Practice no. 8618321 HPCSA no. PS 0030341

Tel: 012 460 4465 | Emergency: 082 824 2436

Tel: 012 460 4465
Emergency: 082 824 2436


Dr Karen van Niekerk believes that kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness and that kindness in giving creates love.


“…. Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr

Once individuals realise that they have influence over their behaviour, they are then able to perform and control their behaviour. A positive attitude towards their behaviour must be cultivated, and a growth mindset must be instilled in the patient to ensure that they realise that they are continuously developing into better versions of themselves. Once this becomes the normal way of thinking, patients intuitively have a method of understanding and developing tools to manage and overcome challenges that might be presented in the future.

Bill O’Connell from the United Kingdom shared his 5-Step Programme for finding solutions effectively:

Step 1: Put the problem into words, and explain in a few sentences.
Step 2: Describe the situation once the problem is resolved.
Step 3: Explain what needs to change to ensure that you no longer experience the problem.
Step 4: Identify the first small step that needs to be taken to resolve the problem.
Step 5: Celebrate the small wins, and ensure commitment to the next small step.

Together with Dr Karen van Niekerk, patients are ensured that their requests are tailored to ensure a solution that is ideal for their set of circumstances.


“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” – Friederich Nietzche

While trauma is deeply unsettling, therapists agree that in the patient’s mind, a change must occur where they redirect their attention from the negative to the positive. However, in times of intense emotional conflict, humans might need help from someone else to turn their perspective from negative to positive. Initially, the therapist helps the patient to acknowledge the problem. Once this has occurred, the therapist looks for cues where the patient expresses a desire for change.  When the patient can express how things need to change, the therapist can help shift perspective from negative to positive.


“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Eddison

Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist from Stanford University explained that people with a fixed mindset believe that their capabilities are unchangeable and that capabilities are largely determined by natural talent. She also described that people with a growth mindset view their capabilities as a potential which can be developed.

It is easier for people with a growth mindset to embrace and respect the learning process, which enables people to develop strategies and improve learning for long-term performance. The great news is that a growth mindset can be taught by using asking patients to list three reasons that are important for people to recognise that they can develop their capabilities. Furthermore, therapists often ask patients to describe how they have managed to become better in something which they were previously not so good at. Therapists often use examples of people who have improved drastically, to showcase that the ability to change and learn is available for everyone.

Often, the feedback one receives during the learning or development process is vital to ensuring continued improved performance. People confuse trait compliments – a typically fixed quality – with process compliments, where people are rewarded with positive feedback about what the individual accomplished that worked at that specific point in time.

 Trait ComplimentsProcess Compliments
Example“You are so smart!”“You’ve done that well”
Effect on thinkingEvokes a fixed mindsetEvokes a growth mindset
Effect on feelingEvokes a sense of pride and satisfactionEvokes a sense of pride and satisfaction
Effect on behaviourAvoids challengesLess effortLess enduranceDefensive responses to failureTakes challengesMore effortMore enduranceLearns from mistakes

Dr Karen van Niekerk treats the following patients:

  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Parents
  • Teenagers
  • Students