What is psychiatry?

Psychiatry is a medical specialty focussed on the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and management of mental illness.


What is mental illness?

Mental illnesses are illnesses related to the brain that cause significant emotional, behavioural, and cognitive symptoms. They are diagnosed according to symptom-based criteria set out by the WHO (ICD-10/11) and the APA (DSM-5-TR).


What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialised in psychiatry, who is able to assess an individual’s psychological symptoms in combination with their medical history, order laboratory and imaging tests, make a psychiatric diagnosis, prescribe medications and do psychotherapy.


About me

Hi, I’m Dr Justine Dreyer, and I’m a psychiatrist based in George in the Garden Route.

Originally from the Eastern Cape, I moved to Pretoria to study Medicine and this was also where I married and started a family. After completing my medical studies, internship, community service and later obtaining my Masters in Psychiatry with distinction from the University of Pretoria, I moved to George in 2019 with my family in search of a better way of living closer to nature and away from the fast pace of city life. For the first two years living in George, I worked in the public sector providing consultation and outreach services all over the Garden Route and Central Karoo areas. During this time I developed a good understanding of the public sector mental health services available in the area. Moving to the private sector in 2021 has allowed me to refocus on direct patient care and has expanded the treatment options available for me to utilise in partnering with my patients. I treat adolescents and adults with a broad range of psychiatric disorders. I have special interests in
  • Women’s mental health
  • The christian-psychiatric interface
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • The neurobiological basis of psychiatric disorders
  • Interventional psychiatric treatments such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and ketamine.
I work within a biopsychosocial-spiritual and multidisciplinary framework model, which means that I view psychiatric illness and it’s treatment as having biological, psychological, social and spiritual components. I also believe that individualised and evidence-based treatment approaches have the best chance of success. Please note that I have a PART TIME psychiatric practice. For this reason, I only accept a limited number of new patients.


Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB)

Diploma in Mental Health (DMH) Fellowship of the College of Psychiatrists of South Africa (FCPsych) Masters in Medicine in Psychiatry (MMedPsych) (with distinction)


Management of mental illness generally requires a partnership between the client and each multidisciplinary team member, so that you as the client can recover and manage your illness by properly utilising the various tools at your disposal, whether that is medication, specific types of therapy, the relationships you form with people in your support network and healthcare providers, and your lifestyle.

Psychiatrists such as myself can advise you on the optimal treatment options for your presenting problem, based on the latest evidence-based medical guidelines and what is available here in the Garden Route.

Medication Management

Most patients who see a psychiatrist have illness that is persistent, moderate-severe, or affect daily functioning, all of which warrants medication use. I can prescribe medications when these are needed. However, medicines are not always needed and can sometimes do harm – part of what I do is to advise you about what medicine can and cannot do for you.

Lifestyle counselling

I can advise you on the role of diet, exercise, substance use and other lifestyle factors as they relate to your psychiatric symptoms, and what adjustments can be made.


Unfortunately, the number of patients who require psychiatric follow up limits my availability to offer structured or regular psychotherapy. I do however incorporate supportive psychotherapy principles with most of my clients during their follow up consultations. This includes elements of psychoeducation, case management, motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioural and dialectical behavioural psychotherapy.

Multidisciplinary team

Effective management of psychiatric disorders requires a team approach. For this reason I liase with primary health care providers + GP’s, emergency room doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and pastoral counsellors. When needed, I can refer you for specialised treatments such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), couples or family therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) or neuropsychological testing.

Biopsychosocial approach

Mental and emotional health is affected by the state of the body, the brain and neuroendocrine systems, the mind, the environment and the spirit. Better mental health outcomes are achieved when all of these factors are considered together.

For this reason, when I assess a client’s presenting problem, I often ask about and assess for medical conditions, substance use, thinking styles, lifestyle, diet, exercise levels, family factors, environment, and religious and spiritual beliefs and practices.

See you in the New Year!

The practice will be closed from 16 December 2022 to 10 January 2023. May you have a blessed Christmas season.

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What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

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New rooms: coming soon

Dr Dreyer will be moving to new rooms in May 2022. In the meantime, she is still practicing from the rooms of Dr Olge Scholtz at Neuroclinic, George, and appointments[…]

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