4 January 2019
Death of Josephine Klein – psychotherapist, psychologist, academic and community worker
The psychologist and psychotherapist Josephine Klein, has died peacefully in her sleep aged 92. Josephine had a passionate concern for social justice that underpinned a variety of her initiatives as a researcher, writer and practitioner.
During the mid-1960s Josephine collaborated with like-minded individuals to set up the Archway venture in Brighton, East Sussex. This was initially for the mods, rockers, beatniks and flower people drawn to the seaside town. Some local people viewed them with hostility, but Archway addressed their vulnerability and need for support. It offered coffee, someone to talk to and a place to sleep, and marked a new kind of youth work, which also extended to children escaping physical and sexual abuse.
This experience convinced Josephine of the need for better training, so in 1970 she founded a groundbreaking youth and community work course at Goldsmiths’ College (now Goldsmiths, University of London). There and elsewhere she displayed an extraordinary ability to appear non-judgemental, while having clear standards and values concerning how people should treat each other. She also retained an independence of thought in the face of orthodoxy and resistance to change.
In the early 1970’s Josephine trained as an analytic psychotherapist, and out of this work came two books that are still well regarded and used on counselling and psychotherapy courses Our Need for Others and Its Roots in Infancy and Doubts and Certainties in the Practice of Psychotherapy.
Josephine herself had been a refugee, and in 1999 she was instrumental in founding The Refugee Therapy Centre in London. There they established a course to enable refugees to become counsellors, in line with Josephine’s conception that therapists and counsellors should share language, culture and experience with their patients and help them better to contribute to society.
She leaves behind many friends and colleagues who will miss her.