During the past year most of us have lost people that were important and special to us. Chiron would like to pay particular tribute to four people in the Family Therapy Community for the contribution they have each made to the development of our discipline and for the warmth and beauty of just being them that served to enrich our lives.
We will remember the sparkle of....... Pat Gray.... Pat was passionate about equality and social justice. She was chair of the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) Diversity and Inclusion Committee and worked tirelessly towards raising the profile and voices of Black and Minority Ethnic practitioners within the Family Therapy Community. The Context magazines entitled Black Voices I published in 2011 and Black Voices II published in 2015 are testimony to her commitment to her aims and objectives.
Pat was also external examiner to Chiron’s intermediate level course in Family Focused Practice using Systemic Theory. Her knowledge, experience and support were generously given in the many conversations we had while setting up the course. I will miss her smile and laugh and her welcoming presence at AFT conferences.
Another sparkle that we will remember is.......Fran Hedges.....Fran was a significant part of my KCC (Kensington Consultation Centre) experience. She was the director of the course for Individual Systemic Psychotherapy. Fran was also an accomplished artist and I value the art work I have received from her over the years in the form of unique Christmas cards. Fran’s contribution to the Family Therapy Community will live on through her articles and books. Her book “An Introduction to Systemic Therapy with Individuals” published in 2005 is recommended reading on the Chiron course. Although retired from public appearances, Fran, who was a Friend to Chiron, generously agreed to be our guest speaker one year. It meant her travelling up from the borders of Wales where she was living at that time to meet with our students and share her ideas and thinking about systemic practice as it has developed over time and its relevance in the current climate. I will miss our conversations that meandered across many topic areas with laughter as we “set the world to rights”!
Another sparkle that we will remember is .........Barry Mason.......Barry was someone I admired from afar and got a little closer to over time. He was one of the “lights” within the Family Therapy Community. His workshops, whether on his own, or in collaboration with John Burnham were always informative and enjoyable. There was always a feeling of being energised after one of his workshops. Barry’s writings have a similar quality. His safe uncertainty paper is perhaps one of the best known and read articles in the systemic literature. The transportability of the ideas means that the article has a much wider audience than the Family Therapy Community. Barry’s wisdom and generosity will be missed.
Yet another sparkle that has been dimmed is ........Lennox Thomas.......In British terms I will remember Lennox as a pioneer and among the first of a growing group of Black family therapist. Lennox’s career in the helping profession included working in the probation service. He was Director of Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre and instrumental in developing training programmes on working across races and cultures. Lennox was interested in the father-son relationship and I was fortunate to see and hear him speak about the work he was doing with black fathers and sons to help them re-story their relationships, just months before his passing. It was an inspiring presentation and he was inspiring in his presentation of his ideas and practice.
They have each left an indelible mark on my heart and I have no doubt on others. Their contribution to the field of family therapy is the legacy they have left for us to build on.