A department committed to community service and social change

Applied psychology has been a focus of the Psychology Department since the establishment of the Masters degrees in Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology in 1973. These prorammes were merged into one Masters programme in 2005. In the Masters Programme in Clinical Psychology between eight and ten students are annually trained as clinical psychologists and are able to register with the HPCSA as clinical psychologists in training.

In 2001 a community clinic was established on the 2nd floor of the Wilcocks, a clinic that aimed to serve children, adults and families from the wider Stellenbosch community. Currently this clinic is called Welgevallen Community Clinic and is housed, with the clinical programme, on the university farm, Welgevallen.

Apart from its clinic, the Department also has many established and on-going community projects. These include the Stellenbosch Usiko Youth Project, the Career Guidance Project, the Women’s Mental Health Research Project, the Watergarden, the Babin pre-school project …

Welgevallen Community Psychology Clinic

A community service initiative of the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Welgevallen Community Psychology Clinic functions with four primary goals in mind:

1. To provide a professional setting and meaningful practical learning opportunities for students who are undergoing training in clinical and counselling psychology at Stellenbosch University.

2. To provide accessible, effective and context-appropriate out-patient psychological services to families and individuals of all ages in the broader Stellenbosch community,​​ who would not otherwise have access to psychological care.

3. To undertake research and contribute to the body of knowledge on effective psychological interventions within the South African context.​

4. To work collaboratively with community members, government agencies and community based organisations to provide effective psychological interventions that address psycho-social problems in the broader Stellenbosch area.

Welgevallen Community Psychology Clinic values the differences and similarities among people and adheres to the principles of diversity, both in terms of the composition of the staff and students who work in the clinic, and in terms of the individuals and communities that are served.

We are working towards being able to provide therapeutic services in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.

The Career Guidance Project

The Career Guidance project is a community service learning partnership involving staff and students of the Departments of Psychology and Industrial Psychology collaborating with 8 low-resourced high schools in the Cape Winelands district. Psychometric career assessment, guidance and counselling services and resources have been designed, adapted and implemented in schools not having established career guidance services.

Into its fourth year, the project has developed self-directed manuals available in English, Afrikaans, and isi-Xhosa to assist Grade 9 learners with choosing their schools subjects.

The project has also produced several honours, masters and doctoral studies and publications:

Albien, A. (2013). Exploring grade 12 Kayamandi adolescents’ career influences using the systems theory framework of career development (Unpublished masters thesis). Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University.

Albien, A. (2018). A mixed-methods analysis of black adolescents’ vocational identity status and career adaptability competencies in a South African township (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University.

Dube, T. (2019). Narrative Identities: Voices of the unemployed youth in a low-income community in South Africa (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University.

Graad 9 Selfgerigte Beroepsvoorligtingboekie. (2020). ‘n Beroepsvoorligtingsbron. Departemente Bedryssielkunde en Sielkunde, Universiteit Stellenbosch. ISBN: 978-0-7972-1863-5

Grade 9 Self Directed Career Guidance Booklet: A Career Guidance Resource. (2020). Departments of Industrial Psychology and Psychology, Stellenbosch University. Stellenbosch University: ISBN: 978-0-7972-1862-8.

An exciting website has also been established with resources developed by postgraduate students:

Usiko Stellenbosch NPO

From an initial consultation request in 2000 for psychological services at the Don & Pat Bilton Primary Health Clinic, this engagement with the Jamestown community has evolved into a sustained community engagement initiative. Using community based participatory methodologies, staff and students of the Psychology Department have worked with stakeholders at the primary and high schools, primary health clinic and community volunteers to implement a range of interventions and services. These initiatives have coalesced into the establishment of the Usiko Stellenbosch NPO dedicated to youth development which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021.

The project has also produced several honours, masters and doctoral studies and publications:

The Usiko Stellenbosch project has produced several honours, masters and doctoral studies and publications (Arranged chronologically as the project evolved):

Naidoo, A.V. (2000). Community psychology: Constructing community, reconstructing psychology in South Africa. Published Inaugural Lecture. Stellenbosch University: Stellenbosch University Press.

Naidoo, A.V., Shabalala, N.J., & Bawa, U. (2003). Community Psychology. In L. Nicholas (ed.), Introduction to psychology, 423-456. Cape Town: UCT Press.

Naidoo, A.V., & Van Wyk, S.B. (2003). Intervening in communities: Combining curative and preventive interventions. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 25(1), 65-80.

Van Wyk, S.B., & Naidoo, A.V. (2006). Broadening Mental Health Services to Disadvantaged Communities in South Africa. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 2, 273-282.

Marais, S., Naidoo, A., Donson, H., & Nortje, C. (2007). Strategic violence prevention partnerships in a peri-urban South African town: The case of the Jamestown community project. African Safety Promotion Journal, 5(1), 19-30.

Naidoo, A.V., Van Wyk, S.B., & Carolissen, C. (2011). Community mental health. In L. Swartz, C. de la Rey, N. Duncan & L. Townsend (eds.), Psychology: an introduction (3rd edition) (pp. 498-514). Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Pieterse, A. L., Howitt, D., & Naidoo, A. V. (2011). Racial oppression, colonization, and identity: towards an empowerment model for people of African heritage. In E. Mpofu (Ed.), Counselling people of African Ancestry (pp. 93-109). Cambridge University Press.

Carolissen, R., van Wyk, S., & Pick-Cornelius, M. (2012). ‘I want my family to be white’: Coloured adolescent schoolgirls’ articulations of identity in a South African peri-urban community. Southern African Review of Education, 18(1), 39-55.

Smith, M.R., Van Wyk, S.B., & Alakana, L. (2013). Adolescent girls’ experience of termination in a community-based intervention. Social Work Practitioner Researcher, 25(2), 120-135.

Rossouw, E., & Pinnock, D. (eds.). (2014). Working with adolescents using wilderness, ritual and mentorship. Usiko Trust.

Lazarus, S., Seedat, M., & Naidoo, T. (2017). Community building: Challenges of constructing community. In M. Bond, I. Serrano-García, & C. B. Keys (Eds.-in-Chief), M. Shinn (Assoc. Ed.), APA handbook of community psychology: Vol. 2. Methods for community research and action for diverse groups and issues (pp. 215–234). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Lazarus, S., Taliep, N., & Naidoo, A.V. (2017). Community Asset Mapping as a Critical Participatory Research Method. In M. Seedat, S. Suffla S. & D. Christie (eds.), Emancipatory and Participatory Methodologies in Peace, Critical, and Community Psychology (pp. 45-59). Cham, Switzerland: Peace Psychology Book Series, Springer.

Naidoo, A.V., Zygmont, C., & Phillips, S. (2017). Harnessing the power of ecopsychology in community work. In M. Seedat, S. Suffla, & D. Christie (eds.), Emancipatory and Participatory Methodologies in Peace, Critical, and Community Psychology (pp. 77-89). Peace Psychology Book Series. Springer, Cham.

Masters and Doctoral Theses linked to the Usiko Stellenbosch Youth project (Arranged chronologically)

Van Wyk, S. (2002). Locating a counselling psychology internship in a community setting (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Knoetse, K. (2003). Crossing the threshold: An evaluation of a rites of passage programme in a rural community in South Africa (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Alkana, L. (2006). Experiences of graduation or termination from a girls youth community project (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Dreyer, L (2006). Narratiewe groepterapie met adolessente: Die ontwikkeling van ‘n voorkomingsmodel (Doctoral dissertation). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Fabriek, C. (2007). Reviving a forgotten custom: An evaluation of a community based mentoring intervention-The Jamestown Usiko Youth Project (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Botha, M. (2007). Harnessing wilderness in the rehabilitation of adolescent offenders in a diversion programme (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Simmons, C. (2008). Fatal Injuries and Suicide Mortalities among children and adolescents in the Stellenbosch district (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Demas, G. (2010). Exploring children’s perceptions of the causes and effects of physical violence between children (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Anthonissen, L. (2011). Exploring the influence of gender on how female facilitators of a wilderness programme view “wilderness” (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Williams, L. (2017). Psychosocial influences related to community engagement: A multilevel perspective (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Pohl, S. (2019). Exploring the experiences of programme graduates of a preventative intervention pilot for girls at risk to gang activity (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Konings, K. (2020). A Mixed-Methods Study Evaluating the Outcomes of a Short Wilderness Experiential Programme as Part of a Youth Development Initiative in the Western Cape, South Africa (Honours research paper). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Kotze, S. (2020). Delineating “At-Risk”- An Exploration of Self-reported and Observed Risk Factors Pre-empting Gang-involvement Amongst Western Cape Females (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Muller, I. (2021). Recruitment and Initiation of Girls into Gangs in the Western Cape (Masters thesis). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Vocational Assessment Project

This evolving research project connects researchers at SU’s Psychology and Industrial Psychology departments with partners at the University of Johannesburg and the University of Ghana.

Our objective is to assess and develop career assessment measures that are theoretically and culturally valid and appropriate for local contexts. The project draws from the development of a new career interest inventory using John Holland’s RAISEC typology and tested with university samples. The project has also given birth to the first isiXhosa version of a career interest inventory that can be used at high school level. Recently the inventory has been adapted for university students in Ghana and a related research paper has been submitted to the International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance.


Morgan, B., Naidoo, A.V., Rabie, S., & De Bruin, G. (2019). Using Interests in Career Counselling: Some Thoughts and Research Findings. In J. Maree (Ed.), Innovating career counselling theory, research, and practice (pp. 485-503). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Morgan, B., Teye Kwadjo, E., Asumeng, M., Rabie, S., Naidoo, A.V., & de Bruin, G. (In press). Psychometric Properties of the African Career Interest Inventory in Ghana. International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance.

Rabie, S. (2016). A translation and psychometric investigation of the South African Career Interest Inventory across gender and race among secondary school learners (Doctoral dissertation). Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch.

Rabie, S., & Naidoo, A. V. (2019). Validating the adaptation of the first career measure in isiXhosa: the South African Career Interest Inventory–isiXhosa version. South African Journal of Psychology, 49(1), 109–121. https://doi.org/10.1177/0081246318772419