Child Therapy Symposium 13 August 2022

Date: Saturday 13 August 2022

Time: 09.00 – 14h00 (Registration at 08.30)

Venue: Helderberg DR Church, Firmount Road, Somerset West

Registration fee:  R600 per professional participant       R100 per student

Accredited by HPCSA with 4 CEU’s for Psychologists



Day program

09.00 – 09.30 Short introduction and welcome

9.30 – 11.30 Time slot 1 (choose one)

       1. Therese Hulme

Narrative as Community Practice: Mastering the work

       2. Helen Malgas

Exploring the effects of racial trauma on identity development in adolescents

       3. Kate Armstrong

Brain Child – applying neuroscience to our work with children

 11.30 – 12h00 Tea break

12.00 – 14.00 Time slot 2 (choose 1)

      1. Bettie Rall

Building a language bridge across the generation gap

      2. Elize Morkel

A narrative approach to joining parents and their transgender children

      3. Janet Bytheway

When conflict finds you: Working safely with families in the presence of high conflict


To register and for more information about the presenters and their presentation scroll down


Kate Armstrong

I have been an Educational Psychologist in Cape Town for over 20 years. My therapeutic approach has been strongly influenced by social constructivism. Elize’s consultation groups have supported my evolution as a psychologist since 2001. During this time, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of early intervention. A neuroscience training from 2015 to 2019 introduced me to the work of affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp. His studies shed insights into what babies’ developing brains require from their environment. Panksepp’s ideas of parenting from a neuroscience perspective shifted the focus of what babies need and the role of their parents. I felt this information was too important not share and started running ‘Brain Child’ workshops in 2018. These workshops aimed to teach neuroscience principles of parenting and child care in easy and accessible ways.  My interest in supporting infants in the early years led me to register for Stellenbosch’s MPhil Infant Mental Health which I completed at the end of 2021. 

Brain Child – applying neuroscience to our work with children

An introduction to neuroscience principles when working with children. We will cover:

  • how our brains have evolved
  • why the first 1000 days from conception are the precious years
  • the development of the left and right hemispheres and the importance of non-verbal communication
  • the development of the neural networks from the more ‘primitive’ parts of the brain to the newer ‘thinking’ parts and what this means for working with children
  • Our role in emotional regulation and how these principles apply to all our relationships
  • practical ways to manage the challenging times
  • Interesting and relevant new research                083 635 5123    


Janet Bytheway

Janet works as a clinical psychologist, mediator, supervisor/ consultant, and teacher. She has presented on working with complex families at conferences and workshops both locally and abroad. She is committed to working holistically and collaboratively with adults, children, and families and has a special interest in working with families in distress.  For the past 30 years, she has been working with people experiencing challenges of various kinds and intensities.   She initiated the Kids’ Voices project which provided play therapy in schools to children in need, who might not have otherwise had access to therapeutic opportunities. As a child, she loved stories and as an adult, she developed a passion for the stories that people tell themselves and others, about their lives.  She enjoys helping people make sense of their world.

When conflict finds you. Working safely with families in the presence of high conflict.

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it.  (Mahatma Ghandi)

Therapists often find themselves inadvertently caught up in conflicts, especially with parents who are divorcing or have divorced. Working with families experiencing high conflict is challenging for the therapist and the family. The risk of reports to the HPCSA/other professional bodies increases in the presence of high conflict. In this presentation, we will look at the types of challenges faced in working with these families. We will consider the practical steps needed to create a safe working environment for the family and the therapist.  Examples of the various challenges will be discussed and there will be an opportunity for attendees to bring questions about their work from their own practices.


Thérèse Hulme

As a Narrative practitioner of 22 years, Thérèse’s work has been in private practice, schools and in the mining sector. In 2005, the year she debuted as a poet in Nuwe Stemme 3, Thérèse’s doctoral research took her into a marginalised school community in Kraaifontein, where she started mentoring young people in creative writing. Thérèse has since mentored young people and their teachers in a Narrative approach to creative writing in various marginalised settings in the Western Cape ( Thérèse is currently writing up the Narrative ideas and practices that informed this work and the stories of Narrative as Community Practice in two books aimed at teachers and others working with young people. The Afrikaans and English versions of the book will be published by Lapa/Penguin Publishers later this year. Thérèse and fellow Narrative Therapist, Linda van Duuren, have for many years been making Narrative Therapy ideas accessible to everyday South Africans through their teaching and training. As NarrativelySpeaking ( they offer bespoke training on working Narratively with children and young people. In 2020 they founded the Cape Narrative Trust ( – an NPO that offers sponsored Narrative training and support to South African teachers and others working with children and young people.

Narrative as Community Practice: Mastering the work

A conversation between Thérèse Hulme (DTh) and Linda van Duuren (MTh) about Thérèse’s work with young people and her upcoming publications, in which she combines her Narrative skills and her love of language with her commitment to voice and visibility for young people, especially those in marginalised communities in South Africa. In their conversation, they will be introducing their concept of ‘Active Witnessing’ and will invite participants to reflect as active witnesses on the conversation and its meanings for their own lives.


Helen Malgas

Helen has 17 years of experience working as a Counselling Psychologist.  She has worked in variety of settings including public and private higher education, public health, and the corporate sector. Currently Helen is employed as the Foundation Head of Programme Development at Students for a Better Future, part of the Andreas and Susan Struengmann Foundation. She continues to run a small private practice in Plumstead Cape Town. Helen is passionate about seeing people develop their potential and sees psychology as having a role to play in this process. She holds a M.A. (Counselling Psychology) from the University of Stellenbosch, and she is currently completing her Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of the Free State.

Exploring the effects of racial trauma on identity development in adolescents

 In this presentation I will provide an overview of the development of racism in our South African context. The construct of racism will be deconstructed using the lens of Critical Race Theory. The deconstruction of dominant discourses is one of the central ideas in Narrative Therapy. Critical race theory offers the theory and understanding of how race operates in society with a particular focus on power and privilege. The work of Chester Pierce on microaggressions will be used as a framework to explore the subtle yet damaging effects of racial discrimination and racism. In the second part of the presentation, I will explore the developmental stage of adolescence; racial identity development; and consider how the trauma associated with racism impacts development. In conclusion, I will explore the notion of anti-racism and what an anti-racist stance in psychology might look like. I will end by offering some practical ideas on how mental health practitioners can do anti-racism in their practices.


Elize Morkel

Elize is a registered clinical and counselling psychologist in private practice in Somerset West. Elize has been practicing as a psychologist for more than thirty years. Since 1992 she has participated in and offered narrative therapy training locally and internationally. Her narrative therapy training practice includes supervision of colleagues, workshops, training at universities and sponsoring international trainers to present workshops in South Africa. She has also supported the development of local therapists by organizing conferences and participating as a compassionate witness to the work of colleagues.

A narrative approach to joining parents and their transgender children

In South Africa there is a growing awareness of the challenges that parents face when their children identify as transgender. I have found the work of narrative therapists, teachers and activists David Nylund and Julie Tilsen extremely helpful when considering ways to join parents and their transgender children. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend a week offering narrative therapy training to the staff of IAM, an NPO that does activist work in the areas of gender and sexuality in faith communities in various parts of Africa. This challenged me to consider the ways in which queer theory and narrative therapy share the same theoretical roots. Narrative therapy has much to offer in terms of practices that complement queer theory. In this workshop I will share some of these ideas and practices.


Bettie Rall

 Bettie is a registered counseling psychologist. Her professional training is largely influenced by narrative therapy. As a result, she recognizes the value of working collaboratively with people in their search for living preferred lives and identities. Bettie is a very experienced practitioner who has worked in private practice for the last twenty-two years and is currently based at the Cape Gate therapy center.   While she consults with people of all ages, she has special interests in the areas of child psychology, play therapy, parenting, family relationships, and couple relationships. A troubled relationship with language and a personal journey with language difficulties added to the lived experience that informs the way that she uses language in therapy.

 Building a language bridge across the generation gap

In this practice-based session Bettie will use examples from her work with children and young people. She will illustrate how listening to, utilizing, and understanding the child or young person’s language and language metaphors provide a bridge across the generation gap between therapist and client. This enables the therapist to join the young person in their world. She will also show how this joint language serves to enrich the therapeutic conversation and enhance the collaborative therapeutic process. By honoring and centralizing the voices of her young clients agency is promoted.