Unlock You

As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young boy picking up starfish and putting them into the sea. He asked the boy why he was doing this. The boy answered that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles and there are thousands of starfish,” countered the old man. “How can your efforts make any difference?”

The young boy looked at the starfish in his hand and placed it safely into the waves. “It makes a difference to this one.”

Loren Eisley (American anthropologist)

About Us

Mental health issues are highly prevalent in our society, especially now.

At The Ki, we provide accessible, high-quality, affordable mental-health services catering to the Johannesburg Jewish Community. Our therapeutic services – delivered by an array of specialised mental health practitioners – meet the needs of the whole community, including women, men, couples, teens, and children.

The Need

Now more than ever, people are suffering from anxiety, depression, marital issues and addiction, with some even at risk of suicide. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded these issues, and reports of abuse and domestic violence have risen across the globe.

Some see it as a luxury
they simply cannot afford.

Financial constraints have caused many to move onto a hospital plan which does not cover therapy, while others are on a medical aid with limited coverage.

Not a

There are those who require therapy or professional help, but do not prioritise it. Other people are not even aware that they should look after their mental health and seek out help, the same way they would go to a doctor if they had a broken leg. Unfortunately, there is a widespread lack of mental health awareness.

Our Services


Our focus is on short-term, high-impact therapy, and we will offer packages of 8 sessions for each client. Each session will be 50 minutes. After this initial round of therapy, the client’s therapeutic journey will be assessed, and where necessary the client will be given more sessions.


After an initial phone interview, clients will be assigned to an appropriate therapist from our team of highly specialised therapists.


If you prefer, online therapy can be provided.

Our Prices

Without Medical Aid

A 50-minute therapy session will be billed from R300.

With Medical Aid

A 50-minute therapy session will be billed at R400. Please note that this amount is below normal medical aid rates which allows your funds to stretch much further.

Our clients’ means will not be questioned or investigated – we operate on the basis of trust and personal accountability. Confidentiality will be ensured.


The Ki is active in the community and partners with other communal organisations to promote mental health awareness, psycho education, as well as providing different kinds of mutual aid groups in areas such as trauma, trauma debriefing, marriage enrichment, parenting, coping with anxiety and stress management.

The Ki Partners with:

The Shoshana Foundation - providing their single mother beneficiaries with specialized, affordable and accessible therapy. Click on the link to learn more about their work.

Ohr Somayach – providing psycho educational programmes and therapeutic and skills-based groups to community members and beyond. Click on the link to learn more about their work.

We offer a vital therapeutic referral source to various community helpline and trauma services, as well as opportunities for specialized training programmes.

If you would like your community organization to partner with The Ki, please don’t hesitate to contact us to explore synergy. Email:

Our Team



After completing her Masters in Social Work and a post Masters training in Family Therapy at the Neve Family Institute in Israel, Maria and her family relocated to Johannesburg where she opened a private practice and sees individual clients both in person and online. She specialises in trauma, integrating EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) and IFS (Internal Family Systems), two different modalities which she strongly believes in to enable healing. In her spare time, she also works as a programme facilitator in IFS international trainings, writes mental health articles for various publications and is a Field Instructor for overseas students attending Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University. Maria believes in empowering her clients and guides them to reconnect with themselves and heal their attachment wounds. She firmly believes that everyone has the tools they need within them to heal.



Lara works as a social worker in private practice and has a special interest in the fields of mental health, resilience, and relationships. She utilises an integrative approach incorporating the principles of innate mental health, resilience, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and relationship modalities. She believes in the innate resilience that exists within each human being and has spent her career counselling individuals, couples, and groups from this standpoint. She is passionate about transformative processes that are strength based and empower people to access their potential and to live their best possible lives. She believes in ‘good mood therapy’, i.e., a positive and nurturing space that uncovers inner strength and mental health. She works with individuals, couples and families and facilitates groups and workshops. Her philosophy: ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Tova is a registered social worker and 3 principles practitioner. She is also an accredited divorce mediator.
Tova runs a private practice where she sees tweens, teens, couples and does individual therapy.
She is passionate about pointing people in the direction of their own inner wisdom and wellbeing. She runs workshops and courses that focus on resilience, self esteem, anxiety, stress, worries about the future, understanding where our thoughts and feelings come from and how to access a more settled mind, with clarity and wisdom. Her favourite quote from the Ba'al Shem Tov “from every human being there rises a light” reminds us of our unbreakable spirit. Our essence, our core, our soul, doesn’t get caught up in the complications of life. Our soul is pure potential, whole & strong.

Leonard Carr

Senior consultant

Leonard is a well-respected clinical psychologist working in private practice as a psychotherapist, working with individuals, couples, families, children, and adolescents. He also works as an organisational development consultant, expert witness and coach. He runs growth courses on relationships and personal mastery through understanding personality.

Associate Therapists

Darren Bessarabie
Darren is a psychologist who sees teens and adults, families and couples. He works with grief, trauma, anxiety and anything else that would come up.
Aliza Bilman
Dr. Aliza Bilman is a qualified clinical psychologist, with a Doctor of Psychology degree (PsyD) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in the United States. Aliza’s passion is EMDR, an internationally recognized and empirically supported psychothera-peutic approach, which she uses to help her clients strengthen their coping resources and treat trauma, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Hila Chalmers Hila is a social worker in private practice with over 18 years of experience working with individuals and families. She has a special interest in working with people going through divorce and co-parenting after divorce.
Ilanit is an educational psychologist who has worked in schools for the last 20 years. Her current interests are working with anxiety and developing self-awareness and coping strategies. 
WENDY HARTSMAN Wendy is an educational psychologist specialising in working with children (play therapy), adolescents, young adults, and parents. In addition, she also does psycho-educational assessments. 
LARRY HIRSCHOWITZ Larry is an educational psychologist who does psychotherapy and assessments. 
JAYDON IMMERMANJaydon is a clinical psychologist who has been practicing for 20 years. He specialises in CBT and works with individuals and couples.
Liane Lurie
Liane Lurie is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice. She works with adults, adolescents and families. She  has contributed towards articles in Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health magazines and spoken regularly on TV and Radio. She runs school based programmes focusing on areas such as bullying, self harm and eating disorders.
Mandy Magid
Mandy Magid is a clinical psychologist practising in Fairmount, Johannesburg. She works with adolescents and adults dealing with many different challenges. She focuses on depression, anxiety, personality difficulties, trauma and neuropsychological difficulties amongst others.  She uses EMDR- Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, DBT, CBT and ego states theory.
ROMY MICHAELSONRomy has an MA in Drama therapy. Her work uses creative mediums to invite exploration into people’s internal worlds. The bulk of her work is with children and parents, with the aim of empowering them to bring out the best in their families. 
Yochi RessYochi is a Clinical Psychologist and mindfulness/resilience specialist (neuroscience based), with 20 years of working experience. He also speaks, consults and facilitates workshops in leadership.
PINCHAS SHIEL Pinchas is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psycho-therapist providing individual therapy covering all aspects of growth. 
Arielle Susman
Arielle is a social worker with special interests in the field of trauma containment and debriefing as well as grief counselling. She works with individuals, couples, groups and families.
Jacqui Yates
Jacqui is a Registered Trauma Therapist who has been practicing for 17 years. She works with children, adolescents and adults. Her special interests are : Crisis intervention and trauma debriefing; Gender-based Violence and Stress Management. She aims to empower her clients with skills and facilitate them in their healing journey.
JOANNE ZAGNOEV Joanne is a clinical psychologist with 27 years of experience. She is also a life coach, an author, and a public speaker. She lectures to live audiences and speaks on both television and on radio.
Doron ZarDoron is a clinical psychologist who works predominantly from a psychodynamic perspective (in-depth feelings and experiences). The aim of which is to develop a capacity to be self-reflective and insightful about one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions so as to lead a more meaningful and effective life and to have healthier and more fulfilling relationships. He offers individual therapy and couples counselling.
The Ki is a licensed non-profit organisation. Section 18A certificates are issued for donations

As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young boy picking up starfish and putting them into the sea. He asked the boy why he was doing this. The boy answered that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles and there are thousands of starfish,” countered the old man. “How can your efforts make any difference?”

The young boy looked at the starfish in his hand and placed it safely into the waves. “It makes a difference to this one.”

Loren Eisley (American anthropologist)

Ki is an acronym for kochav yam : כי

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065 533 4442

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