Brenda Levien

Citation for Brenda Levien for the Distinguished Service Award NZAP

Brenda has been an active member of NZAP since 1985. In addition, she has, as a Gestalt practitioner and trainer, made a major contribution to psychotherapy nationally and internationally.

Her original nursing training and ensuing nursing career led Brenda to a deeper and more holistic approach to health. Brenda was Director of Counselling at Marriage Guidance between 1985 and 1990 when she established a Gestalt Psychotherapy practice, including supervision and organisational work, which continues today.

Brenda’s service to psychotherapy has been extensive and is exemplified by her professional and personal ethical approach. She has been an active member of the Gestalt Institute of NZ (GINZ) and the GINZ training faculty since 1993. Brenda developed and provided a professional training programme and promulgated the creation of minimum training standards. She was instrumental in the establishment of Gestalt Australia and New Zealand (GANZ) and was a member of the GANZ Council from 1996 to 2000, and President for four years during that period.  Brenda has been active in promoting Gestalt therapy internationally and through her connections with Australian training programmes. She is renowned for her rich and thought-provoking papers.

During Brenda’s 30 years of membership of NZAP she served on the NZAP Council from 2007 to 2014, and was Chair of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee from 2009 to 2014. During her time on EPSC Brenda worked on reshaping and clarifying the procedures of the complaints process and developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Brenda’s astute judgement and clarity of thinking was invaluable on Council and in chairing the EPSC. She is particularly skilled in the respectful engagement of dialogue around difference. Her term on the NZAP Council following the advent of registration for psychotherapists was a challenging time. Brenda maintained a steady and thoughtful presence on Council with a capacity for critical enquiry. She has worked tirelessly and competently, adding a great deal to the culture and work ethic of Council. She is highly regarded professionally by NZAP members who approach her for reflective consultation on a wide range of ethical issues.

Brenda has been involved locally as a committee member for 7 years up to 2013, and as a training supervisor in the Canterbury supervision group since 2001.She has been a regular member of NZAP accreditation panels and was an integral part of the 2009 Conference Committee.

Brenda is a very private person. We recognise and pay tribute to Brenda’s bravery and resourcefulness both during and after the earthquakes. She is loyal and utterly reliable. Outside of her professional life, Brenda’s creativity is expressed in her exquisite oil paintings and skilful photography.

Kāore te kūmara e korero mō tōna reka

On behalf of the Association, the Canterbury Branch wishes to acknowledge and honour Brenda’s significant contribution and service to NZAP and to the wider field of psychotherapy.