I am a registered counselling Psychologist in private practice in Kloof and Durban North, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I provide evidence-based psychotherapy and counselling aimed at dealing with complex emotional, mental health, and personal problems. Common reasons to seek counselling include relationship difficulties, divorce, career stress, bereavement, trauma, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
I started working as a therapist because I was interested in how people find meaning through their life challenges. I believe that making meaning out of crisis and challenge is the purpose of therapy. I provide therapy to adult individuals and couples, as well as to adolescents and children. On occasion I work with larger groups in corporate wellness interventions.
I completed my training as a psychologist at the School of Psychology in Pietermaritzburg, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2001 I graduated summa cum laude with a BA degree majoring in English and Psychology. A year later, I completed a BA Honours degree in Psychology, where I learned the basics of psychology as a science. I also completed an interesting dissertation on the changing conceptions of masculinity in South African society, which sparked my ongoing interest in therapeutic work with men and boys. After spending some time travelling overseas I decided to further my academic studies in Psychology, this time in the fascinating field of addictive behaviours. I am perpetually amazed at how the human mind works, and how we can find ourselves stuck in a pattern of compulsive behaviour despite our best intentions to change. Such was my first serious encounter with the study of the unconscious mind and its influence on human behaviour. In 2004 I completed an M.A. Psychology degree on the psychological aspects of an addiction to smoking, in particular how adolescents learn to smoke, and what protects them from doing so. That same year I embarked on an action research project examining the psychosocial and physical challenges faced by disabled students on the university campus. From these studies, I became particularly interested in adolescents and the psychology of learning, and this interest propelled me into the School of Education, where I studied a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, qualifying me as a high school teacher and guidance counsellor in 2005.
On the brink of starting a career as an educator, a few circumstances coincided that brought me back to the School of Psychology and further studies. Firstly, I still had a niggling curiosity about human thinking and behaviour, particularly the unconscious mind, which I needed to satisfy. Secondly, I held some personal reservations about the prospect of a career as a teacher. Despite my ongoing interest in development, growth and education, I felt that my talents and interests would not be best expressed in the classroom. Thus, I found myself enrolled in a professional master’s degree in Counselling Psychology, where I received my professional training as a therapist, and further explored the processes of the human mind and meaning-making. My professional training was challenging, eye-opening, and life changing.
In 2007 I entered an internship at the Student Counselling and Careers Centre. This year-long practical placement is a core component of psychologist training and for me entailed working as a psychologist under the supervision of a team of senior psychologists in a community mental health setting. That year I worked primarily with adolescents and people in their 20s presenting with a range of personal-, mental-health-, academic- or learning-related problems. Being charged with another person’s emotional well-being is a daunting responsibility, and it was an emotionally demanding year for me. It was not unusual for me to finish the day late in the evening, calming and reassuring an hysterical student after a failed exam or difficult breakup. On the more routine side of my internship, I ran discussion and therapy groups about masculinity, relationships, career growth and other areas of concern. I conducted career assessments, performed psychological screenings and made recommendations to faculty regarding reasonable accommodations for students with learning disabilities. I also had a handful of successful longer-term one-on-one therapies over the course of the year, not least of which was my own. (If you have the means I highly recommend you embark on a therapeutic journey yourself – the self knowledge I gained during that first therapy has become invaluable to me, personally and professionally.) During the course of my internship I completed an academic research project, again looking at masculinity – this time particularly at the identity of boys in South Africa and the broader implications of those identities for the transmission of HIV. I registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as an independent Counselling Psychologist in 2008.
I have previously worked on a wilderness leadership training camp for children, as a research analyst in the banking sector and as a lecturer of psychology at the University of KwaZulu- Natal. I have worked as a managerial consultant and executive coach for ICAS in Johannesburg, where I provided psychological advisory services to corporate and individual clients. I have provided training to corporates and government organisations in Johannesburg and Durban, focussing mostly on organisational well-being, managerial development, and behavioural risk management.
My therapy practice has provided me with countless opportunities for personal and professional growth over the past few years. Although I have moved practices several times, the most notable move being in early 2014 when I relocated from Johannesburg to Westville, I have been able to grow a small base of clients and develop some rewarding professional links with a few organisations and healthcare practitioners. I am lucky is that I have been able to work with a wide variety of clients from a range of cultural, religious, socio-economic, and vocational backgrounds. I have encountered a broad spectrum of mental health issues and have been enlightened about the diversity of people, and about how people manage to cope and even thrive under truly challenging circumstances. I have seen the darker and lighter sides of the human condition and have sat with people as they reflected on these aspects of themselves.
Today, I commonly help people recover from depression and anxiety, trauma, bereavement, stress and addictions. To achieve this, an important part of my work is to help people find and build resilience, so that when they leave therapy they are able to cope better with any life crisis than when they came in. I am convinced that the key to successful and happy living lies in the quality of relationships that a person has, and I am intentionally moving my practice in that philosophical direction. In practical terms, it means more exploration of relationships in therapy, more work with couples, more work with parents, increased community outreach, and an ongoing personal commitment to form a meaningful and therapeutic relationship with each one of my clients.
My therapy goal is to help people in their search for meaning, and I achieve this goal through a therapeutic relationship that is honest, respectful, thoughtful, and above all genuine.
I have recently added outdoor running/walking therapy to my practice as a way of helping people better talk about themselves.