“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland


The in-patient programme at Optima has a group focus for adults, teens, parents and children. This delivers the benefit of peer support as well as social challenges which need to be addressed within the therapeutic process. There are daily groups with psychologists and occupational therapists.


Therapeutically, we draw on DBT principles:
We teach and practice skills like:

  • Mindfulness;

  • Emotional regulation; 

  • Distress tolerance and 

  • Interpersonal effectiveness. 

  • Patients are given tools for crisis management.

  • Information about attachment styles and their implication is imparted
    to parents, with whom we work on bonding.

  • Personality profiling is used with the adolescents, using the MBTI.


​The occupational therapists also look at sensory processing and integration and the effect it has on every sphere of life as it influences emotions, behaviour, interpersonal relationships and thus functionality, on a daily basis. Full developmental assessments are performed by arrangement. Arts and crafts are some of the mediums that are utilised. Transpersonal concepts such as acceptance, surrender, personal inventory and connection to Higher Self are used, and in this regard, patients are taught meditation and taken on therapeutic walks which utilise the natural environment as part of the intervention.

​Morning climate meetings are run by Dr Christa Weyers (psychiatrist) and Dr Carin Bester (clinical psychologist and group programme coordinator). Patients are seen individually by psychologists and occupational therapists on a daily basis. Play therapy is used for children, including sand play, art, projective tests and therapeutic stories. Parents are given psycho-education and are taught the basics of filial therapy so that they can continue to be partners in the therapeutic process at home. Feedback sessions to families take place on Fridays, by the treating psychiatrist and psychologist.

Referring psychologists are welcome to continue a pre-established therapeutic process with patients, providing they can see the patient daily – preferably after 15h30, following the group programme. 

On weekends a group is offered by the psychologist or the occupational therapist on call, who also sees each patient individually for a brief check-in session. No process work is involved and feedback is given to the treating psychologist.

There are animals on the farm which also contribute to the healing environment, and patients sign consent to be in contact with them.