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Prof Tarina Gusa – Head of Psychology Department – University of Pretoria: Hope has power

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Professor Tharina Guse, who heads up the Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria and is a counselling psychologist.

Professor Gusa shares some of her motivations for becoming a psychologist from initial plans to pursue journalism, which stemmed from her interest in people, their experiences and stories. Studying psychology was a natural fit to really understand people through human behaviour, human thoughts and human feelings.

Her research and teaching focusses on positive psychology and well-being. Positive psychology distinguishing itself from traditional psychology by focusing on strengths, well-being, and resilience, to harness internal and external resources for personal growth as well as overcoming challenges. Positive psychology can help people become the best version of themselves.

Considering satisfaction and well-being in the workplace, research has shown that in workplaces where there are attempts or policies in place to promote gender equality, women are happier. They perform better and their well-being is higher.

She is one of the lead researchers of the International Hope Barometer Research Programme, which is an annual survey covering 13 countries that measures people’s hopes and expectations for the coming year, but also how much their hopes were fulfilled in the prior year. Interestingly, African countries have high levels of hope, which seems to stem from a trust in resources in the community and the people around us as well as faith-based trust.

Reflecting on her leadership role, Professor Gusa highlights the significance of creating supportive and collaborative environments, echoing her belief in the power of compassion and understanding. She acknowledges the challenges of balancing work and personal life, emphasizing the importance of setting boundaries, seeking support, and embracing imperfection. Professor Gusa remarks on some of her strong female role models, including her academic mentor and her grandmother, who’s ABBA inspired words instilled in her the belief that “There is something good in everything.”

In closing, Professor Gusa shares a message of hope, emphasizing its transformative power in navigating life’s complexities. Her story serves as a testament to the resilience and strength of women

Tune in for  more…

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