I completed my undergraduate studies at Wits in 1989, then moved to RAU for Honours (1990) and Masters in Psychology (1991-1992), graduating in 1993 with an M.A. Clinical Psychology (cum laude). At the time, Prof Eddie Wolff (a Fullbright 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 from him, which started a lifelong passion for this approach. My training at Wits was psychodynamic, and at RAU 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, short-term, practical approach where the therapist teaches the client how to become their own CBT therapist!
After completing the course work 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, until commencing full-time private practice in 1995, focusing mostly on the anxiety disorders (panic, social phobia, agoraphobia), and with an interest in stress, health and pre-surgery intervention. Subsequently I also completed a Doctorate in psychology, which entailed creation and testing of an original intervention to reduce overt and covert anxiety at the time of breast cancer diagnosis.
I have been affiliated with SADAG (sadag.org) the largest patient advocacy group on the 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 am currently the Chairperson. 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.
Sharing information widely is another interest, and to this end I run a CBT peer supervision group and have been a regular contributor in various forms of media – written (Longevity, Femina, Cosmo, The Star), radio (A word on Psychology, the Jenny Crwys-Williams show- radio 702; Monica Fairral’s Health Show, SAFM; Health talk on Classic FM ) and television (3 Talk, Great Expectations, Morning Live). Journal articles in GP and psychiatry publications- Specialists Forum, Serenity, Arthritis Focus, Mental Health Matters- complete the picture. Samples of these are available on my Linked In page.
In recent years I have discovered meditation and mindfulness, and have incorporated both of these into my life and on request, at the practise. I also offer Mindfulness-based CBT; the best of both approaches.
My approach can be summed up in a wonderful quote from Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”