‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates
Coming across the Ancient Greek aphorism ‘know thyself’, Sikander’s curiosity for acquiring a better understanding of himself along his odyssey into adulthood was ignited. It was around this time that Sikander completed two years of volunteer work with ER24 Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Health. Engaging in such work allowed Sikander to realise that mastering self-knowledge and rendering quality healthcare are an intertwined process and both life-long endeavours. This combination of self-curiosity and a passion for healthcare provision motivated Sikander to enrol at the University of Pretoria to start his six-year-long journey towards becoming a HPCSA-registered clinical psychologist.
Whilst studying towards his bachelor’s degree, Sikander’s interest in subfields such as neuropsychology, sexual health, and personality pathology were sparked and stirred him in the direction of enrolling for courses such as Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychopathology during the fulfilment of his honour’s degree. Sikander’s postgraduate coursework was complimented by postgraduate research with a public health focus, specifically revolving around the intersection of psychology and reproductive decision-making. Upon successfully completing his master’s degree coursework with thirteen distinctions and fulfilling the degree’s clinical training requirements at the Elizabeth Donkin Psychiatric Hospital and Missionvale Community Centre, Sikander then began his clinical internship at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital (Gauteng Department of Health).
During his clinical internship, Sikander rotated through different clinical units, namely, the Bipolar and Related Disorders Unit; the Forensic Unit; the Anxiety and Depressive Disorders Unit; and the Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders Unit. During this time, Sikander also co-facilitated numerous psychotherapeutic groups such as a substance rehabilitation group for the dual diagnosis patient population of the hospital; a dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) group for patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder; and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) groups for state patients in the hospital’s forensic unit.
Upon completing his clinical internship, Sikander continued to work for the Gauteng Department of Health as he served his year of public service at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (formally Johannesburg General Hospital). During his time at the hospital, Sikander rendered clinical services to in- and out- patients of the Adult Clinical Psychology Department and the Department of Psychiatry, as well as consultation-liaison services to numerous clinical departments such as neurology, oncology, urology, gastroenterology, etc.; Sikander also conducted assessments for the Transplant Unit of the hospital, particularly assessing liver and kidney donor or recipient candidates. More recently, Sikander holds a consulting position at the University of Pretoria’s medical school.
Sikander predominately conceptualises patients within a psychodynamic framework and often grounds his treatment plan in either a corresponding psychodynamic approach or a tailored cognitive-behavioural approach. Alongside his clinical endeavours, Sikander also has a passion for leadership and public speaking. In this regard, Sikander has presented numerous talks at initiatives launched by the National Department of Health and hosted by provincial departments of health. Sikander’s personal interests include artwork (visual, literary, and performing arts); comparative history; and philosophy. As Sikander continues on his life-long odyssey towards better self-knowledge and rendering quality healthcare, he aspires to make this a mutually-rewarding journey for himself and those he comes across along the way.
Somatic Symptom Disorders
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