Having been one of the youngest psychology PhDs in the country, Melissa Card is a highly regarded practicing clinical psychologist. At the age of 34, it is however her list of accolades as a University lecturer that secured her a spot on the Mail and Guardian’s top 200 young South Africans list, in the category of education.
Born and raised in East London, the then 31 year old Melissa completed her Clinical Psychology PhD in 2016, the same year in which she won the faculty teaching excellence award. Both milestones were achieved at the University of Johannesburg.
She completed her masters degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2007, completing an internship at the same university the following year, and then practising as a clinical psychologist from 2009 to 2011 in the psychiatric ward at the Helen Joseph Hospital.
While still at Helen Joseph, Melissa started her own private practice which she has run for the past 9 years. At her practice, she deals with issues ranging from anxiety disorder to eating disorders. She also has corporate clients that ask her to do training workshops and employee selection. It is however her job as a public University lecturer that is most rewarding to her.
Melissa started working for the University of Johannesburg in 2011 and quickly rose to the ranks of Senior lecturer. She lecturers in subjects such as developmental psychology, abnormal psychology & psychodynamic theories and she focuses her academic research on areas such as Psychodynamic therapy process, public mental health and psychopathology. She lecturers up to the Masters level and supervisors research students up until PhD. She also coordinates the department’s academic programmes and sits on its management committee. For her commitment as an educator, Melissa was also awarded the vice chancellor’s teaching award in 2017.
Being an academic researcher, Melissa has also written chapters in two books, focusing on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. She has published a paper in the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, contributed to two conference papers and written two conference papers in which she focused on anorexic disorders and anxiety.
On her job as an educator, Melissa says she hopes to “cultivate a curiosity for learning, knowing, questioning and creating in the field of psychology”. On her future as an academic and private practitioner, she hopes to achieve two objectives. The first is to “climb to the level of professor” and the second is to “establish a therapy centre where people can access therapeutic services for reduced rates or for free”. “This would allow for counsellors and therapists to volunteer their services to the less privileged,” says Melissa.
To those who want to become successful, she says the following: “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done and that’s the difference between those who dream of success and those who get up every day and make that success happen.”
Source(s): Edited from a story on the Mail and Guardian website, other.
Note: Each year, the Mail and Guardians asks the public to nominate the most remarkable young people between the ages of 18 and 35. This year, they received 6000 nominations and out of these, only 200 were chosen. These young people are considered the best of the best and many have gone on to make significant strides in their respective fields.