring and exploring the complexity of the human psyche. I operate on the understanding that that everyone possesses a rich tapestry of inner voices, perspectives, psychological facets, and archetypes. Rather than viewing the self as a singular, fixed entity, we embrace the idea that multiplicity is at the heart of the human psyche. It's about recognizing that conflicting thoughts, emotions, and desires are all essential parts of the human experience. We delve into the concept of complexes, emotionally charged clusters of thoughts and feelings, and work towards unravelling their energetic knots. By engaging with this multiplicity, exploring the diverse inner voices and their perspectives images individuals can gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their motivations, and their unique path toward personal growth and healing.

My therapeutic approach is rooted in a deep understanding of developmental trauma, viewed through both a psychological and neurobiological lens. With extensive training in this complex field, I guide clients towards healing by unravelling the intricate connections between early experiences and their impact on the brain and psyche. Together, we explore the ways in which developmental trauma may have shaped your life, relationships, and sense of self. Through this journey, we integrate insights from neuroscience and depth psychology to foster profound healing, resilience, and personal growth. I incorporate various somatic and breathwork techniques in order to foster self-regulation and a sense of grounded presence. I am here to support you on your path to wholeness and well-being, drawing upon a holistic approach that combines scientific knowledge and compassionate care.

My therapeutic approach is enriched by the wisdom of the Enneagram, a powerful personality system that helps individuals explore their inner landscapes and patterns of behaviour. Through the lens of the Enneagram, we delve into the complexities of your personality structure, motivations, and core fears. This valuable tool offers deep insights into understanding yourself and your relationships more fully. By working with the Enneagram, we embark on a transformative journey toward self-awareness, personal growth, and the development of healthier, more fulfilling ways of being. Together, we unlock the potential for profound transformation and self-realization.

Is Jungian-oriented Psychotherapy for You?

Embarking on the possibility of engaging with a Jungian analyst or psychotherapist marks a significant and transformative step. Engagement within a Jungian theoretical framework constitutes a distinct method of practice, despite its foundation in the broader principles of psychotherapy. Does my approach resonate with you?

The realm of the psyche can be an intimidating space to navigate alone, yet Jungian psychotherapy provides a secure foundation for delving into your inner world. The journey of self-reflection, guided by the mindful and supportive presence of a therapist, can be both affirming and conducive to personal growth. Central to this process is self-discovery, a core element of the therapeutic process that is facilitated by a genuine curiosity about oneself.

For many, the prospect of sharing personal challenges with another person can be daunting. Establishing a strong connection between you and the therapist is paramount, as the therapeutic relationship thrives on mutual trust—something people may often find challenging. Creating an environment of safety is essential to the therapeutic journey, hence the consistency of sessions at a particular time. It's important to acknowledge that therapy demands an investment of time, money, energy, and commitment. Hence, selecting the right therapist tailored to your specific concerns is pivotal to a successful therapeutic experience.

And so it happens that if anyone…undertakes for himself the perilous journey into the darkness by descending, either intentionally or unintentionally, into the crooked lanes of his own spiritual labyrinth, he soon finds himself in a landscape of symbolical figures (any one of which may swallow him.)

Joseph Campbell - The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)

What Happens in Jungian Psychotherapy?


The initial sessions of Jungian therapy focus on establishing a foundation of trust and conducting a comprehensive assessment of the challenges you seek assistance with. The therapist will inquire about your reasons for seeking therapy, clarify your therapeutic goals, and delve into specific aspects of your life circumstances and current relationships. As part of the initial exploration, questions may be directed towards your childhood, family of origin, and your perceptions of the origins of your difficulties. During the session, the therapist engages empathically, seeks clarification on various points in your narrative, and provides reflective insights. The therapist takes confidential notes during sessions, serving as a reference for ongoing therapy.   

The assessment phase serves as an opportunity for you to determine your comfort level working with me. If it doesn't feel right, I am more than willing to offer recommendations and referrals to another therapist better suited to your needs. Establishing comfort and trust is crucial, as these elements play a pivotal role in the therapeutic process, and it may take a few sessions to make that determination.

Typically, individuals experience a sense of relief during these initial sessions, finding solace in freely discussing their difficulties without judgment. While immediate resolution may not occur, the opportunity to be heard and engaged with, in a respectful and sensitive manner, often validates one’s humanity. It's common for individuals to feel some anxiety before the first meeting, as uncertainties about the therapeutic process and the therapist abound.

My role as therapist involves attentive listening, clarification, highlighting potential links between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may not be immediately apparent, interpretation, and when appropriate, challenging stuck patterns. While direct advice is not the norm, therapy includes collaborative discussions about more effective coping strategies within the context of a shared understanding of the problems. The goal is to empower you with increased mindfulness and self-awareness. If necessary, I can introduce and discuss various techniques for emotional regulation. I might provide active imagination exercises, particularly when addressing different aspects of self or within the context of parts integration, or offer assistance in analyzing dreams.

Your role as patient is to openly discuss what is happening in your life and how you are currently navigating your difficulties and challenges. You are encouraged to bring to the sessions for exploration and discussion any life experiences, conflicts, celebrations, incidents triggering strong reactions, irritations with others, observed patterns in yourself or within family dynamics, personal inner thoughts, questions about life, your waking or night-time dreams, or even your Enneagram report.

The Milkwood tree (Photo above) is a symbol of belonging which underlies a healthy sense of self. This particular tree is over 1000 years old and was taken by me at Platbos Forest while attending a Dream Appreciation retreat in 2013.

Psychotherapy is a Purposeful Dialogue

Psychotherapy, often referred to as talk therapy, is a purposeful dialogue between the therapist and the client. This collaborative process aims to foster a shared understanding of the challenges the client may be facing. While the therapist may provide guidance, when necessary, the approach is person-centred and driven by the client.

In therapy, clients articulate the issues they encounter in their lives, expressing their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours related to these challenges. The therapist engages in deep and empathic listening, reflecting the patient's narratives back to them. The therapist assists the client in uncovering connections between thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and potential underlying meanings and core beliefs rooted in childhood. Often, individuals have blind spots regarding their own personalities and behaviours. Spiritual writers often refer to childhood agreements we made with ourselves based on immature interpretations of the world, shaping core beliefs that guide our responses and interactions. 

Gaining insight and cultivating self-awareness represents the initial step toward transforming unhelpful behaviours, ingrained thought patterns and belief systems. This process can also help alleviate inhibitions and fears. Developing a critical awareness of the beliefs and values that shape your life and contribute to cycles of depression, challenging relationships, or other difficulties enhances the potential for meaningful change. Examining these aspects may be challenging and induce discomfort, often leading individuals to feel worse before experiencing improvement. It's crucial not to halt therapy during this phase, recognizing, as Carl Jung asserted, that "There is no consciousness without pain."

Knowing and comprehending the dynamics of your challenges must be followed by action. A willingness to learn new perspectives on the world and to adopt different behaviours becomes a necessary component for effectively navigating the pressures of daily life. Central to this process is an acceptance that change is possible, and this acknowledgment might initially be the primary focus of therapy. Conscious living doesn't promise a trouble-free and endlessly joyous life. Still, it can empower individuals to choose how they respond to challenges in their daily lives, even when living with chronic mental or emotional disorders. Not everyone achieves complete relief from symptoms or resolves all problems, but many discover themselves to be better equipped to cope with their difficulties.

Tracing the origins of current challenges can be valuable in comprehending their significance within the context of your life. Many adult behaviours originate in childhood or adolescence, serving as protective measures against perceived threats to one's evolving and still vulnerable sense of self. Understanding this process minimizes self-judgment and dispels notions that one is or was a fundamentally flawed person. Jungian psychotherapy delves into the inner world and the unconscious, examining their impact on external factors such as behaviour patterns and interactions with others. The goal is increased self-awareness, understanding ingrained patterns, and exploring alternative narratives about oneself and one's existence.

Many aspects influencing our daily lives reside in our unconscious minds, such as interactional patterns learned from childhood and deeply ingrained beliefs about self-worth. These assumptions, whether conscious or unconscious, profoundly impact self-perception, life experiences, and relationships, and accordingly the focal point of exploration in psychotherapy. The depth to which we explore childhood experiences in therapy is contingent upon your therapeutic goals and the extent to which past events impact your current life. Early life events and experiences play a distinct role in shaping your current belief systems and values. At times, unresolved issues from the past can permeate various aspects of your life, necessitating processing for you to be able to move forward and live up to your fullest potential.

Many individuals employ defence mechanisms, including denial, to shield themselves from confronting unpleasant aspects of their lives, essentially pushing these issues aside. Regrettably, such avoidance can hinder emotional development, diminish coping mechanisms, and compel individuals to adopt a façade of strength, potentially feeling inauthentic. Suppressing emotions is a common practice, but it is not conducive to overall well-being. The ability to navigate various emotional states without becoming unstable or venting onto others is a skill cultivated (or not) in childhood, akin to any other skill that requires practice to become emotionally intelligent. Psychotherapy serves as a process for enhancing self-regulation, managing emotional states, and coping with stress, fostering a more balanced emotional life. It acts as a psychological spring-cleaning, clearing out old clutter to make space for self-renewal, personal definition, and a life free from childhood fears and inhibitions.

Therapy provides a secure space for sharing intimate details that affect overall well-being, functioning in the world, and psychological/emotional growth. The fear of judgment or ridicule often accompanies these narratives, but therapy offers a non-judgmental environment for exploring neglected, ignored, or damaged aspects of oneself. Unlike personal relationships, a therapist remains objective, aiming to understand the meaning behind the client's life narratives. The key question is understanding what brought the client to their current point and how to break free from constrictive and energy-draining patterns.

The acropolis of Pergamon, Turkey is a dramatic ancient settlement, perched high atop a steep-sided hill with its great temples and theater visible from anywhere below. As you descend from the acropolis you walk through the vaulted tunnel-like temple foundations. This accentuates the mystery and presents a fitting analogy of the entering of the Unconscious through the process of psychotherapy.

Who Can Benefit From Psychotherapy?

  • Individuals facing challenges in expressing or managing their emotions, and those experiencing emotional discomfort or distress related to depression, despair, anxiety, fear, apathy, anger, emptiness, meaninglessness, helplessness, vulnerability, loneliness, abandonment, and rejection.
  • Individuals grappling with issues of self-esteem, self-expression, and identity, which may be linked to negative core beliefs, self-talk, self-doubt, judgment, feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, a sense of not belonging, or a lack of purpose and meaning.
  • Those struggling with intimacy and trust issues, and individuals caught in repetitive interpersonal behavioural patterns leading to dissatisfaction, difficulties, and conflicts in relationships (not exclusively with intimate partners).
  • Individuals recovering from psychiatric illnesses, including psychosis, seeking to find meaning and achieve integration of a restored sense of self and connection to the world.
  • Those who have experienced loss and trauma.
  • Individuals with a history of developmental trauma such as witnessing or experiencing verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as emotional or physical neglect.
  • People finding it challenging to cope or adjust, feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges, transitions, changes, and stressful events.
  • Individuals interested in personal growth, curious about their personality structure, or grappling with existential issues and questions about their purpose or the meaning of life.
  • Those seeking integration after a psychedelic experience.


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