Elise Beeby

BA Hons (RAU), MA Clinical Psychology (RAU), Hypnosis Certificate (RAU)

A registered, experienced and compassionate Clinical Psychologist and Hypnotherapist, Elise Beeby's dedication to mental health is unparalleled.

After completing her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with distinction at the then Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), Elise went on to complete two internships, one at Sterkfontein Hospital (Clinical Psychology) and another at the Department of Labour (Counselling).


Elise then returned back to the academic realm, where she was appointed as a student counselor and lecturer at Technikon Witwatersrand, where she founded a student support group, raising awareness for students' mental health on campus. Not long thereafter, Elise became the Departmental Head of Student Counselling. 

Elise eventually branched off from academia and established her own practices at Sandton Clinic and Mayo Clinic in Gauteng. Upon relocation to Cape Town, Elise started a practice at Crescent Clinic before opening up Blouberg MediSpa in West Beach and founding Palm Tree Clinic in Table View in 2012.


Samukelisiwe (Sam) Mthembu 

BPsych (MGI), MA Clinical Psychology (UJ), Ph.D. Candidate (UNISA)

Sam is a highly adaptable empathetic psychotherapist. Having worked in four different provinces in South Africa, she is well suited to practising psychotherapy with patients from diverse backgrounds presenting with a plethora of diagnoses. She has a keen interest in the internal self and working with the philosophical challenges humans are constantly faced with. 


Before Sam was a fully qualified psychologist, she began counselling at the age of 21 in 2013 as a student counsellor. At the time, she also obtained a certificate in HIV/AIDS counselling. After earning an Honours in Trauma Counselling, instead of registering as a counsellor, she went on to further train as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Johannesburg. Here she learned various therapeutic techniques and completed practicals as a student psychologist at the Helen Joseph Hospital. She thereafter relocated to Pretoria to work as an intern clinical psychologist in the South African Defence Force where she worked with South African military staff and their families suffering from PTSD, addiction, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and also with children needing play therapy.


After completing her community service at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, Sam then qualified as an independent clinical psychologist. Since then she has worked in various addiction clinics and had further exposure to neuropsychological testing whilst working with an educational psychologist with a specific focus on children suffering from learning disorders and behavioural problems. 


In addition to clinical work, Sam has enjoyed lecturing part-time at St Augustine College and at the University of Johannesburg. She also enjoys writing for peer-reviewed medical journals and appearing on media for psychoeducational purposes. 


Fergus Ashburner

BA (2009), BA Hons (2010), MA Clinical Psychology (2015)

After completing his studies at the University of Johannesburg, Fergus decided to relocate to Cape Town for his internship and community service training. After working at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Goodwood prison respectively, Fergus decided to branch off to the private sector. It was during this time that his passion and interest in addiction and emotional dysregulation grew. He also took an interest in academia and proceeded to become one of the addiction psychiatry clinical psychologists and lecturers at the University of Cape Town in January 2019.


By integrating psychodynamic and dialectical behaviour techniques into his treatment approach, Fergus helps clients change their maladaptive patterns and develop emotion-regulation skills. 


When asked to describe what he does, Fergus responded with the following: “I am a clinical psychologist who works with clients who struggle with 'problems in living'. I work with the client and together we collaborate in using one’s emotions to successfully tackle difficulties in our lives, including problems with relationships, self-esteem, work, addiction and sexuality.” 


Fergus has been a part of the Palm Tree Clinic team since October 2017 and using his collaborative approach, he helps patients address their mental health concerns. 

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Claire Battiston

BA Hons (2006), BPsych (2013), MA Clinical Psychology (2016)

Claire is a born-and-bred Capetonian with Italian roots and a passion for life, social justice, and good chocolate. She is married and has one daughter.

She attained her psychology degree from the University of Cape Town in 2006. After graduation she worked in corporate as an HR generalist for 4 years. During this time she also obtained her Honours degree in psychology from the University of South Africa.

An unexpected health issue in 2010 caused a paradigm shift for Claire and re-evaluation of life’s purpose and meaning. After spending some time abroad, she returned to South Africa to work for various Non-Profit Organizations in underprivileged areas around Cape Town, choosing to dedicate her career to upliftment and empowerment of those less fortunate. She also worked at the Research on Health and Society Unit at Stellenbosch University on research projects on pressing South African issues such as: traditional circumcision practices in Xhosa men versus medical male circumcision; the risks for women in informal shebeens and taverns; perceptions of condom use in multiple-sexual-partner relationships.

In 2013 she obtained her BPsych Equivalent degree from Stellenbosch University and subsequently worked at Palm Tree Clinic in the role of counselor and psychometrist. In 2016 she obtained her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from UCT and worked thereafter at various government healthcare facilities, including Tygerberg Hospital, Bishop Lavis Community Clinic and Stikland and Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospitals. It was here that she gained invaluable therapeutic experience as part of many multidisciplinary teams.She also lectured medical students at Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital and has presented at various academic forums.

Claire rejoined the Palm Tree Clinic team in late 2019 where she practices both individual and group therapy. She works from a psychodynamic, object relations theoretical framework with a strong focus on mindfulness. She is also skilled at behavior-based therapy such as CBT, DBT and REBT. She is currently training to expand her trauma knowledge and skill set to include TRE and EMDR certification.

Her particular areas of interest are maternal mental health and fertility issues, psychosis, and the bipolar - borderline spectrum.


Niel Victor

MA (Clin Psych) Cum Laude UNISA (2014), MA(Res Psych) UP (1996)

Niel is a registered clinical and research psychologist that currently lives and practices in Cape Town. Following a 20-year career in market research, Niel beat cancer in 2010. This led to a journey on another lifelong road of passion: clinical psychology. He completed his master's thesis on the experience of LGB people in South Africa with psychology and counselling. He is currently busy with his doctorate on South African psychology counsellors and psychotherapists' training, experience, competence, and confidence in practising affirmatively with LGB people.


Niel is also a member of the PsySSA (Psychological Society of South Africa) LGBTI Human Rights Project - a collaborative program between IPsyNet (International Psychological Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex issues) and PsySSA. Amongst other activities in the project, he led the team that developed the recently launched practice guidelines for psychological professionals working with sexual and gender diverse people. The work has led to numerous presentations at local and international congresses and other forums, as well as several academic publications.


Since joining the Palm Tree Clinic team in September 2018, Niel has brought an additional dynamic to the treatment programme.

What role does the psychologist play in my management at Palm Tree Clinic? 

Psychologists assist with the following:













Evaluating for and diagnosing psychiatric disorders and/or psychopathology.


Challenges of life, including life stage changes and addiction.


Personal development and growth.


Personal mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety.


Difficulties in intimate, social, work and family relationships.


Grief and trauma – partner violence, sexual abuse, rape, death and dread disease


Sexuality and gender diversity issues, including LGBT concerns


Supporting patients and their families when it comes to processing and managing psychiatric illness, psychopathology and/or other forms of psychological distress.


Specific types of therapy including addiction therapy, family therapy, couple therapy and relationship counselling.


Psychotherapy for specific psychiatric disorders including DBT, CBT and exposure therapy.


Psychoeducation of patients and their families/friends.


Referring patients to appropriate professionals should further assessments and/or interventions be required.

If I am not known to a psychologist at Palm Tree Clinic, how do I get referred?

Should you already be known to a psychologist, please let us know so that we may contact them and inform them of your admission. Should you not be known to a psychologist, one will be allocated to you by your attending psychiatrist. 

Clinical Psychologists