Rhona Carson joined the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists in 1987 having been proposed for Applicant membership by Peter Reid and Ian McDougall. Although almost ready to present for Full Membership in 1993, Rhona began training in Self Psychology and as a consequence did not become a Full Member of NZAP until 1998.
While an Applicant, Rhona began making a valuable contribution to NZAP. She was a member of the Wellington Branch Committee in 1993 and was Branch Convener in 1994 and 1995.
Rhona was elected to the NZAP Council in 2001and was appointed to the position of Honorary Secretary in 2002. She held this position for six years being re-elected for the maximum allowance of two further two year terms, by the membership. Rhona retired from the Council and the Honorary Secretary position in 2008 after serving on the Council for seven years.
Rhona has many qualities that made her very suited to the role of Secretary of NZAP. Her habit of thinking deeply, her commitment to democratic processes, her inclusive nature and her ability to keep the wider implications of proposed changes in mind, have all helped steer and steady Councils through times of change.
As Secretary, Rhona developed a thorough working understanding of the Constitution and Rules of NZAP. During her seven years of service many Councils came to rely on her expertise and guidance on constitutional matters.
It is in these achievements that Rhona particularly demonstrates stellar qualities, her abilities to undertake quiet patient research, to apply a deeply disciplined reasoning to her thinking and conclusions and to write with eloquence and clarity.
Moreover Rhona has profound common sense and a strong sense of fair play. She encouraged transparency in Council’s deliberations and communicated regularly with the membership by writing “from the Council Table” after every Council meeting.
Rhona’s skills as a researcher, writer and editor have been called upon many times. In addition to being Secretary she held the Psychotherapy in the Public Sector portfolio, served on conference committees and was active in promoting support of the allied health professions. She wrote a job description for the Secretary position and worked to clarify the roles of the various committees that report to Council by encouraging them to develop Memorandums of Understanding. In 2007 Rhona worked with Sean Manning and Mary Farrell to produce, “A History of a Decade 1997–2006.”
Rhona is one of a small group of Psychotherapists who have managed to work effectively within the Mental Health System. Rhona has worked for CCDHB for over 25 years and her psychotherapy skills have been well used. As a founding member of the Personality Disorder Service, her skills, both as a therapist as well as a group supervisor and a clinical consultant, are very evident.
Rhona is still actively contributing to NZAP. She is a member of the Wellington Supervisors Group, she represents NZAP’s interests at the AHPAF meetings and she acts as a marker for the Admissions Committee. Much to the relief of Council, Rhona has also agreed to act as NZAP’s Archivist. There can be no doubt that she is the ideal person to preserve the Association’s records and to keep NZAP’s institutional memory alive.