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Change the world

19/04/2024

Overcoming language barriers posed by psychometric tests pertaining to isiXhosa speaking clients, formed part of Nicoleen Fouche’s master’s research in Counselling Psychology. She is graduating at Nelson Mandela University’s Autumn Graduation.

 

The title of her treatise wasA qualitative review on the manner in which psychologists address language barriers in psychological testing with isiXhosa speaking clients”.

Nicolene’s research contributed to the literature in providing findings and practical guidelines from experienced psychologists across South Africa, with a diverse range of clientele, work experience, and practical guidance and specifically overcoming language barriers.

The findings could assist psychologists, that are hesitant to assess isiXhosa speaking clients.

These guidelines included ensuring that the test-taker is adequately proficient in the testing language or using an interpreter.

As the majority of psychological measures are only available in English and/or Afrikaans they should be used with extreme caution.

The accuracy or limitations of test findings should also be taken seriously. Clients need to be viewed as a whole, and with their best interest in mind, avoiding unfair and biased practices and offering support and guidance the client requires.

Her supervisors were Department of Psychology’s Dr Johan Cronje and Professor Louise Stroud.

Nicoleen recently passed her HPCSA Board examination and works as a Counselling Psychologist at the Neurodiversity Centre in Durbanville.

Coming from Namibia, she started her journey at the University in 2018 with her Honours in Psychology. She worked at the University’s Missionvale Psychology Clinic and UCLIN (South Campus) and psychometrist and lectured part-time in Psychology, before being accepted as one of six students for her Master’s in Counselling Psychology.

Regarding Nicoleen’s work at the Missionvale and Uclin clinics, she says that the waiting lists at both clinics were long, due to the clinics being one of the few community clinics servicing the broader area along with limited health professionals at dispense. As a result, the challenges faced by the community members are perpetuated.

“I have however been fortunate to be on the receiving end of all the appreciation and gratitude. When patients have been waiting for months to years, to finally see a professional, listening, hearing and understanding the client and their families, and then receive assistance in any form or shape, is appreciated”, she added.

She achieved 78% for her first-year master's study and 80% for her internship year, which she completed at Grey Junior School and Hunters Craig Psychiatric Hospital.

A doctorate would be a future endeavour for sure, says Nicoleen. The research findings have provided more insight into what psychologists in South Africa are currently doing when challenged with a language barrier as an obstacle. Her PhD would indeed be on expanding this topic, she says.

For all your graduation content across your social media platforms, please use #MandelaUniGrad24. We would love to collate, share and celebrate this amazing achievement with you on official University platforms. 

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za