Dr Barbara Louw

All of a sudden many people find themselves in an unaccustomed and disconcerting workspace. Home!

Your new workspace can be filled with very busy “colleagues” and distractions. On the other side you may be totally isolated and alone, which can be equally distracting. Working from home is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.

The involuntary quarantine causes many mental health issues to surface, because we are social beings. This is even true of the self-proclaimed introverts, because people need social interactions. We don’t realize the value of the interaction and exchanges between colleagues during the course of a normal working day.

The issues that can come to the foreground from being forced to work from home in the midst of a world-wide pandemic are:

  • The change in your mind-set from “living” to being in survival mode. This shift in mind-set is the clearest in people binge shopping for so-called essential goods, leaving shop shelves empty. The empty shop shelves aggravates the feelings of anxiety and despair. People who cannot afford to stock pile are even more anxious, because their situation turns out to be more hopeless.

Hotline Numbers:

(Published in 17 March 2020)

  1. Department of Health WhatsApp service where news; info; questions and updates regarding the #coronavirus is available. Simply add this number: 060 0123456 as a WhatsApp contact and type Hi in the message block. They will then send you a menu to choose from and you can use this to get regular updates. 
  2. Corona Virus Outbreak 24-Hour Hotline Number: 0800 029 999

Fear, fake news and false facades

The three things that are thriving in the midst of a national disaster are fear, fake news and false facades. People try to cling to the idea that life has to go on as usual in the shadow of grave health concerns.

The reality is that we have to find a new sense of normality in a maze of anxiety-provoking, exaggerated gossip. It is hard to distinguish what is really happening and when are people exaggerating their situation.

Everything that happens is not a potential catastrophe and you don’t have to be in the centre of everyone’s drama. You are allowed to take step back to take a reality check.

The good news is that people are resilient and much more flexible than we give ourselves credit for. We have used our innovative skills to deal with the shortage of electricity during load-shedding and now our movements are restricted. We have to make last-minute changes to our schedules because meetings get cancelled. We have to change our working hours and reprioritize interactions to fit in with the load-shedding roster.

From the perspective of being a member of a rather normal household, that is life. Having children, managing trauma centres and studying challenged my adaptability skills for many years. My husband and I did our pre-grad studies at UNISA when our children were very small. There were many midnights when I charged up the Muchleneuk campus to drop assignments in the post-box before deadlines. There were many other nights of minimum sleep, because an assignment and business proposal was due at the same time as having to attend a rather boring school meeting.

There are many examples of crisis situations where you were also forced to adapt and change. You survived the crisis and your recollection of the situation got lost among all the insignificant memories.

It is a challenge to embrace change and to find new solutions. As you dare to look beyond survival mode, you are in the perfect place to grow. It may be forced posttraumatic growth or the spontaneous eruption of a new season in your life. Real posttraumatic wellness!

New seasons are times to responsibly manage the shortfall in our health and relationships. Stubborn denial of changing realities and embittered entitlement damages relationships. The damage may also extend into your relationship with God. Turn back to Him in prayer and role your care and fear over to Him today.

As you start to imagine that there can come something good from the worldwide traumatic crisis, your stress levels will lower. Embracing change will lead to creative thinking and innovation. You will find new solutions and deeper meaning in regular experiences.

Since we are all in the same time of disaster, this is the season to show kindness to the people around you. Kindness opens the door to make new friends and to change the world. Change the world with one small prayer and one kind gesture at a time.

If you struggle to deal with the crisis or trauma in your life, you are welcome to make a personal appointment today. I help people to put trauma behind them by focusing on real long-term, practical solutions.

May the peace of God be with you.


The World Health Organization reports that “Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the lifespan. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide”.

It is reported that in South Africa 9 percent of all teen deaths are caused by suicide. The fastest growing age is young people under the age of 35, specifically female suicides which peak between 15 to 19 years.

Some counsellor prefer not to use the term suicide, but rather self-harm. Self-harm is then defined as any act of deliberate self-poisoning or self-injury, regardless of motivation, and self-harm mortality is a death resulting from such an act.


Youth are at risk because they face a number of social, economic and health challenges that contribute to self-harm behaviours, including the emotional and mental stress associated with high unemployment rates, poverty, HIV/AIDS, educational difficulties, physical and emotional abuse, parental separation and substance abuse.

Wellbeing Challenge 3 small

10 Days Wellbeing Challenge in your inbox! Free!

4 – 14 February 2020.

By Dr Barbara Louw

February is the month for celebrating love and romance. I am offering the 10 Days Wellbeing Challenge for you to re-kindle you inner self-worth.

During discussions about my books, “Put Trauma behind You” and “Time to Be Well”, I realized that many people want to be well. They need a little encouragement to follow through on their choices. Here are the first steps and it’s free!

Yes, free sign up and the emails will come to your inbox to read in your own time, at your own pace.

For a week and a half, you will receive a daily email, bringing you a different focus topic. You will receive tips and suggestions. Some of the focus topics are:

  • Why am I stuck?
  • Keep it real
  • Clean up
  • Love life
  • Connections
  • All sorts of love
  • Check-up?
  • Finding a safe place to heal.

This 10 Day Wellbeing Challenge will motivate and pace you so that you start working on your unique goals. Rediscover the lighter side of being well!

How does it work?

  1. You use the following link to sign up:
  2. On 4 February 2020, you will receive a Welcome email. This email will offer suggestions for you to track your own progress. Your daily email for the 10 Day Wellbeing Challenge will appear in your inbox! Read the email and take up the daily challenges.
  3. This is a fun challenge and doesn’t include counselling and therapeutic interventions.


You can forward the email to friends and colleagues by using the forward button.

You can stop the email at any stage by selecting the opt-out button. No questions asked.

No content in this programme, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified professional.

The content is based on Dr Barbara Louw's Wholistic Wellness Coaching Model design to deal with wellbeing and posttraumatic issues.

Will you benefit from the 10 Day Wellbeing Challenge?


Do you:

  • Need to know everything about everybody
  • Experience constant anger, rage and anxiety
  • Overspend, overeat or overindulge
  • Seek to constantly fulfil others’ desires and ignore own needs
  • Allow others to manipulate and abuse you
  • Ignore own emotions and put on a “happy” face all the time
  • Avoid alone time
  • Always too busy for important matters
  • Withhold success from yourself
  • Try to appear perfect
  • Never ask for help, try to do it all yourself
  • Take work out of other people’s hand because you can do it “better” or “quicker”
  • Push yourself beyond reasonable limits
  • Deflect or reject compliments
  • Say “yes” when you want or need to say “no”
  • Experience the inability to say “no”
  • Expect others to read your mind and meet your needs

This 10 Day Wellbeing Challenge will motivate and pace you so that you start working on your unique goals. Rediscover the lighter side of being well!



Wellness Coaching Model Diagram

Going for counselling can be a daunting prospect, especially when you are sitting in a problem-saturated situation. My clients often start the conversation with stating that they “don’t even know where to start”.

The good news is that there is go correct or wrong place to start our conversation. The fact that you made your appointment is already a leap in the right direction. Coming to get guidance, support or counselling takes courage and determination to become well.

In the centre of the circular diagram is the crisis point where you experience unwellness is as an uncomfortable or even unbearable burden. Each client has a unique perception of his or her crisis point. This crisis point can be the result of a single overwhelming incident or a series of traumatic experiences.

My Wholistic Wellness Coaching Model allow you to work towards solutions on the different levels where the unwellness manifests. Some clients need guidance in one or two areas, while others’ steadily build wellness in every area.

The good news is that you can become whole and well. Counselling and coaching is not a one size-fits-all approach, but this model gives you the opportunity to assess where you are at a moment in your life and then plan which areas need healing, breakthroughs and enhancement.

When you make an appointment, you get the forms before your appointment and this diagram gives you clear indication of the goals in the coaching process. No more uncertainty of where to start.

The coaching model allows you to work with your exceptional story; set you unique solutions focused goals in order to achieve greater wellbeing – after each session.

In my research this model was started as a Posttraumatic Wellness Coaching Model for people who were struggling with posttraumatic reactions, such as bitterness, resentment and deep seated embitterment. Superficial theories of 'just quickly forgive' are as counterproductive as forcing fighting siblings to 'kiss and make-up'. This model is a tools that enables you to seek solutions, leave harmful attitudes behind and grow towards lasting healing and forgiveness.

As the  model developed, the model became useful for coaching people of all ages and in various settings, including the workplace, family, school and church enviroments

Aquilla Training presents 2-day workshops and CPD Training is available for counsellors, pastors and other professionals who would like to use this model.

Die model, beradingsessies en werkswinkels is  beskikbaar in Afrikaans.