About Us

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

When looking for therapeutic support it can be difficult to know the difference between the various professions involved and who would suit your needs best. There are many titles to describe people offering mental health interventions. These include counsellor, therapist, psychotherapist, psychologist and psychiatrist. In terms of training, clinical psychologists complete an undergraduate degree, followed by several years of relevant work or research experience and a three year doctoral training. They are qualified to undertake diagnosis and offer a diverse range of therapeutic interventions to people across the life-span who present with a range of cognitive, mental and physical health difficulties. Many undertake additional training and choose to specialise in a particular areas, for example autism, head injury, or posttraumatic stress (PTSD).

Clinical psychologists register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and have to adhere to strict professional guidelines to maintain their registration. The title ‘Clinical Psychologist’ is a protected title that can only be used by those who have completed the above training and adhere to these guidelines. Currently, not all titles related to therapy and counselling are regulated or protected. It is therefore important to ensure relevant qualifications and registration with a regulatory body when seeking private therapy to ensure the highest standard of practice.

Kent Psychologist - Tonbridge

Deon van Zyl

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Deon completed his training at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 1989 and subsequently obtained a Statement of Equivalence from the British Psychological Society (BPS). He is registered as Chartered Psychologist with the BPS and Health Professions Council and is a member of the BPS Divisions of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology (Full Practitioner).

He currently works in fulltime independent practices and is available for consultations in Canterbury and Tonbridge. He worked in the NHS for 8 years, most recently as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in East Kent. He has had wide clinical experience in the fields of adult mental health and neuropsychology. He uses an integrative psychotherapeutic approach drawing on cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic models.

Kent Psychologist - Autism Assessments

Dr Sirja van Zyl

Clinical Psychologist

Sirja (pronounced like the country Syria) originally comes from Germany, but has completed all her training in the UK. She is an experienced Clinical Psychologist who has been working with children and young people for twenty years. She gained an undergraduate degree (BSc Hons) in Psychology at the University of Leeds in 1998. She then trained as a Clinical Psychologist at University College London, and obtained her doctorate (DClinPsy) in 2004. Sirja has worked in a range of private and NHS settings with children and young people in London and across Kent. She is a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). As it is important to Sirja that the treatment she offers is evidence based and effective, she regularly attends training courses to further add to her skills.  

Sirja has extensive experience in working with children and young people affected by a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties, including trauma, difficulties at school, within the family and friendship issues as well as anxiety and low mood. She also has special interest in the assessment and post diagnostic support of children and young people with neurodevelopmental difficulties, including autism  and tic disorder/ Touette’s Syndrome. She is trained in a range of therapeutic models including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR).

Sirja understands the challenge families often face in finding the right support for a child or young person who is experiencing a difficult time in their life. She believes that a trusting and positive relationship with the clinician offering this work is vital and welcomes contact from families or young people who would like to seek support, but may wish to discuss this first.