My story, as do all our stories, began a long time ago. 

I think I became a psychologist at around the age of 2 years! I was the youngest of 3 daughters and from an early age it was evident that I was a deeply sensitive and thoughtful child who took on the role of peace-maker and mediator in the family. For most intents and purposes our house was a happy one; looking back now with 20/20 vision it is clear that even the seemingly happiest homes have their hurts and conflict and imperfections.  

During my school years I found myself often being sought out to lend a listening ear. My fascination with the human mind and my compassion for those hurting grew steadily and school orals included topics such as Schizophrenia and the Interpretation of Dreams. My love for animals, nature and psychology resulted in my pursuance of a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Psychology and Zoology. I went on to complete my Honours and Masters in Clinical Psychology in 1994, graduating Cum Laude and first in my class. In 1996 I began my private practice and discovered a love for, and I believe a calling to, couples therapy. My areas of interest with individual clients include depression and anxiety, grief, shame and relational distress.   

In 2004 whilst in therapy I was introduced to Imago Relationship Therapy. At this stage I was pregnant with my third son and I was considering leaving the marriage; unbeknown to me we had entered into the Power Struggle-the second stage of every relationship. Over time we began to understand the role of conflict, the concept of relationships being the crucible for growth and healing, and were introduced to ways of sustaining and deepening our connection and commitment to each other. 

I wish I could say we lived happily after. But this is not part of my story. Instead there was hurt, loss, confusion and sadness. I felt like a fraud. Here I was helping other couples heal and grow but I wasn’t able to realise this within my own life. As with clouds my silver lining was my increased empathy, self-understanding and compassion for couples in distress. Ongoing self-reflection, consciousness, intentionality and therapy (yes we like to keep our colleagues in business!) continue to be my stalwarts in this journey called life. What I know is that relationships work when two people are committed to navigate the tough and unknown territories that relationships call us to and that healing and growth is always possible. My belief in love calling us to life remains constant. It is in relationship that we can discover our essence and wholeness.


Michele Naude
Clinical Psychologist
South Africa

%d bloggers like this: