SUZANNE VAN DER WESTHUIZEN – HUMANITAS COUNSELLING STUDENT

Suzanne volunteers her time offering free. online counselling sessions via Skype.

My career journey started with me studying a Bachelor’s in Art at the University of Pretoria. After I had my first child I realised I wanted to be the best mother my children could hope for and studied B.Ed Pre-primary. While a teacher and working with small children it stood out to me that many young children suffer from ADHD and learning disabilities. This urged me to further my studies in education with a B. Ed Hons Degree in Learning Disabilities and Behaviour Counselling at University of Pretoria.

While doing my Honours Degree I was approached to become a lecturer at the University and enrolled for my Masters Degree in education focused on prenatal trauma. After a year we moved away because my husband had a business opportunity he couldn’t resist. While still busy with my Masters I was working alongside my husband in a corporate franchise. I learned about the dynamics of running a business and how to manage individual needs of staff members. As a lifelong student and teacher it was imperative to me to empower the staff members and their families.
My husband loved endurance sports and participated in a mountain biking race one weekend and was involved in an accident. He obtained a serious brain injury which forced me to put my studies on hold. Two years later after suffering from depression he committed suicide. I became a widow and single mother in a single moment with all the normal demands of life. This made me realise that no matter what curve ball life throws at you, you have to get on with life and have to be resilient. I took the word of God literally where He promises “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. That became my life motto.
Because of this turn of events I specialized in Trauma Counselling and I also received training as a paramedic. I worked then at a local church and hospital doing trauma debriefing and counselling as I have found that trauma can be experienced in every aspect of life. I wanted to to be able to an instrument to pick people up from total devastation.
Counselling trauma doesn’t mean the pain never existed. It only means the damage no longer controls your life.
I have found CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to be the most direct counselling method to assist and support clients with the skills set and tools to make sense of their own situation to overcome traumatic experiences. My viewpoint comes from experiencing trauma first hand and survived it.
My passion is to work with children with learning difficulties and facilitate people – young and old – to deal with and survive trauma.
I believe that the will of God will never take us where the grace of God will not sustain us.

How to book a session

Our Humanitas Counselling Students are ready and eager to connect, listen and talk with you. If you would like to book a free counselling session via Skype – please have a look at the different people who are able to help.

To request a session with Suzanne, click here.