Psychologist and Equine Therapist
Gert Janse Van Rensburg
Gert Janse van Rensburg, Clinical Psychologist and Equine Therapist
One of our two senior psychologists, Gert Janse van Rensburg, helps oversee most of the clients at White River Manor.
Gert brings a wealth of experience to the centre, having worked for more than two decades in a wide range of clinical settings. His roles have included an internship at a military hospital in Pretoria, where he worked on complex cases of PTSD and substance addictions. He also spent several years working as a psychologist for an NHS Trust in the UK and two and a half years as a lead psychologist at an inpatient addiction facility in South Africa.
It’s not just Gert’s experience and deep knowledge of addiction recovery that make him so successful in his work. Meet him, and you instantly feel at ease in his presence. His wisdom and passion for his work are as palpable as his sense of calm. You know at once that you are in safe hands.
Gert owes much of his success to the Open Dialogue Method, developed by the eminent Finnish Professor Jaakko Seikkula. Gert believes in this healing method, which invites individuals to have a say in their treatment plans. He also draws upon techniques such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and equine therapy.
“We make it possible for the person to experience … DBT teaches us not only to think about what we feel but also to feel what we think.”
Gert is a great advocate of this experiential process, which is a founding principle of equine therapy. Having been around horses all his life, he has seen how horses can profoundly influence the healing of the mind.
“I’ve seen clients gain some good insights. They don’t realise how much they are opening up because they are just amongst the horses.”
Gert is often heard quoting Churchill, who once said,
“There’s something about the outside of the horse that speaks to the inside of men.”
It is perhaps Gert’s deep love of nature that drew him to White River Manor. He is passionate about wildlife and loves to spend his spare time at Kruger National Park. Gert believes the natural surroundings enjoyed at White River Manor plays a vital role in recovery.
“White River Manor is like nowhere else in the world. The setting. The programs. The personalisation. The luxury accommodation. The clinical excellence of our highly developed team. The equine therapy, and art and music therapy. And the level of activities we offer to our clients at the weekends to teach them to enjoy life and have fun again. All these factors combine to make us one of the most successful treatment centres in the world. I have found my calling and my spot on the earth.”
Gert is one of those special people who possesses an aura of calm and positivity, and there is a humbleness in his approach to everything. His recognition of the healing opportunity in everyone shines through in everything he does.