“High levels of crime, violence and trauma, and the perpetuation of social and economic inequalities demand a highly responsive psychology. This compels psychology to engage with transformation toward becoming more socially relevant in training and practice,” says Prof Anthony Pillay, President of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA).

“The discipline of psychology in South Africa is experiencing a period of significant stress, largely because of how the identity and role of the psychology professional is constructed. How can psychology construct itself so that the discipline has the ability to better respond to society’s issues? Also, what might a decolonised psychology look like?,” states Prof Sumaya Laher, PsySSA President-Elect.

Under the theme #psychologysresponse/ability, these and other issues will be under the spotlight at this year’s 22nd Annual Psychology Congress. The Congress is hosted by the PsySSA and will be held at Emperors Palace from 20-23 September.


 Wednesday, 21 September (plenary)

8.40 – 9.00

Is South African psychology serving humanity?

Prof Saths Cooper, President, International Union of Psychological Science

9.00 – 9.30

Building a better healthcare system: Joint challenges and opportunities

Mr Darren Sweidan, Principal Specialist, Discovery Health

9.30 – 11.00

Roundtable: South African Psychology’s Response/ability: Crisis or catharsis?

Prof Juan Nel (PsySSA Past President) and Prof Sumaya Laher (PsySSA President-Elect) will chair a discussion with leading voices in psychology

14.30 – 15.15

2nd Siphiwe Ngcobo memorial lecture: Engaging the psychology of decolonisation

Prof Norman Duncan, Vice-Principal: Academic, University of Pretoria

15.15 – 17.00

Debate: Mapping the terrain of decolonialism in South Africa

Facilitated by Prof Garth Stevens (University of Witwatersrand) panelists include Yaa Obenewa Amponsah (Steve Biko Foundation), Dr Shose Kessi (University of Cape Town), Prof Melissa Steyn (University of Witwatersrand), Hennie Nel (PsySSA Student Division) and Suntosh Pillay (King Dinuzulu Hospital KwaZulu-Natal)

17.15 – 18.30

“Ideation”: An industrial theatre performance by Thabang Tlaka in association with Crazy Poetic Ministries

In Ideation, Psychology – the main character – is challenged to face her concerns. How is it that Psychology, who is well endowed with curiosity, empathy and fierceness, struggles to impact society in a significant way? Will Psychology continue to punch beneath her weight? Will Psychology continue to fight with parts of herself? Will Psychology take her own medicine and deal with the unsaid? Will she build on her strengths and lead a new world with its challenges or will Psychology, as we know it, sleep in the middle of a revolution, only to be remembered by history?

Other highlights include

  • Presentation streams on African psychology, education, health, sexuality and gender, trauma, and #feesmustfall, amongst others.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) will be participating in the Congress for the first time.
  • For more on what can be expected at the Congress see https://youtu.be/aTRoOeVlAvc
  • The full Congress programme is available at https://www.psyssa.com/psyssa-congress/psyssa-congress-2016/

For media access and interviews contact

Melanie Judge

083 271 2543


 About PsySSA

The Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) was formed in 1994 to unite various structures that existed until then. It is the professional body that represents psychology professionals in South Africa. PsySSA advances South African psychology as a science and profession of global stature, and promotes psychological praxis as relevant, proactive and responsive to societal needs and well-being.




Issued on 6 September 2016



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