About Estelle de With - Clinical Psychology Port Elizabeth
I have been a registered clinical psychologist since 1997. I underwent my undergraduate training at the University of the Free State where I obtained a B.A. Ed Degree and a B.A. Honours Degree in Psychology (cum laude).
I was privileged to be selected to partake in the M.A. Clinical Psychology training programme at both the University of the Free State and the then University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University) at the tender age of 22!
My Master’s dissertation explored the dynamics of whether or not, and how, families change after the paternal figure gives up alcohol. The results were somewhat disappointing for my eager mind but nevertheless to be expected – systems hardly change even when the patient changes.
I was supervised by phenomenal individuals during my M.A. Psychology Training and I will forever be grateful to have known Professors Joshua Fullard, Dee Lewis & Cheryl Foxcroft who changed my thinking at the most fundamental level. I will never forget Prof Fullard in his red sports car!
Groundwork for Clinical Psychology
After qualifying I worked at Cape Recife High School (as part of bursary requirements) as a clinical psychologist. It was the best possible groundwork for my career. I will forever be grateful for this very short (but sweet) period during which I stood in for the three other psychologists who were on sabbatical.
In 1998 I started a career in academics at then Vista University (again working back my education bursary), lecturing in educational and developmental psychology. In 1999 I was selected to study towards a psychoanalytic psychotherapy Ph.D. degree at Rhodes University, co-ordinated by Dr Kevin Kelly.
We were very fortunate to be lectured by amongst others Lucy Biven, Andrew Samuels, Bep Mook, and Gavin Ivey – all world-renowned individuals in the field and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Professor Ivey remains the single most important thinker in the psychoanalytic domain of understanding destructive intrapsychic processes. I remain forever grateful for his expert guidance which still informs much of my thinking about the psychoanalytic process.
I started private practice on a mild windless autumn morning in April 2001 in a small little room in Westbourne Road (Port Elizabeth) and a big desire to make a difference in the world. Hence, I immersed myself in understanding why some individuals do not get better despite the best therapeutic efforts. This culminated in my Ph.D. thesis, which explored the destructive aspects of narcissism. I graduated in 2004 while working in the United Kingdom as a clinical psychologist in a private hospital.
Upon my return to South Africa I joined the practice of Dr Louise Punt (Jungian analyst and art therapist) and I was honoured to be part of her practice until her retirement in 2009. In 2010 I enrolled for a second Ph.D. degree in child and forensic psychology and graduated at the University of the Free State in 2013 while heavily pregnant with my first child! Again, I was blessed to have been taught by inter alia Professors Dap and Anet Louw.
Current Work - Neuropsychoanalysis
I currently work mostly in the fields of neuropsychology and medico-legal assessments. Dr Johan Dippenaar, rehabilitation medicine specialist at Aurora Hospital, was instrumental in assisting me in commencing my career in the field of medico-legal neuropsychological assessment and report writing, even though he suddenly passed away in 2016 his voice remains clear in my head and my heart that is it “never too late to have a happy childhood”.
After 21 years of working as a psychologist I remain passionate about psychotherapy. Figuring out the mind of another person remains a huge challenge and privilege. I work from a psychoanalytic perspective and neuropsychoanalysis is my current field of study.
I conclude with Freud’s notion that “psychoanalysis is, above all, the cure of love” – enough said!
For more information about clinical psychology, my services or practice, please contact us.