Dr Mervin's Bio

Dr Mervin van der Spuy (BSc-Pharmacy, DTh-Counselling) is a psychopharmacologist, counselling therapist, couples counsellor, and counsellor-educator. He has extensive experience as a counsellor, psychotherapist, pastor, pharmacist, and lecturer. As professor of counselling psychology (2001-2010) he was actively involved in the training and supervision of masters level counsellors.

He was born and grew up in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 2001.

After graduating as a pharmacist he completed his seminary training and entered the full-time (ordained) pastoral ministry and also served as liaison chaplain in the Defence Force. He pursued his studies in counselling psychology and is now a professional counsellor (psychotherapist) and counsellor-educator in private practice.

He was the founder-president of the Association of Christian Counsellors in South Africa and was an executive board member of the International Association of Christian Counsellors and vice-president of the International Network of Christian Counsellors. He was nominated by the minister of health to serve as a member of the SGB for Psychology of the South African Qualifications Authority. He is an adjunct professor at the South African Theological Seminary.

He furthered his studies in counselling psychology and his doctoral research focused on the work of the Holy Spirit in Counselling and the development of a Paraklesis Counselling Model. This model provides the theoretical basis to the Paraklesis Counselling Training Program. 

Dr Mervin works and teaches from an integrated theology and psychology perspective - recognising the biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual aspects of counselling therapy. He specialises in clinical psychopharmacology, researches and writes about pharmacological informed psychotherapy, but teaches wide range of subjects as counsellor educator. Dr Mervin is still in part-time-practice, specialising in seeing clients with medication related counselling issues, doing psychotherapy, and enjoying doing couples counselling. He also does a selected amount of online e-therapy. 

He is still involved with the training of lay-counsellors and still teaches psychopharmacology in counselling programs. Since retiring as Professor of Counselling Psychology (and full-time classroom teaching), Dr Mervin has shifted his focus from training professional counsellors, and now focuses on the online education and training of lay counsellors (pastors, elders, youth workers, others involved in a caregiving ministry, and community care-workers). The Paraklesis Counselling Program is fully accredited in South Africa and taught at the South African Theological Seminary as a Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling. The full Counselling Training Program is also available online in North America on this webpage. 

Dr Mervin is married to Hildegard (nee Fourie) and they live in Calgary AB, Canada. Their son, Mervin-Dave, is the Chief Data Officer (SVP) at the ATB bank in Calgary and is married to Tanya. Their daughter, Lindie, is a Therapeutic Family therapist/worker in Calgary and is married to Mijail. They have two grandchildren, Ch’aska and Cheche and they love to spend time with them.