PsySSA Commemorates World Mental Health Awareness Day 2023 – Privileging Mental Health: A Call to Action

Dear Esteemed Members of the Psychological Society of South Africa,

With October being declared as Mental Health Month, we are reminded of the abiding imperative to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the many forms of discrimination and stigma that continue to plague those experiencing mental health challenges.

As members of PsySSA, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful impact towards the mental well-being of individuals and communities in our country. As advocates for mental health and wellness, we have the privilege and responsibility to harness the resources of our profession to advocate for the kinds of multi-level interventions and changes necessary to foster mental health and well-being.

This October, the Psychological Society of South Africa is proud to present a high-impact social media campaign that centres around the theme of Fostering Mental Health: Uniting the Psychology Community in Action. Our focus will be on highlighting the vital role that psychologists and counsellors play – and are called to play – in supporting vulnerable individuals and communities across our nation.

The Power of Unity: Uniting for Positive Change

Mental health is an integral part of overall well-being, and our profession has the unique capacity to facilitate healing and growth. With the ongoing challenges posed by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic insecurity, and various social issues, the need for mental health support has never been more evident. This October, we aim to illuminate the collective strength of our community and the transformative impact that can be achieved when we work together.

Focusing on Vulnerable Communities

At the heart of our campaign is a deep commitment to serving vulnerable communities. As psychologists and counsellors we are positioned to address the mental health disparities that exist within South Africa. Our campaign will highlight success stories and contextually sensitive practices in providing effective mental health interventions to individuals and groups who are most in need.

A Month of Action: What to Expect

Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing inspiring stories, insightful resources, and thought-provoking discussions on our social media platforms. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can look forward to:

Webinars and Workshops: Engage in enriching webinars and workshops where experts from our community will delve into relevant topics, providing you with new tools and strategies to enhance your practice.

Individual Stories: Learn about the profound impact psychologists and counsellors have had on the lives of their clients. These narratives will emphasise the importance of empathetic care and context-based interventions.

Community Outreach: Discover innovative ways our colleagues are reaching out to underserved communities, spreading awareness about mental health, and delivering support where it is needed most.

Resources and Toolkits: Access a wealth of resources to assist you in your efforts to support clients and communities.

Join Us in Making a Difference

As members of the Psychological Society of South Africa, your expertise, compassion and dedication have the power to change lives. We invite you to actively participate in our October campaign by sharing your own experiences, insights, and stories on social media using the hashtag #PrivilegingMentalHealthSA. By joining forces, we can amplify our collective impact and create a more mentally healthy South Africa.


We are excited to embark on this journey with you, and we look forward to a month filled with meaningful connections, enlightening discussions, and a renewed sense of purpose. Let us stand united in our mission to promote mental health and well-being and make a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve.


Psychological Society of South Africa

27th Annual South African Psychology Congress: Annual PsySSA Presidents Lecture

27th Annual South African Psychology Congress: Annual PsySSA Presidents Lecture

Incompleteness as a Framework for Convivial Scholarship and Practice in Healing

Professor Francis B. Byamnjoh
Professor of Social Anthropology 


This lecture draws on an argument I have made over the years for a convivial scholarship to stress the need for such an approach in the practice of healing. In view of the resilience of colonial education, the lecture proposes a framework of decolonised healing practices that draw attention to equally resilient endogenous traditions of healing that are barely recognised and grossly underrepresented even in the 21st Century, despite the independence of most African country since the 1960s. The lecture argues for convivial approaches to healing that promote conversations and collaborations across disciplines and organisations and the integration in the academy of marginalised epistemologies informed by popular universes and ideas of reality. Convivial scholarship is predicated upon the recognition and provision for incompleteness – in persons, disciplines, organisations, and traditions of knowing and knowledge making. Critical to convivial scholarship is the extent to which we recognise and provide for incompleteness and mobility as universals and are ready to disabuse ourselves of the illusion of completeness championed by zero-sum games of violence and violation in which debt and indebtedness are outsourced to victims, while compositeness and conviviality are downplayed or caricatured.

Among the issues highlighted in convivial scholarship is negotiated inclusivity in knowledge production and practice. This takes the form of collaboration and co-elaboration within and between disciplines, across departments and faculties within and between universities and research institutions, north, south, east and west. But it does much more. Convivial scholarship calls for similar collaboration, co-elaboration and co-production between academics and researchers in universities and research institutions with knowledge producers and practitioners outside of these formal institutions. Given the decolonial imperatives and especially in view of the silences and marginalisation of which Indigenous and endogenous traditions of knowing and knowledge production have been victims, convivial scholarship is particularly emphatic on the need for profound and sustained conversations across chasms between universities that remain colonial in curricula and practice, and with the wider population and society that continue to draw on the sidestepped traditions and practices by choice, reluctantly or both. I suggest that much remains to be done to promote research, teaching and practice across such chasms in the field of healing, despite some promising starts. I draw on two examples to illustrate both the promise of an early start, and the resilience of exclusionary colonial ideas of medicine and healing in Africa. I use a survey conducted in Cameroon by Daniel Noni Lantum, as a case for optimism and promise. And I draw on our experience under Covid-19 as a case of persistent coloniality and north-south asymmetries in healing practices and how much remains to be done in integrating the two systems.

The argument in the lecture is simple. If the need to recognise and represent Indigenous and endogenous traditions of healing has been highlighted before – in certain cases prior to or shortly after independence from European colonialism was proclaimed – how do we explain that necessary action has either not be taken at all or taken in an unsystematic and unsustainable fashion? Why have calls for valorisation and integration of medical systems original to Africa into the so-called modern medical systems of many an African state postcolony been met with resolute inaction and lip service? Why, if and when integration is considered and promoted, the expectations tend to be for endogenous medical systems to bend over backwards or genuflect in honour of the colonial medical system perceived as superior? Why does the colonial medical system continue to enjoy such dominance, yet falling short of rising to the occasion in terms of the health demands of the majority of the population in each and every country? This situation, within the framework of the convivial scholarship that I call for, requires a greater and sustained capacity for faculties of medicine or health sciences to listen out, not only within universities and across faculties, but also, and even more importantly, with stakeholders outside the academy (medical professionals, traditional healers where they are not formally considered health professionals, various state and private health services, ministries of health, and the health-seeking publics). I argue for curricula, healing systems and practices that are informed by these considerations and open to negotiated inclusivity as a permanent work in progress.

33rd International Congress of Psychology –  Prague: 21 – 26 July 2024

33rd International Congress of Psychology – Prague: 21 – 26 July 2024

Inviting Message from the ICP 2024 Scientific Committee Chairs

Dear colleagues:

It is our pleasure to invite you to attend the next ICP 2024 congress which will take place in Prague July 21-26, 2024. Prague was supposed to host the ICP congress in 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICP 2020 congress was moved to the online sphere. We were then delighted that Prague has been chosen again as a host for 2024. 

Prague has always been the center of commerce, culture, and knowledge. The earliest known foreign visitor to Prague, Ibrahim ibn Jakub from al-Andalus in 965 noted: “Prague is built from stone and lime and is the largest city of commerce”. Further on, Prague has always been a city which inspired: Frank Kafka wrote his novels here and Wolfgang A. Mozart appreciated: “Prague people understand me.” 

The motto of ICP 2024 is “Psychology for Future: Together in Hope”. Psychologists currently face many challenges, both as professionals and citizens. It is the togetherness, combined knowledge and shared experience that makes us all stronger and able to help others. 

Therefore, we would like to invite you to Prague for the upcoming ICP 2024 congress. Let us come together again after the long covid break, share our experience of overcoming crises, and jointly strengthen the grounds for hope.

Martina Klicperová – Scientific Committee Chair
Veronika Polišenská –  Scientific Committee Vice-Chair

PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 3: Untangling trauma after grief and loss: Diagnostic considerations and treatment guidelines for practitioners

PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 3: Untangling trauma after grief and loss: Diagnostic considerations and treatment guidelines for practitioners

About this workshop:

In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and devastating flooding in South Africa has meant that experiences of traumatic grief and loss are not new to our nation.  COVID-19 illuminated the difficulties often facing South Africans who are grieving.  Factors that complicate bereavement came to the fore:  economic fallout, the instability of job security, and the monumental increase in dependency of debt to keep households running.  Funerals became a staple in our public spaces. Such loss of life: Gita Ramjee, Clarence Mini, Kenneth Mthiyane, to name a few of the 101,000 deaths due to Covid-19. 

This workshop aims to assist healthcare practitioners think about traumatic grief through a lens that accounts for South Africa’s complex socio-political and cultural milieu. 

  • Using the recent student protests as a case study, Mr Vhugala Nthakeni will provide a practitioner’s reflection on how prior traumatic experiences and a sense of loss have contributed to how we currently engage with student protests in higher education. 
  • Dr Cornelia Drenth will provide diagnostic considerations for grief as well as some proposals for intervention at an individual level. 
  • Ms Phillipa Haine will engage with how practitioners may can work with children experiencing traumatic grief within the clinical setting. 

The workshop, chaired by Mr Danial Den Hollander,  hopes to provide guidelines for practitioners who are faced with complex traumatic grief cases that arise from the specific historical and contemporary features of South African society.

PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 3: Untangling trauma after grief and loss: Diagnostic considerations and treatment guidelines for practitioners

Meet our Presenters

Daniel den Hollander is a clinical psychologist who has worked in specialised mental health care, both in the public and private sectors. His expertise lies in voluntary, involuntary, and forensic treatment care, Complex PTSD and co-occuring addiction work. He has chaired the Psychology Professionals in Public Service Division of PsySSA from 2016-2021. During his term, PiPS became an established voice within parliamental NHI discussions and building key stakeholder relationships with other government departments (e.g. DBE, SARS). He is an activist for mental health care in South Africa. He is passionate about cultivating and promoting empowerment and change: may it be in the therapy room, on radio, at governmental stakeholder meetings, or at conferences. He is a regular feature on SAFM Living Redefined, and contributor for the Mail & Guardian.

Dr Nelia Drenth obtained her MA Degree (Social Work in Health) from the UP and her PhD from NWU. The title of her PhD thesis is Complicated grief in the South African context – A therapeutic intervention programme. 

Dr Drenth is a peer reviewer for International Social Work, British Journal of Social Work, and has also peer reviewed articles for Health SA Gesondheid, a local online professional health care publication.

Dr Drenth is the author and/or co-author of 9 peer reviewed articles with titles related to loss, grief, and bereavement. Two of these articles have been accepted in international peer reviewed social work journals. She authored and co-authored 2 chapters in A. Herbst & G Reitman (Eds). 2016. Trauma counselling. Principles and practice in South Africa today. Cape Town: Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd.

Phillipa Haine is a registered Counselling Psychologist. Phillipa has successfully completed the degrees, BSc (Genetics, Psychology & Human Physiology) and Hons (Psychology) (Cum Laude) at Stellenbosch University, as well as the degree MA (Counselling Psychology) at Rhodes University; she completed her internship at the Rhodes University Student Counselling Centre. She is currently a PhD candidate at Rhodes University. She has a special interest in public mental health, health psychology and community based psychological interventions. Phillipa has a drive to contribute towards improving the accessibility, relevance and credibility of mental healthcare services in South Africa. Phillipa is also a part-time lecturer at Rhodes University teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and currently supervising research at a Masters level. She has published research in various peer-reviewed academic journals. Phillipa also manages a part time private practice where she predominantly works with children, adolescents and young adults.

Vhugala Nthakheni holds BCom Law and LLB qualifications from the University of the Free State and is currently the Manager: Student Life and Governance at the University of Cape Town. Vhugala has worked in the Student Affairs and services sub-sector for over 10 years.

PsySSA Membership 2023: PsySSA Publications!

PsySSA Membership 2023: PsySSA Publications!

Since PsySSA’s inception 29 years ago, the Society has undergone exponential growth. Aside from remaining active during the COVID-19 pandemic. This past year has been an immensely successful one for the Society. 

We would like to highlight our journals that members receive FREE access to. Assisting professionals to remain up to date and aware of the latest developments in psychology in South Africa and Africa.

The South African Journal of Psychology (SAJP) is the official journal of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). The SAJP publishes peer-reviewed contributions in English from all fields of psychology. Whilst the emphasis is on empirical research, the journal also accepts theoretical and methodological papers, review articles, book reviews, and comments on articles published in the journal. Priority is given to articles relevant to Africa and that address psychological issues of social change and development draws scholarly works from both the national and international arena, and the blinded review process ensures high quality publications. Another progressive new development for the SAJP is the Online First publishing feature. This brings the SAJP in line with all of the major international journals in ensuring that accepted manuscripts are published online once accepted, each with a digital object identifier (doi). In order to encourage scholarly writing, the SAJP and PsySSA have facilitated a number of publishing workshops fore merging scholars. The Journal offers quarterly Continuing Professional Development opportunities to PsySSA members at no extra cost.

The African Journal of Psychological Assessment (AJOPA) is published in conjunction with AOSIS. AJOPA is intended to serve as a means of combining the current disparate research being conducted in psychometrics and psychological assessment in Africa. Manuscripts in the areas of psychometrics and psychological assessment are invited. Manuscript submissions must demonstrate a clear contribution to the field and must be of relevance to the African context. Manuscripts can focus on but are not limited to ethics in assessment, establishing the psychometric properties of an instrument, methods in assessment, research on core issues in psychological assessment (eg. assessment in low resource settings, multicultural assessment, acculturation and assessment, language and assessment, assessing people with disabilities) and/or specific areas in assessment (eg. cognitive, personality, vocational, intelligence, aptitude) and/or particular settings (clinical, educational, forensic, organisational, neuropsychological assessment). Manuscripts make take the form of original research studies, theoretical papers, test reviews and methods papers