Hi, I’m Dr Colinda Linde. I’m a practising clinical psychologist, working mainly from a cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) paradigm. You can read more CBT on the Services and FAQ pages. Effectively, it means that I’m able to provide rapid solutions for anxiety, panic and sleep disorders. I also work with burnout and stress-related conditions. In addition, I’m an educator, a mental health advocate and a keynote speaker.

dr colinda linde cbt

My philosophy is that there is a tool for everything. You just need to match the tool to the person, problem or situation. Fortunately, CBT is evidence-based, so there are many proven tools available. This is especially true for anxiety, panic and insomnia, as well as burnout and stress-related conditions.

I’ve been applying those tools and learning from clients and (other) teachers for 26 years now. I’m confident that with this combination, and working together with you, we have the best possible chance of success!

The reason why I do what I do is that I believe everybody can learn to manage themselves to have a different, better experience of life. I express this daily through my work with my clients and through other activities such as educating, as well as advocacy, and developing self-help products.

Self-Help Products & Solutions

There’s a high demand for CBT services—a clear indication of its efficacy. Naturally, my time is limited—and so is most people’s medical insurance, if they have any at all—and so I’ve created and co-created various self-help solutions. These include the self-help CBT website thoughtsfirst.com and the Practical Mindfulness program of live and online workshops. These solutions provide the opportunity for people to get the help and support they need while they’re waiting to see me, or waiting for their medical savings to update! In many cases, people report that the tools made all the difference.

Educating & Advocacy

I’ve continued to train counsellors and educate the public on mental health in my role as SADAG Board member. For a clip on stress & burnout, how to choose a CBT therapist, and what to do during a panic attack, click here. I have recorded new self-help clips for SADAG, which you can find on the SADAG homepage.

For newsflashes on my upcoming media or speaking events, or interesting finds, follow me on Twitter @DrColindaLinde or check the News & Events page on this site for updates.

Dr Colinda Linde


Education & Experience

I completed my undergraduate studies at Wits in 1989. I moved to RAU for a Psychology Honours (1990, cum laude) and Masters in Clinical Psychology (1991-1992), graduating in 1993 with an M.A. Clinical Psychology (cum laude). I earned a Doctorate in Psychology in 2001. 

During my time at RAU, Prof Eddie Wolf (a Fulbright scholar who trained in CBT in the US) was part of the faculty, and I was able to obtain parallel cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) training with him, which started a lifelong passion for this approach. My training at Wits was psychodynamic, and at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg) it was a combination of systemic, interpersonal and person-centred. The CBT completed the picture, and is my favourite paradigm of work—mostly because it is an active, practical and rapidly effective approach based on research, where the therapist teaches the client how to become their own CBT therapist!

dr colinda linde education experienceAfter completing the course work and dissertation for Clinical Masters as well as a year’s internship at Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital, I spent a year as Resident Psychologist at two Places of Safety, assessing and working with children and teens while running a part-time practice.  I commenced full-time private practice in 1995, focusing mostly on the anxiety disorders (panic, social phobia, agoraphobia). Stress, health and pre-surgery intervention are further areas of interest.

I completed a Doctorate in Psychology in 2001, which required making a relevant and original contribution to the field.  Based on a literature review, I created and tested an intervention to Reduce Overt and Covert Anxiety at the time of Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

A lifelong student, I have attended several international CBT congresses and in 2015 I completed international certification in the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP) .The UP is cutting edge CBT for the modern world, created by one of it’s founding fathers, Prof David Barlow.

Advocacy & Training


I’ve been affiliated with SADAG, the largest patient advocacy group on the African continent, since 1997. My portfolio includes selection, training, supervision and debriefing of counsellors, as well as being a media spokesperson. In 1999 I was elected to SADAG’s Scientific and Advisory Board, where I ultimately served as chairperson for 8 years (2000 – 2018) and remain a board member.  I feel strongly about advocacy for those who do not have a voice or access to mental health resources, and am honoured to be a part of SADAG’s work.

Corporate Wellness & CPD Training

Sharing information widely is another passion, and to this end I have continued training abroad during my career. I’ve also been actively involved in educating colleagues through CPD programs and co-running a CBT peer supervision group.

I’ve been involved in the corporate wellness space for a number of years, first as a therapist, then as a provider of content and more recently as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) consultant. Clients have included Investec (through Maureen Kark & Associates) and Discovery, among others (see slider below). As a mental health advocate, I feel this is an important field and I’m always keen to make a contribution.


I’ve contributed regularly across various forms of media: print (Longevity, Femina, Cosmopolitan, The Star); radio (A Word on Psychology with Leigh Bennie and The Jenny Crwys-Williams Show, both on 702; Monica Fairall’s Health Show on SAFM; Health Talk on Classic FM) and television (3Talk, Great Expectations, and Morning Live, all on SABC; I was a guest expert for eight weeks during the Oscar Pistorius trial on the special Carte Blanche channel on DStv—my role was to unpack concepts like vicarious (armchair) trauma for those watching, explain disorders like GAD or depression which were being proposed for him, and to answer any questions raised by the public or interviewer around the trial). I’ve also contributed journal articles in medical (general practitioner) and psychiatry publications (Specialists Forum, Serenity, Arthritis Focus, Mental Health Matters). Samples of these are available on my LinkedIn page.

Self-Help Solutions

In 2013 I launched Thoughtsfirst.com, the first CBT self-help site in South Africa. Adequately trained, experienced CBT psychologists are scarce in this country. Therefore, good CBT is not readily available to the bulk of the population—or, it’s simply not available when you need it. Thoughstfirst has free downloads for self-help with anxiety and worry, panic attacks, sleep issues, social anxiety and stress. This year, 2019, will see the addition of self-help courses for these and more: assertion, social skills and insomnia.

In recent years I’ve discovered meditation and mindfulness, and have incorporated both of these into my life and, on request, at the practice. I also offer mindfulness-based CBT, individually and as part of the Practical Mindfulness series, co-founded with Neil Bierbaum and combining the best of CBT, coaching and mindfulness. There are now 6 modules, taking mindfulness into daily living. Applications like emotion regulation, stress and resilience, decision-making, flow, and authentic relating, are all covered in a practical way. This year also saw the launch of a full online version for the out-of-towners who’ve requested it. Neil has also authored the Practical Mindfulness book, which is becoming a popular gifting (and reference) choice!


My approach to life and work can be summed up by a wonderful quote from Alvin Toffler, the respected futurist. He says:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.



Through my practice I offer a range of services, always tailored to fit the person and their unique circumstances, personality and experiences. I’m also involved in various collaborations and online self-help solutions, which are detailed below and on the accompanying pages.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for Individuals

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a faster, evidence-based approach to psychological issues, with emphasis on coping both now and into the future. Read more…


Online (Zoom / Teams / WhatsApp) Consults

Online consults are available for those who cannot attend ongoing consults in Johannesburg. Each situation is assessed individually. Contact the office by telephone, email or WhatsApp to make a request. Contact…

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) in Groups

cbt group therapy

CBT services are done individually as well as in groups. The benefit of groups is that everyone else has the same issue, so it becomes a safer space to practise the skills that you learn. Read more…

Self-Help Solutions

As mentioned on my home page, there’s a high demand for CBT services, which is a clear indication of how effective it is. Naturally, my time is limited—and so is most people’s medical insurance—and so I’ve created and co-created various self-help solutions. These solutions provide the opportunity for you to get the help and support you need while you’re waiting to see me—or while you’re waiting for your medical savings to update! In many cases, people report that the tools made all the difference.

Thoughtsfirst, a self-help CBT website

Choose from a selection of free and paid self-help products, including PDF guides to handling panic, anxiety, sleep, stress, etc., or you can find eBooks on the same topics,  as well as guided audios and meditations, and printed books—plus you can even register for an online mindfulness course. Read more…

The Practical Mindfulness Program

The Practical Mindfulness program was born out of a conversation that I had with high performance life and executive coach Neil Bierbaum. We found ourselves sharing how beneficial mindfulness and meditation has been for both of us. We both wondered how anyone gets by without it. Read more…

Corporate Wellness Consulting

I’ve been involved in the corporate wellness space for a number of years, first as a counselor, then as a provider of content and more recently as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) consultant. Clients have included Investec (through Maureen Kark & Associates) and Discovery, among others. As a mental health advocate, I feel this is an important field and I’m always keen to make a contribution. Contact me on email to set up a meeting. Contact

Talks & Workshops (Corporate, Public & CPD)

As an educator and advocate, I have a great passion for delivering talks and workshops on mental health matters, wellness and mindfulness. I’ve also been an active contributor to Continous Professional Development (CPD) programs—for SADAG, for corporates and for registered psychologists—for many years. I’m available for all of these as a content developer and presenter. Contact…


Corporate Clients



Do I Need Therapy? – And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need therapy?

We can all benefit from an outside perspective from time to time, especially when going through change or crisis. Ironically, you can get stressed out even by a desirable and “on time” event, like getting married, having a child, or being promoted. Remember, the body doesn’t know the difference between “good” or “bad” stressors. During times of change or loss, you have an opportunity to reassess your identity and way of life. A lot of good can and will emerge if you use the opportunity to get support. In particular, if it’s in a professional, confidential setting, which is what therapy should be about.

Then, of course, any psychological or behavioural symptoms that impact your ability to function effectively in the world can and should be treated by some form of therapy. This includes anxiety, whether general or specific to certain situations, such as when you’re with people. You can also include panic attacks and insomnia here, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Then there’s severe stress, which can also result in depression and burnout.  All of these count as reasons to engage in therapy.

Which kind of therapy is right for me?

You can think of the main types of psychotherapy in three categories: psychodynamic, person-centred and cognitive-behavioural.

Psychodyamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapies focus on “why” and the therapist will listen, interpret and help you process your past, in order to understand the present. This is a gradual process and there is a lot more of the therapist listening than engaging, also presenting a neutral space, than with the other types.

Person-centred therapy

Person-centred therapy tends to be a warm, supportive style of working, where you are encouraged to release emotion in a safe space. You may receive advice but mostly you will be supported and encouraged while going through the crisis. This type of work can also be prolonged, until you are over the crisis and feel able to cope on your own.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

The third type I mentioned, is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). This is a very different approach. It’s briefer, focused on the “now”, instead of on the past (although it recognises that your past has a role in bringing you here). It involves teamwork between you and the therapist to mutually identify the problems and co-create potential solutions. You’ll also learn some practical steps you can to take to get there. Then you’ll identify any potential obstacles to your progress, such as limiting and dysfunctional beliefs or habits. You’ll learn skills that will enable you to work actively on them.

When choosing a style of therapy, think about what you want out of the process. Do you feel strongly that you want to take time to explore the “why” of your current situation or state of mind? Or do you feel you can’t think clearly enough right now to focus on a solution? Do you just want to be “heard” and contained for a while? Or do you feel ready to work actively on changing the situation?

Other options

You can see how each style, summarised above, fits a different need.  Alternatively, you may want to do dream analysis or work on meaning and purpose. In that case, Jungian analysis or existential therapy/ logotherapy may be a better fit for you.

How long will it take?

Typically the psychodynamic and supportive therapies can take place over months and years. Cognitve behaviour therapy (CBT) is a more short-term approach. It takes a more pragmatic approach to the “why” and the emotional component. The emphasis is on coping, both now and going forward.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is typically a 4- 12 session process, especially when the issue is an anxiety disorder or stress-related. You would start with weekly sessions and move to fortnightly, then monthly, as soon as you’re ready. The emphasis is on teaching and training you to use the tools the therapist gives you. That way, you don’t have to come in for a session every time things go wrong.  You complete the process once you reach the goals you agreed up front. You can set new goals, or move on—follow up is on a need-to basis.

Why Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is based in collaborative empiricism. Collaborative means we work together to make sense of where you are, where you want to be, and the plan to get you there fairly rapidly. Empiricism means that CBT has been widely researched and tested for many decades. Studies have shown that it’s as effective as medication in altering states of anxiety and depression. It’s also a protective factor in relapse prevention.

The collaborative approach means that when you attend a CBT consult, it’s a light, relatively informal process. You’ll learn actual techniques (e.g. for emotion regulation, identifying and changing dysfunctional habits and beliefs). You, the client, will have as much control over the process as the therapist does. You’ll be free to ask questions and make suggestions and your therapist will do the same; teamwork is essential.