About Fran Vertue Print

My background

I was born in South Africa - a 6th-generation South African of Scottish and English descent. I did most of my growing up in Cape Town and went to school and university there before heading off to Europe on my first overseas experience. A year later, I returned to South Africa, and set about the usual processes of getting married, having two children, and working. We moved around South Africa a fair amount, until 1989 when we emigrated to New Zealand - primarily because my husband was offered a contract here. After a year in New Zealand, we decided to settle, and have lived in Christchurch ever since. We don't regret that move for a moment - we brought our children up here, and made a good life for our family. Unfortunately, our marriage didn't survive the transitions and personal transformations, and we separated in 1997. Since then, we've both re-partnered happily and now have a positive relationship. This means that our children are able to have us at their important occasions, and we are able to access our shared memories and history. All's well that ends well...

My education

I began my tertiary education at the University of Cape Town and my first career was as a radiographer. I worked in London and around South Africa until 1981, when I moved into the pharmaceutical industry. I worked as the Information Manager for a big Danish company who were pioneering the development of "human" insulin. When we moved to Christchurch, we opened a franchise of the South African interior decorating chain, Biggie Best. After a few years at that, I decided that I needed a new career. So I went back to university and spent 10 years there, coming out with a BSc, BA Hons, MA, and finally a PhD. I also completed the 3-year Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology in that time, setting myself onto my current career path.

My work

My chosen area of specialty has always been Child and Family. I have lectured in Developmental Psychology, Family Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy  at the University of Canterbury; I have worked in a community mental health setting for children and their families; I have worked (and still do) in a small private practice with a colleague where we specialise in all things family. This is the major benefit for me of working in private practice - I get to choose the work and the clientele. So, for example, I see children and adolescents for the full range of developmental, learning, and mental health issues; I see individual adults who are struggling with relationship issues of any kind; I see couples who are wanting to work on their couple relationship, or separated parents who are struggling to agree on child care arrangements; I work with foster and adoptive parents; and I prepare child custody evaluations for the Family Court. I have also developed a methodology for this work, which has been published, and presented in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.