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Melissa Janet

Social worker

  • B. Hons. Social Work (WITS)

Location: Rivonia

Services offered:

  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Trauma Debriefing
  • Bereavement
  • Adjustment difficulties
  • Anger Management
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress management
  • Burnout

My passion for working with people started as a teenager when I volunteered for a residential facility for intellectually disabled children and adults in Johannesburg. This provided me with an insight into how rewarding it can be to work in a helping profession, and ultimately prompted me to study Social Work. Upon completion of my Honours Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1995 I came full circle and was employed for 2 years as a Social Worker at the same organisation where I had volunteered all those years before.

Two years later an opportunity to work in the UK arose and I decided to spread my wings to gain overseas work and life experience. A move to London ensued and what was supposed to be a year-long stint, culminated in me living and working in the UK for 14 years. During that time I gained a wealth of experience within all facets of Social Work. Working as a locum afforded me the opportunity to obtain diverse work experience within several sectors of the population. I locumed at various local authorities including Westminster, Camden, Barnet, Lambeth, Essex and many others. These roles ran the gamut from working with the elderly, children with disabilities, substance abuse issues, youth and criminal justice issues, children who had been sexually abused as well as many Child Protection statutory roles.

In my last 6 years in the UK I opted for a permanent role within the largest Jewish Children’s Charity in the UK called “Norwood” (of which the Queen is Patron). During this time my experience of direct work with children and their families was honed. I had the privilege of working with families from all walks of life who were experiencing diverse challenges, ranging from divorce, bereavement, illness, bullying, children with special needs and so on. The rewards of seeing these children
flourish following my interventions with them and their families will never be forgotten.

After returning to South Africa in 2012 my career moved into a different sphere, that of working in the Corporate world. My time spent within an Employee Wellness Company honed my telephonic counselling skills and allowed me to assist employees with the stresses of working within a corporate environment.

However, my love for working with children was never far from my mind and at the end of 2019 I resigned in order to pursue a private practice working with children and their parents.

My aim is to empower children and adolescents with the skills necessary for life in this new era. Young people face innumerable challenges in today’s society and require a unique set of skills in order to cope and indeed thrive in our technological era. It is my sincere hope that I can assist my clients to enhance their self esteem, confidence and assertiveness skills, and to reduce their anxieties, thereby ensuring optimal mental health for their move into adulthood.

My focus will be on working with school -aged children, from 7 years of age and upwards. One of the most important things which is often a predictor of success and happiness in adults is the development of self esteem. A positive self esteem helps children to:

  • feel liked and accepted
  • feel confident
  • feel proud of what they can do
  • think good things about themselves
  • believe in themselves

On the other hand children with low self-esteem:

  • are self-critical and hard on themselves
  • feel they're not as good as other kids
  • think of the times they fail rather than when they succeed
  • lack confidence
  • doubt they can do things well

My work will include using directive techniques in the form of specifically targeted games, toys, stories and creative arts and crafts as a tool to build up their self worth.

Alongside this I will be working with parents, not only in providing feedback on their children’s progress, but also with skills and guidance of how they can crucially assist their children. Some examples of this would include:

  • Helping your child to learn to do things for themselves, thereby sparking a sense of mastery and pride in their abilities.
  • Praising your children wisely for their achievements, ie focusing on their efforts and expressing pride in their achievements despite the outcomes
  • Banning harsh criticism – the messages that children hear about themselves can easily translate into how they feel about themselves. Harsh words are harmful and not motivating. Be patient when correcting your children.
  • Trying to focus on your child’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. This will also ultimately have a positive impact on their behaviour as well.
  • Letting children help and give to others enhances their feelings of self worth. Self esteem grows when children see that what they do matters to others. Acts of kindness towards others helps children to feel good about themselves.