Joy was one of the first child psychotherapists who was trained by Otago University in the 1980s. Prior to this she had trained in Gestalt psychotherapy.
After completing the Child Psychotherapy course she began work in the Adolescent Treatment team at Dunedin Hospital at a time when family therapy was being developed as an important treatment for adolescents. During this time Joy pioneered some of the first therapy groups in Dunedin for sexually abused young women.
These groups were run within a culture of disbelief re the prevalence of sexual abuse and working in this area brought its own notoriety, but Joy was not afraid of controversy, and believed in her clients. She fought for funding from ACC when that organisation first agreed to recognise sexual abuse as worthy of compensation and has continued to lobby for the funding of psychotherapy.
Locally we have much to thank her for; her pioneering work with sexual abuse clients has helped ease others into the same area of work. Her fearlessness in defending her clients against bureaucratic mismanagement has been exceptional and her consistent chivvying of her colleagues to take up these and many other public issues has been invaluable to the profession.
While working at the Adolescent and Family Unit, Dunedin Hospital, Joy was the co-writer of a book written for teenagers who had been sexually abused. Her book “Too Close for Comfort” was one of the first books describing the trauma of childhood sexual abuse in an accessible self-help manual for all sexual abuse survivors.
Following her work in Dunedin Hospital and having highlighted the recognition of the resultant trauma of sexual abuse Joy moved into private practice with full NZAP membership, initiating and setting up a group practice, The Psychotherapy Centre, the first independent psychotherapy practice in Dunedin.
Joy worked tirelessly on writing and presenting papers at Conferences with both her NZAP and NZACAP colleagues. She continued to be politically active and as President of NZACAP she worked to liaise with NZAP. From this work the Children’s Issues portfolio in NZAP arose. The plight of children has always been an area dear to Joy’s heart and her work as an advocate for children and adults has been commendable, as has her promoting of the value of psychotherapy.
As the recipient of the Winston Churchill Fellowship, Joy traveled to Europe and America to further her experience and knowledge of psychotherapy. This was before Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was as commonly recognised as it is today.
Joy’s input into teaching psychotherapy has also been significant. She has taught in the Ashburn Clinic psychotherapy training program and her contribution to psychiatric registrar training is ongoing. As Chair of the Otago Branch Supervisors group, Joy’s expertise as a supervisor is highly valued, and her passion for psychotherapy is unsurpassed.