I am a registered counselling psychologist, author and national athlete who runs a sport psychology practice in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. I completed my first degree, BPsych in the child context and then went on to complete my Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology with specialization in Sport Psychology. My Master's research focussed on the use of Chess as a therapeutic tool in a substance abuse rehabilitation centre. I completed my Doctoral studies in Human Movement Science where I focussed my studies on Sport Psychology by studying habits, values and mindfulness of elite athletes.
Being a competitive athlete, part-time employee and full-time student was no easy feat during my earlier years. I fondly remember the days of studying and writing exams on the same days that I was competing in national championships, taking textbooks and assignments with to international tournaments. Ah, the sheer beauty of determination! I have always had a pull towards wanting more from life. The 'easy' life was not something I wanted to sign up for. I started working at the age of 15 (as an underage waitress) and at the same time ran a tuckshop at school (from 2 bags I used to carry around the entire day at school), this of course whilst playing sport, visiting with friends, keeping up with school work and going to Germany as an exchange student for 3 months! I knew at school already that my life won't take the 'usual' course... in the middle of my final school year I paid with my own hard earned money for a plane ticket to Europe because I wanted to see the world. Later that year I missed most of my final school exams because I got called up to represent South Africa at the World Youth Chess Championships. I ended up writing my final exams the following year in London as I was determined to go ahead with taking a 'gap' year. I wrote the exam at the embassy in London and I remember studying early mornings on Trafalgar Square, sitting alone in the cold with only the pigeons as company. Ah the wonder of life! I simply grew up believing that anything is possible, maybe slightly naive but I truly believed that hard work and a go-get attitude can take me places... and it has.
Two moments in my academic career stand out: Being awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for best combined Sport and Academic performance at the University of Pretoria in 2005. I was elated to receive this award, keeping in mind that the University of Pretoria is extremely strong and competitive on both academic and sport areas, having had over 40 000 full time registered students at the time. The second big moment was standing on the same stage, just more than 10 years later receiving my Doctorate degree in 2017. Two moments that still give me a lump in my throat when I think about the enormity of it all and that I actually lived those moments. Life is an amazing journey!
I am a 3x South African Women's Chess Champion and a Woman International Master (WIM). I have represented South Africa on junior level in 1998 and since 2000 on senior level, having more than 200 caps for South Africa of which 60 have been on Olympiad level (2000, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018) and 12 on the World Championship stage (Team and Individual, 2011 and 2012). I have represented South Africa at the All African Games and contributed 7 medals to Team South Africa in 2003, 2007 and 2011. I also represented South Africa at various African Individual Championships and African Zonal Championships. One of my highlights was being part of the World Team in 2003 that participated in the test run leading up to the All African Games in Nigeria. What an honour to have played in the same team as the then Women's World Champion Zu Chen!
I have experience as captain, team manager and more extensively as coach on school, provincial and national level. I have been coaching chess since 2000 and am still active! At the moment I am coaching individually and have a weekly group of 5-6 year olds and 7-8 years olds.
We can achieve in more than one area at the same time. What makes this possible? Effective time management, passion for what you are busy with, seeing the end goal and having faith that it is achievable. How is this done? Taking one step at a time and being fully committed while you take that step! Enjoyment is key.
I have a passion for human performance and seeing people excel. Great human achievements simply speak to my soul. Peoples' endearment, sacrifice, moments of compassionate sportsmanship and experiences of success and losses - big or small - are what keeps me drawn and committed to being a psychologist who works hard and go the extra mile, after all, that is what most athletes and performers do and expect of themselves.
I believe in walking the talk.