Dr Bruce Bradfield – Psychotherapist, Clinical Psychologist
MA, Psychology (Rhodes); MA, Clinical Psychology (Rhodes); Phd (UCT)
My approach to psychotherapy is one which prioritizes human relationships as being central to emotional health. If we are able to enter, sustain, and make good use of positive relationships, our lives generally take on a fuller, healthier and livelier character. The relationship between a psychotherapist and a patient, between me and the person I am talking with, is just such a relationship. It is a friendship which can become central to the life of the patient, but always exists on the periphery.
As a relationship between two people, the therapeutic relationship is all about trying to create enough of a feeling of trust, safety, and relaxation, for us to be able to have honest and open conversations about the patient’s real life. I believe in longer term therapies, because it is only with time and patience that we can truly get to know one another, and use the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for development.
My belief is that the goal of therapy is not to feel better, but to feel more. The goal is to learn how to think in a free and creative way about the things which distress us, rather than to avoid our feelings of distress. In the long term, this is an empowering and enriching achievement, enabling us to feel joy in the good times, and hope in the bad time.
Beyond my work as a psychotherapist, my academic research has focused on exploring the experiences of people who have been diagnosed with various forms of mental illness. This research aimed to describe the feelings that arise in people in relation to the diagnostic “label”. In addition to this, my research has focused on the intergenerational transmission of trauma, exploring on the experiences of the children of mothers with histories of interpersonal trauma.
Areas of Interest
I am a clinical psychologist working in private practice. I assist adolescents, adults and families who experience a range of psychological difficulties. My areas of interest include (but are not limited to) relationship difficulties, negotiation of major life transitions, bereavement and loss, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, substance use, identity and self improvement.
I have previously worked at Valkenberg Hospital (in Adult psychiatry and forensics), Red Cross Hospital within the Division of Child and Adolescent psychiatry, and within the Department of Correctional Services providing rehabilitation to inmates of correctional services; providing psychotherapy to people of all age groups at Heideveld Community Health Clinic and at Akeso Kenilworth Clinic providing treatment in general psychiatry and addictions.
In my work with clients in psychotherapy, I very much believe in assisting each individual in reaching their intrinsic potential. I’m a believer that clients are their own expert and work to create a collaborative space to promote sharing, growing and learning. Therapy can be a vulnerable experience, and it’s one that should feel safe and secure in order to access difficult experiences and emotions in order to heal. I am also very aware that we do not exist in isolation; we exist within relationships, families, work environments, cultures, histories, countries, legacies. I find a good awareness of the systems in which we exist, key in understanding an individual and assisting in their development.