I was born in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. Second eldest in a family of six (being the only girl, with three brothers). My folks worked hard and believed in savouring the moments in between, teaching us an appreciation of nature and unexpected little holidays.
Being the only girl meant I got my fair share of roughhousing and learning to defend myself..but I am also very loved and protected by my brothers.
My parents have been in ministry for most of my life, so we grew up surrounded by people, grace and knowing God from an early age. I grew up spiritual and feed my soul by spending time in nature, admiring the beauty that surrounds us.
I am the wife of a passionate adventurer that creates homes out of stone and boldly paves our adventures and way with solid principles, kindness, and love. My husband has shown me how to question my own assumptions & believe in myself and this has allowed me to be Tehilla more fully!
I am the mother of two incredible toddlers. So different yet so special in their own way - bringing much flavour to our family mix (much like the couples I work with). Having two toddlers in nappies is tough - being a parent is harder than I ever imagined, calling on strength I didn't know we, as parents have! But the joys and rewards are beyond comprehension too. Being married and having children has opened my eyes to how hard it is to implement the theory, but how incredibly powerful these tools still are.
I am a friend to a diverse group of people from the tellers at the supermarket, to school friends from years past, to close connections across the globe.
I am a couples', family and individual therapist with almost 15 years experience of working with families.
I am the vice chair of the Professional Development of ARCSA (association of Registered Counsellors of South Africa), where I strive to make counselling more accessible to all.
I am a South African. Proud, yes sometimes shameful, yet always hopeful, of South Africa's diversity, past, and future. We are a culture of rich heritage, richer hope, and endless grace. A mixed pot of dignified, glorious flavours.
I am Tehilla Nicole Luttig. An individual because of and despite all these connections. Human. Perfectly Imperfect.
And all these colours weave my unique tapestry. A picture that's influenced daily by my interactions with life, love, and you.
Grace. My understanding of Grace is "Unmerited favour". What this means is that you don't have to earn this favour (for if you have to earn it, it is rewarded not grace). Your mere existence, your birth, has given you the right to love, respect, dignity, and forgiveness. We don't need to be perfect to be lovable. Shame fogs up the mirror and distorts our self-image, acceptance, and compassion. Contrary to popular belief: we are not what we do, we are so much more than that. The ugly duckling was never an ugly duckling even though he possibly tried to squawk, walk and think like one. Only when he saw his true reflection did he realize what he was, and then he didn't need to pretend to be a swan (to fake it till he makes it), he could just be what came most natural to him. So often the bad or wrong that we do are the symptoms of lifelong lies and false thinking.
Respect. I am humbled and honored by the privilege of being let into your life at it's most vulnerable. I take my work and responsibility towards you very seriously and with the utmost respect.
Experience. Having worked with families whilst studying and then completing over 1000 hours under supervision gave me 10 years of in-depth experience before opening my practice doors. I then started my private practice in February 2013 and have grown each year since. And between my clients and my own family experiences, I am continually learning more.
Training. When you come to me, I aim to be as specialized in my training as I can be so I can help you specifically with the thoughts and relationships that have lead you here. I am continually learning more in my field. I completed level 2 Gottman Clinical Couples training in 2017 and certified as a BWRT (Brain Working Recursive Technique) practitioner and I've recently received the Gold Standard Certificate for Therapist self-care training. I attend monthly group meetings with a team of therapists from across the world.
I have done training by Terry Real (Relational Life Therapy), Dan Wile, Diane Pool (Attachment), Esther Perel (known for her incredible work on affairs and understanding modern sexual situations), Elliot Connie (solutions focused brief therapy), Pete Pearson (The Couples Institute), Sex Summit (by the Modern Sex Therapy Institute), and more.
Couples counselling is a dynamic and challenging career as there are two unique individuals with the subconscious and life-long patterns that need to be addressed. Most counsellors steer away from couples counselling because of how challenging it is, but with the right tools, I've found it to be so very rewarding! Not only for the couple themselves but the effect the happy parents have on the children too! And for me too. I love seeing couples find true love again = in their marriages!
Registered Private Practice Counsellor
Registration with HPCSA (since 2012)
Gottman Clinical (USA), Discernment Counselling (USA), BWRT (UK)
Article in a magazine I was interviewed on (Afrikaans)
HPCSA, PsySSA, ARCSA, BHF, EFT
Served as Vice-Chair: ARCSA, Professional Development Com.
Years In Service
Working with families since 2002
& In Private Practice since start 2013
And for those wanting to read more..
"It is said that the most important component of nation-building is the family unit. In essence, the quality and the state of the family determines the quality and state of society and consequently the nation. Therefore the quality of the family is the quality of the nation." - DR. M. Mitchell
Originally focused on children I soon realised that by supporting the parents, the children were automatically happier, more confident and doing better at school. This got me interested in learning more regarding couples therapy. I saw that couples counselling is not the same as individual counselling and specialized skills were necessary. I also noticed most fellow therapists avoided couples counselling as it's so challenging. I then dove in and started studying more. I completed the Gottman Level 1 (USA) Clinical training in 2015 and their level two training in 2017. Dr's John and Julia Gottman are the pioneers of Couples Counselling and together have been scientifically studying the most effective techniques of couples counselling for many many years. Their research has been followed up with their clients year after year for over 25 years! Their method is strategic, to the point, and directed so as to give the client the most effective diagnosis and planning available.
Another science-based great in Couples therapy is Sue Johnsons EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy). I see and use her 'dance' analogy in my practice and look forward to becoming certified in EFT within the next few years. Attachment theory is an important component of couples therapy.
I am a big fan of Elliot Connie and his work with BSFT (Brief Solutions Focused Therapy) where the goal is focused on the positive! Very contrary to the long-held belief that the only way to create change is to focus on the problem, BSFT is geared towards finding the good in every situation. I am registered with SFT - South Africa and look forward to completing their courses in 2018.
Another new approach rising in fame for its incredible work is BWRT (Brain-Working Recursive Therapy). You can see more here, but the premise is alleviating past trauma that might be affecting your relationship now within one or two sessions (without hypnotherapy).
My formal university training was in Gestalt Therapy, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Person-centered, and Psycho-dynamic schools of thought. I use things from all of their premises, as suits the couples that walk through my door. I've even been able to use a lot I learned in all my play therapy training, making our sessions able to be a lighter and a little more fun sometimes. The 5 love languages, Transactional Analysis, and non-violent communication is also a major component of my therapeutic interventions.
I learned a lot and continue to learn daily but being married, having two little children, and working with very broken and hurt couples have been my biggest lessons and continue to change and shape the way I do my work every day.
I also work with individuals who need support, guidance, help with confidence and self-esteem, forgiveness, building their dreams, or fixing their marriage (when the other partner doesn’t want to come to therapy). I also help divorcees process the pain, confusion, anger, and grief of their marriage ending. I help blended families (families who have remarried, for whatsoever reason), to adjust to the new dynamics and expectations. I love supporting teens who find it hard to connect with their parents – where both parents and teens feel they keep missing each other and no one the wiser. I give them a safe place to vent, talk, and learn new ways of connecting with the family.
For those of you who have decided the ‘property’ isn’t salvageable, and divorce is necessary, I’m here to help you make the transition as smooth as possible with your children. Helping them and you know what to expect and how to support each other during this time because at no point does your ex ever become your child’s ex. And in the midst of a traumatic divorce, emotions are understandably high and messy, and it’s very hard to see clearly then. Clients often say it felt like they were drowning or referred to their divorce as a roller-coaster ride with massive ups and downs. With therapy, we can’t stop the ups and downs but we can be better prepared for them and make, what's often been described as a horrible roller coaster ride, shorter.
I aim to support, strengthen, and salute our families.
Full Couples Assessment (State of the 'house' (marriage) and history-taking), treatment plan (what now, how do we go forward) and intervention (rebuilding of the house, with me by your side to guide you)
Individual Couples Therapy for those whose partners don't feel able to commit to therapy. Individual ‘couples’ therapy takes longer than couples therapy where both partners come, as I only have one person's input on the state of the house! But the support is still worth it if your partner isn’t ready to commit to therapy.
Parenting Skills and support. Balancing your role as parent and partner can be very difficult and often ends up with resentment and feeling unappreciated and angry. I can help you communicate better, learn your own mental biases, and give a supporting ear for this transition. It often takes a parent many years to realize how bad it’s gotten, I can still help despite how bad it seems! All I need is two willing people and a dash of hope!
Blended Family support for parents (biological, step, half, etc).This is a very tricky balancing act and has the most skilled and patient juggler confounded! Communication, empathy, and understanding are key to getting this right! And no, there are no wrong emotions (just wrong ways to express them).