Bespoke psychological services

Living well with chronic disease

(Also refer to the article “Living well with chronic disease” by Elli Jacobs as published in “Mindfood magazine – Australia”, January 2023, where Erasmustherapy was quoted)

Coping with a chronic or life-threatening illness can be difficult because it can make a person feel out of control and overwhelmed by the often-drastic lifestyle changes that have to be made and life roles they many no longer be able to fulfil within the family or in a relationship.

When goals and future plans are put on hold or need to be altered, this can lead to emotional highs and lows including other emotional reactions such as, disbelief, feeling depressed or anxious.

Consequently, the sooner you start talking to a professional psychotherapist about your experience the better.

The emphasis with psychotherapy in a situation like this will be on support and coping regarding the medical condition and it is expected that this will affect a person on an emotional level as well. And including other family members or a partner equips them to also deal with the situation emotionally and be able to offer support.

Try and maintain a normal daily routine, focus on creating a healthy balance of physical, emotional and spiritual practices, live in a positive environment, address “controllable” stressors, and engage with support groups that understand your specific needs and can support you regarding the diagnosis or treatment.

How to support a sick friend

(Also refer to the article by Glynis Horning published in LIFE magazine, Winter 2015 where Erasmustherapy was quoted).

People often feel unsure how to support a friend that is sick, in hospital, has a degenerative disease or is dying. Know that it really makes a difference and means a lot to your friend if you do reach out.

People are generally not consoled by remarks like “It could have been worse”, or “Everything happens for a reason”, or “Let me tell you what happened to someone else I know…” Just let your friend share with you how she feels and give her permission to feel so, even if you think she should not feel like that.

It is okay to talk about the illness. You can share some tears with your friend, it will give recognition to his feelings as well. Otherwise your friend can feel all alone with his feelings.

Confirm that they are special and precious to you.

You can even say you don’t know what to do or say to make it better, but you just want to be there for them.

Make sure you talk TO them and not only to others ABOUT them.


In her book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick, breast cancer survivor Letty CottinPogrebin says everyone should be able to say three things to a friend: ‘Tell me what’s helpful and what’s not’, ‘Tell me if you want to be alone and when you want company,’ and ‘Tell me what to bring and when to leave.’ And there are seven things, she says, which sick friends want to hear:

  1. ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you.’
  2. ‘Tell me how I can help.’
  3. ‘I’m here if you want to talk.’
  4. ‘Just give me my marching orders.’
  5. ‘That sounds awful; I can’t even imagine the pain.’
  6. ‘I’m bringing dinner.’
  7. ‘You must be desperate for some quiet time. I’ll take your kids on Saturday.’

If a friend is dying, you don’t have to avoid the topic. People who are dying think about it and a lot of times need to talk about it.

Tell them that you love them all the time – unconditionally. If you don’t you will regret it later that you didn’t.

Be more happy!

(Also refer to the article in LIFE magazine by Glynis Horning, Summer 2013 were Erasmustherapy was quoted).

The complexity of comparison, materialism and filling your life with “stuff” drives ‘relative happiness’ while simplicity of life may drive true happiness.

Happiness is a choice. We choose to have positive or negative thoughts, which in turn affect the outcome of our perceived happiness. We choose what to react on and how we do.

  1. Take some action. That old thing – the more you do, the more you have time for. Depressed people generally are passive while successful or happy people seem to be constructively busy most of the time.
  2. Work with your talents. Your talents enable you to do GREAT what others do just GOOD. This is bound to make you feel good.
  3. Don’t compare yourself with others. Sometimes comparing actually helps when putting in the bigger picture. Sure the super model has a great body but she has a miserable life when it comes to tasting that fabulous cheese cake.
  4. Rephrase failure. Make it rational by writing it down to gain perspective. Then you feel less emotional and learn from it.
  5. Grow gratitude. This helps and creates a positive outlook on life and its adversities.
  6. Spread kindness. This makes you feel better as well.
  7. Expand on your social support network. If you want to soar with eagles, you have to surround yourself with them. This applies to real friends, while social networking (e-friends) may give you a lot of contact and stimulate thoughts and conversation. But, it may also only give you “e-happiness”.
  8. Add regular physical exercise to your weekly routine. You will also feel good as you have achieved something.
  9. Schedule good times each day. This way you control your day, instead of your diary controlling you and your day.
  10. Enjoy the moment. Being in the present chase away anxiety and stress. They love the past and the ‘what ifs’ from the future.
  11. Start today! There is no time like now. Set yourself a goal and work toward fulfilling it. When it’s done, set a new goal and do the same.

Do I Need a Psychologist?

Do you feel generally ‘OK-ish’ but feel that you can achieve more and are uncertain how? Do you sometimes doubt your ability or feel that there must be more to it? Are relationships not working out as you intended? Do you feel as if you can just stay inside or in bed all day, not speak to anyone today or tomorrow or ever? Does it all feel just too much at times or as if things do not make sense any longer? Do you feel that you are losing the ones that care for you and love you?

Do you sometimes fear things that others seem to do in their stride and don’t think about twice? Is your functioning significantly impaired because of what is happening or not happening in your life? Do you feel quite ‘normal’ but may just need a bit of perspective or reflection on this?

If you could see yourself in one or more of the above questions, then you might benefit from consulting a psychologist.

Surely a simple, Yes, everyone needs a psychologist from time to time! will not do. Seeing a psychologist does not mean that one is mad, out of your mind, have lost it completely or that you have got a psychological problem. On the contrary, it may indicate that you have got “guts” to address things that you find difficult in your life or that you have got vision and want to achieve more than now. Although we also deal with more ‘heavy’ stuff like trauma, depression, anxiety, personality disorders and other clinical disorders, we mostly see ‘normal’ people with everyday difficulties for which they want some or other solution, redefinition or different perspective.

Therapy to us is not only about what is difficult or troublesome or limiting, but also include elements of positive psychology. During the therapeutic process, we try to highlight, utilise and build on the strengths in a persons life to help master the difficulty, traumas or challenges we face. We want you to feel more in control, understand the reason for the difficulties and gain skills to manage and master it.

So come on, choose this investment for yourself. It may just change your life and possibly the lives of those around you too!