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    In Praise of the Ecumenical John Mark Davis

    Neil Maizels

    My personal sadness in hearing of the death of John was marked.

    He was always there for me in my early, unformed years as a psychotherapist and as a person ​—​ and he was always a voice of calm, unflappable thoughtfulness and was very slow to self-righteousness or all too easy devaluing or condemnation.

    He brought a sense of perspective, and of patience, to my rushed impressions of the world of psychotherapy and of my own self.

    And yet, it is now possible to see that he brought those same qualities to the VAPP, as a group of very disparate characters with equally disparate ideas and inclinations.

    He was never disparaging, never loud and never dismissive.

    He truly enjoyed the “ecumenical” intercourse of the association, and ​—​ perhaps as no other member has done ​—​ encouraged others to celebrate the liveliness of variety in the VAPP, in spite of the tensions and rivalries that it sometimes bred.

    Although he was always very partial to the theories of Karen Horney (whose ideas are still very under-appreciated today) he would never foist them on others ​—​ but just made sure that they were kept in mind, for those with an interest.

    This was, for me, symbolized by his never-fail insistence that every single person be included in his annual PPAA conference photo.

    He stood calm and resolute in the face of groaning impatience and hiding faces, until every individual was seen, each with their equal importance for the group as a whole.

    I hope that the spirit of that legacy lives on in our remembrance of his always generous contributions to the VAPP and to the PPAA.

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