My journey as Psychologist started in 1983 with Clinical Psychology Training at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Our training in Systems Theory was fairly unusual at the time, as we were introduced to Constructivism and Post Constructivism, which had a major impact on Psychological Theories during the last 20 years. We also had thorough training in Neuro-psychology which later in practice proved to be extremely valuable. I did 1 year Internship at the Military Hospital Voortrekkerhoogte, Pretoria. A rotation system of 3 months per division, offered my initial exposure to mental health problems such as Psychosis, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Trauma following amputations, head injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder etc.
During my first 6 years after completing the Clinical Training I worked in Educational settings with children with Developmental and Neurological Difficulties. This has provided me with an opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the variety of factors influencing the development and well-being of children during those early years. Knowledge of Neuro-psychology, Neuro-developmental factors, Attachment theories and Family Dynamics was essential.
After those initial years I moved to Cape Town and started a Private Practice in Malmesbury and Cape Town. During the next five years I was struck by the high prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse and the devastating impact this has on people and their families’ lives. I also often encountered in my practice the aftermath of young men who were conscripted to the ‘Border-war’ in South Africa and Angola. Many of these young men who suffered from Post-Traumatic-Stress (PTSD) resorted to unhelpful coping strategies such as alcohol, drugs and sex, which have a devastating impact on the quality of their lives and those of their families.
During this time I had further training in Narrative Therapy and Hypnotherapy.
After five years in Private Practice I felt the need to broaden my therapeutic skills and knowledge. I qualified for the ‘Statement of Equivalence’ in the United Kingdom, allowing me to work in the UK as a Clinical Psychologist. I am still registered with the British Psychological Society and hold the Chartered Status. I’m also registered with the Board for Health Professionals in the UK.
I started my journey in the UK in 1999 with a locum post on the’ Isle of Guernsey’ in a Child and Adolescent Service.
My next position was in Oxford in a Youth Offending Service. As part of a new government initiative to address the level of youth offending in the UK, I was tasked to develop this service with a multi-disciplinary team. We had intensive training in different aspects relating to violence, sexual offending, managing anger and mental health problems.
During this period I was also attached to the Park Hospital Children’s services in Oxford as well as a community clinic in Banbury. At the hospital I did intensive in-house training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
After completion of this contract I was offered a position in Edinburgh in the ‘Young People’s Unit’ at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. The Young People’s Unit provided services to Tiers 111 and 1V for young people aged 14 to 21. Working with major Depression, Severe Anxiety, Psychosis, suicide, family violence and emerging personality disorders provided me with further specialist learning opportunities.
I was also part of the ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ (CSA) team, providing services to survivors of sexual abuse and support to colleagues. During this time I also started Post Graduate Studies at Bristol University in ‘Narrative and Life Story Research’. As part of these studies I did a research project, looking at the impact on clinicians working with CSA. Together with the findings of another similar study, Supervision Guidelines were developed for clinicians working with CSA to prevent and address the prevalence of ‘Secondary or Vicarious Traumatisation’.
Towards the end of 2005 I returned to South Africa to complete my dissertation on the impact social and political changes had on the First People of SA, The Khoi-Khoi. My interest was in inter-generational trauma and the transfer of coping skills from one generation to the next. This research did not find its way to a dissertation, but in a Publication, with the purpose of providing for these people a space where their voices could be heard. (See publications).
During my last 5 years in England I worked in the field of Forensic Psychology in low and medium secure Hospitals for Mentally disordered offenders. The prevalence of Traumatic experiences during childhood and PTSD was unusually high. I had ample opportunities for training in this field and also working with Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorders and Bi-polar disorder. With colleagues I developed a Family Service for Families with a member diagnosed with Psychosis or Schizophrenia. We also developed a Group process to support clients dealing with Voices, Hallucinations, and Paranoia.
I returned to South Africa in 2012 and became particularly interested in recent developments in Psychology namely Compassion-focused Therapy and Psycho-neuro-immunology. The theories underlying these approaches offers an extremely helpful way to understand the role of stress, the suppression of emotions and guidelines regarding overcoming or escaping from the vicious cycle we so easily find ourselves in.
I feel privileged to share with my clients my knowledge and skills and to work together towards a more healthy, contented and compassionate life.
My services include individual and family therapy as well as Skype sessions to local and international clients.
Registration in UK:
British Psychological Society:
Chartered Psychologist 0943384
HCPC UK: PYL 16223
Practice Number: 086032 000 8614
HPCSA Number: PS 002585