Is there a difference between a DOCTOR and a THERAPIST?

Your immediate response could easily be OF COURSE there is a difference. A doctor is a professional, deals with my physical health, has to study for years and a therapist is none of those things.


The truth may be less obvious.


In reality, doctors (in South Africa) have to study for seven years with two years community service.


Therapists, depending on their qualifications, have to study for four years for a Social Worker degree with Honours which qualifies the Social Worker to deal with a wide scope of issues including short term counseling and long term therapy, court mandated supervised visitations, school work, hospital work, work in prisons, old age homes and many community projects. A 5th year of study would earn the Social Worker a Masters degree with an additional title.


A counselor has to study for four years, and they only deal with short term counseling (6 to 8 sessions) while to qualify as a Psychologist, the individual has to study for 5 years obtaining a Masters degree. Psychologists also do short term counseling and long term therapy.


Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists have to do 1 year of practical work and community service. There are a WIDE range of modalities and differences in therapies and scope of practice even though Counsellors, Social Workers and Psychologists work on many occassions, overlap.


A lay counselor (these individuals do a short course of a few days to approximately 12 weeks) is not considered either a PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR or A THERAPIST. Lay councelors do voluntary work and do not get paid for their work. Lay counselors generally work under, and are supervised by, a Social Worker or a Psychologist.


So since the difference between DOCTOR's and THERAPISTS is not necessarily about studies, where could the differences lie?


Doctors work with PHYSICAL health. Generally, it is easy to identify someone who is physically unwell. Whether it be a broken bone, the look when they have a cold or some other tell tale sign. This is not necessarily the case with 'mental' health.


When it comes to mental health the person may look fantastic on the outside, they could look like your dream or ideal partner. They may have all the physical attributes you strive to find in a partner. They may have what seems to be a positive, friendly personality and are almost always smiling. Their physical appearance does not necessarily reflect ANY of their internal issues. Is it possible that these 'hidden' issues make onlookers feel threatened because they EXPECT the person they SEE to be the person they PERCEIVE them to be. Sort of like expecting a book to be EXACTLY like the cover. Remember the warning – never judge a book by the cover!


It is also possible that history plays a part in the stigma that is attributed to mental health (therapists) but not to physical health (doctors), thus making people feel that DOCTORS are elevated, more important and BETTER QUALIFIED to deal with people's health. This may certainly be true for PHYSICAL HEALTH, but is certainly UNTRUE when it comes to MENTAL HEALTH.


Psychiatrists specialize in PSYCHOLOGICAL (MENTAL) HEALTH – or at least the limited information that is understood about the the chemicals of the human brain. They seldom seem to take emotions into account, possible because emotions are unpredictable and can wreck havoc with chemical compounds and their mixtures.


Therapists, on the other hand deal solely with the psychological, mental and emotional make up of a person. They do not get involved in CHEMICALS – hence no medication is prescribed. The therapist will strive to aid an individual to reprogram their thinking, see the issue in a different light, aid the individual to accept, live with or remove the issue that causes EMOTIONAL chaos in their lives. Where necessary, the therapist will refer the client/patient to a psychiatrist for a proper assessment, diagnosis and prescribe medication.


It could be for this reason that DOCTORS and THERAPISTS are viewed separately and often heirachacly. This may not be in the best interest of either party, as in actual fact they, more often than not, work hand in hand with each other and their patients and clients in order to assist the individual to live their best life.


Is there any logical reason that a doctor, who works with chemistry, should be viewed as any better than a therapist who works with emotions?


If you are looking to live your best life, if you are not feeling that you are playing your best game, contact Ingrid of Inner Essence Holistic Therapies and see how she can assist you.


Call +27 (0)82 331 8424 or email

The Secret of Self Talk



Have you ever heard the didi “Sticks and stones may break my bones but WORDS can never harm me”?


Many people grow up singing this song, and THEY BELIEVE IT! Why wouldn't they believe it? It was most likely taught by a CARING, INFLUENTIAL, RESPECTED ADULT. Surely the WELL MEANING adult would not lie to a young, influential child.


Unfortunately, the well-intended influencer did lie. Most likely because they believe it themselves. People CAN be cruel, and their words can hurt. BUT we don't have to listen to others. We can block our ears, we can talk over them, we can walk away. All effective ways to NOT LISTEN. And if we do listen, fortunately, we have the power to ERASE the words that do not sit well with us. We can very easily overwrite the negative words of others.


BUT what happens when the negative words ARE OURS!?


Believe it or not WE ALL TALK TO OURSELVES! NO, IT IS NOT A SIGN OF INSANITY, IT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL. Unlike the stories we hear, often jokingly, that it is not when we talk to ourselves, but when we ANSWER ourselves that we need to be concerned, the reality is that we are in our OWN HEADS. Read that again. We are ALWAYS IN OUR HEADS. We talk to ourselves ALL THE TIME – creating OUR REALITY.


This means that when we talk negatively TO or ABOUT ourselves – WE BELIEVE IT!


As brilliant as our brains are, they are not able to differentiate REALITY from THOUGHTS – ESPECIALLY “ACTIVATED “ thoughts. An activated thought is one that has EMOTION attached.


It is for this reason OUR THOUGHTS MATTER. We all have the ability to CHANGE OUR THOUGHTS. We all have the ability to VISUALIZE. We all have the ability to ACTIVATE thoughts.


Unfortunately HAVING THE ABILITY does not mean you know how to use that ability. Like a person who owns a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce or any other RECOGNIZED SUPER BRAND car, If you do not know how to drive, and the car stands in a garage, never going anywhere because you have no clue how to START IT and TURN IT ON, so it is with our minds.


If you have not been shown, or assisted with ways to FLIP THE SWITCH of your brain to generate POSITIVE, SELF FULFILLING THOUGHTS, you may generate negative, self-fulfilling thoughts.


Ingrid of Inner Essence Holistic Therapies ( is a Social Worker and therapist qualified in many modalities that can help you FLIP YOUR SWITCH, change your mind and live your best life.


For more information on the therapies offered by Inner Essence, or on Reiki, Hypnosis and treatments for relief of PAIN, TRAUMA, GRIEF, and ANXIETY contact Inner Essence on You can also get further information on VISUALIZATION, EMOTIONS, and the link between SCIENCE and METAPHYSICS.


Change your life for the better NOW - contact Ingrid not won or call

+27 0823318424


The Universe has a peppery sense of humour and way to bring healing opportunities for me when I least expect it.

Approximately 6 years ago, there was an altercation between me and another instructor (lets call her Y). This Mr X was the manager of the instructors at the gym and I went to complain about Y to him because she would finish her class so late that I did not have enough time to set up and introduce myself to my members (I'm also a fitness instructor among other things.) Unknowingly to me, Mr X and Miss Y are buddies and shortly after this altercation, my class was taken away from me without any valid reason nor warning. I was livid at the unfairness and unethical behaviour of this particular Mr X. A few weeks later, Mr X left his post and another manager took over his work and I got my class back.

Since this incident, I found the situation very difficult to let go of and day dreamed of hurting this Mr X as much as I was hurt but never did I put my dreams into action.

I went to a Yoga class this morning expecting the announced instructor to teach. I started getting ready when I see Mr X was the substitute instructor. So you can now probably imagine all those negative feelings I experienced when I saw him. He greeted me, so I greeted him back politely and the class began.

Om.....Om.....Oh how DARE he teach Yoga and pretend he is Spiritual blah blah blah fish paste!

As the class progressed, I made a conscious effort to set my negative feelings aside and concentrate on the class because after all, I was there for myself. 1.5 hours of twisting myself into a prezzle and doing handstands (which I think I did pretty well), those feelings began to dissolve. I enjoyed his class and thanked him. I would most probably go back to doing Mr X's Yoga classes, however I still feel I have unfinished business with this particular individual. From a rational side, I understand that Mr X and Miss Y are emotionally immature but my emotional side is still angry and hard done by. What I've learned from this experience is that I have the 'emotional muscle' to set aside grievances and do the job required and still be civil and polite to the person whom I feel has hurt me.

This was a good spiritual growth opportunity and a reason to write this article.

Till next time....Ingrid

"Where science and metaphysics meet"