Personal profile

Summary

I work as a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, teaching/supervising on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Psychology.

As a Chartered Health Psychologist and Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner in private practice, I'm registered with the British Psychological Society, The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine and the Health Care Professions Council.

I have over 28 years experience in several sectors, including academia, medicine, healthcare, business and consultancy. 

My prime objective is to provide an integrated and evidence-based approach to education and healthcare, by undertaking research to deliver excellence in teaching and clinical practice.


Teaching Responsibilities

I lead and teach on the MSc in Health Psychology programme and teach on the BSc(Hons) Psychology programme. These programmes include several different topics, such as applied research methods, theories of behaviour change, psychopathology, psychological interventions in the context of clinical and health psychology practice and quality of life.  I am the module coordinator for Applied Research Methods in Psychology and Applied Health Psychology and Placements, supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students. I am also involved in student recruitment, induction and pastoral care, facilitating a positive academic journey for our students.

I am active in course/curriculum development being conversant with the British Psychological Society and Health Care Professions Council core curriculum and occupational standards. 

I am also a member of the Quality of Life, Health and Wellbeing Research Group and the Qualitative Research Network.

Research Interests

My research interests/specialities in Health Psychology include but are not limited to psychobiological medicine (e.g., PNIE), the impact of stress, alternative approaches to managing menopause, addiction, healthy ageing, obesity and diabetes management,  supporting people living with chronic illness, health behaviours and behaviour change.


I am also interested in developing or collaborating on developing high-reach individual behavioural interventions (e.g., to help people living with obesity or addiction), policy-level interventions, advocacy, policy-making, and public engagement in research.

Biography

I studied biological and social sciences (including counselling, clinical psychology, and coaching), and I completed my degree with honours in psychology at the University of South Africa and Vista University. I also undertook professional training at various bespoke training institutions in South Africa for Naturopathic studies (i.e., therapeutic physical therapy, herbalism and nutrition). I completed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Greenwich University in London, my Masters in Health Psychology at The University of Derby, and my Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at The University of West England.

I work in educational and therapeutic contexts, which is highly beneficial for enhacing the learning experience of my students.

In education contexts,  I developed, led and taught Courses in Health and Social Care until 2013 in FE/HE. I joined the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) in 2014 and worked as the Assistant Head of Undergraduate Provision (Level 6). I was actively involved in the course and module development, spearheading the integration of behaviour change into the core curriculum at ION, and led the provision of behaviour change and training healthcare professionals. I then joined the University of Portsmouth as a Senior Teaching Fellow in Health Psychology in 2023. I am involved in digital healthcare consultancies, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and research supervision.

Therapeutically, my professional journey started in South African community pharmacy and later UK hospital pharmacy (e.g., Kings College London and Ashford and St Peter's NHS Trust). I started practising Lifestyle Medicine in 1997 in South Africa and moved to the UK in 2001, having expertise of working in two very different healtcare systems. I employ an integrative, personalised and trauma-informed approach to my practice, incorporating behaviour change techniques, coaching, counselling, and lifestyle medicine interventions. I was/am involved in training/supervising healthcare professionals and work in various outreach projects (e.g., trauma crisis help, managing chronic illness, obesity, addiction and diabetes care). I practised at the Hale Clinic in London, though I am home-based and predominantly undertaking consults remotely via Zoom, Google Meets or WhatsApp. I joined The Health Matters Group (a specialist multidisciplinary Clinic) in 2023.

 

Media Availability

Media trained television and radio presenter.

Available for media work.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

DProf, Health Psychology, University of the West of England

Award Date: 15 Nov 2022

MSc, Health Psychology, University of Derby

Award Date: 1 Sept 2017

PgDIP, Psychology, London Metropolitan University

Award Date: 7 Jul 2014

PGCE, Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Greenwich

Award Date: 18 Jul 2007

BA (Hons), 3 papers - Social Science Research, Physiological Psychology, and Psychopathology , University of South Africa

Award Date: 30 Nov 2000

BA, Psychology (with Counselling), Sociology and Human Biology , University of South Africa

Award Date: 18 Apr 1998

External positions

Visiting Lecturer, Institute for Optimum Nutrition

External Examiner, Regent's University London

Health Psychologist | Supervisor , The Health Matters Group (MDT Clinic)

Dr Natascha Van Zyl CPsychol DHealthPsych Clinic & Consultancy

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or