Alumni feature: Anthony Townsend
Anthony Towsend is a qualified clinical psychologist and Enactus UP Alumnus. He has his own private practice operating from Sandton Psychology & Wellness Centre in Johannesburg.
“Changing the world is about changing minds, often one at a time. But the most important mind you will ever change is your own. Explore the world and learn as much as you can; when you change your own mind, you’ll change the world.”
Anthony is doubly-specialized, namely in the fields of neuropsychology and forensic psychology and is focusing at his psychological practice primarily on: individuals, couples, family and group psychotherapy which utilizes cognitive-behavioural and insight-oriented approaches.
In addition to his private practice, he is a founding member of the NPO Psyche that provides psychological wellness resources to communities in need through the spirit of building a better nation. Anthony consults as a clinical psychologist to Reinach, Burton & Venter at Life Fourways Hospital, Life Riverfield Lodge and Netcare Waterfall Hospital. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Pretoria teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in psychopathology, cognitive neuroscience and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
When Anthony was an undergraduate student at the University of Pretoria, he was invited to join the top academic achievers program in 2009 with the aim to grow socially responsible students with this program evolving to become the University of Pretoria Enactus. Over the following seven years, Anthony immersed himself in the then SIFE (now Enactus) program to create sustainable change in communities through the positive power of business as embodied in the Enactus vision.
After only one year as part of the team, he was elected as team president in 2010 after serving in the roles as project manager and presenter in his first year with Enactus UP. He joined the Business Advisory Board for in 2010 which he continued to serve for five years during the duration of his studies. Thereafter he became an active alumnus for Enactus UP.
Lessons and skills gained through Enactus:
Through Enactus Anthony was introduced to the strategic, out-of-the-box method of thinking which took him out of the familiar realm of academics that initially intimidated him, but he recognised that investing his energy in impoverished communities and experiencing hardships first-hand, was a means to bring about meaningful change beyond what could be achieved through a lecture hall or research laboratory.
It was a challenge to conceptualise and interact out of his comfort zone including in the sectors of: business, agriculture, information technology and engineering. This resulted in him developing new skills, focused academic concentration and a broad point of view that has fuelled the career successes he achieved after Enactus.
Memorable Enactus moments:
Anthony treasures his Enactus experiences and holds the memory of leading his team to their first National Champion victory in 2010 dear to his heart. One memory that stands out over the rest is the community meeting held by him and his team with their beneficiaries in Thokoza, Mpumalanga, three days after being crowned the National Champions to share the team’s successes. The opportunity to celebrate the team’s achievement obtained through unifying people towards a common cause was the greatest privilege he has experienced in his life, he says.
Enactus taught him that giving to those in need is a significantly worthier goal than giving just to oneself which was a learning gained through his Enactus experience.
Enactus likewise showed him a key lesson to success, namely to never deny an opportunity. By continually saying yes to new tasks and challenges, numerous doors have opened to him which led him to some of the most unexpected and rewarding experiences of his life.
Life after Enactus:
Anthony holds numerous academic honours including the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Medal for Academic Excellence as one of the top graduates from the University of Pretoria in 2010 and a place as a finalist for the 2011 Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. In 2016, he was chosen as one of South Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds in light of his achievements and efforts in socio-economic empowerment.
Beyond his clinical work, Anthony consults and serves in other roles beyond his private practice including:
• Facilitation of corporates on social transformation and emotional intelligent leadership that assist them in cultivating organisational cultures characterized by immense efficiency, strong organisational commitment and happy, healthy members of the team.
• Consulting at various hospitals in the Johannesburg area
• Expert witness for the High Court of Johannesburg
• Consultant neuropsychologist to Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.
• Treating individuals with an extensive range of psychological disorders and life challenges to enhance their mental health and emotional well-being.
• Guest lecturer for undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Psychology at the University of Pretoria to aid in developing socially responsible mental health professionals of the future.