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Professor Lisa Saville Young



Associate Professor in Psychology

MA Clinical Psychology (Natal), MPhil Social & Developmental Psychology (Cantab), PhD (London)

Registered as a Clinical Psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa

Phone: +27(0)46 603 8047
Psychology Department, Room 106


I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2001 after completing my training at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg). I was awarded the Flanagan Scholarship which enabled me to continue my studies abroad where I obtained an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology from Cambridge University and a PhD from the University of London, Birkbeck College. I worked as a lecturer at Birkbeck College and Anglia Ruskin University in the UK before taking up the position of a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Rhodes Psychology Department in 2008. I am currently an Associate Professor and my theoretical interests include psychoanalytic theory and contemporary attachment theory and their application to a range of issues including qualitative research, early intervention programmes and broader social issues. I have expertise in qualitative research methodology and my research interests include family relationships – in particular all aspects of sibling relationships and parent-infant relationships – and I have recently begun doing work in the area of childhood disability. I have a small private practice and work psychoanalytically, with a growing interest in working with parents and infants. I am the Chair of the Research Proposal and Ethics Review Committee in the Psychology Department.

Research Interests

Theoretical interests include psychoanalytic theory and contemporary attachment theory, and their application to contemporary social issues.

Research interests include family relationships – in particular all aspects of sibling relationships and parent-infant relationships. I am also interested in research related to Masibambane, a community engagement project that I co-ordinate which involves university students working with children with disabilities and their caregivers. The research areas that this community project draws on includes childhood disability, service learning and parent-child relationships.

Qualitative research methodology experience and expertise includes discourse analysis, narrative analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis and psychosocial research methods (applying psychoanalysis to qualitative research).

Teaching Areas

  • Psychotherapeutic Interventions (Psychology 3)
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology)
  • Child psychopathology, assessment and therapy (Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology)
  • Clinical Psychology Professional Practice (Masters in Clinical Psychology)
  • Psychosocial Research Methodology (Psychology Honours)
  • Childhood Disability and Mental Health (Psychology Honours)
  • Psychotherapy and Assessment Supervision of Clinical Masters students


Frosh, S. & Saville Young, L (2017). Psychoanalytic approaches to qualitative psychology. In W. Stainton Rogers & C. Willig (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology (Second Edition). London: Sage.

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. (In press). Psychoanalysis in narrative research. K. Stamenov and R.D.Hinshelwood(Eds.) Methods of Research into the Unconscious: Applying Psychoanalytic Ideas to Social Sciences

Saville Young, L. (2016). Book review: Affect alongside context: Imagining the psychosocial. Psychology in Society, 52, 109-112.

Saville Young, L. (2016). Book review: A promise of working through. Psychology in Society, 51, 105-108.

Saville Young, L. & Berry, J. (2016). Slipping and holding minds: A psychosocial analysis of maternal subjectivity in relation to childhood disability, African Journal of Disability, 5(1), a266.http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v5i1.266

Saville Young, L. (2016). Key concepts for quality as foundational in qualitative research: Milkshakes, mirrors and maps in 3D, South African Journal of Psychology, 46(3), 328-337.

Macleod, C., Moodley, D. & Saville Young, L. (2015). Sexual socialisation in Life Orientation manuals versus popular music: Responsibilisation versus pleasure, tension and complexity. Perspectives in Education, 33(2): 90-107.

Saville Young, L. & Jearey-Graham, N. (2015). “They’re gonna come and corrupt our children”: A psychosocial analysis of two South Africans’ xenophobic talk. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 20, 395-413.

Saville Young, L. (2014). Psychoanalytic training in South Africa: Attending to the marginalia. Psycho-analytic psychotherapy in South Africa, 22(2), 53-72.

Saville Young, L. (2014). Becoming other to oneself: Misreading the researcher through Lacanian Discourse Analysis. In D.Cuellar & I.Parker (Eds.) Lacan, Discourse, Event: New Analyses of Textual Indeterminacy. London: Routledge.

Saville Young, L. (2013). Volviendose otro para uno mismo: malinterpretando al investigador a traves del analisis lacaniano de discurso. In I. Parker & D. Pavon-Cuellar (Eds.) Lacan, discurso, acontecimiento: Nuevos analisis de la indeterminacion textual (pp. 329-343). Mexico: Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo.

Saville Young, L. (2013). Book Review: Interrogating the social psychoanalytic. Psychology in Society, 45, 77-80.

Saville Young, L. & Jackson, C. (2011). 'Bhuti': Meaning and masculinities in Xhosa brothering. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 21(2), 221-228.

Saville Young, L. (2011). Research entanglements, race and recognisability: A psychosocial reading of interview encounters in (post-) colonial, (post-) apartheid South Africa. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(1), 45-55.

Frosh, S. & Saville Young, L. (2010). Using psychoanalytic methodology in psychosocial research. Researching brothers. In J.Mason & A.Dale (Eds.) Understanding social research: Thinking creatively about method. London: Sage.

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. (2010). ‘And where were your brothers in all this?’: A psychosocial approach to texts on ‘brothering’. Qualitative Research, 10(5), 511-531.

Saville Young, L. (2009). Not Knowing: Towards an ethics for employing psychoanalysis in psychosocial research. Psycho-Analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa, 17, 1-26.

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. (2009). Discourse and psychoanalysis: Translating concepts into ‘fragmenting’ methodology. Psychology in Society, 28, 1-16.

Frosh, S. & Saville Young, L (2008). Psychoanalytic approaches to qualitative psychology. In W. Stainton Rogers & C. Willig (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology. London: Sage.

Saville Young, L. & Mitchell, J (2005). Looking for the siblings: A critical narrative analysis of child evacuation during World War II. International Journal of Critical Psychology, 15, 42-63


Cooke, N. & Saville Young, L. (2017). A case study of the impact and process of a service learning programme for one particular caregiver and her child with physical disabilities. 1st Pan African Psychology Congress, Durban, SA, 18-21st September.

Williams, S., & Saville Young, L. (2017). "So I am fine, but I wasn't fine": An interpretive phenomenological study of the experiences of particular caregivers of children with disabilities. 1st Pan African Psychology Congress, Durban, SA, 18-21st September.

Fleming, T. & Saville Young, L. (2016). Analysing students’ talk on childhood disability: Describing a psychosocial analytic approach within service learning research. Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster, UK, 6-8th September.

Cooke, N. & Saville Young, L. (2016). Experiences of disabling living and experiences of disabling care: A critical psychological interpretation of case series data from the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster, UK, 6-8th September.

Moodley, D., Saville Young, L., & Macleod, C. (2016). ‘It was because there was nobody to guide me’: A psychosocial analysis of the construction of responsible sexuality and the repression of sexual desire in sexuality education in South Africa. Second Annual Conference of the Association for Psychosocial Studies, UWE Bristol, 29 June – 1 July.

Besouw, J. & Saville Young, L. (2016). “If you have a really good session you feel good…..if you have had a bad session you kind of leave and you’re like….is it worth it? Are we helping?” A psychosocial analysis of student volunteers’ experiences of a community engagement programme. 6th International Conference on Community Psychology, Durban International Convention Centre, South Africa, 27–30 May.

Saville Young, L. & Berry, J. (2015). A psychosocial analysis of maternal subjectivity in the context of infant disability. Gauteng Association for Infant Mental Health Conference, Johannesburg, Ububele, 30-31 October.

Saville Young, L. & Berry, J. (2015). Caring for a child with disabilities: A psychosocial analysis. International Society for Critical Health Psychology Conference, Grahamstown, 13–15 July. 

Moodley, D., Macleod, C. & Saville Young, L. (2014). Sexual socialisation in Life Orientation manuals versus popular music: responsiblisation versus pleasure, tension and complexity. Paper presented at the 20th Annual PsySSA conference, Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban, 16-19 September.

Saville Young, L. & Nicola Jearey-Graham ‘They’re gonna come and corrupt our children’: A psychosocial analysis of two South Africans’ xenophobic talk. Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society Annual Conference, Rutgers University, USA, 2013.

Saville Young, L. ‘(Br)Other and the Psychosocial’. 14th International Society for Theoretical Psychology Biennial Meeting, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011.

Saville Young, L. ‘Research entanglements, race and recognisability’. Paper presented at the 3rd Psychosocial Studies Network Conference, University of East London, London, UK, 2010.

Saville Young, L. ‘Bhuti: A psychosocial reading of meaning and masculinities in talk on ‘brothering’. Paper presented at the 15th South African Psychology Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 2009.

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. ‘Discourse and psychoanalysis’. Paper presented at the Critical Methods Conference, Grahamstown, South Africa, 2008.

Saville Young, L. ‘ ‘Doing brother’ and the constructions of masculinity: A psychosocial approach.’ 2005-6 Graduate Seminars in Narrative and Biographical Research, The Centre for Narrative Research, UEL and The Gender Institute, London School of Economics, London, UK, 2005.

Saville Young, L. ‘Siblings and evacuation’. Paper presented at the International Oral History Conference, London, UK, 2005.

Saville, L. ‘Cross-cultural definition of self: A South African study’. Paper presented at PSYSSA Conference, Durban, South Africa, 1999.

Postgraduate Research Supervision


Tammy Foote (current). The psycho-emotional experiences of young people with disabled siblings living is disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances.

Noma Mrwetyana (current). The experience of bereavement amongst Xhosa speaking tertiary students

Tracey Fleming (current). Service learning in the context of childhood disability: A psychosocial study of students’ experiences.

Siobhan Sweeney (current). Maternal subjectivity of working new mothers in a scarcely resourced South African community: A psychosocial study

Ursula Lau (current). Narrating the self and ‘other’ in post-apartheid landscape: An exploration of emotional journeys of home and spatial belonging in South Africa (Co-supervisor)

Dale Moodley (2016). Nascent desires: Life orientation sexuality programmes and the cultural imperative of gendered sexuality as propagated by popular music (Co-supervisor)


Lulu Ndlovu (current). Using photovoice to explore the experiences of caregivers of children with physical disabilities (Masters in Counselling Psychology)

Yollandah Mathaba (current). The experiences of health service providers working with children with physical disabilities and their caregivers. (Masters in Counselling Psychology)

Nicole Cooke (current). A case series evaluation of the impact and processes of a service learning programme with caregivers and their children with disabilities (Masters by Thesis)

Tammy Foote (2017). “I won’t say I feel happy or sad” : Experiences of Siblings of Young People with Disabilities in Disadvantaged Socio-economic Circumstances (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Yanela Ndabula (2017). A psychosocial study of ‘sister talk’: Sexual socialisation and power. Co-supervised by Prof Catriona Macleod (Masters by Thesis)

Brink Scholtz (2018). A psychosocial reading of intern clinical psychologists’ talk about ‘whiteness’ in relation to an emerging professional identity (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Tessa Deane (2017). A survey of the professional identity of clinical psychologists in South Africa. Co-supervised by Prof Charles Young (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Raylene Flannigan (2017). Experiences of having an adult sibling with a mental illness: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Gina Laurie (current). A psychosocial study of mental illness and sibling relationships. (Masters in Counselling Psychology)

Hunadi Moifo (2017). A psychosocial study of Xhosa women’s sister-sister relationships. (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Gina Laurie (2017). A psychosocial study of mental illness and sibling relationships. (Masters in Counselling Psychology)

Mpho Mbewe (2014). Ubhuti wami: A qualitative secondary analysis of brothering among isiXhosa men. (Masters in Counselling Psychology)

Sibongiseni Mkhize (2014). ‘There are certain things that I just know that I have to do because we are brothers’: A discourse analysis of young black men’s engagement with popular representations of brotherhood. (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Linee van der Meer (2011). Projective identification: A window to the psyche? (Masters in Clinical Psychology)

Noluvuyo Mazaleni (2011). Playing through multiple losses: A Psychoanalytic Case Study (Masters in Clinical Psychology) Rheabetsoe Buys (2010). Twin attachment and twin transference. (Masters in Counselling Psychology)   

Community Engagment

I am involved in supervising clinical work of trainee psychologists at the Psychology Clinic which offers psychological services to the public on a sliding scale.

I co-ordinate a service learning course that gives honours students an introduction to childhood disability in South Africa, with an emphasis on developing a psychological understanding of childhood disability in context. The course focuses largely on children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (Cerebral Palsy in particular) living in disadvantaged contexts in and around Grahamstown and provides students with an understanding of the impairments that are normally associated with CP as well as the importance of the environment in terms of either disabling or enabling daily living. As this is a service learning course, students learn from particular children with CP and their caregivers about their unique impairments, their unique environments and the interactions between the two.  In considering the environment attention is paid to the intersection of gender, race, poverty and disability. Within this broader context, the course focuses in particular on understanding the caregiver-child relationship and the ways in which lay mental health workers can support this relationship. The challenges that caregivers face, as well as their resourcefulness, is explored with a view to supporting the relationship between the caregiver and local health services. Finally, the course facilitates students’ reflection on the ways in which society's disabling prejudices impact on this relationship.

The course is made possible by the working relationship developed with my community partners - the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD – specifically Francine Mwepu, Zuki Gubevu, Fiona Semple and Catherine Letcher) and the team of therapists from the Department of Health. Their contribution to the success of this course is gratefully acknowledged.

Awards & Grants

2015-2017 NRF Community Engagement Research Grant

2015 Rhodes university Merit Award (Community Engagement)

2014 South African Early Childhood Development Awards for Masibambane in the category of  Best Child Development Training and Intervention Programme

2008/09 Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

2001 Flanagan Scholarship – Overseas study

Last Modified: Tue, 03 Apr 2018 20:39:02 SAST