MEET CHANTELLE DE ABREU, Clinical Psychologist. "Reconnecting the Mind and Body."


Chantelle de Abreu is a clinical psychologist based in Green Point, Cape Town. She works with adolescents and adults who may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or seeking wellness while they may feel unable to cope with anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, bereavement or life changes & adjustments (relationship, health, employment). Her therapy style is non-judgemental and empathic, focusing on the holistic wellness of her clients.

While she works from a psychodynamic framework, allowing the client to create some understanding of how past experiences may be influencing their current difficulties, she strongly believes in equipping her clients with skills such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and others that they can incorporate into their lives as they navigate and manage their daily stressors.

She also offers Wellness Workshops where the focus is on holistic wellness. An experiential and integrative workshop to connect mind and body through a yoga flow followed by a mental wellness session. 

During lockdown Chantelle continues to work online and has coping and supportive resources available. For more information please refer to her website  or @Psychology_with_Chantelle on Instagram for daily tools and tips. She can also be contacted at

Finding Peace during a Time of Uncertainty: Reconnecting the Mind and Body.

Being under lockdown can bring about all sorts of experiences. Not only have parents overnight become fulltime teachers, caregivers and household masters while possibly trying to maintain their jobs, but also they have been thrown into a space and time in which they may not necessarily have the answers for themselves let alone their children.

Situations like these may lead people to get stuck in some negative thought patterns. Thoughts like "all meals need to be great and the kids need to always be well educated and provided with creative entertainment or else I've failed"(all-or-nothing thinking) can be tough thought patterns to notice and then try to break out of.

Other types of unhelpful thoughts may sound like "Ï didn't get that recipe correct, I'm Stupid" (negative self-label) or "I managed to do all my work, get the house clean and spend time with the family but that's no big deal, everybody is doing that in lockdown"(minimising). What happens is that we start to live more and more in our mind and become more disconnected with our bodies.  

If you realise that this type of thought or something similar sounds too familiar then you are in good company. So often people get caught up in negative thought spirals a lot easier than it is to get caught up in a positive thought spiral. (If only the latter were the easier.) Luckily something can be done.

The first step is simply being able to catch yourself in that thought pattern. Just being able to notice that you are having that type of thought means you are halfway to victory. 

Notice the thought, congratulate yourself on noticing it.

Next, without criticising yourself, take a moment to do one of the following:

  • Breathe: find a quiet space (bathrooms allowed) where you can spend a few minutes to connect to your breath. Find a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and imagine breathing in a calmimg colour, such as light blue. Exhale through your mouth and imagine your frustration/anxiety exiting your body as a colour, such as red. Repeat.
  • Ground: find a place where you can sit up straight, put your feet on the floor and focus on your breathing (without trying to change it). Describe in detail 5 things you see around you. Go into as much or as little detail as you desire.
  • Oils (scent); have handy a scent or smell that you associate with being calm. Essential oils can play a part in coping with anxiety. Some ideas of oils that can be considered to help you relax are: Lavender, Lemongrass,Ylang-Ylang, Frankincense, Orange and Peppermint. Alternatively, if you can't get essential oils you can also use home herbs such as peppermint, thyme, rosemary, orange rinds etc
  • Stretch: moving and stretching our bodies helps us feel alive, awakening muscles. It doesn't need to be a full on 1 hour gym class but try to find a free online yoga session (there are many on social media currently) or simply find a quiet space (again bathrooms are welcome) to do some of your own stretches. Nothing is too simple, 20 jumping jacks followed by arm stretches against the wall and some runners' lunges are great.

While the above won't take care of all the stress and anxiety they are small steps that you can incorporate into your day, especially during this time where it seems that finding time and space to yourself may be hard to come by.

Above all remember to give yourself grace and kindness; we are all in this together.








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Dr Carew's Practice is temporarily closed for

for clinical services.

You may contact the office for administrative queries.

We wish you well. 


Dr Lesley Carew is a registered Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist practising at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town with a satellite sessional room on Thursday afternoons at the Akeso Milnerton.


Tel: 021 423 8774/6
Fax: 086 641 5388