Socio is the Newsletter for the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA)
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July 2020 

Early Spring in Toi Toi Street, Nelson

Welcome to this Edition of Socio

Kia ora te whanau o AANZPA
Greetings to you all

The purpose of Socio is to provide a window into the life of our Association with members providing pieces of writing, poems, photos, reports and reviews that are shared with us all.
I became curious about our members’ experiences in this time of change and strangeness. I reached out to an eclectic mix of AANZPA members and awaited the responses. I am grateful to those who have provided me with their thoughts, photos, reflections and experiences of this time we have all been living through in our families and communities.
In this edition, we also pay tribute to our members who have died. An opportunity to acknowledge their lives and remember their impact on us. 

If you are inspired by what you see here, please consider putting pen to paper for our next edition of SOCIO which will come out at the end of November. The close off date for submissions is  20 November and I await your contributions !!

Thank you to the following for their contributions: Helen Phelan (Perth); Phil Carter (Auckland); Richard Mills (Melbourne); Jane Maher (Melbourne); Jenny Postlethwaite (Sydney) and Judith McDonald, (Dunedin). Thanks also to Penny BeranDon Reekie and Martin Putt for contributing to our memories of those who have gone from our midst. 

Bronwen Pelvin
SOCIO Editor



and Creative Retiree living in Perth, Western Australia. She finds joy in her grandchildren, family and friends, and is enlivened by her work on and with AANZPA Executive and Perth Campus.

How COVID-19 has affected me: 
Early on, it was like watching a tsunami roll in from way out to sea; cognitive of possible impacts, unsure of immediate required action and wondering which way to step to possibly miss out on being swept away. Gathering of resources within, and checking connections and supports in my world were the next priorities. Then came the realities of ‘the spread’. Numbers were quoted and agonies of individual people torn from family, locked down and hooded and gowned medical staff distressed from lack of equipment to help the huge numbers of people needing care. Then the cases were here, in Australia – another level of concern – the News programs felt more essential – the Government set out the emergency response. Checking up with family and friends was a daily touchstone. Although we all got on with what was necessary, there was an added heaviness in our beings, wondering who and when. We are now past the worst, first round and here we can move freely, and get back to coffee with friends. Alas no flights or travel allowed.
What has given me the most delight:

  • A new sense of time and joy of simple things.
  • The wave of a neighbour across the park, someone I hadn’t met before and now sharing our moment.
  • Unexpected gifts of “Anything you need from the shop?” while under lockdown.
  • A ladybird settled on my hand one morning
  • Creating new ways of staying in touch and playing online with my grandchildren.  

What has been the biggest challenge:
Not being able to be with my family – they all live in other countries or States, as do some of my closest friends. My brother turns 80 in a few days and I can’t go and be with him. My grandchildren live in Canada – I can’t visit and it is scary when I hear of the seriousness of the virus near where they live. They continue to be OK. How I have risen to my challenges:
I realised that in my family generations and my own life experiences there were key resources.Growing up with parents who survived the depression, WWII and many health and other challenges, I had some strategies and a positive and longer-term outlook. I am healthy, strong and I had overcome many things, I could do this. I was also aware that I was in quite a privileged position. Although I was older, so possibly more at risk, I had a steady but small income from the Pension, I own my compact unit and I live in a country with a great health system and wonderful fresh food. Many others were losing jobs and business and other key aspects of their lives. Many losing dear elders and family. ·         
New discoveries:

  • I can really do without many things
  • I can connect in a meaningful way via computer
  • A city can have a community heart too.
  • I enjoy time on my own I love having a hair cut, especially after a couple of months of trying to be my own hairdresser, with very quirky results.

How I have maintained my connections with others:
Living in Western Australia I am used to ‘distance’ living and enjoyed the extra reason to call folks. Once life opened up I have enjoyed reconnecting with friends and people I had not been in touch with recently. New life to several relationships. Making friends with Zoom and Skype instead of it being a poor second best for communication, enabled some creative ways of contact when other avenues were not possible. My work with AANZPA, and training in Perth, have given me a depth of connection and purposeful activities, even though the lockdown. Because we were all in it, whoever I connected, the virus and the impacts provided a way to respond and share deep concerns and heartfelt wishes.

“A new sense of time and joy of simple things.”

Dr Phil Carter, Psychodramatist, Auckland



Where’s the phone charger I asked Robin looking at the place where it always is. It’s not there she said. No I said. Where did you put it? I didn’t put it anywhere she said. 
Lockdown was coming. I was clever. I anticipated it. I had phoned up the garden place and the quarry and got myself truckloads of stuff to play with. Wake up I wanted to tell anyone interested. This strategy will be years in the rollout. 
And by the way let me tell you about viruses. I had gone and investigated them. Listened to a Colombia University virologist with 38 years experience. They are our friends, vital to life. They soften as they mutate and take on the attributes of the host. Do you know the microtubules, a basic protein, like viruses, billions of them in each cell, busy authenticating DNA, splitting and merging it? They bend in response to the electro-magnetic field. Hey, psychodramatists, they could be one of the mechanisms by which the individual gets agglutinated from the social atom. Hey, technophiles, you can use 5G to get in and improve our genome mechanisms and wipe out cancer and deformities. Let’s improve on nature. Let’s not just accept the cards we are dealt. Don’t let any swine, avian or bat come imposing their viruses. We don’t need to learn how to hang upside down in a bat cave. We’re only making cities coz we love each other.
Read the book Humankind. It says the basic premise of the Psychology of the Masses is that humans are self-interested and would resort to chaos when under pressure. Apparently this was a key influencer of Axis and Allied strategists in WW2 to do civilian bombing. Evidence however, the book says, shows the opposite – caring and community happened. Watch out the book says; if leaders have us as fundamentally self-interested, they will instigate measures of control and compliance. We need to embrace humans as fundamentally humane it says. But… where was it? The phone charger…

I didn’t move it she said. 

Well I didn’t. I never do. And true I don’t. Ever.  

She goes into the living room. I follow her. We both see it. I remember… 

I moved it. I wanted to sit in the sun as I chatted with someone about lockdown. I had to warn them about all the praise floating around about how wonderful it has been to work together and look after each other. Watch out for the flip side – a vicious vigilance for group conformity. You wait and see… 

Now I have absolute proof I said. 

Yes..? She sounded cautious as though getting ready for some fresh flaw of hers being pointed out. 

I have absolute proof that my certainty is not reliable. 




I have enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on Covid’s effect on me. I think it has come in under the radar (my radar anyway). The first area has been the loss of contact with others in terms of my social atom – my social network. I have the good fortune live with someone (which has been amazing really). It has been good to build new connections with others through zoom – in Holland, in far flung parts of Australia, in New Zealand (even China!) that I would never have had contact with  otherwise. (Also I can sit in the comfort of my own study and see people, like my yoga classes I attend, without getting in my car!).

The second area I think has been the loss of physical touch with others. I work in an Emergency Department, no touching with other staff (which used to happen in a very relaxed and playful way) and no touch with patients, which for me is a big loss. Reassuring touches, brief, but they cannot occur now.  I don’t think there would have been too many patients I would have seen where there was not touch of some type – a handshake, and arm on the shoulder. People I see have equipment and others touching them for medical reason quite often, so it is quite accepting of this I think.

And then there is the over-bearing nature of the physical precautions that I have to take at work simply because I am in an Emergency Department with Covid effected patients. A mask is now worn at all times at work. It fogs up my glasses, it is always there. With patients I need to wear gloves when near then and a single-use gown/apron every time I enter a patient cubicle – that is then discarded the moment I leave their cubicle Even in my own office with no one in there I need to wear a mask now.

And then there is the stepping around others as I walk down the road.

But somehow the human spirit, always wanting to express itself, be involved in others, and love I guess, comes to me about the Covid experience. So perhaps I can just manage to say a small thank you to Covid, although the pain and suffering it has caused is enormous.

Best wishes to you all in dealing with this in your life, how it affects you and those around you.

Jenny Postlethwaite


Early 2020 in Australia was a period of unprecedented catastrophic bushfires. Fires that decimated our communities and wildlife, dominated our news, challenged our spirit, consumed our everyday lives. In the shadow of the all-consuming fires, early reports of a novel virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, also began to emerge. Late in February, just as the fires were abating, the Australian Government abruptly declared Covid19 a pandemic, enacting its emergency response plan. 

I remember how surreal it all felt at that time, the virus was something happening somewhere else – in Wuhan, on a cruise ship in Japan – it didn’t have the same immediacy as the fires, it was intangible, harder to relate to, particularly as the initial Government advice was that we need not dramatically change our daily activities. 

That advice didn’t hold true for long. 

This year I joined the staff of Psychodrama Australia and the first weekend in March was my very first outing with the Sydney training group – very exciting! I was also working on other new psychodrama projects – building a new psychodrama open group in Newcastle with Tina Roussos, and a new workshop combining horses and psychodrama with Kate Tapley. 

By mid March, just a few days after the first training workshop, the pandemic had rapidly escalated and we were in lockdown, my shiny new plans in ruins. The training group moved to Zoom, the open group and the horse workshop were indefinitely postponed, and my professional work as a coach immediately moved entirely online. My everyday concerns suddenly became very narrow – toilet paper, flour, keeping my distance from others. Whenever I ventured to the supermarket, I would catch myself holding my breath, a freaky experience.  

Months later the impacts continue to unfold. Just this week (late July), as Covid cases escalate alarmingly in Victoria and NSW, my psychodrama peer group has cancelled its August residential gathering. Sigh.

Zoom has kept me connected and working – with friends, as a coach and as a psychodrama trainer – to some extent at least. It has sparked my spontaneity and creativity and has surprised me with what can be achieved. Cros (my partner) and I have enjoyed Zoom coffee dates with friends, Charmaine McVea and I have been leading the Sydney training group on Zoom for several months and in my private work I even led (flying by the seat of my pants) an interactive group workshop of 33 people.  But, it’s tough not being physically with others, so much vital information – the sensitive signals and the big ones – is easily lost when a screen divides you. It’s exhausting. 

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though. I am, by nature an introvert and a home body. I’m fortunate to live in a spacious and comfortable home, with a glorious yard full of trees and birds and creatures to commune with. I’ve enjoyed not feeling guilty about simply slowing down to do not very much, just being with what is in the day – the weather, the birdsong, languid time with Cros, tidying the pantry. The daily ritual of walking our remaining chook Gretel next door for her play date with the neighbour’s chooks Vera and Julia, and collecting her as the sun sets, makes for soul-nourishing bookends to the day. Staying home isn’t, for me, all hardship.

And I’ve found myself constantly delighted by people’s undiminished and quirky creativity …. Bin Isolation Outings, Swan Lake in the Bathtub (Google them if you aren’t familiar already) …. the lifeforce abides.

Early morning sun in the backyard

Gretel, Vera & Julia hanging out next door

We certainly live in interesting times, a bit too interesting if you ask me.  Reflecting on my experience of the past months as the COVID-19 pandemic has rolled through the world, I think “roller coaster” and “lockdown”.  I’ve been struck by the wide range of responses to lockdown, from people loving it and wishing it to continue, to absolutely hating it, and even, fragmenting.  

I found lockdown challenging myself, and it became increasingly so.  Due to go to Britain and France with my daughter for a much looked forward to trip, and to visit my favourite aunt,  who is now 87, disappointment and resignation joined the disbelief that we were indeed heading into lockdown and the trip was off.  

Working in private practice, I scrambled, along with many others, to get my head around who wanted to continue therapy through lockdown and how it was going to happen.  Initially I was pleased to have some sort of structure to my day and would skip out to our house bus, which we were really fortunate to use as an office, to work, unlike my husband and teenage daughter.  However Zoom fatigue is real and as time went on, I found the intensity of working via this medium exhausting.   Although for keeping connected with friends, family and colleagues, Zoom or its equivalent was invaluable, I actually “saw” more of my extended family than I would have normally and this has largely continued.

Highlights included some quality time with my family; the weather was largely beautiful; I walked most days and the birds were very present and delightfully vocal.

There was something about lockdown that was amplifying of my own core issues and feelings. I noticed this in others too and continue to do so. This amplification combined with the anxiety and uncertainty in the world was deeply unsettling and anxiety provoking.  I continue to notice a heightened state in people that shows itself in a range of ways.  COVID-19  highlights again all the big questions about our future: climate change, the environment, alternatives to plastic.  Can we, will we, as a species, face up to and do something about these very pressing issues?

Speaking weekly to my aunt who is still largely in lockdown in Britain and struggling with it, I am grateful to live in New Zealand and to be under the leadership we have.  I’m also more deeply appreciative of my family, friends, my work place and colleagues, and value these relationships more consciously. 



Up-Ended and Re-Combobulated in Victorian Lockdown
One way of looking at the personal impact of COVID-19 on one Psychodramatist

Early one Sunday morning in the first weeks of the first Victorian COVID-19 Lockdown I found myself in my pyjamas sitting at my kitchen table eating Nutella on toast. Comfort food. As I was vaguely staring into the middle distance of my solo mind wondering which way I was going to occupy myself that day at home, I turned my gaze on the moment and found myself constructing a joke.

I later tried it on several people with mixed results but the best reception it received was from a distraught orphan in our first Telehealth session. I had already met her in person a couple of times many months before and I knew that counted for little. I understood and accepted that she would most likely be wary of me too, treating her like a naughty rude juvenile, engendering further despair by being another poorly attuned do-gooder bumbling into her internal world like a bull in her china shop.

Pulling rabbits out of hats is a handy role for a child and adolescent mental health clinician like me. It’s always with a form of amazement that I look back and marvel – how did I do that? I value these moments and sit them side by side on my mental trophy shelf with all the other less successful therapeutic moments when I feel like I’ve been as competent as Humpty Dumpty off his wall. So I converted the joke to make it as relevant as possible and it went like this:

Why was the 7 year old girl eating Nutella on toast in her pink PJs early on a Sunday morning?
Signs of curiosity and the activation of warmth reorganised the subtle muscles of her face in the screen and she seemed willing to fall into step with the dance moves of my joke.
“Why ?” – it was said with more brightness in her voice. Eyes enlarging, mouth ready to laugh like a sideshow clown.
I said – Because she’d run out of ice-cream!

It turned out she also had a taste for absurdity and the role of the absurdist joker! My gratification was immense when she gave me the measured approval of a discerning critic -That’s Good. Her face had rearranged itself into the soft warm optimistic girl child who was willing to at least put me through my paces and see if I could be any help to her. We were off and running. She did some awesome drawings on the Zoom Whiteboard. Phew!

Alternatively, the amplification of reactivity in times of uncertainty-fueled stress saw old fault lines gape open and a brewing conflagration run amok for me. If you’ve ever felt you know what it might have been like to feel burned like a witch at the stake for someone else’s unbearable fears then your empathic companion might be cued at this point. There’s certainty in the fact that it’s no fun feeling like an unwilling auxiliary in someone else’s drama of Demonise the Nearest Dirty Dog. But of course it would be easy to posture as the squeaky clean victim protesting that I did nothing wrong ! None of us have probably been lily-white virgins and besides I’m an out-and-proud advocate of us no-blamers. I’m not a fault-seeking, finger-pointing, tit-for-tatting automaton. At least the principled role model isn’t, though the grubby mere mortal regularly relapses. As one of the teens in one of my groups says about the group culture – “This is a judgment free space” ! I’m so proud of that ! I like to think that means the teens in my groups feel doubled not criticised; coached not inadequate.

I had to take up this unwanted cup with my role reversing hat in hand and see the complexity of my functioning through the eyes of the other. If you’re familiar with Zoom Video Conferencing options, you’ll know that there is an option to Touch Up Your Appearance – which is definitely switched on in my settings. It’s confronting to see how others who have felt offended by me, mirror me. But it’s good for my courageous self-knower, my ever-active role re-organiser and for my wise guide. It was a journey of initiation; it strengthened my capacity to tolerate my earliest, most destabilising anxieties and my capacity to deploy that strength for others. In some ways, I became a more bulletproof and a softer and more responsive life-journeyer. 

I was by no small means strengthened by the 3 wise men who upheld me. My friend on this invincible A-team showered me with the good counsel of a workplace relations elder; my therapist held my hand while the ancient coffers my most buried anxieties were rattled to their roots; and the third, my supervisor, kept me in my gracious roles, drafting my emails so that I could be the magnanimous servant, humbly bowing out and honourably extricating myself, apologetic, grateful and firm at appropriate turns. The more I was given by these steadfast coaches, the more I became the embodiment of the roles that they so confidently saw in me and the more the roles they were, grew in me. Phew ! 

I got through it; the bedraggled survivor, with my thinking, feeling and acting even more unified than before, but washed up on the rocks of a new frontier, having to pull myself up by my bootstraps – as Max would say – and stumble on. Along the way I had climbed the suddenly prominent mountain of roles required to become a Zoom Telehealth Therapist for groups of children, teens and parents – not to mention various combinations of family members. Throughout this initiation – thanks COVID – I kept the home fires burning.

In March I ran 24 groups, 5 of which were by Telehealth, in April I ran 28, all by Telehealth and in May I ran 32. I didn’t have to count them in June but it was still up there. This crash course was a steep learning curve while at the same time we were flattening the COVID curve. I learnt stacks about how to do group therapy with kids and teens by Zoom. Papers are germinating. 

Being a better self-nurturer than I have ever been before, I realised that it would be wise to organise a rejuvenating holiday for myself. So in early July, a friend and I gunned it out of Melbourne, across the NSW border to the back of the never-never to Mutawintji National Park, outback from Broken Hill. Country where the river waters is treated as commodity and the rhythms of a desk and a Zoom-dominated life can be swapped for big wide spaces of rural and remote Australia.

We watched birds through our “bins”; imbibed the humour and knowledge of traditional owners, saw through their eyes; revived the natural pulse of day and night cocooned in about three layers of sleeping bags, under a full moon; honoured the rugged red ranges and plains and played skittles with a pyramid of 10 tinnies. We met some guys who were also camping who said they were “out of captivity” – I could role reverse with that. The Murray and Darling rivers were full; the birds were singing like I had never understood before; the traditional owners were magnanimous but the controversies of water management, environmental degradation, industrialisation gone feral were with us too.

Nevertheless getting a long way away, getting all that space, all that quiet was the environmental flush I needed. We accepted the return to Victoria for a second round of reluctant captivity, I felt stir crazy for a week and struggled to refocus on tackling the next frontiers with acceptance, patience and humour.

I turned 60; I had 6 small Zoom parties and found fun in sharing my eye mask with my bed buddy, The Dr Who Hooting Oliver the Owl – Owly to me.





DIED  24 JUNE 2020


Bona Anna, Sydney:
A mighty Kauri has fallen

A truly honourable man has left us

I did appreciate seeing and hearing Rex and Valerie as they spoke together on Jerri’s video.
The last time I saw them was at the Brisbane Conference 3 years back, where they generously shared their lives, joys and health challenges with us. And Valerie was still referring to Rex as her boyfriend.
I’m so glad, but not surprised, that this inspiring man directed his life to its end and had the perfect death. 

Lynette Clayton;
I have been thinking of two stories that Valerie told me and wonder whether I should pass them on, 

  1. Valerie was talking about their experiences in the Pacific Islands.  On one set of islands, their house was located near the ocean and at high tide the ocean came over the beach and almost up to the house. One morning she looked out and the sea had white light coming off it. She went to her easel and painted the brilliant sea of white. When she finished it, she stood back at a distance and was amazed to see a cross in white in the middle of it.

  2. Valerie accompanied Rex in a canoe to one of the nearby islands where Rex was to provide medical treatment for the day.  On the way back in the canoe they had on board blood samples in a freezer box.  As it got dark there was no moon out and all sight of land disappeared.  She was somewhat frightened and said to the man paddling the canoe “how will you get us back home.  There is a very narrow entry to the lagoon, how can you find it.  The man relied “I do not navigate by what I see or by a compass.  We all navigate by the feel through the boat of the deep currents in the sea.  I learned from a child how to read them.”  He then navigated them through the narrow passage into the lagoon.

My prayer is that Valerie can follow the deep currents of her unconscious at this time that her soul is separated from Rex’s in this life and that she will find her way home to the light she saw in the sea. 
Both Valerie and Rex have been very special people in the Psychodrama movement.

Jenny Wilson, Christchurch:
Rex was a lovely man. I only met him a handful of times at psychodrama workshops, but he made a tremendous impression on me.
Rex was bold and brave and kind. His interventions in my psychodramas had life-changing effect.
I will always appreciate the personal growth he facilitated for me.

Richard Hall. Melbourne:
I will never forget reading Rex and Valerie’s thesis and the spirit of that writing before I meet you both in person. Meeting was a joy of freedom and playfulness.

When I had a conversation with Rex I also experienced a sense that I was valued, appreciated and that you were listened to with great interest.
He was an elder of the psychodrama community and loved by many. 
May he go into the spiritual worlds with his light and goodness and welcomed there with celebration.
I will celebrate his life with joy, playfulness and a wonderful sense that it was a pleasure to have known him. 

Phillip Corbett, Melbourne:
Such a wise, kind and gentle man ! The word beneficent came to my mind, meaning “Doing good or causing good to be done, conferring benefits, kindly in action or purpose.”
Whenever I saw the two of you together, there was a radiance of secure, mutual love about you.

Effie Best, Adelaide:
I have such good memories of Rex at AANZPA conferences.
Including some great conversations with Val and Rex at conference dinners.

28 February –  16 July 2020


Gwen Reekie died 16th July 2020. She reached 85 on 28 February. She and Don were life companions for 67 years. They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grand children

Gwen has been a junior stenographer to Suez Canal directors 1952, then student nurse, secretary to Director, Factory Inspectorate and then to CEO, Boots the Chemist, a mother to three, taught “knitting” to groups of women on Niue and organised a hair style competition there for Girls Brigade.
En route to NZ in a strike bound Nausori airport lounge of irate passengers, Gwen absent-mindedly sang the Seeker’s “I’d Like to teach the world to sing. The mood of the whole lounge changed. People smiled, laughed and spoke to friendly neighbours.
In NZ she was briefly Secretary for the manager of Golden Books and then Cadbury. Then agent and quickly manager of several travel agencies, Administrator for a Child and Family Psychiatric Clinic and then Director of MG South Auckland where in 1989 she brought in Maori and Pacifica counsellors.
While still mother, now active grandmother and student through her fifties, majored in Sociology and Education. Completed Masters in Sociology, 2nd class Honours, 1st Division in 1996 (at 61). Gwen was also training in Psychodrama from 1988 and completed in 1998. In 1997 she completed HD&T Institute’s Certificate in Competencies in Group Work.
She had joined Fay Lilian in Anger Change working with parents who were or risked and feared abusing their children. Gwen ran 5-7 groups a week over twelve years early nineties and into noughts. She also led two weekend groups “Growing Old Disgracefully” and “Living Life with purpose”. The first group filling with 30 year olds and the second with 50s to 60s turning Gwen’s expectations upside-down.
In 2004, Gwen began a career as a writer. In years 2004 – 2014 (stopped eventually by dementia’s onset, which Gwen called either “Early stages… what of Don ?” or “Earth-quakes brain”)
She wrote five novels, the fifth broken up by over-editing in her “Early Stages”.

Gwen applied herself, was loving, smiling, teasing, humorous, fearlessly fiery, uncompromising, tolerant, accepting, warm and inclusive.
In her work “Being the mother you want to be”, she discovered for the Morenos, Jacob and Florence (as it happens Gwen’s name too), a “technique” for the “All Identity” phase of child development of spontaneity. Entering the space of the all identity “matrix”with women who could tolerate neither doubling nor mirroring let alone role-reversal.  She entered physically, spatially and in emotional relation. As mother of this mother. The protagonist engaged with her and experienced wonderful “megalomania normalis” to discover “I belong in this universe – it is mine”. The woman entered open and naive the production of interaction, spontaneity to try out her freedom to act.

Don Reekie
July 2020


Selina Reid: “I knew Gwen through our working together at Anger Change Trust. She was creative, wise, and full of vitality. She was not afraid to speak up and speak out for truth, and for the protection and healing of others who couldn’t.”
Jacqui Gough: “She was such a lively sprite.”
Phil Carter: “Ha! the Sprite plays with Death and Decay as though they are playmates, some dance of exquisite beauty and glory.”
Marcia Amadio: “I particularly remember Gwen doing her assessment at Tauhara  as that is still on my ‘to do’ list.  Also her talking about writing 50 words a day.  That too is with me most days!!!   My first ever psychodrama training was with you and Gwen and I didn’t even know that was what I was doing. Gwen was such a lively joyous fun woman. She made that training feel like anyone could do it which was very reassuring for me! I think the last time I remember speaking with her was when she told that story about being in the pools during the Christchurch earthquake with Sonny Bill Williams.”
Vivienne Thomson: “I often think of Gwen specifically in her influence on creating a better warm up to trainees completing the initial papers in psychodrama. Her focused approach to her university study and completing her certification I think helped trainees believe that it was possible to certificate in psychodrama. I also liked that she was her own person stepping out of the perception of what was “normal” e.g. expressing her opinions which were often controversial, and in her writing romantic historical novels.”
Sue Christie: “Cushla Clark and I had a cup of tea at the weekend and shared Gwen stories. Hers was of a group she ran with Gwen for grandparents. Gwen directed a drama which Cushla described as ‘exquisite’.”
Marilyn Suttcliffe: “I remember Gwen’s sparkling eyes and her fierce interest in people and learning.”
Jane Goessi: “I take my hat off to her quest for knowledge – she completed an arts degrees as a mature student and was a major fan of Derrida and Foucault!”
Marion Hammond: “I remember Gwen as such a spirited person who seemed to love life. I always enjoyed laughing with her. She had a wonderful sense of humour. I admired the way she just got on and did her psychodrama accreditation and then later in life wrote those books. I knew her to be a person who cared deeply about others. She was always interested in my boys. I am glad to have known her.”
Philippa van Kuilenburg: “Gwen was happy she had lived a full and productive life and was happy to go, it is still heart wrenching”.
Fay Lilian: I am so sad to hear this Don, such a long loving companionship you two have had. I am remembering the years of Gwen’s wicked humour as well as her sage advice. Much love to you and the family at this time.  
Don Reekie: I replied to Fay – The years of Wicked humour ended on 16 July 2020.



Our dear friend and colleague Colleen Guray died on 6th July 2020. Her husband Mike, daughter, friends and colleagues created a service to reflect on her death and celebrate her life. This was a rich and fullsome offering for those who could attend in person and others like me who watched a live stream. 

I wrote the following in honour of Colleen: Colleen sustained creative ways to be in the world while living for the last few years with illness and treatments. Colleen brought her intellect, deep thinking and new ways of imagining to her engagement with others. She challenged me more than once to rise into adequate and new responses. Colleen generously worked with me as the protagonist for my Social and Cultural Atom paper. 

We met  in 2001 through the Australian Institute of Social Analysis group work programs and later in psychodrama.  She relished good food, coffee, theatre , film, travel.   Her birthday celebration a few years ago at Camelot Lounge with Monsieur Camembert was a fitting event. Colleen’s enthusiasm for psychodrama has led others to start the adventure.  The last time I saw Colleen was at an Open Night to which she accompanied a newcomer who has since commenced training.

Other contributions from her service:
Colleen had prepared with her husband Mike and the celebrant some of the content including her choice of music. Mike, daughter Miriam, friends from childhood, university, recent organisational consulting clients and Rollo Brown spoke of their experience of being with Colleen.

Her anger at people not standing up for their beliefs was related to her parents’ anger following their Holocaust survival. She stuck to principles. She stuck by her friends and family.  With her executive clients she was perceptive and tenacious. One of her colleague friends said “she had a mouth that spoke truth”, “you could see her looking at you” .  Her smile and laughter were frequent and unfettered.  

In the psychodrama community Colleen brought us Yaakov Naor to the Sydney Conference in 2010. Yaakov and Colleen led workshops for 2nd generationers from which I benefited.  She had worked psychodramatically with Yaakov since the 1990s when she visited Auschwitz with him and other 2nd generation Holocaust survivors. She continued this work with 2nd Generationers. 

Though many of us knew of her intellect, her hidden affect and emotion were the driving forces. 

A long time friend said that Colleen refused to make her diagnosis her prognosis and she came to terms with her own mortality with courage and anger.
The celebrant’s last words in the service were “Rest in Power”.  

Penny Beran