Brief Academic Biography

Dr. Chrisma Pretorius obtained her undergraduate, as well as her postgraduate qualifications, including her PhD (Psychology) at University of the Free State. She is a registered counselling psychologist, who specializes in psychometric and neuropsychological assessments. Her career as lecturer started in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University during March 2010. She is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching as well as research supervision. She is also actively involved in community interaction. She has received a research rating in the category for young researchers from the National Research Foundation in 2016 and has been appointed to the council of the South African Academy for Science and Arts.


Research Topics

  • Clinical Neuropsychology

  • Psychosocial impact of chronic illnesses, such as Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, Multiple Sclerosis and Dementia

  • The role of stigma

About My Research

My broad research interest is in clinical neuropsychology. The encompassing focus of my research is on the consideration of neuropsychiatric aspects of and the psychosocial impact of chronic illnesses on patients, their caregivers and service providers. I am particularly interested in chronic conditions such as Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), Multiple Sclerosis and Dementia. I am part of an international PNES Taskforce of the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE). The main aim of the PNES Taskforce is to collate information and enhance awareness of PNES in a wide range of populations around the world. I am above all interested in the role of stigma in patients with PNES.

Selected Publications

Academic Articles

Pretorius, C., Walker, S.P., & Heyns, P.M. (2009). Sense of coherence amongst male caregivers in dementia: a South African perspective. Dementia, 8(1), 79-94.

Cronje, G. & Pretorius, C. (2013). The Coping styles and Health Related Quality of life of South African Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures patients. Epilepsy & Behavior, 29(3), 581-584. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.09.045.

Pretorius, C. & Joubert, N. (2014). The living experience of individuals with Multiple Sclerosis in the Western Cape, South Africa. Health SA Gesondheid 19(1), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/hsag.v19i1.756

Pretorius, C. & Sparrow, M. (2015). Life after being diagnosed with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES): A South African perspective. Seizure. 30, 32–41. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2015.05.008

Pretorius, C. (2016). Barriers and facilitators to reaching a diagnosis of PNES from the patients’ perspective: Preliminary findings. Seizure. 38, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.03.007

Du Toit, A. & Pretorius, C. (2017). Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: Namibian healthcare providers’ perceptions and frustrations. Seizure, 50, 43-52.

Robson, C., Myers, L., Pretorius, C., Lian, O.S. & Reuber, M. (2018). Health Related Quality of Life of people with non-epileptic seizures: an exploration of social domains, Seizure, 55, 93–99.

Du Toit, A. & Pretorius C. (2018). Diagnostic and treatment practices for psychogenic non-epileptic and epileptic seizures in Namibia, Epilepsy & Behavior, 83, 92-102.

Du Toit, A. & Pretorius C. (2018). Seizures in Namibia: A study of traditional health practitioners, Epilepsia Open, 3(3):374–382. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12240

Hingray, C., El-Hage, W., Duncan, R., Gigineishvili, D., Kanemoto, K., LaFrance, W.C.., de Marinis, A., Paul, R., Pretorius, C., Téllez Zenteno, J.F., Wiseman, H. & Reuber, M. (2018). Access to diagnostic and therapeutic facilities for Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures: an international survey by the ILAE PNES Task Force, Epilepsia, 59:203–214.

Vilyte, G & Pretorius C. (2019), Personality Traits, Illness Behaviours and Psychiatric Comorbidity in Individuals with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES), Epilepsy and Other Non-Epileptic Seizures (oNES): Differentiating Between the Conditions, Epilepsy & Behavior, 98, Part A, 210-219,

Hartwig, L. & Pretorius, C. (2019), Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: Comparing what South African healthcare providers communicate to patients at the point of diagnosis against international guidelines, Epilepsy & Behavior, 101, 106399,

Fouché, M., Hartwig, L. & Pretorius, C. (2019), Management of uncertainty in the diagnosis communication of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures in a South African context, Epilepsy & Behavior, 98, 45-52,

Popkirov, S., Asadi‐Pooya, A.A., Duncan, R., Gigineishvili, D., Hingray, C., Kanner, A.M., LaFrance, W.C., Pretorius, C. & Reuber, M. on behalf of the ILAE PNES Task Force (2019), The aetiology of psychogenic non‐epileptic seizures: risk factors and comorbidities, Epileptic Disorders, 21 (6), 529-47. doi:10.1684/epd.2019.1107

Asadi‐Pooya, A, A., Nicholson, T.R., Pick, S., Baslet, G., Benbadis, S.R., Beghi, M., Brigo, F., Buchhalter, J., D’Alessio, L., Dworetzky, B., Gigineishvili, D., Kanaan, R.A., Kozlowska, K., LaFrance Jr, W.C., Lehn, A., Perez, D.L., Popkirov, S., Pretorius, C., Szaflarski, J.P., Tolchin, B., Valente, K., Stone, J. & Reuber, M. (28 May, 2020, published online) Driving a motor vehicle and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures: ILAE Report by the Task Force on Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures, Epilepsia Open, doi: 10.1002/epi4.12408


Coordination of Programmes and Modules:


  • Brain and Behaviour

Masters Research:

  • Coordinator of MA Psychology (Thesis)

Clinical Masters:

  • Psychometric Assessment

  • Neuropsychology

Teaching Areas


  • Psychology 114: Neuropsychology


  • Brain and Behaviour


  • Neuropsychology

  • Psychometric Assessment