Edition 3

Dr Colinda Linde is a Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist specialising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), with 26 years of experience. She is also chairperson and a director of the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), and created “TheCBTgroup”, a group of mental health care professionals focusing on CBT for various ages and disorders. A first for South Africa In 2013, Colinda launched the first CBT self-help website in SA, www.thoughtsfirst.com, and over the past two years she has teamed up with author and high- performance executive coach, Neil Bierbaum, to co-found and co- author the Practical Mindfulness programme, online course and book (www.practicalmindfulness. co.za). Currently, she is creating practical online self-help courses for assertion, sleep disorders, stress management, panic, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, among others. Born and raised in Johannesburg, Colinda was a serious student who loved school and became an avid reader, with a special interest in biology and astronomy, and later, physics based sci-fi and neuroscience. Her ambition as a child was to join NASA and become an astronaut, but she had

of 11, she had read about clinical psychology and was certain that this was what she wanted to do. After matriculating in 1986, she enrolled for a psychology degree (including genetics) at Wits University, relying on a student loan for undergraduate studies. Afterward, she enrolled at UJ (then RAU) for her Honours in Psychology and Master’s in Clinical Psychology. “The head of department at that time had been trained in CBT in the US and it resonated strongly with me. I received CBT training from him, and in addition to the formal course work, I did my master’s dissertation using CBT. I was fortunate to be selected for a master’s at age 22, and there was a degree of challenge being the ‘baby’ in the group age-wise, but I was delighted to have no gaps or pauses in my studies”, recalls Colinda. UJ lecturers showed flexibility UJ was a smaller and more contained campus than Wits, and being the 80s, quieter, she recalls. “I really enjoyed the flexibility lecturers showed, for example, teaching many of the courses in English, even though it was RAU, as many classes had up to 80% English speakers in them. The lecturers were also really progressive, and many had trained and worked abroad, so the experiences they shared were invaluable

see a range of what can go wrong in a brain/psyche close up”. She graduated in 1993, at only 24, and started work as a resident psychologist at a place of safety in Pretoria, and then in Durban, with a part-time practice on a weekend. She opened a full practice in 1995, and in 1997, returned to Johannesburg to continue her practice, still working from a CBT framework. She became involved with SADAG, as patient education and advocacy is a strong driver for her, and was elected to their board, becoming its chairperson eight years ago. She has trained several SADAG psychologists in CBT, which she says is the most effective therapeutic intervention for anxiety and depression. Colinda has attended several international congresses and received training in the US as well as locally, mostly in CBT and more recently in mindfulness enhanced CBT. “This has been a winning combination of working with the mind at multiple levels, and achieving lasting change”, she says. When her twins were born 16 years ago, she had to learn about work- life balance and ended up putting this into a book, Get the balance right − coping tips for working mothers (2005, Metz Press). When Colinda is stressed she uses her own techniques, including daily meditation. “I also remind myself of one of my favourite meditations, ‘the clouds are not the sky’ which is all about impermanence and surfing various emotions and circumstances rather than avoiding or trying to escape from the uncomfortable ones. I will be a student all my life, and never tire of evolving myself and passing it on to others”, she says.

for younger students like me who had not really travelled or been exposed to the rest of

the world”, she says. Colinda did her internship at Sterkfontein Hospital, where she volunteered to work in the closed (psychosis) female ward. “I got to

less than perfect vision, which is required, and turned her attention to exploring the brain, the mind and human behaviour. By the age



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