From where are you?
I often get the question from where are you. I was born and raised in South-Africa. Although I do not have any recollection of that, I spent my first two years of my life in a place called Potchefstroom. Potchefstroom is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa. At the age of two, we relocated to Johannesburg. I grew up in Mondeor, " the jewel of the south, set amongst rolling hills, away from the sight and sound of the city, yet only 15 minutes drive from the Johannesburg city center. I am glad that I had the opportunity to grow up in the Southern Hemisphere experiencing Africa, a cultural melting pot, safaris, long warm summers, breathtaking scenery, to mention a few.
We left Sout-Africa for England in 1991 with two backpacks, two plane tickets. We were convinced that we were going to work and travel in England for two years and then return to South-Africa. Needless to say, it is now 2017, and we have not returned yet. We lived for four years in England and during that time we enjoyed the history, culture of the United Kingdom and Europe. We also lived in Labrador Canada for a year during that time.
In 1995 we decided to immigrate to Canada. After spending a year in Canada we both agreed that Canada is the place we would like to call home. We live for almost eight years in rural Saskatchewan, embracing the Canadian lifestyle, skiing, sailing, celebrating thanks giving, etc.. Our final move to Calgary took place in 2003, and we also became Canadian Citizens.
Where did you study?
My academic journey started with a business degree from the University of Johannesburg. I majored in Economics, Bussiness Economics, and Industrial Psychology.
The science of human behaviour fascinated and intrigued me, which inspired me to pursue a B.Com (Hons) degree in Industrial psychology. Industrial Psychology focusses on behaviour principles related to organizations and individuals in their places of work as well as the individual's work-life.
During that year I also trained as Psychometrist learning the skills to administer and score neuropsychological, psychological, personality and academic tests for clients. I was registered as a Psychometrist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
At that point, I entered the workforce and interrupted my academic journey for a couple of years. When my husband and I left South-Africa for England, I enrolled at the University of South-Africa in Bachelors of Arts degree majoring in Psychology, followed by Honours degree in Psychology.
Studying with the UNISA during the pre-internet, email era outside the borders of South-Africa was an exciting and challenging experience. I had to write my exams in a variety of places, including South-African Embassies in London, Montreal, Univerity of Victoria, and even at the RCMP office in Melfort, Sk.
I obtained my MA in Psychology from the Vermont College of Norwich University. The program followed a student centered approach, allowing students to follow their passions and interests. I was living in Melfort, SK at the time and volunteered at a couple of Spousal Abuse programs in Melfort and Prince Albert. Working with the men in these groups made me realize that domestic violence is a very complex phenomenon. Trying to understand domestic violence and how to prevent it became the focus of Masters Degree thesis. I also completed the residency portion of my degree at the Mental Health and Addiction Services of Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.
What is your experience
My work life started at the human resource department with the Department of National Education in South- Africa many years ago. Also, I used to work for a couple of years at the South-African Tourism Board until we relocated overseas.
During my time in England, I volunteered at the mental health department of Richmond Royal Hospital. I had the opportunity to work with a psychologist who specialized in eating disorders and amputees.
During my time in Melfort Sk, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings. Working in a rural setting can be very challenging. I dealt with clients who presented with a diverse set of complicated issues. Also, I provided consultation to other health professionals in the health region. I worked closely with the family physicians, and psychiatrist of the health region, assisting them with suicide assessments, psychometric testing, and evaluations of individual clients.
I am working in Calgary since 2004, mainly working in private practice, but I also worked in EAP programs and trauma counselling.
Why did you decide to specialize in ADHD?
What particularly captivated me towards working in the area of ADHD and learning disabilities is when I was trying to find strategies raising my own child. Therefore, my knowledge is based on personal and professional experience. Living with someone that has ADHD and learning disabilities helps you to gain a much deeper understanding what a person is going through. The best antidote to under-diagnosis and over-diagnosis is an appropriate evaluation.
What is your treatment approach
I use a client-centered approach. My eclectic background and training prepare me to deal with clients with a wide variety of problems, work-related issues, relationship conflict, and a wide variety of mental health problems. I will conduct a thorough assessment, in order to provide you with a treatment plan that would best address your needs. Treatment may be improved with a combination of one or more of the following: individual therapy, couples therapy or group therapy. My practice is also Cogmed certified.