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Friday, 07 May 2021

Student Counselling Unit thrives despite Covid-19

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT: Being in the psychology fraternity for more than 20 years, Dr Charlene Petersen finds training and development of young people very rewarding. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MOMENT: Being in the psychology fraternity for more than 20 years, Dr Charlene Petersen finds training and development of young people very rewarding.

Student Counselling support does not only mean engaging on an individual psychotherapeutic level – it also plays an important role in holistically developing students.

Dr Charlene Petersen, who has been an educational psychologist for the past 20 years, explains that the Student Counselling Unit’s programmes are also geared towards the development and self-growth of students and “this also further enhance academic development of our students”.

Petersen’s career journey started as a guidance counsellor/ teacher at a secondary school on the Cape Flats. “It is here where my passion for assisting young people to develop their potential started.” Her psychology career started soon after she qualified as a psychologist and “it inspired me to further my passion in developing young people”.

Petersen continued to shine as she moved to a higher level, working for the University of the Western Cape Psychology Department for eight years before moving to the then Peninsula Technikon in 2001.  She was employed on a contract basis until she was appointed permanently as a student counsellor in 2006.  

“I find training and development of young people very rewarding and, as a psychologist, I assist students to further their potential through our training interventions.”

Petersen says 2020/2021 was challenging due to the negative impact of the pandemic on student engagement. “The limitations that the pandemic brought about forced us to become innovative and find alternate and creative ways to support our students’ needs and provide a holistic support service despite our limited contact.”

Reflecting on her career path and aspirations, she says: “Being in the psychology fraternity for more than 20 years I find myself leaning towards applying my knowledge and achievements on a much broader spectrum. Through expanding and applying my knowledge via training and development opportunities I can develop others.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce

Email: boyceap@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and the Built Environment and Applied Sciences Faculties.