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“Every time we ask a question,

we’re generating a possible version of a life.”

— D. Epston

Meet Our Team

Dr Jo Viljoen
Dr Jo Viljoen
Narrative Therapist
Recovery | Warriors | Agere

She brings with her a life long dedication to healing, specializing in Clinical Psychiatric Nursing. The Narrative Approach to Therapy captured her interest and led to a PhD. Dr Jo is a director at Simcha, responsible for individual and group therapy, education in Narrative Therapy, supervision and marketing. As a life long learner, she completed the Advanced Apprenticeship in the Art of Narrative Therapy with David Epston, Tom Carlson and Kay Ingamells. She brings cutting edge narrative therapy practices to the table while sharing an enthusiasm for the development of prefered stories in peoples lives. Dr Jo believes healing IS possible.

Nonka Byker
Nonka Byker
Narrative Therapist
Recovery | Warriors

Nonka completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Pretoria and is a Registered Counsellor with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSCA). She is currently busy with her Master’s degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work through the Dulwich Centre and the University of Melbourne. Part of this degree entails an innovation project that Nonka intends to complete with the help of willing Simcha insider witnesses (aka as our members) as co-researchers – stay tuned if you are curious about this!

Nonka particularly enjoys

working with the problem of addiction from the viewpoint that the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem. She is one of Simcha’s directors and brings with her years of individual and group therapy experience.

Charleen du Plessis
Charleen du Plessis
Narrative Therapist
Recovery | Warriors | Family Care

After having journeyed with Simcha for a year and a bit, I started my Pastoral Narrative Therapy studies in 2018. This enriched my life in many ways and made me aware of how important it is to listen, really listen to the stories people tell. Realizing that every person is the expert on their own lives, giving them a safe space, time and attention, with no judgement, has resulted in many alive to be changed and hope lived in hopeless situations. Simcha and narrative therapy has given me a voice after having experienced an abusive relationship and losing everything. Giving a voice to the person and not the problem! Being involved with Simcha Recovery and Warrior Woman enables me to give back from my own experience, and Narrative therapy has given me this opportunity.

Tessa Freeman
Tessa Freeman
Narrative Therapist
Agere | Recovery

Tessa started her studies in 2009, and she gained a Bachelors in Theology. Following this was her Master's degree in Religious studies, her thesis titled: The Theologies of Religion and interreligious dialogue. Tessa was a minister but soon decided that further study in Narrative Therapy was needed as she encounters many people in need of professional counselling. She completed training in Advanced Narrative Therapy at Coram Deo, accredited by the University of Pretoria. Tessa joined Simcha in 2018, and addiction recovery soon became a passion. She is talkative and has a passion for people from all walks of life. She has a great sense of humour and is always curious about the stories that make people who they are. Tessa is happily married to her best friend. Tessa in a nutshell: "Be silly, be honest, be kind" - RW Emerson.

Nthabeleng Kgotle
Narrative Therapist

Nthabeleng Kgotle is a Pastoral Narrative Counsellor and an experienced soft and functional skills facilitator. A social science graduate

who has spent considerable amount of time devising talent management and skills development strategies within one of the main players in the resources industry. She managed Learnerships, Experiential Learning and Graduate Development Programs and delivered mentorship training for these programs. She has and still works with a number of companies facilitating various programs throughout the country.

She holds an Advanced Certificate in Pastoral Narrative Therapy from which she uses the skills to collaborate and journey with people

in the deconstruction of their problem stories. Nthabe (as she's affectionately known) assists individuals and groups to weave their multi-storied lives into rich descriptions of their identities. This she does through counselling,

facilitation of enrichment camps and retreats to teenagers, tweens (8-12 yr

olds) and emerging adults as well as organised conversations for different

interest groups. She is part of a dynamic group of Narrative Therapists at Simcha Recovery and is registered with the Council for Pastoral Spiritual Counsellors. Nthabeleng is also registered as an assessor with ETDP Seta.


She has passion for community work, youth development, pre-teens and family therapy.

Nelly Roodt
Narrative Therapist

The lines of my boundary have fallen in pleasant places; surely my inheritance is delightful (Psalm 16:6).

I live in the village of Stanford in the sublimely beautiful Walker Bay area – where I grasp the meaning of

serenity. This is where I spend my retirement years as Simcha blogger and therapist.

Such abundance bestowed on me…

Lungi Molamu
Narrative Therapist

Lungi Molamu has an MSc in Race Relations and Community Studies from Bradford University UK in 1980. She completed the two year Advanced Pastoral Narrative

Therapy Diploma from the University of Pretoria in 2015 and is a practising

Narrative Therapist using this approach in some of her facilitation

She is an accredited Barrett CTTI (Cultural Transformation Tools) facilitator (2010) and trained by IBI International on Gender Mainstreaming (2008) for the

African Training and Management Services (AMSCO) projects. Her experience spans over 20 years in the areas of Social Research and Organisational Development in

the Private, Public and NGO sectors and from 2017 Lungi used the ideas and practices of narrative in Re-authoring Diversity and Inclusion.

The facilitation of Diversity and Inclusion amongst others included the co-facilitation with Dr Chene Swart on the following projects; Pretoria High School for Girls 2017; New Stories collaboration of USA and Canada 2020; The Institute for Narrative Therapy and Community Practice in Greece2021, the latter two were on Zoom; University of Stellenbosch Business School Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership

Development 2021 and The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) 2021.

Lungi is part of the Simcha community of therapists committed to re-authoring people’s lives in meaningful ways.

Mared van Nieuwenhuizen
Narrative Therapist
Agere | Recovery

Greetings! For the longest time

our Simcha meeting room in Pretoria East was on my door step, but as they say, life happens. I moved to Stellenbosch during the winter of 2018. My biggest loves are people, dogs, walks, nature, and working with numbers, of course (my day job). I joined Simcha Recovery back in 2015 whilst enrolled in the Pastoral

Narrative Therapy Course at Coram Deo. From the very first gathering, I was honoured to journey through story-telling and group collaboration with people from all walks of life. What a privilege it has been to sit at the feet ofthese teachers; experts of their own lived experiences, to be their story-catcher, a collector of sacred stories of hurt and hope; stories of discovery and of rediscovery of self-worth and self-love. During this journey I

have seen people construct new paths for themselves; carve new lives; not giving up; recognising that after all that has happened, they still have a choice. We are NOT our problems. We are uniquely created. You are worthy. Whether you are walking away from the problem of addiction, or a life-long battle with eating habits, YOU will always have a place at our table. You are invited. Hope

is alive. Welcome!

Marr van Jaarsveld
Narrative Therapist

I completed my Master degree in Biblical Pastoral Counselling.

In 2018 we moved from Bloemfontein to Pretoria to be closer to our grandchildren.  It is here in Pretoria that I entered my relationship with Narrative Therapy.

Having Personal experience of loved ones and addiction I eperienced an inner conviction that Narrative therapy will address the turmoil

of emotions and self-doubt of a person encountering a problematic relationship with addiction.

 It will free them and their loved ones of the idea that they are the problem.  They will be able to separate themselves from the problem, they will discover their voice against the voice of the problem and start the journey of recovery.

I have a heart for my fellow travellers, as I have personal experience of to what extent the problem steals and destroys.  It is my desire to contribute to the discovering of an alternative story line where everyone can live a life free from the burden of addictions that weighs them down.

André Wienekus
Narrative Therapist

When I started my training at Coram Deo in Constantiakloof, I did it for my own personal healing. Soon I started to enjoy the Narrative Therapy and the learning that followed. I met so many amazing people in my journey. I am passionate about people and their stories. Through meeting people, I learned that everybody has a story,

some stories are mind blowing and you realize that the world is a broken place. I am passionate in helping people on their recovery journey. For this reason, I decided to get involved in Simcha Recovery. Here we meet regularly with amazing people, people with endurance and a passion for life. We cannot change the world, but we can certainly play a role in the healing of many people. It is my dream to walk next to people, to listen to people and to help people get their voices back, the voices they need to stand up to the problem story.

Come join us and learn to live a new life, we are here to walk with you.

Pauli Westraat
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

Ek is Pauli Westraat. Woonagtig in Mosselbaai en is tans n Supervisie student by Simcha.

Echart Tolle skryf :"Forget about your life situation for a while and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time -your life is now"

Ek het op n tydstip van my lewe my blind gestaar teen al die uitdagings in my lewe. Met behulp van vriende en dosente kon ek my valse hoop in n storie van Hoop herskryf.

Afhanklikheid word gevind op die straathoeke, luukse wonings

en arme nedersettings.Die sambreel van afhanklikheid raak soveel dele van ons menslike bestaan aan. Afhanklikheid klop aan almal se deure ewe hard.

Die twee maal n week groep by, Simcha, leer ons van die vele

gesigte van die Probleem. Kaalvoet loop ons langs mekaar om die Probleem uit te vang. Omdat ons uniek is bou elkeen met sy eie vaardighede, kennis, vermoens en

waardes stories van nuwe moontlikhede. Hierdie moontlikhede behels n beter selfbeeld, beter verhoudings en n beter toekoms. Ons as Sonneblomme draai ons

gesig na die Son sodat ons JOY kan uitstraal.

Marlene Olivier
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

Romans 12:18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. To live at peace, requires untroubled relationships. Not only with your creator, also with people around you and most of all, yourself. In 2017 I completed an Advanced Diploma in Narrative Pastoral Care and Counselling, she discovered a new language to communicate in such way, to live at peace. 

Even in my career as director and leader of the Customer Success Team I never underestimate the value of good, healthy and honest relationships.  The narrative

approached allows me to journey with life stories leading to calm, peaceful and untroubled landscapes. A place where a person can be content. Always seeking for pieces of gold along the way to create value and meaning in the journey.

When you get there, you will find, you are not alone. Everyone is on their own journey seeking to find this place of serenity. In my own journey and challenge with grief the past two years I have discovered to

  • always move forward, even if it is one step at a time
  • hear people softly, they sometimes do no know what they say
  • always HOPE, and believe the sun will rise again in the morning
  • you can dare to dream and dance

I have and will always be a child of God.

Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Karen Burger
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

Karen is an affectionate, energetic, outgoing, and positive lady who believes in the good of each and every person. This is also her approach to the individuals she interacts with and her point of departure to learn more about each person’s life stories. To ultimately journey with them, seek different

possibilities, paths, story directions, and to be curious and asking questions to which she honestly does not know the answers too. Being interested in the inherent skills and knowledges of the person and providing a safe space for the individual’s voice and stories

as each and every story matter.

Karen successfully completed her Advanced Course in Narrative Pastoral Counselling under the auspice of the University of Pretoria.

 She is involved with Simcha Recovery, Family Care, and Warrior Woman. Her passion lies with those in need to fight their problems in

a narrative way, regardless of age, as people are not the problem, but the problem is the problem.

On a more personal level, Karen is a big lover of nature, seeking

out every possible opportunity to head to great the outdoors in search of Africa’s fauna and flora. In addition, she is also a big lover of art, specifically visual and fine arts, and classical ballet.

She looks forward to hearing your story.

Saartjie Roos
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

I have completed successfully the two-year course in Pastoral Narrative Therapy at Coram Deo. I have enlisted in completing the Practical Supervision year and plan to thereafter start a Therapy Practice

and/or partner with a community service in the helping profession. I am

honoured, to take part as a student, in several SIMCHA groups in being trained as facilitator/therapist in narrative therapy.

I recently am in a position as financial administrator, was a teacher for 14 years and hold a BScEd, BEd, MEd degree in Education, completed at the University of Pretoria.

My personality is that of helping people in life challenges and my purpose and destiny is, in applying the pastoral narrative therapy, to

journey with people in re-authoring their life story. My passion is to “dig for gold” in the person’s experiences.

Mardine Strauss
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

Narrative Therapy crossed my path in 2016 and it guided me to regain consciousness in my own life. 

So much richness in yourself could easily get lost in many ways as you

continue to follow life on its different paths. 

We are all our own selves and could easily get lost in staying on top of

so many expectations of the “how it is supposed to’s”.  It’s always good to reach out to others, but it is as important to reach out to yourself!!!

Vuyelwa (Vuvu) Kwakwa
Narrative Therapist Supervision Student

I am passionate about listening to other people’s stories and uncovering what has brought to where they are in their lives. Narrative therapy has equipped with the skills to be respectful and not be the expert in a

person’s life and allowing individuals to get some distance from the issue.

I have overseen a caring ministry for the staff of a Community Centre and as well as co facilitated camps and

retreats for teenagers. Having joined the Simcha Recovery has brought about a new appreciation of learning through experiential training. I believe that engaging in Narrative conversations may help build

individuals and the community.

Honorary Members

Rietjie van Blerk
Rietjie Van Blerk
Narrative Therapist
Founder | Honorary Member

Rietjie the founding member of Simcha NPC. She has a great heart for people, which makes her believe in love and hope. Rietjie prefers to see people as people instead of as problems, particularly in the field of addiction recovery, where the stigma associated with addiction often prevents people from seeking help. Rietjie initiated a community-based recovery program in Pretoria for substance, alcohol, sex and porn addiction at a rehabilitation centre. Simcha NPC acts as an extension to residential recovery treatment. Coram Deo, the Narrative Therapy Pastoral Centre in Pretoria, graciously availed space for this essential program.

Hannetjie Strauss
Hannetjie Strauss
Narrative Therapist
Honorary Member

Hannetjie assisted Dr Sean Zeelie and Gert van Rensburg with a 0group of teenagers struggling with addiction. She completed her training as an Advanced Narrative Therapist at Coram Deo, accredited by the University of Pretoria. On completion of the Practical Narrative Therapy Certificate, Hannetjie became involved with Simcha NPC. She created a program for family members whose loved ones are trapped in addiction, known as Simcha Family Care. Families are just as affected as people in active addiction. In this program, they learn to create a joyful life journey while at the same time the problems their loved ones are struggling with.