Positive Psychology

Johan Potgieter

I have specialized in the field of strengths-based psychology for a number of years. My research interest is in the facilitation of resilience, and in successful adaptation to / optimal performance within any context that poses challenges in terms of the maintenance of one’s psychological well-being.

Marita Heyns

Marita Heyns is a researcher in the Optentia Research Entity of the NWU. She has a PhD in Psychology and a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA) as academic background. Her interests generally reflect Positive Psychology and Positive Organizational Scholarship related topics. She has a particular interest in the development of models for interpersonal- and organizational trust within workplace contexts characterised by transition and uncertainty. Through her research, she strives to promote pathways for individuals and organisations to flourish.


Vicki Koen

Dr Vicki Koen is a registered Research Psychologist and Registered Counsellor who has been involved with the NWU since 2011. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychosocial Health at the Mahikeng Campus of the NWU. With an interest in familial relationships, Vicki did her first Master’s degree in Psychology on the parent-adolescent relationship and adolescent well-being. The same year she completed a B-Psych internship in counselling or counsellor in training practicum at the NWU Vanderbijlpark Campus.


Christelle Liversage

Christelle Liversage obtained her Ph.D. in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology and is the program chair for the Master of Arts in Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) in the Faculty of Health Sciences. She was a recipient of the 2022 Faculty Teaching and Learning Award.

Angelina Wilson

Dr Wilson specializes in positive psychology research and is currently interested in understanding the effect of positive interventions in high-risk communities in South Africa.


She is also part of the positive psychology team working with the African Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research


Werner Nell

Werner started his academic career as a student assistant in the Sociology department in 1996, and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the North-West University. Werner obtained his PhD in Sociology in 2005 at the NWU, and completed a Master’s degree in Positive Psychology at the same institution in 2014. His main research field is the study of psycho-social well-being, especially in relation to religion and spirituality, as well as the natural environment.