Pierre Matthee t/a Medical Social Work Intervention, is a social worker in private practice. He holds a Master’s degree in social work with specialization in healthcare, through the University of Pretoria.
Over the past number of years, he gained extensive experience working in various medical settings, from acute hospitals to physical rehabilitation units as a social worker and later, in the physical rehabilitation hospital as a case manager. His own personal journey living with a chronic rheumatological condition, together with his theoretical training and practical experience assists when counselling patients diagnosed with a medical condition.
Pierre has a special interest in providing medical social work intervention to patients diagnosed with an acute/chronic disease. The biopsychosocial model of Dr George Libman Engel (10 December 1913 – 26 November 1999) often serves as the theoretical basis of his social work practice and Pierre therefore believes that collaboration between doctor and social worker is critical to ensure improvement in the patient’s quality of life.
Pierre is also interested looking at our lives in the form of a story, with a plot/theme; events and a time line (Narrative therapy). Patients often see their illness as part of who they are, and struggle to separate themselves from the diagnosis. It is thus very difficult to imagine that life can go on, despite being sick. Many patients feel stuck. Working narratively, he believes the person is not the problem, but the problem is the problem (White, 2007). The therapeutic process encourages the patient to externalize the problem, and thus explore times, places etc., that the problem plays less of a dominant role. Other alternatives for their lives are thus explored, by also taking into account the culture and history. Pierre practices holistically and encourages the patient to involve their significant others during the therapeutic process.