Roy Bowden

Roy Bowden’s long service, outstanding personal and professional qualities and multiple accomplishments are well-known. He has been the recipient of many professional awards, including the DSA in 2007, his invitation to stand as a Pakeha leader of our Association alongside NZAP’s Pae Arahi Dr Haare Williams at Waka Oranga’s inaugural Hui-a-tau in 2010, and the Te Tohu o Te Pihi Award in 2015. We are now pleased to ask Roy to accept NZAP’s highest honour, that of Life Membership, for his many years of service to the Association and to the wider psychotherapeutic community in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Roy’s journey towards psychotherapy began with his theological training as a Methodist Minister, where he undertook training as a Rogerian Counsellor and qualified as a Social Worker. He became Director of the first Family Counselling Centre in Palmerston North, as well as working as an associate therapist at the local psychiatric unit. He taught at Massey University, and in the 1980s established the first University based programme in Social Service Supervision.

Roy became a member of NZAP in 1984 and in 1986 established the first psychotherapy practice in Palmerston North. He was a foundation member of the Manawatu–Hawkes Bay supervisors’ group and helped establish the Manawatu Branch. He was elected to the NZAP Council in 1991, and helped organise the 1993 NZAP Conference at Flock House in Bulls, where NZAP was first given its Maori name, Te Roopu Whakaora Hinengaro. Roy completed 11 years on Council, including as President in 1998-2000. He was a member of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee, working on the 2003 revised NZAP Code of Ethics, and also served for several years as NZAP’s Complaints Convenor, as well as assessing candidates for membership for many years.

Roy has been described as a unique and independent thinker, determined to keep psychotherapy real and relevant. He has consistently fostered bicultural understanding, presenting his ideas at conferences, nationally and internationally, and writing extensively on the development of an approach to psychotherapy honouring the contribution of Tangata Whenua. He is the author of “A Psychotherapist Sings in Aotearoa,” and he has more recently written and published “Psych-o-Therapy Aotearoa,” a biography of the Association as seen through the eyes of its members.

Much of Roy’s work has involved educating and training others. From 1990 he taught in the Certificate of Counselling programme at the Central Institute of Technology and helped develop the Diploma and Bachelor of Counselling programmes, before being appointed Head of School for the Bachelor of Counselling and Bachelor of Alcohol and Drug Studies at the Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltech).  As New Zealand’s representative on the Board of the World Council for Psychotherapy and as co-leader of the Organising Committee for the World Congress of Psychotherapy in Sydney in 2011, his influence extended to the international arena and and he was instrumental in committee members from Australia attending the NZAP 2008 Waitangi Conference. In all these roles, Roy has always been a keen advocate of relational perspectives in psychotherapy. He has valued couples, families, and systems’ approaches to psychotherapy practice, and advocated for recognition of the significant effects of culture, race, age, gender, and socioeconomic factors on the lives of clients.

Roy is perhaps best known in the Wellington Branch for his passion in applying the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to the work of psychotherapy. His knowledge, leadership, and connections with Waka Oranga and local kaumatua continue to enrich the life of the branch. Roy has facilitated visits to the Branch by local Maori and encouraged Branch members to join the Te Tiriti and Bicultural Advisory Committee.

In his recent book “Psych-o-therapy Aotearoa” Roy writes: “Relationships with therapists who are Maori have given me an outlook on life in New Zealand that has changed me in significant ways”. As an energetic advocate of bicultural psychotherapy, Roy has supported the development of Waka Oranga and the He Ara Maori Advanced Clinical Practice bicultural pathway to NZAP membership. Many NZAP psychotherapists throughout New Zealand regard his leadership and initiative in the bicultural arena as having influenced their outlook in significant ways, and so it is no surprise that a recent Waka Oranga hui-a-tau, it was suggested that Roy be nominated for Life Membership of the Association.

The Wellington Branch of NZAP together with the wider NZAP membership declare that Roy Bowden fully deserves the honour of being made a Life Member of NZAP. We are proud to count him among our members, and wish to demonstrate our recognition and respect for him as a man of dedication and stature and a leading psychotherapist, teacher, supervisor, speaker, and writer in Aotearoa – someone who consistently demonstrates qualities of mana, generosity, gentleness, humour and great aroha.