Nicky Abdinor is an international keynote speaker, registered Clinical Psychologist and founder of the non-profit, Nicky’s Drive. She is based in Cape Town, South Africa, where she runs her clinical practice. Nicky travels globally for keynote speaking events and has spoken at conferences across Africa, Europe, the USA, Australia and the Middle East. Nicky is always commended on being a “credible” agent of change whether you are connecting with her one-on-one or from an audience. When you meet Nicky, it is hard not to recognise that she puts her message into practice!
Nicky was motivated to study Psychology after meeting a high school friend who suffered from anxiety and depression. She recognized that psychological challenges can have just as much impact on our functioning as physical challenges. Nicky felt that she could identify with her friend’s fight for independence and it motivated her to pursue a career in Psychology.
Nicky was born with a physical disability (she was born without arms and shortened legs) which had no medical explanation. She believes supportive parents, a determined personality and inclusion in mainstream education were key factors in adapting to her physical challenges. Through her Psychology studies, Nicky realised that she had been applying many Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) skills in her life. She believes that it’s not her situation, but how she thinks about her situation, that determines her emotional well-being. Nicky recognises that positive thinking is helpful, but we also need to be rational and realistic. Positive Psychology has also contributed to Nicky’s theoretical approach where she highlights that we must not ignore what is wrong, but focus more on what is right.
Psychology Qualifications and Work Experience
Nicky has over 15 years of clinical experience in Psychology. She studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she obtained her BA (majoring in Psychology and Social Work), BA Honours (Psychology) cum laude, and finally her MA (Clinical Psychology) in 2004. She completed her Psychology Internship through Tygerberg Hospital followed by her Community Service year at Lentegeur Hospital’s Forensic Unit. Nicky’s interest in the psychological adjustment to disability developed during the time that she worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC). Nicky has completed the Primary and Advanced Practicums in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) accredited by the Albert Ellis Institute in New York as well as a Diploma in Schema Therapy through the South African Institute of Schema Therapy (accredited by the ISST). In addition to her clinical work, Nicky lectured undergraduate and postgraduate Psychology students at Varsity College in Cape Town for over 8 years. Nicky now focuses her career on her therapy practice, professional speaking and non-profit work.
The Journey to Becoming a Professional Speaker
Nicky began giving talks during her university years when people saw her potential to inspire audiences. From speaking on request at events, Nicky has now established herself as a professional speaker. She is a past member of the Ernst & Young Toastmaster’s Club (CC awarded in 2011) and a full member of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa (PSASA) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). Nicky has given inspirational keynote talks to various companies, schools and organisations and travels around the world for conferences and speaking events. She is available to present in-person, hybrid or online events. One of the highlights of Nicky’s speaking career was being selected as a Tedx Speaker in 2013.
Nicky has founded a non-profit organisation called Nicky’s Drive which aims to fund vehicle adaptations for people with disabilities within South Africa. Nicky drives a specially modified vehicle that was donated to her from the UK. She takes “hands free” to a whole new level! Nicky was inspired to start the non-profit to help others enjoy the same mobility and independence as she does.
If you would like to book Nicky for a consultation or speaking event, please visit CONTACT.