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Positive self-image makes for healthy people

Maryn Barkhuizen

Maryn Barkhuizen

Less absenteeism, higher productivity

If a local private social worker manages to find approval with medical aid funds, group therapy can be done at a fraction of the cost of conventional clinical therapy. The driver of the group therapy initiative, Mrs Maryn Barkhuizen, says her group sessions focus on the dialectic link between self-image and health. She is of the opinion that her approach to wellness, especially in the working environment, can help companies save on their overall medical aid expenses by reducing the number of pathological events.
In an information sheet drawn up to explain her service and her concept, Mrs Barkhuizen argues that health, wellness and productivity, can all be enhanced by guided group therapy that illuminates the relationship between a positive self-image and wellness.
In an effort to make this service available to a wider audience, she has applied for approval of her therapy sessions under the Group Therapy class, recognised and coded by Namaf as a valid health service. This was declined by Namaf at the beginning of the year saying that their definition of Group Therapy only includes rehabilitation and not training. According to Mrs Barkhuizen Namaf expressed the opinion that employers must be responsible for costs associated with training and therapy when this is applied in a group context.
Defending her focus on groups instead of individuals, she says “Group therapy is suggested as open group sessions [tend] to motive more people to actively seek transformation. It is more exciting, participants readily discuss the substance of their training, they experience relief and they receive supportive literature to take with them.”
But medical aid funds did not shut the door completely and have required feedback from fund members to prepare a submission for Namfisa which is also the medical aid fund regulator. This deadline is at the end of October.
In a drive to sensitise employers on the overall benefits of group therapy, Mrs Barkhuizen will be hosting several information sessions where group therapy, its benefits, course content, and costs, will be explained. These sessions target exclusively employers to enable them to make an assessment of the value of group therapy, so that it can be included as a certified health service, and covered as such, by medical aid funds.
In the meantime, companies that want to send groups of employees to attend group therapy sessions should first clear the issue with their medical aid funds.

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