About Us

Lic. Gunther van der Heijden

Bio

Gunther received his Licentiate’s Degree in Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (2000) and his Postgraduate Certificate in Behaviour Therapy (2009) from one of the most prestigious research universities in the world, the University of Leuven, Belgium. Recently elected, and this for the third year in a row, as Europe’s most innovative university, ahead of Imperial College London, UK, and the University of Cambridge, UK, and as the 5th most innovative university in the world, only behind the elitarian US universities of Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and Pennsylvania, it is clear that Gunther has received one of the best educations that money can buy in the world. It is this excellent education that still forms the cornerstone of Gunther’s current practice and expertise.

During his Licentiate’s study at the University of Leuven, Gunther took a special interest in neuropsychology and psychophysiology, and wrote his research thesis on ventral and dorsal simultanagnosia, two rare neuropsychological disorders, and this under direct supervision of the late Prof. Dr. Erik Vandenbussche, at that time an international authority with regards to the neuropsychology of vision. Besides an excellent theoretical education, Gunther also underwent top-notch clinical training, and this at the residential child and youth psychiatric unit of the University Hospital “Gasthuisberg” of Leuven, Belgium. More particularly, he was very fortunate to work under, and be clinically trained by, Prof. Dr. Peter Adriaenssens, an authority with regards to the assessment and treatment of Depression, Trauma and Attachment Disorder, and Prof. Dr. Marina Danckaerts, an authority with regards to the assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Tic Disorders, as well as by Prof. Dr. Bart Boets, an international research specialist with regards to Autism Spectrum Disorder and Dyslexia, and by Dr. Jurgen Lemiere, an authority with regards to neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children and adults.

Several years after receiving his Licentiate’s Degree, Gunther was one of the happy few to be selected for the elitist three-year Postgraduate Training in Behaviour Therapy at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and this under direct supervision of Prof. Dr. Dirk Hermans, an international authority with regards to fear learning, affective priming and the role of memory in psychopathology. During this Postgraduate Training, Gunther had the privilege of being taught by world-renowned researchers as Prof. Dr. Michelle Craske, an international authority with regards to anxiety and its treatment, Prof. Dr. Kelly Wilson, one of the three “fathers” of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Prof. Dr. Mark Williams, one of the three “fathers” of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Gunther is currently registered with the NZ Psychologists Board in the Clinical Scope of Practice and a full member of the NZ Psychological Society as well as of the Institute of Clinical Psychology. Gunther worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Taupo iCAMHS for almost 9 years before he decided to go into full-time private practice in February 2019. At Taupo iCAMHS, he mainly conducted  psychological assessments, and was considered an authority by other staff with regards to the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Tic Disorders, as well as with regards to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Prior to his relocation to NZ, Gunther worked as a scientific researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of his Alma Mater, the University of Leuven, Belgium, as well as as a clinical psychologist at the Rehabilitation Centre of Aarschot, Belgium, where he assessed, diagnosed and treated children with neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Intellectual Disability and Specific Learning Disorders. Furthermore, he established his own private practice in 2002 and worked as a contractor for the Diagnostic Centre of Lommel, Belgium, as well as for the Flemish Ministry of Education.

Due to his excellent educational background, Gunther is very much aware of the fact that it is very important to keep up with scientific research and new developments within Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and this to be able to provide the best service to his clients. During his time in NZ, Gunther attended, or has planned to attend, the following international conferences:

 

International conferences

2010: Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Francisco, USA

2011: Annual Conference of the Australian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies, Sydney, Australia

2013: Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, USA

2014: International Psychological Applications Conference and Trends, Porto, Portugal

2015: World Psychotherapy Conference, Kuching, Malaysia

2016: World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, Melbourne, Australia

2018: CSH Asia Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Suzhou, China