I was motivated to study Psychology after meeting a high school friend who suffered from anxiety and depression.
I recognized that psychological challenges could have as much impact on our functioning as physical challenges. I felt that I could identify with my friend’s fight for independence and it motivated me to pursue a career in Psychology.
I was born with a physical disability (I was born without arms and shortened legs) that had no medical explanation.
I believe that supportive parents, a determined personality and inclusion in mainstream education were key factors in overcoming my physical limitations. Through my Psychology studies, I realized that I had been applying many Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills in my life. I believe that it’s not my situation, but how I think about my situation, that determines my emotional wellbeing. I recognize that positive thinking is helpful, but we also need to be rational and realistic. Positive Psychology has also contributed to my theoretical approach where I highlight that we must not ignore what is wrong, but focus more on what is right.
Psychology Qualifications and Work Experience
I have over 10 years of clinical experience in Psychology. I studied at the University of Stellenbosch where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree (majoring in Psychology and Social Work), Bachelor of Arts Honours degree (Psychology) cum laude, and finally my Master of Arts degree (Clinical Psychology) in 2004. I completed my Psychology Internship and Community Service year at academic hospitals in Cape Town.
My interest in the psychological adjustment to disability developed during the time that I worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC). I have completed the Primary and Advanced Practicums in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) accredited by the Albert Ellis Institute in New York. I have lectured Psychology to undergraduate and postgraduate students at Varsity College in Cape Town for over 8 years. I now focus my time on my therapy practice, professional speaking, training and non-profit work.
The Journey to Becoming a Professional Speaker
I began giving talks during my university years when people saw my potential to inspire audiences. From speaking on request at events, I have now established myself as a professional speaker.
I am a past member of the Ernst & Young Toastmaster’s Club (CC awarded in 2011) and a full member of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa (PSASA). I have given inspirational keynote talks to many companies, schools and organizations and travel nationally and internationally for conferences and speaking events. Highlights of my speaking career include an invitation to speak at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tennessee, USA (I did 9 talks in 5 days!) and being selected as a Tedx Speaker in 2013.
Nicky has founded a non-profit organization called Nicky’s Drive which aims to fund vehicle adaptations for people with disabilities within South Africa. Nicky drives a specially modified vehicle that was donated to her from the UK. She takes “hands free” to a whole new level! Nicky was inspired to start the non-profit to help others enjoy the same mobility and independence as she does.
(c) New To HR.