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.

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.

Discovering Meaning in Transition

If life is a journey, most of us can identify transitional points along the way and perhaps some of us are negotiating these now. Transitions bring change, transformation, creativity and hope but they are often made of loss, confusion, illness and anger. You can, however, harness the power of transitional moments or periods in your life, heal and move into new spaces, finding meaning in the journey.

I am privileged to have been witness to the courage of my clients: those learning to embrace new things, those accepting themselves or others, those finally saying no, those finding their voices, those learning to let go, those walking the difficult path of grief and those navigating the treacherous waters of mental and physical health problems.

Clients have said that the sessions validated where they currently are and gave “permission to go into the future”.

Discovering meaning in transition is essential in order to tie our story together and make sense of who we are. This allows us to walk a full circle and brings a sense of completion to each journey we take, whether it be relationship-oriented, career-oriented, health-oriented or self-development-oriented. Only from this space of self-knowledge can we make sense of what we want, where we want to be and where we have come from. The process of meaning making and engaging with ourselves so deeply and honestly is difficult at times – sometimes it seems easier to forget or ignore parts of who we are or where we are. Yet our core or essence — our true self — wants to enter into conversation with us and bring transformation, healing and integration. During these conversations, we begin to discover meaning in transition and it is a rewarding, memorable journey, unique to each individual.

I use a variety of approaches in my practice to facilitate the discovery of meaning in transition including:

ARTS THERAPY – MUSIC THERAPY

DREAM WORK

MANDALA ANALYSIS

GUIDED IMAGERY, SOUND AND MUSIC

VOICE WORK

ECOTHERAPY

DEEP RELAXATION SESSIONS

Sessions are 60 – 90 minutes and aimed at adults and some teenagers. My practice is located in a beautiful garden studio in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. Please click here to book a session.