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This article is based on a telephone interview with Jane Foster of Colors Magazine on 11 January, 1999. This is an Italian Magazine where Jane was based in Bosnia. The article was never published as soon after this interview the Bosnian War broke out. I tried to contact Jane thereafter but was not able to do so.


The main question she asked was: Why do we go on holiday to water?

Water reminds us of our first home in our mother’s womb where we live in water from conception to birth. It is where we experience a sense of calm and safety.

Also, most of our body is made up of water.

Water too forms most of the earth; be it sea, rivers or lakes.

We relax with water as it stimulates our senses of

Sight – seeing waves lapping on the shore or crashing on rocks.  Looking at the beautiful colours of water; like the torquoise colours of the Commores, Mauritius or in Paradise Beach in Langebaan; in the picture above.

Sounds – hearing the sounds of waves or the gentle ripple of rivers or of water falling over waterfalls. We also sometimes have water features in our gardens, pools or homes that look and sound peaceful.  Some people prefer the silence of still water in pools, lakes and rivers to calm their souls. Others feel invigorated and refreshed by the sounds of rushing water or loud crashing waves or the gentleness of lapping water. These preferences could depend on how we feel on a particular day or at a particular time in our lives or we as people may have a general preference for still or loud water sounds for relaxation.

Touch – Sometimes water is icy cold as in some oceans, rivers, lakes and pools which feels refreshing, invigorating, cleansing and thus relaxing. We might choose to emerge ourselves in icy cold water and then lie in the warm or hot sun. Here we would feel the contrast between the cold water and the warm sun. Alternatively we might choose waters in oceans, pools, rivers and lakes that are nearly as warm as our body temperature. Here the warmth of these waters serve to relax us. Also the speed of the water touching our skin can also soothe and relax us; as when we body or kite surf, water ski or simply float gently on a lilo in smooth waters. Or we may have a warm bath to soothe and relax us; this before the drought and severe water restrictions. Currently, a warm shower for less than a minute should suffice to relax us.

Smell – This is the most primitive of our senses. We can feel soothed by the smell of different waters, by sea weed and fish in and around the sea and water plants in water.

Taste – We can feel relaxed by the salty water of the sea or the clear sweet water of mountain streams.

Again, with the severe drought that we have been experiencing in the Western Cape and in other areas of Southern Africa, there is a noticeable and loud expression of joy and release of tension when we have rain.

One of the ways that I work with clients is through Deep Muscle Relaxation with Creative Visualisation and Music. One of the tools here is to visualise a liquid that is a colour and temperature that is soothing for the person. It is to see the liquid moving from the head through the body massaging, healing and soothing the muscles and then flowing out through imaginary holes at the bottom of the feet.




As parents we face the awesome task of attempting to raise well-adjusted and happy children. As parents of twins, triplets, quads or more we face a doubly monumental task. Many of the issues experienced in bringing up twins are amplified. However, there are those issues particular to bringing up of twins.

Particularly in the first year of your children’s birth the parents feels guilty that they are  unable to offer the twins the attention that they require. they simply runs short of time and energy due to the huge physical demands made by the twins on the parents.

These parents need wherever possible to ask for support from family or friends or in the community.

The Mother of twins often feels resentful that her every waking hour is used to satisfy the demands of her children. The father frequently feels neglected because his wife is giving every last ounce of her time and energy to the twins.

It is essential that these Mothers and Fathers can take a small patch of time just for themselves each day just to relax and catch their breath. As a couple they too need time out to reconnect with each other.

When the twins are older, the parents often feel guilty that they are not using every minute that the twins are awake to stimulate them.

The truth is that the twins like all children need time alone where they are not stimulated but where they have space for relaxation and creativity.

Parents of twins frequently find that the setting of limits or boundaries on the behaviour of their twins is an area of uncertainty or conflict between the parents. These parents have said that the twins present a mighty force with which to contend in the face of boundary-setting.

Parents need to exercise extra effort, persistence and consistency in limit-setting.

A further issue is the feeling of some parents that their children will be damaged should they be punished.

The answer to that is that no child will feel happy to be punished. But will benefit from constructive limit setting by parents with long-term feelings of security and emotional maturity ensuing.

One question that parents of twins have is what if my child is hyperactive or is academically slower than their peers or if one seems to have difficulties and the other does not present with these?

It is important to treat twins as individuals with different needs, talents and vulnerabilities.

Do twins benefit from being in the same class at school or should they be separated into different classes?

My own sense is that the twins will benefit from being in separate classes from the start in that they will be developing here too as individuals.

In the same vein, parents ask if they should dress their same-sex twins in the same clothes or differently.

Again, I believe that the twins should be able to develop their own sense of dress and so should be allowed and encouraged to make decisions about what they would like to wear. And if that means they would like to dress alike, so be it.

So in conclusion, it appears that raising twins is an amplified version of raising single children. There are, however, those issues particular to raising of twins such as same or different classes at school, clothes to wear and much more. If these parents ensure that they engage as much support as they can from family, friends and from the community, they are most likely to raise mature, healthy and happy young people.

These parents too need to remember to give themselves as individuals care and attention and to give themselves as a couple the attention that they need to build a strong base and role models for their twins and perhaps other siblings to emulate.


I want to share with you one of the most valuable assertive skills that I have learned for: Managing Stress,

Managing Time and as an effective antidote to Depression.

In an Ideal Situation we are all able to Say ‘No!’ when our Gut instinct is uncomfortable. It is here where we do not have to explain. We do not become defensive. We do not become aggressive and we do not withdraw. We are also ideally able to say ‘No!’ without feeling guilty.

In real life we are so often faced with this situation at work and or at home. We all know the demands of; ‘can I have…’, ‘whats for supper’,. We all know the feeling that others are sucking the energy out of our bones. We all know the feelings of resentment and anger when we say ‘Yes!’ rather than ‘No!’, and where we think others expect us to be Superman or Superwoman.

So what advice can I offer for those who frequently struggle to Say ‘No!’ ?

  1. Listen to your Gut Feel when someone is requesting something of you.
  2. Either say a direct ‘No!’
  3. Or say ‘Not today but I can do this for you on Monday’.
  4. Do not explain yourself
  5. Do not defend yourself
  6. Do not become aggressive
  7. Do not withdraw.
  8. When you can say, ‘No!’ without feeling guilty, you will feel liberated
  9. And as you practice this skill, you will find that you become more effective in using this skill and will subsequently feel less pressured, less guilty and less anxious and depressed

Clients frequently say; ‘But my Mother is persistent when she is demanding that I agree to something’. I counter this argument with ‘Keep repeating yourself like a broken record’ like ‘I know that you need me to……..but unfortunately I am unable to do so.’ Offer empathy for the person who wants something that you don’t want to give and then Say ‘No!’ anyway or give them a different compromise.

Or you might say ‘I cannot possibly refuse an important client.’ I say ‘Yes you can refuse the client when their demand is making your Gut instinct feel uncomfortable.’

Also, I often hear a client say; ‘sometimes I have to say ‘Yes!’ when I know that my Gut instinct is uncomfortable.’ I reply that should the person makes a conscious decision to agree to an unreasonable demand for whatever reason, they will not be damaging themselves at any level. This sounds paradoxical but in fact it is a truism. We sometimes decide to agree to do something for a myriad of reasons.

Therefore, we could review the GUT Instinct and Saying ‘No!’:

Gut feel puts you in touch with who you are and what it is that you want.

Understand the need of others.

Time-management is clearly facilitated when you learn to Say ‘No!’ to unreasonable or uncomfortable requests.

Females or women are often associated with pleasing others. So if you are a woman and struggle to say ‘No!‘, practice this skill and you will find yourself feeling more confident.

Empower yourself by setting  boundaries by Saying ‘No!’

Educate close associates, family and friends to respect even if they are not necessarily enjoying your ‘No!’

Lighten the heavy depressed feelings that result from the internalised anger and resentment of Saying ‘Yes’ when your could Say ‘No!’



The purpose of this article is so that we can put our heads together and practically and creatively:

recognise the signs of SAD and offer a wide variety of tools to both balance and manage the symptoms thereof. Also, through education and empowerment, we can rewrite scripts that are currently maintaining the symptoms of SAD.

If clients were able to describe their symptoms in a clear manner, we as therapists and those close could better understand whether the client is mainly stressed, depressed or anxious or is experiencing a combination of all of these.  Also, in an ideal world, we as therapists, doctors and those close to the ‘client’ would  be able to understand, manage and balance our own SAD and so, the ‘client’ would trust and respect our advice and so feel better.

However, Stress, Anxiety and Depression so often present with similar symptoms. And there are other reasons why therapists, those close and the client is confused; Stress is frequently equated with success. Then why are our stressed clients often also depressed with panic attacks and/or phobias? Then there is Depression; with it’s embarrassment and associated stigma and secrecy. Also, the symptoms of Mourning with the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job or the loss of health and other losses, mirrors the symptoms of depression and anxiety. A further complication and confusion with SAD is that the client could be experiencing side-effects from antidepressant medication and one of these side effects might be panic attacks, whilst another might be anxiety or depressed mood. Also, in my experience, low iron or thyroid frequently presents in the client with fatigue, low motivation and other depressive symptoms. Whilst overactive thyroid can present with symptoms of anxiety and agitation and irritation. In addition, sometimes that client who is experiencing mostly stress and anxiety does not recognise the ‘quieter’ underlying depression that is being masked by the ‘louder’ stress and anxiety. further to the above confusion and complications of SAD, it can be contagious; i.e. family, friends or colleagues at work might feel SAD when they are close to the client. As health care professionals or medical doctors, the question to ask is: How often does our own SAD impact on our clients and theirs on us?

So what can our clients and we as professionals do in the face of SAD? Use creativity, feedback from others and talk to trusted others to identify SAD. Use self-help like exercise, deep muscle relaxation and the many other tools offered in Stress matters and Depression Matters. Seek psychotherapy for the management and treatment of SAD. Consider holistic treatments available for the balancing of SAD symptoms; these frequently involve homoeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, acupuncture and more. Should the client not be feeling significantly better after trying the above, he or she could consider psychotropic medication with the holistic tools for the balancing of SAD.

We so often find that a client feels physically ‘ill’ when in fact they are experiencing SAD. So the medical or healthcare professional should explore the possibility that the client’s iron, thyroid, Vit B, Vit D, testosterone, low blood pressure or other physical or chemical factors that need further exploration. When these are out of balance and are then rebalanced, the symptoms of SAD reduce or dissappear. Then there are clients who do not wish to take psychotropic medication. They fear addiction or they have seen a colleague or a family member experience particularly bad side-effects of this type of medication. In these cases it may be useful to offer the client over the counter herbal or homoeopathic remedies for the symptoms of SAD. Should these not work adequately, the client could be offered information about the pros and cons of psychotropic medication. We should not discount the effects of insufficient light in the Northern Hemisphere where some people experience the symptoms of SAD. When this is the case, these people; clients and professionals alike can consider the use of light boxes which as known to alleviate the symptoms of SAD.

In summary, clients, those close, like family and work colleagues and we as professionals could use the myriad of self-help tools available, like exercise and relaxation. We all could benefit from education about SAD and also, the open communication about SAD, will remove a great deal about the secretness and embarrasment surrounding the symptoms of SAD.


Children of celebrity or generally pressuring parents frequently have difficulties in the development of their identities. This is because they are frequently under pressure to achieve the same or more than that of their parent. These children thus carry a set of expectations that elevate them to a level beyond that of children who do not have famous parents.


Children, in general, are more likely to develop a healthy sense of identity if their parents are encouraging and nurturing and if these children have the intellectual and/or creative potential to achieve at a similar or higher level than that of their parents.


When huge pressure to achieve is laid on these children, it can have devastating results. This is especially so should these children not have experienced the warmth, acceptance and caring by the parent. It is also detrimental to these children when the parent has been so involved in the pursuit of his or her career  that important stages of these childrens’ development have been missed in terms of parent/child interaction.


Another difficulty can arise for children of famous parents when a public figure, as is often the case, becomes embroiled in controversy. These children often have to cope with this controversy and the court of public opinion levelled against their parent. Children facing this situation could respond by protecting and defending the parent; withdrawing from them or becoming angry with them. The children’s behaviour is also likely to depend on their stage of development.


The above issues are interesting in view of South Africa’s first/third world status. For example, many black students that I counselled at University of Western Cape’s Student Counselling in the 1980’s were first generation university students.  They were so often under enormous pressure to achieve status for their working class parents. They were not, for example, allowed to watch television as this would detract from their study time. It was often the case that much financial sacrifice had been made on the part of the parent and on the part of the student. Besides the pressure from parents to achieve, there was also at that time, strong pressure from peers to become involved, or more involved in the broader social struggle. The students’ conflict was often one involving personal growth and fulfilment versus the struggle for a better social order. In this regard, many of the parents had over the years become more attuned and sympathetic to their students’ needs.


Within the social structure of the 1080’s, it seemed that the second generation university student had a different, but no less pressured influence on his or her identity formation. Take for example the first black professor at a local university. When he had sons, he would often express the wish for these male children to achieve an even higher career than he had achieved.


In general, parents would be well advised to encourage their children to achieve their own unique potential. However, undue pressure to do so, particularly when that pressure is placed on  children of slower intellectual potential, is likely to create anxieties and possible depression in these children. In addition, the parents are likely to set themselves up for disappointment in these children  and subsequent less acceptance of the latter for who they are. It is thus when childrens’ own interests, talents and abilities are not recognised nor nurtured by the parents, that difficulties such as adolescent drug taking, delinquency, anxiety and depression and other negative acting out behaviour can arise.


I would like to relate a story of depression with a happy ending.


Once upon a time there was a young girl called Allison. She was able to tell those around her how she felt. She was open about her depression and how it felt for her. Because of this openness, she was able to get help and to manage her depression and therefore to live a happier life.


In reality, depression is often an embarrassing secret with a stigma attached to it.


The depressed person just does not feel well. They often have little energy; difficulties with eating and sleeping, irritability, anxiety and also negativity towards themselves, their world and their future. These symptoms most often affect their relationships in a negative way.


So in view of the above, I recommend that the depressed person:


Go to their General Practitioner to have blood tests to establish whether their symptoms could be due to other factors such as low iron, thyroid, Vit B or D, testosterone or other tests deemed necessary by their doctor and/or whether their blood pressure is particularly low. All of these factors could mirror the symptoms of depression.


Recognises their  own signs and symptoms of depression such as mentioned above.


Try for 2 weeks to do regular exercise for 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 5 days a week.


Consider consulting with a psychologist or a social worker to manage their depression.


Should the symptoms of depression not be well managed after taking the above measures for between 2 weeks and a month then it may be necessary to consider taking either a natural tranquilliser, and mood elevating substance; Biral for anxiety and Elevate for mood elevation comes to mind. Should these not help after a week or two, consider taking an anti-depressant over the long-term to treat and manage depression


On the positive side, the person will have started to talk to someone about how they feel. That in itself will be likely to make them feel lighter and not so alone. It is also probable that this will move the person from feeling sad, depressed and isolated to feeling more in control of their lives.


So I can hear you object to the above recommendations:


“ I am too tired to exercise”


Do not wait to feel more enery to be able to exercise. Start slowly and don’t exhaust yourself; that would just set you back to feeling more depressed.


“I want to feel better but no one will listen to how bad I feel”


Start by writing your story and once it is all out there on paper in front of you, change the negative statements to positive ones.


To conclude and summarise, I would like to look at the word SECRET.


S – Tell your STORY to a friend, a psychologist, a social worker and/or your doctor.

E –  EDUCATE yourself about depression; Read about depression and learn from others.

C – Use your CREATIVITY by painting, singing, and/or writing your story etcetera.

R – RESPECT yourself and the choices you are now making in your life.

E – EMPOWER yourself through these choices and through your own positive behaviour.

T – TRANSLATE the sad story of depression into a journey where you feel more in charge of

Your life to cope better with life’s joys and pain.


Gerald, sales director of an electronic company, and Cindy, his interior decorator wife, consulted with me for a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. Cindy had recently found out that Gerald had been having a long-term affair with one of his area sales managers. The couple had two children. Gerald had promised Cindy that the affair was over and that he loved her and his kids and wanted desperately to work at salvaging their marriage.


In an interview alone with Gerald, he told me that Cindy was far more attractive, with a better figure than his ex-lover. The latter, however, had been completely uninhibited when it came to love-making, whereas Cindy would only undress in the dark. Cindy was also disinterested in his work while his ex-lover supported and encouraged his work. The latter also accompanied him on out-of-town business trips where their love-making was frequent and passionate. The illicit nature of their relationship made their intimacy more urgent and special.


Some months prior to meeting with Gerald and Cindy, I had first consulted with Lisa. She was a single, ambitious, sales manager who was having an affair with her boss. He had promised to leave his wife for her, but did not do so; through guilt and from fear of losing daily contact with his children.


Lisa was angry with her lover for not fulfilling his promise to leave his family, to marry her and to have children together. She could not make sense of a situation where he had declared his love for her and the fact that he no longer loved his wife. Lisa told also what a great team they made in the work-place.


It was almost a year later, seeing Gerald and Cindy for marital counselling, and Lisa for individual psychotherapy, that I joined the dots and realised that Lisa was the ‘third party’ in the marriage of Gerald and Cindy. Gerald and Cindy were still romantically involved with each other.


In the first year and a half of the affair, Gerald and Lisa had created a sales force that was responsible for producing record figures. The magic and power of their affair was felt by the team and in some way filled them with enthusiasm, group cohesiveness and vastly improved bottom line.


The tide of fortune however started to decline. There was a significant drop in productivity.


Gerald was depressed. Lisa was stressed, depressed and very angry. The sales team were frequently absent from work with complaints of cold and flu viruses




Let’s go back to the beginning of this story to answer some of the questions most frequently asked about THE OFFICE AFFAIR.


Gerald and Lisa had worked together for seven years prior to the start of their affair. How then did these work colleagues become lovers?

  1. Gerald had been Lisa’s mentor at work. He had taught her all that he knew about sales. Being a fast learner, he had promoted Lisa from his personal assistant to sales representative to sales manager.
  2. They had also begun sharing and confiding personal aspects of their home lives with each other. By doing so, they drew emotionally closer.
  3. On their first out-of-town trip, they had closed a lucrative deal. This they celebrated by drinking too much wine which led to passionate love-making. It was on the following day that they declared their love for each other.

Besides sensing the magic that Gerald and Lisa generated at work, did top management and the sales team know about the affair? And if so, what was the Company’s attitude to romantic relationships at work?

  1. Gerald and Lisa’s colleagues felt the power and chemistry that existed between this couple. However, due to the sense of motivation, vastly improving the performance and the rewards of bonuses and other incentives, no one questioned the relationship between this couple. No one, also wanted to know details thereof.
  2. The Company’s policy was to prohibit staff who were involved romantically from working together.
  3. With more time, it became clear to Lisa that Gerald was not going to leave his marriage. She then ended her relationship with Gerald.
  4. With a sharp decline in the sales team’s work performance, high absenteeism and poor figures that the other directors, as well as some members of the sales team had begun to question the nature of the relationship between Gerald and Lisa. Top management placed pressure on Lisa to resign.
  5. Lisa resigned and started her own business.


  1. Office affairs are common.
  2. Colleagues who work closely together, frequently share personal confidences and develop emotionally intimate relationships.
  3. Add the aspect of an unsatisfactory, boring or abusive relationship at home, the climate is right for an affair.
  4. Include out-of-town business trips and after work drinks with clients where spouses and partners are excluded. Opportunities for the couple to express their sexual feelings for each other are enhanced.
  5. The office affair is extremely powerful and can sometimes serve as a catalyst to propel a partner out of an unsatisfactory, boring or abusive relationship at home.
  6. Some office affairs are acknowledged by the couple before they express their sexual feelings by love-making. Some of these couples put brakes on the affair and work at salvaging their relationships at home. Some reveal the existence of the potential or reality of an affair at work whilst others do not tell their spouses or partners about their feelings.
  7. Work performance tends to improve with the affair at its height, although stress levels are extremely high. Couples also often experience weight and appetite loss and sleep disturbance. Feelings of guilt about long-term relationship are often expressed. In addition, the couple feel a kind of agony when they are separated from each other even for short periods of time. Mood swings are common.
  8. Men often express conflict between losing their families and losing their lover. Whatever decision they make they feel that they will lose an important part of their lives.

Clearly, The Office Affair brings with it the paradoxes of agony and ecstasy, of peak performance and ill-health. So think carefully before embarking on this hazardous journey.