Elaine O’Keefe

Few people have contributed as much to the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists in recent years as Elaine O’Keefe, our Executive Officer.

Elaine came to us in 1998 from a career in Human Resources in Government Departments. When she started with us she experienced culture shock, coming from large organisations employing thousands and with good technical support available, to a small organisation with just an empty computer, phone/fax, photocopier and filing cabinet. And at that stage she knew nothing about Psychotherapy. Elaine set up our database, got our office systems running smoothly, and soon learned to speak our language.

In the past ten years NZAP has grown in numbers and in complexity and the job of Executive Officer has grown with it. Elaine has taken this in her stride. She is efficient, approachable and professional. She has an ideal combination of skills and personal qualities to bring to her role, but her value to us is more than that of an employee. We treasure her for her loyalty, generosity, wisdom and knowledge and know that the good of the Association is always her primary goal.

At Council meetings Elaine is a gentle, calm, consistent presence. She holds much of the Association’s history and is a great resource for Council members who do not have this institutional memory.

She is also the interface between the Association and people enquiring about membership, and later in the process for Provisional Members negotiating the complexities of the assessment requirements. Her calmness helps to defuse people’s anxieties and allows them to move forward with greater confidence. She balances the different requirements of the Association and individuals and comes up with solutions which meet both needs.

She is often the first point of contact with other professions, with people from overseas hoping to practice in New Zealand, and with potential clients, and we can confidently rely on her approachability and professionalism as the public face of our Association.

Since Elaine joined us NZAP has developed greatly as a truly professional association. We are pleased to be able to honour her contribution to the Association with this award.