Brief Academic Biography

Chrisma Pretorius is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. Prof Pretorius received a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF) in April 2022. She holds dual registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, recognized as both a counselling psychologist and a neuropsychologist. Prof. Pretorius’s undergraduate and postgraduate teaching focuses predominately on neuropsychology and assessment. She integrates her research, teaching and community involvement, aligning these aspects for maximum impact. She supervises psychometric and neuropsychological assessment cases for clinical students at the Welgevallen Community Clinic, delivering valuable services to the broader Stellenbosch community. Furthermore, Prof Pretorius coordinates the Departmental Ethics Screening Committee and the Research Masters’ Degree Programme. Serving as an academic mentor on the Early Career Academic Development (ECAD) program at Stellenbosch University has allowed her to extend her mentorship beyond her immediate academic sphere.


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

Prof Pretorius’ research primarily revolves around clinical neuropsychology, with a special emphasis on brain-behaviour relationships in the context of neurological, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions. Her work aims to understand the psychological and social burden imposed by chronic illnesses on individuals, their families and society at large. She is particularly interested in researching chronic conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia and Epilepsy, with a specific focus on Functional Seizures (FS). Her international recognition in this field led to her appointment as the African collaborator for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), specifically as a member of the Functional Seizures Taskforce in 2013. She has been actively involved as the African ambassador of this Taskforce for the past 10 years. Prof Pretorius also actively contributes to the scientific community and professional organizations, both nationally and globally. This includes her involvement with the South African Clinical Neuropsychological Association, the South African Academy for Science and Arts, and her role as a founding member of the International Functional Neurological Disorder Society (FNDS). Her participation on the Website / Social Media committee of the FNDS as the African social media ambassador reflects her commitment to advancing awareness and collaboration in her field. In 2021, she was invited to join a new initiative, the IR-Epil Consortium (International Research in Epilepsy), based on her ongoing collaboration with this global research group.

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