About | Christel Maritz Psychologist

Christel Maritz Psychologist

Christel Maritz from Christel Maritz Psychologist is a qualified Clinical Psychologist based in Somerset West. Over the past 22 years she has come to realize that although there are different schools of psychotherapy, certain common denominators are occurring and that these denominators are brain based. ‘People seeking help from one therapist, may hear a completely different perspective about their problem than they would from another well-meaning therapist from a different theoretical school’ John Arden; Brain2Brain, Enacting Client Change through the persuasive power of Neuroscience.  Being keenly interested in Maths and Science, but also in the human psyche, she started off by studying B.Sc Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch majoring in Mathematical statistics and Psychology.   She obtained her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology in 1991.

Through 22 years of private practice Christel Maritz did various courses in neuroscience and specifically theChristel Maritz Psychologist Somerset West Western Cape effect of psychotherapy on the different brain structures as well as to be able to take a specific patient’s brain functioning into account in planning tailor made therapy. Therapeutic modalities that she currently uses, are evidence based, ensuring patients that they are being treated with research based and sound strategies. Including psycho-education about neuroscience as part of therapy, greatly assist patients in understanding their behaviour and emotions.   It changes them from being helpless victims of a diagnoses to active participants in their own recovery process, by having a neuro scientific understanding of their symptoms and learning more about their brain and the brain-body connection.

Christel maritz Psychologist | BWRT® – Brain Working Recursive Therapy

Christel Maritz Psychologist is committed to on going study and recently added the modality of Brain Working Recursive Therapy to her repertoire.   BWRT® is a ground breaking therapy that reflects the way our brain operates to change previously formed patterns that are preventing us from living life to the full. Research shows that the brain has already processed information and initiated a reaction before our conscious minds are even aware of it. So when we are trying to address areas such as anxiety, stress, fears, phobias, relationship problems, confidence, and other negative or limiting habits, we often fail or struggle despite thinking rationally after years of being in therapy. BWRT® http://www.bwrt.org/ bypasses this problem byContinue Reading


Brain Working Recursive Therapy BWRT®

Brain working recursive therapy In the USA and other regions where ‘therapy’ is a restricted term, it is an innovative new concept of working with negative and destructive thought patterns, completely unlike anything that has gone before it. I am a trained Brain working recursive therapist BWRT®. It presents an entirely new view of the subconscious mind – one that is extremely ‘user friendly’ and easy for the client to understand – as well as an elegant way of providing psychotherapy that gets easily beneath the Conscious Critical Faculty.

There is so much in this new methodology that can be used as a ‘stand alone’ to enhance almost every other work methodology!

It’s not hypnosis or a deriviative of hypnotherapy and although it works to release trapContinue Reading


What is EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.Continue Reading

Ask Yourself: What Are You Afraid Of?

Change implies a loss of routine. Whether the loss is short-term or long-term is immaterial. With a Substitute Sense of Self, even a temporary loss of routine means a loss of control. In the best of circumstances, disruptions to our daily routine cause frustrations that unnerve us. Now, consider the added stressors of:

      • Negotiating new social norms and health protocols
      • Grappling with anxiety and fear for the future
      • Suffering with personal and collective grief

When we are inpatient with ourselves, we reject parts of who we are, judge ourselves harshly, and speak to ourselves unkindly. Do thoughts like “I should be used to this by now,” “I can’t get anything done,” or “I’m so exhausted all the time; there must be something wrong with me” sound familiar?

If you struggle with fear of change, don’t allow it to trap you into a life that you don’t want. While change may seem terrifying, the real tragedy is living a life that doesn’t bring you any joy.

A common example of fear of change is when a person stays in an unfulfilling romantic relationship because they are terrified of being single, or of the effort and risk involved in trying to find a different partner. People often coast along in unfulfilling relationships, even marrying a person about whom they feel ambivalent, just because they are so scared at the prospect of breaking up. Often, these marriages end in divorce when one or both partners have finally had enough, but the divorce is very difficult for everyone involved, not least of which being the children.

Change isn’t easy. Quick fixes reside mostly in theory, and lasting change takes time. We will experience challenges, and we may even go backwards at times. Long-term success includes small steps in the direction of your goal. With calm, controlled perseverance and loving kindness, you will achieve whatever you’ve set out to do. Putting an end to your fear—choosing to stay right where you are, doing exactly what you’ve been doing—can provide a temporary relief. You no longer have to worry about all of the “what-if…” scenarios. You no longer have to fear that big, scary, unknown future. But if you never initiate the change—especially those changes you know, deep down in your heart, you need to make—you never know what might have been. If you never take a leap, lifting your feet off solid ground, you might never have the chance to soar.

To conquer your fear of change and transform your life you need a comprehensive plan. Spend the proper amount of time understanding your motivation, researching your concerns, and putting the proper systems in place.

The pursuit of illness for secondary gains

Secondary gains is defined as the advantage that occurs secondary to stated or real illness.

Secondary gains are the “benefits” people get from not overcoming a problem. For many people who are stuck, secondary gains are an important mechanism in why they stay stuck. Secondary gain is usually not something people are consciously aware of. Transition into the sick role may have some incidental secondary gains for person, using illness for personal advantage and consciously using symptoms for financial or other benefits.These symptoms may contribute to social breakdown and the patient’s choice to remain in the sick role.

THIS Person finds the pressure of their work and/or achieving overwhelming. If they get “unsick” they will need to return to work and fulfill their own or others’ high expectations. Staying sick is reinforced.

It is common for symptoms of chronic pain and illness to be connected to early childhood attachment trauma. In these cases, physical symptoms may be related to emotional material that is connected to a young part of self. Here, we must recognize that we all have parts of ourselves that can sometimes be at odds with each other. For example, an adult part might be working toward self-care and symptom reduction; however, a young part might be sabotaging these efforts or unwilling to let go of pain symptoms. To work with this process, we aim to bring in support for the young part of self in the form of allies and resources.

The point of understanding secondary gain is that all the people involved are trapped by it. 

Secondary gains can be defined as any positive advantages that accompanies physical or psychological symptoms. Often, the reasons for secondary gains are deep and psychologically complex (Dersh, et al., 2004; Fishbain, 1994). As a result, people may be unaware of the psychological causes of the chronic physical pain or illness.

Secondary gains may be so reinforcing to the patient that the original depression cannot be affected by treatment and reveal narcissistic gratification because of their disorder.  Despite having a seemingly strong personality, narcissists lack a core self. Their self-image and thinking and behavior are other-oriented in order to stabilize and validate their self-esteem and fragile, fragmented self. They may exploit the kindness and attentiveness of others, shirk responsibility, and avoid the demands of interpersonal interaction.

It’s hard not to judge. Some say their natural development was arrested, often due to faulty, early parenting. Some believe the cause lies in parental harshness or criticalness.

Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut observed that his narcissistic clients suffered from profound alienation, emptiness, powerlessness, and lack of meaning. Beneath a narcissistic façade, they lacked the sufficient internal structures to maintain cohesiveness, stability, and a positive self-image to provide a stable identity.


On Being a Friend: Seeing Someone with Depression — and Seeing Myself

I am a friend. Therefore, these words are my own stories, opinions, impressions, and thoughts on having a friend with depression in this moment. They are not concrete or bible or forever — they are my truth right now. I am a friend. I think a damn good one.

That is all, but sometimes it is a lot.

As I think back, depression was always a part of our relationship. But at 18, 21, 24 we didn’t call it that. We didn’t know it was that. It was “caving” or “winter blues” or just, “I need a break”.  And as fast as our friendship began and as strong as it was, it ended — a couple of times over again.

When we reconnected again as full-fledged adults, the “D” word was introduced. It was discussed, visible and fierce.  There was no denying it and the impact it had on his relationships, his career — his life overall. It lived in him and therefore, it lived in our close friendship.

Let me preface by saying that I screwed up dozens, if not hundreds, of times. At first, I was unaware of the magnitude of this condition and the effect it has on relationships. There was a learning curve that smashed me in the face numerous times. But somewhere along the way I decided I was not going to let mental illness define or destroy this friendship.

I began to change my mindset and my ideas. I think of a yoga meditation, “Devote yourself to seeing, not being seen.” In hindsight that’s what I tried to do — see, really SEE what was going on for him. And now I realize that I have learned to see myself as well.

My approach and strategy for dealing with his depression took on various forms and there was definitely a progression and evolution over time. I decided to learn more about how those on the outside and from afar (mind you, I live hundreds of miles away) can help.  

My initial thought is that talking about it is, and was, paramount. I remember countless text and phone conversations that were icky, but oh so real, about how being depressed really feels in the moment. He talks about it, and therefore, it gives me permission to talk about it too. Even when he can’t name it because he is too far in it, over time he has given me the language and the power to do it for him. 

With that came the hard part: I challenged myself with listening. I listen to understand, empathize, problem-solve, validate and encourage. In that moment, I am there. And after, I am thinking, processing, and replaying it all over again, so I can be more cognizant of it next time.

Often I stop and ask myself: is this my real friend or is this the depressed version of my friend? I almost equate it to someone who drinks — while there’s certainly some truth in the words of a drunk, the tone and delivery are inevitably damaged and therefore, damaging. This was by no means easy to work through, especially at the beginning of the process. It doesn’t mean I ignore it and can move on instantly, but it has become a check that I issue after I am done processing the yuckiness.  

Also, I educate myself, and I allow him (when not all in it) to educate me too. I read articles (metaphors comparing depression to regular things in life, like snowstorms, make the most sense to me), I watch videos (the Black Dog series was one of our favorites), I peruse blogs and follow mental health organizations. But most importantly, after I read/listen/watch/learn, I share it with him and ask, “So what do you think about this?” so I can gauge if it resonates with him as well. This learning is new and scary and so very personal in that it affects someone I’m close to.  But that is why it is so important for me to do.  

Lastly, I’ve learned to give space. Often he will say to me, “I’m sorry, but this is not about you,” and while it may feel like a rejection, it’s the truth. There are times when he needs to shut me down, and although I can get upset, I understand that talking is not always the best option. We can come back to it another time — or not, and that’s ok too.

I am not a perfect friend. And I will never truly understand what someone with depression deals with on a regular basis. But I’ve found from personal experience that by doing some of the strategies above to SEE what’s in front of me, we can work together to tackle this Black Dog one bark at a time.

*NOTE: I have had my friend’s permission, blessing and assistance with this piece from the beginning. He is fully aware I have written it and has read it in its entirety.  

On Being a Friend: Seeing Someone with Depression — and Seeing Myself

Coping through life isn’t living life

BWRT® is probably unlike any other therapy you’ve encountered.If you need a coping meganism, BWRT® is the way forward. It doesn’t use hypnotherapy or NLP techniques, nor does it involve tapping or touching. It is therefore ideal for those people who feel uncomfortable with some elements of other therapeutic techniques.

BWRT® has proved successful with more than just obvious areas such as stopping smoking or stopping unwanted habits. They have also been shown to successfully treat physical issues as well.

What can BWRT® help with?

BWRT® can provide relief from a wide range of problems:

  • Irritable bowel Syndrome
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Weight management
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Pain management
  • unwanted habits,
  • irrational phobias or fears
  • behavioural
  • emotional problems

In my practice as a Clinical Psychologist it is necessary to utilize a range of techniques to deal with different types of problems and disorders.

BWRT® has been designed to remove emotive responses from memories that are deeply troubling and to create new pathways that do not have the old emotional responses attached to it.  BWRT®  therapy extends the neural pathways so that the patient’s brain knows the new patterns to use in future.  Every new experience creates a new pathway. In fact, immediately after the therapy is finished, the client no longer experience any negative response to the usual trigger for their presenting symptom, no matter how hard they try to.

I recommend BWRT® Therapy. Coping through life isn’t living life—it is coping which takes a lot of energy and focus. Energy and focus that could be spend on living the life you want, coping more effectively and being happy.  If one prefers to use coping strategies rather than healing the root cause of the symptoms, BWRT® does the job.