Angela Stupples

It is a great pleasure to grant the Distinguished Service Award to Angela Stupples, who has over many years practiced as a wise, thoughtful and extremely knowledgeable psychotherapist. Her service to psychotherapy and to the wider community locally and nationally is also of great significance.

A former school teacher, Angela trained in child psychotherapy, and worked in the University of Otago, Department of Psychological Medicine’s Child, Adolescent and Family Section, from 1980-89. Following this Angela worked and trained in adult psychotherapy, completing the Self Psychology training course and Self Psychology Supervisor training. She worked in the Gore Counselling Centre part-time from 1989-90, and again in 1995-96. From 1989 Angela also worked for ten years at the Ashburn Clinic. In 1999 Angela returned to work with children and their families, in the District Health Board’s Child and Family Mental Health Service. Angela retired from this position in 2009, and has a part-time private practice.

A pioneer in promulgating the clinical application of Attachment Theory for children and their care-givers, Angela, along with Elizabeth Muir and Dr Denise Guy, developed the highly successful Watch Wait and Wonder (WWW) model of psychotherapy for infants and young children. WWW is an approach to improving the attachment between parent and baby which is widely referenced, both nationally and internationally, in paediatric literature. Much of Angela’s work has been in the education of health professionals who work with infants and children. This includes having written Specialist Family Court Reports (29A), post-graduate teaching in University of Otago Child and Adolescent Psychiatry courses, writing and presenting clinical papers, and the ongoing teaching of psychiatric registrars. As well as this Angela has shared her expertise in a mentoring and supervisory capacity. During her work at the Ashburn Clinic Angela also set up the Child and Infant observation component of the course for trainee psychotherapists.

Angela made an outstanding contribution to the Southland, South Otago and West Otago rural community while working part-time at the Gore Counselling Centre, adapting well to the unique challenges of providing therapy to a rural environment where she worked as a clinician, supervisor and group facilitator. While in Gore, Angela also assisted in what was thought to be the first joint training in N.Z. for therapists, police, lawyers, social workers and doctors on the identification of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse in children. She also co-facilitated an ACC pilot group therapy programme for women.

As well as being part of the setting up of the internship training of psychotherapists at the Ashburn Clinic, Angela and a colleague were instrumental in setting up the Ashburn Seminar Series that has continued to be an important part of the Ashburn Clinic’s service. These seminars are highly valued within the local psychotherapy community. Angela’s work with her patients and her colleagues at Ashburn was also highly valued, as was her role of mentor and supervisor.

Angela’s colleagues in the Child Family and Mental Health Service describe her as an esteemed colleague, and teacher of her craft, who clearly and concisely shared her knowledge and expertise at multidisciplinary meetings. Her commitment to her clients and the high standard of Angela’s work was held in the highest regard, as was her ability to work with and make sense of the most complicated presentations.

A member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists since 1987, Angela has served on Council, marked case studies, assessed orals, mentored and supervised widely for many years. She has written and presented clinical papers, and is presently the co-editor of ‘Forum’. Her vast clinical experience, theoretical knowledge, lively and enquiring mind, professional integrity, generosity, and gentle humour are much appreciated by many. She is an example to us all.