The newly established child and adolescent psychiatric hospital (Optima@RustenVrede) just outside Stellenbosch
on the slopes of Simonsberg Mountain offer in-patient programmes focused on personal transformation
and growth.

Each day consists of 2/3 psychology groups and 2/3 occupational therapy groups.

Each patient also sees a psychologist and psychiatrist daily.

 We run an adolescent programme, a mother/child programme and an adult programme. Each intensive group programme specifically draws from mindfulness and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy principles, which equip patients with the necessary tools to transform their lives. 

​In January 2018 Dr Carin Bester and Dr Vanessa Marais established a group practice at RustenVrede called Psychology@RustenVrede, providing psychotherapy to in- and out-patients. Aiming to provide a specialised service to our patients, a carefully selected group of experienced psychologists were then selected to form part of the group practice.


I’m touched by the journey of each person I work with. Therapeutically, I aim to create a mindful space for each person to find meaning, grow and succeed in personal transformation. I consider personal transformation a life task for all people and the foundation of the work that I share with each patient as we work together in therapy. When other people transform, I also grow and transform.

As Carl Gustav Jung said: “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Clinical Psychologist



Over the years, I’ve worked predominantly with all forms of anxiety especially relating to trauma, Panic Disorder and physical illnesses.  Major Depression and Postpartum Depression are also part of my clinical experience.  My biggest interest lies in working with cancer patients, especially breast cancer.  I recently finished my PhD in holistic therapeutic interventions with breast cancer patients.  I’ve always been involved with cancer patients throughout my 27 years as a Clinical Psychologist, and work very actively with them and their families.  I also see terminally ill patients. 

Clinical Psychologist