Gertina Van Schalkwyk, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
University of Macau, China

Phone: (853) 8397 8481 or (853) 6655 1364

Gertina van Schalkwyk holds a D.Phil in Psychology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and escaped the potential tension of an empty nest moving to Macao in China in 2003 where she is now Professor of Psychology at the University of Macau. 

She became interested in social constructionism when doing her D.Phil dissertation on a System’s Paradigm for Music Psychology, looking at the multiple realities co-constructed in the person-music interactive system. She has a broad research interest focusing on narrative inquiry of identity development across the lifespan, family systems, preventive mental health care, and collaborative learning and life coaching. She supervised several master’s and doctoral research theses on related topics, and serves as reviewer for a number of scholarly journals. Gertina recently completed a book chapter on collaborative life coaching aimed at training youth counsellors in Southern Africa. In recent years, she has been applying social constructionist thought to the development of a method for life story remembering and self-defining memories in cross-cultural settings – the Collage Life-story Elicitation Technique. She is also a Research Fellow of the International Institute for Advanced Systems and Cybernetics (IIAS) and was awarded a certificate of merit for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution and Exemplary Leadership in Education by the IIAS. In 2010 she received the Faculty Teaching Award from the University of Macau, and the Distinguished Leadership in Education Award from the IIAS. She occasionally engages in collaborative counselling fellow expats in Macao applying a narrative approach, but mostly her time and passion is directed towards teachings and research.

Gertina is mother of four grown-up children – two sons living and working in South Africa, in the music industry and as risk analyst respectively, a daughter in Botswana working as communication specialist and another working as travelling missionary going where the Lord leads her. She still has strong ties in South Africa and hope to one day return there but for now enjoys the company of her soul mate partner whom she met upon arrival in Macao. As a devout Christian, Gertina finds comfort in her religion and sees it as an important aspect of positive living and a rich and fulfilled life.