We were so saddened to learn of the death of Judy Hildebrand. Judy was one of the early pioneers who established IFT’s reputation for authenticity and humanity in practice. She was both challenging and nurturing for emerging practitioners. Judy said it like she felt it, like she believed it to be. She was the Clinical Director here at IFT during the 80’s and early 90’s when the profession of family therapy was still in its toddlerhood. She helped family therapy to emerge as a force to be reckoned with. Her tenacity and conviction helped establish the values we hold so dearly. As a trainer and Director Judy was a powerhouse of ideas. This strong characteristic of hers was maintained throughout her long and influential career. Many remember her exquisite experiential exercises which promoted reflection and reflexivity. Her 1998 book ‘Bridging the Gap: a training module in personal and professional development’, remains an unchallenged ‘go to’ resource for training courses across the country. We still use her BBC film with Eia Asen made at the Marlborough Family Unit as a resource for training and, importantly, students genuinely value the humanity embodied within it. Her chapter with Renos Papadopoulos in the 1997 book Multiple Voices expressed her ability to hold and work with contradictions in families, so that the contradictions do not destroy each other but can exist together within a coherent whole. Judy’s love for training and the development of the therapist in us all was palpable: we felt it throughout us. As is evident in the many tributes to her, each trainee felt personally connected with and touched by her. She left a mark on the individuals that knew her and on the profession as a whole that is indelible and everlasting.
We think John Hills may have said it best: ‘Judy was one of those truly charismatic therapy teachers and practitioners who, once encountered, was destined never to be forgotten. She seemed to possess abundant resources of energy, vivacity, optimism and creativity.’ What a loss. What a legacy.
Sent with great love and gratitude from Chip, Nadia and Angela who knew her here at IFT and from Rachel, Shila, Simon and the rest of the team who have benefited from her wisdom and what has been bequeathed.