What a treat to be asked to comment on what Lesley King has contributed to NZAP and to the profession of psychotherapy. As one of Lesley’s friends and colleagues for going on 30 years, I can testify that whenever things have become rough in this work or in life in general, Lesley has always been there to lend a down-to-earth, sensible and wisely loving ear.
Lesley went into private practice in West Auckland about 25 years ago. She was inordinately afraid that she wasn’t ready or wasn’t good enough. Getting business cards printed seemed audacious. It was just over a year later that Lesley took a deep breath and with similar trepidation began to teach at AUT in the first years of the psychotherapy course, gradually revelling in the opportunity to teach human development in her uniquely Lesley way, a way in which students were left in little doubt as to their own developmental paths – and any deficits therein.
Lesley developed her skills as a fine and dedicated teacher of psychotherapy over many years, simultaneously remaining dedicated to doing a sterling job of playing her part in the healthy development of her three sons and the stability of her family’s world.
Lesley was elected onto NZAP council at the 1998 conference and held the first portfolio that was established to deal with applicant issues, as they were called at that time. She also represented NZAP on a subcommittee that attempted to build connections with NZACAP and for most of her time on council was on the Ethics and Professional Standards committee.
The call to be President of NZAP is an honour but also a very weighty responsibility. In 2003 Lesley accepted the challenge, again with enormous trepidation, and in this role continued to lavish on this organisation her friendly warmth and her unfailingly courageous commitment to integrity. In almost a decade of being on Council, Lesley has been for NZAP in some respects like a good enough mother who inspires growth by her modeling of a wisdom that is grounded in common sense and her insistence on no nonsense individuation.
Her dedication to the profession, the branch and individual members, especially those getting started, has been characterized by her bold courage to speak out, even in the days when that was even more daunting than it is now. She was a President like none other. She became the sort of President that only Lesley could be. There is a staunchly defiant and determined side to Lesley, often emerging to the delightful accompaniment of her peals of slightly anarchic laughter.
No matter how many weighty issues were being carried on those shoulders, Lesley’s clients in therapy or supervision, as in the parenting of her own children, were never given less than her best.
I believe that those she has been therapist to, and those she has taught and supervised, and all of us who appreciate NZAP, have cause to be grateful for her fine Presidency and her many contributions to this profession, and will join me in applauding the honouring of her with this Distinguished Services Award.