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Professor Lisa Saville Young

Professor Lisa 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 Clinic


I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2001 after completing my training at the then 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 research is primarily influenced by the field of Psychosocial Studies; an interdisciplinary field that is interested in subjectivities/identities/relationships from both a psychological and social perspective, always attempting to see the two not as distinct ‘eyeglasses’ but as intertwined and interrelated ‘binoculars’ with which to view particular phenomena. The usefulness of employing psychoanalytically oriented ideas as a means to develop this binocularity has been a key theme in my work. My research has largely focused on showcasing and developing qualitative methodological research approaches that employ psychoanalytic concepts from a clinical context, in a research context. In conducting this type of research, I have focused in particular on investigating various relationships of intimacy and care using psychosocial research methodology. Increasingly I am interested in applying concepts from Psychosocial Studies to thinking about the practice of psychology in South Africa and using psychosocial research methods to investigate this practice. I am actively involved in the practice of psychology through consulting with my own clients and through supervising trainee psychologists’ clinical practice.

Research Interests

Theoretical interests lie within the broad area of Psychosocial Studies: I am interested in psychoanalytic theory and contemporary attachment theory, and their application to contemporary social issues including the practice of Psychology in South Africa.

Research interests include relationships of intimacy and care.

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

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

Kinahan Sweeney, S. & Saville Young, L. (2021). The 'good' mother and the thriving, surviving baby's body: A psychosocial analysis. Psychoanalytic Practice29(1), 33-69.

Saville Young, L. & Flannigan, R. (2021). My sibling’s mental illness. South African Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4102%2Fsajpsychiatry.v27i0.1585

Ndabula, Y., Macleod, C. & Saville Young, L. (2020): Sistering and sexual socialisation: a discursive study of Xhosa women’s sisterly interactions concerning sex and reproduction, Culture, Health & Sexuality, DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2020.1785551.

Kennedy, B. & Saville Young, L. (2019). Talk of whiteness: A psychosocial analysis of constructions of race amongst white novice clinical psychologists in South Africa. Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa.

Saville Young, L. (2019). Psychosocial studies and the practice of psychology: A South African perspective. Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 1-13.

Young, C. & Saville Young, L. (2019). Comparing clinical and counselling psychologists' practitioner demographics, key activities, theoretical orientations, values, and career satisfaction: a contribution to the Scopes of Practice debate, South African Journal of Psychology, DOI 10.1177/0081246318823188.

Saville Young, L., Moodley, D. & Macleod, C. (2018). Feminine sexual desire and shame in the classroom:an educator's constructions of and investments in sexuality education, Sex Education, DOI 10.1080/14681811.2018.1511974.

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 Psychology46(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 & Society20, 395-413.

Saville Young, L. (2014). Psychoanalytic training in South Africa: Attending to the marginalia. Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa22(2), 53-72.

Saville Young, L. & Jackson, C. (2011). 'Bhuti': Meaning and masculinities in Xhosa brothering. Journal of Psychology in Africa21(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

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. (2010). ‘And where were your brothers in all this?’: A psychosocial approach to texts on ‘brothering’, Qualitative Research10(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, 38, 1-16.

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

Book Chapters

Saville Young, L. & Frosh, S. (2018). Psychoanalysis in Narrative Research. In K. Stamenova & R.D. Hinshelwood (Eds.) Methods of Research into the Unconscious: Applying Psychoanalytic Ideas to Social Sciences (pp.199-210). Oxon & New York: Routledge.

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. (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). Becoming other to oneself: Misreading the researcher through Lacanian Discourse Analysis. In I.Parker & D.Pavon-Cuellar (Eds.) Lacan, Discourse, Event: New Analyses of Textual Indeterminacy (pp. 279-290). London: Routledge.

Frosh, S. & Saville Young, L. (2010). Using psychoanalytic methodology in psychosocial research: Researching brothers. In Understanding social research: Thinking creatively about method (pp. 49-61). J.Mason & A.Dale (Eds). London: Sage. 

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

Book Reviews

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

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

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

National and International Conferences

Flannigan, R. & Saville Young, L. (2019). ‘My sibling’s mental illness: The experience of having a sibling with a mental illness in semi rural South Africa’, 25th Annual PsySSA Congress, Johannesburg, 3-6 September.

Saville Young, L., Deane, T. & Young, C. (2019). ‘The professional identity of clinical psychologists in South Africa’, 25th Annual PsySSA Congress, Johannesburg, 3-6 September.

Saville Young, L. (2019). ‘Psychosocial Studies and the Practice of Psychology in South Africa: The potential for mutual enlivenment?’, 25th Annual PsySSA Congress, Johannesburg, 3-6 September. (Invited Address)

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. (2017). 'A psychosocial analysis of students' experiences of service learning with disabled children in South Africa'. IARSLCE (International Association for Research in Service Learning and Community Engagement) annual conference. Galway, Ireland, 14-16 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: responsibilisation 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


Tracey Fleming Haselau (2021) Supervisor. Defended subjectivity in service-learning: A psychosocial analysis of students’ talk about service-learning in psychology.

Siobhan Sweeney (2020). The precarious ‘good mother’ position: A psychosocial reading of maternal subjectivity of working mothers in a scarcely resourced South African communities.

Ursula Lau (2020). ‘The township’ and ‘The Gated Community’: A Psychosocial Exploration of Home and the (A)symmetries of Belonging (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)

Masters by Thesis

Cooke, N. (2019) A case series evaluation of the impact and processes of a service learning programme on and for caregivers and their children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Supervisor

Ndabula, Y. (2017) ‘Sistering and sexual socialisation: A psychosocial study of Xhosa women’s ‘Sex and Reproductive talk’ with their sisters’. Supervisor (Co-supervisor: Prof Catriona Macleod)

Masters Degree (Clinical or Counselling Psychology)

Pieters, C. (2021) ‘They do not understand us’: A psychosocial analysis of the everyday lived experiences of a CYCC careworker in semi-rural South Africa. Supervisor.

Ndlovu, N. (2019) ‘Like walking barefoot on the gravel road’: The experiences of caring for a child with physical disabilities. Supervisor

Mathaba, Y. (2019) The experiences of health service providers working with children with disabilities. Supervisor

Scholtz, B. (2018) A psychosocial reading of novice clinical psychologists’ talk about whiteness. Supervisor

Deane, T. (2017) ‘A survey of the professional identity of clinical psychologists in South Africa’ Supervisor (Co-supervisor: Prof Charles Young)

Flannigan, R. (2017) ‘Experiences of having an adult sibling with a mental illness: An interpretative phenomenological study’. Supervisor

Foote, T. (2017) ‘ “I won’t say I feel happy or sad”: Experiences of siblings of young disabled people in disadvantaged socioeconomic circumstances. Supervisor

Laurie, G. (2017) ‘A psychosocial study of mental illness and sibling relationships’. Supervisor

Moifo, H.S. (2017) ‘ “She is my sister although she’s got factory faults”: A psychosocial study of Xhosa women’s sister-sister relationships’. Supervisor

Mbewe, M. (2014) ‘Ubhuti wami: A qualitative secondary analysis of brothering among isiXhosa men’. Supervisor

Mkhize, S. (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. Supervisor

Mazaleni, N. (2011) ‘Playing through multiple losses: A Psychoanalytic Case Study’. Supervisor

Van der Meer, L. (2011) ‘Projective identification: A window to the psyche?’. Supervisor

Buys, R. (2010) ‘Twin attachment and twin transference’. Supervisor

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.

Awards & Grants

NRF Rated Researcher, 2020 to 2026. 

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, 14 Dec 2021 12:12:47 SAST