About me

If you are considering making use of my services, you probably want to know more about me…

Here are the most important things you need to know about me:

I hold master’s degrees in clinical social work and psychology and certification as an advanced level hypnosis practitioner.  The focus of my master’s degree in social work is art therapy with young children, while my psychology master’s degree focused on hypnotherapy in high-risk pregnancy.

I am registered as a social worker with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (Reg. 10-14972) as well as with the South African Association for Social Workers in Private Practice (SAASWIPP).

I started my career in the public sector where I worked for 6 years as a probation officer, working with children and youth in trouble with the law and their families. I formed part of the initial team of probation officers working at Stepping Stones Youth Justice Centre, an inter-ministerial project on young people at risk.  During this time I handled investigations for pre-trial and pre-sentence reports and probation services to children and their families. I also started designing and implementing therapeutic programmes for children and families.

After I left the public sector I took up a position as director for a child and youth care centre. Here my work was divided between managerial work and direct practice. As a manager I was responsible for financial oversight of the organisation, human resources, change management, and all day to day operations. In my role as direct practitioner, I provided life-space support to children in care and the teams who worked with them and coordinated the therapeutic team. I remained in this position for 13 years.

While transitioning my career to private practice, I worked as a clinical social worker and trainer at LifeLine Port Elizabeth, a non-profit organisation that offers free crisis counselling services to people.  Currently I am working in private practice as a therapist, consultant and trainer.

I believe that people have enormous potential and resiliency and that my task to help them activate their talents and resources to live full and happy lives.

Occasionally I write something that finds its way into a publication somewhere.  These are not all available online, but here are some of them with the links provided:

Transitioning from care to independence in provincial South Africa.  Published in CYC-Online, Issue 229, March 2018 (ISSN1605-7406)

The assessment of children.  Published in CYC-Online, Issue 149, July 2011.  (ISSN 1025-6121).

A narrative approach to life and career construction in Child and Youth Care Practice.  Published in CYC-Online in 2013. (ISSN 1605-7406).

Some thoughts on child and youth care leadership.  Published in CYC-Online in 2015. (ISSN 1605-7406).

Context in therapeutic work with young people.  Published online in Goodenoughcaring Journal in 2013.

Van der Westhuizen, W.L. (2013) Relational Child & Youth Care Practice. The use of Daily Life Events and an Ericksonian Approach.  Volume 26, Issue 2.  (ISSN 1705625X) Published in Canada.

Van der Westhuizen, W.L. (2013) The use of Daily Life Events and an Ericksonian Approach, in Garfat, T., Fulcher, L. & Digney, J. (2013).  Making Moments Meaningful in Child and Youth Care Practice.  Cape Town: Pretext Publishing

Van der Westhuizen, W.L.  (2006).  Relational Child & Youth Care Practice.  A holistic approach to therapeutic behaviour management.  Volume 19, Number 4.  (ISSN 0840-982X) Published in Canada.

Van der Westhuizen, W.L. (2015). Relational Child & Youth Care Practice.  The devil in our system.  Volume 28, Number 4.  (ISSN 2410-2954) Published in Canada.

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