How a career in psychology is helping this SACAP graduate empower women

Published: January 15, 2019 / 0 Comments

Female Empowerment

Hope Mathole says her SACAP qualifications have helped foster her calling

Remember how you felt during your first few years at high school – a thrilling combination of sassy independence and optimism? Interlaced, sometimes, with a mystifying mix of anxiety and self-doubt? For 25-year-old Hope Mathole grade 9 and 10 was a turbulent period. “It was a time in my life where I was going through a lot as an adolescent. I was trying to form an identity for myself and negotiate part of my life that did not really make sense for me,” she says. “I learnt the value of having someone to speak to and I wish to provide others with the same opportunity.”

From embryonic high school beginnings Hope has nurtured her interest in psychology and is currently completing her Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology at North West University (NWU). She chatted to us about her innate desire to work with women and adolescents, and how SACAP has provided her with the tools to achieve this dream.

Going with the flow

Having completed her Higher Certificate, Hope furthered her studies and completed the Advanced Certificate as well as the BAppSocPsych Degree and BAppSocPsych Honours Degree at SACAP’s Johannesburg campus. “I felt like I had found my calling,” she explains. “I knew that I would impact my corner of the world through psychology – each qualification I did just served as confirmation.”

Hope attributes much of her evolving success to SACAP’s many supportive elements. The small classes, for example. “It’s an awesome experience to be seen as an individual and not just a number,” she says. “The work integrated learning component of each course is very beneficial, too, because it’s often something only practiced at Honours or Masters level at other institutions – by the end of my degree I already had first-hand experience working with people from all walks of life.” Additional programmes that encourage students to engage with communities are other salient features Hope reveres. “I loved the countless volunteering opportunities that are available at SACAP,” she says.

Building bridges

Most importantly Hope feels that her SACAP qualifications have helped her achieve what she’s doing today. “I learned the very fundamental aspects of psychology at SACAP and they have helped me in my approach when dealing with clients and colleagues,” she says. “They serve as a strong foundation that I will keep building on as I progress in my academic and professional career.”

Underpinning her desire to build on what she’s learned is Hope’s indefatigable mission to motivate and empower women. Last year she founded the Contagious Classy Diva’s Network* (CCDN), an NPO that engages with women via outreach programmes that are themed according to three B’s: build, become, bridge. Through her CCDN initiative Hope’s aim is to build women from the inside equipping them with emotional and practical life skills that will help them become the best version of themselves as well as provide a bridge so that they can move from a place of brokenness to wholeness.

“My Psychology background has instilled a sensitivity in me,” she says. “Women that participate in the CCDN come from different walks of life and have experienced traumas that may not always be as obvious as we expect them to be. I’m able to provide a safe and non-judgmental space at our workshops so that each individual feels accepted for who they are, eliminating the need to hide behind a mask.”

Reaping the rewards

Equipping people with skills that endorse mental health is very fulfilling, says Hope. “What I love most is being a vessel that helps my clients maintain their wellbeing. It’s a privilege to have them sit across from me and divulge things they would not normally share with anyone else. The reward is watching them become stronger and healthier as their therapy process unfolds.”

In January Hope will start her Counselling Psychology internship at Ingryp on the NWU campus. “It’s a student support and 24-hour crisis centre,” she explains. In addition to providing psychotherapy, group therapy and psychometric assessments for students, she’ll be working with schools and nearby communities, too, she says.

Hope’s future prospects are packed with promise. “I’ll probably be working on my PHD dissertation and my first book – which I’ve been working on since 2017 – will hopefully be published.” She’s also cautiously optimistic that she’ll have a number of different funding partnerships backing her CCDN project. “So that I can expand its reach into different townships in the Vaal Triangle making the workshops available to different youth groups, schools and young people in churches,” she says.

Fortunately for Hope, studying psychology was something she inherently knew she wanted to do. “Being a psychologist requires having a heart to serve because on many occasions you don’t get to witness the fruits of your labour, although other people will,” she cautions. “If you’re uncertain whether psychology is the field for you it’s okay to take a gap year and volunteer at an organization, or enroll at SACAP for the Higher Certificate. By the end of the year you’ll know if you want to carry on or not.”

The proverbial ball really is in your court. If your desire to empower people is strong, or you like the idea of adding value to communities then a degree in psychology could be a great foundation to build your career dreams. SACAP offers a variety of very comprehensive counselling, psychology and coaching courses on which to shape your future success. Enquire here now.

* Contagious Classy Divas’ Network has a Facebook page. For more info on how you can get involved email ccdn.hopeisabrand@gmail.com

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