9 Reasons Why People Seek Out Alternative Therapies

“I have been to so many different therapists, psychologists and helpers but I have not found what I need.”

“I haven’t found anyone that I can really connect with.”

“I need to connect with a real person, not a blank face.”

“I don’t feel like I can relate to my therapist.”

“I don’t want to blindly follow a conventional medicine model, but I also don’t want to ignore important medical advice.”

“Traditional therapy is just not working for me.”

“I am desperate for my mental health or my child’s mental health to improve, and nothing seems to be working.”

“I’ve tried everything.”

“Just simply talking isn’t helping me.”

These are some of the most common reasons my clients look for alternative therapies, and often why they come to me. I highly value the fields of psychology and psychiatry, which is why I work collaboratively with other professionals. However, traditional therapy approaches are not for everyone.

Sometimes, people need a different approach in order to feel seen and heard. The traditional therapy models tend to allow less transparency, real-ness and openness from the therapist, with the focus remaining exclusively on the client. This works really well for many people.

For others, the core element of safety in therapy can only be found in an imperfect, somewhat irreverent approach that allows relationship and connection to unfold between two real human beings. I bring a valuable expertise to the relationship pertaining to the areas of therapy and skills I offer; however, I am not an expert on life. This is a journey we undertake together. The relationship we form is the vehicle for growth and healing.

The integrative nature of this approach means that we may use talking, music, art, movement, trauma-informed yoga, breathwork, lifestyle modification, creative process, symbol work, nature, writing and/or mindfulness in a way that feels safe and appropriate for you.

I like to take 1 – 3 sessions to get to know you and to allow you to get to know me. From there, we can decide whether we would like to work together and if I could be helpful.

If you are interested in integrative therapy, an alternative approach, please contact Melissa by clicking here

16 week psychedelic assisted therapy program

This program is informed by the John’s Hopkins psychedelic research protocol. It also draws on tools from MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and the Center for Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College London.

Week 1-8: weekly preparation sessions including assessment, verbal and non-verbal therapies, intention setting, examining our narrative, trauma-informed yoga therapy and implementation of tools and strategies for the process. Importantly, this preparatory period helps establish a trusting relationship, consistency and a safe space.

Week 9: day-long psychedelic experience including preparatory yoga, nature immersion, creative arts therapies, Hero’s Journey walkabout and individually curated music playlists. The journey is facilitated indoors with eyeshades.

Week 9-16: weekly integration sessions in order to extract the most meaning and insight from the process and connect it to daily life. Verbal and non-verbal, creative processing and re-storying.

Cost: R20 600 total

Preparation sessions: R850 (60-90 minutes)

Day long experiential session: R7000 (6-8 hours)

Integration sessions: R850 (60-90 minutes)

Payable weekly. Upfront payment discount offered.

Transformational journey and psychedelic integration: a beautiful testimonial

“In a time of my life where I had no idea how to start dealing with my trauma, Melissa offered me a safe haven by teaching me about myself and showing me where my power lies. We worked very closely together in thorough preparation for my psychedelic journey as well as the integration of the impact it had on me afterwards. Years later Melissa is still the person I call on for guidance on how to manage the inner storms that arise, and her hunger for knowledge ensures that the most suitable methods are used for my ptsd.”

Sarah worked in therapy with me with her difficult relationships, cPTSD, depressions and anxiety. She went on a psilocybin journey to help catalyze her process. This was well planned, prepared for and integrated. She is an incredibly brave and bold soul who has shifted so much generational trauma as well as personal blocks. I am grateful to work with such special humans on a daily basis. (Name changed for confidentiality purposes).

MDMA-assisted therapy

Why MDMA in therapy?

MDMA-assisted therapy allows for the re-experiencing of trauma, remembering and feeling within a uiniquely safe and ‘warm’ container. Events and feelings can be revisited without the intense level of shame, pain or terror associated with them. Difficult feelings can emerge, but MDMA allows one to move into the feeling, if chosen, without being overwhelmed. Facing these challenging feelings and allowing them to unfold can be the catalyst for great healing and change. MDMA also increases a sense of empathy, in this work often toward oneself, and a sense of self-acceptance. Things can be viewed from different perspectives without the same level of defense. MDMA is also a highly somatic substance, enhancing one’s sensations and the physical experience of emotional states.

MDMA-assisted therapy is used for various reasons including PTSD, couples therapy and cPTSD.

MDMA is a synthetically produced psychoactive substance. Often thought to be the same as Ecstacy, MDMA is a pure compoud, whereas Ecstacy may contain any number of other compouds, or sometimes no MDMA at all.

MDMA-assisted therapy is not yet legal in South Africa and the author, Melissa McWalter, does not endorse the recreational or illegal use of MDMA.

For more information, visit the contact page.

Small trauma-informed yoga groups: spaces available

Hi everyone 🙂

Because there has been such a keen interest in my trauma-informed yoga (TIY) classes, both individual and group, I am opening another small TIY group. The group is almost full, if you would like to reserve a place, please contact me directly.

The group will only facilitate a maximum of four people. Location is 3 Belsay Road, Kenilworth.

If the group is full by the time you contact me, I will waitlist you for the next group which should be opening soon.

Please note that because of the sensitive nature of this work, anyone joining a TIY group must have 1-3 individual assessment sessions with me first. Individual sessions can continue until the person is ready to join the group.

There are no strength, flexibility or fitness requirements. The classes are at your own pace. The TIY groups can be seen as a body-based version of group talk therapy. While we do not spend much – or any – time talking, we are learning to be with one another, to synchronise with our own bodies and the bodies of others, and to eventually feel more supported and calm in the presence of others. All this while exploring important aspects of ourselves in and through our bodies.

Cost:

Individual session: R790, hour long.

Group session: R350, hour long. (Group sessions can be discounted if paid upfront for the month. The cost for a month is R1000, one class per week, if paid upfront. However, I encourage each person to try a few classes until they feel ready to commit to the monthly payment.)

Contact by clicking here or Whatsapp 0834129768

A Brief Rationale for an Integrative Approach

Music therapist integrative therapy Cape Town  Melissa Ellse
Integrative Therapy in Cape Town with Melissa Ellse

We are all unique 🌟

An integrative therapeutic approach draws thoughtfully from various theories, methods and techniques based on the individual’s strengths, needs and concerns.


There is no one-size-fits-all. It simply does not exist. Every single encounter we have with one another is both meaningful and unique. This is because we are human and beautifully complex.


I’ve learned this first hand in my own therapeutic processes, which is why I strive to be integrative, intuitive and informed in my approach. And my approach will probably not work for everyone, because we are all unique 🌟 and that is truly wonderful.

To find out more, click here.