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Prestigious Awards in Psychology

Media Release

4 September, 2015

For immediate release

Attention: Health and Social Issues Reporters

Prestigious Awards in Psychology

The New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) -the largest membership association for psychologists in New Zealand, offers awards for excellence in practice and research related to psychology and social justice issues.

Five prestigious awards were conferred at the recent New Zealand Psychological Society Conference held in Hamilton at the University of Waikato.

Ballin Award- Professor Julia Rucklidge

Professor Julia Rucklidge from the University of Canterbury has been presented with the Ballin Award. This award recognises notably significant contributions to the development or enhancement of clinical psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand by a member of the New Zealand Psychological Society. Julia received this award primarily in recognition of the contribution her original research has made and is making to clinical psychology but also for her commitment to effective mentoring, supervision, and training of safe, ethically informed capable practitioners. Julia’s early research centred on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), its psychopathology, diagnosis, and treatment focusing particularly on aspects of the condition in females and adults. Alongside that body of work Julia has contributed studies of the interplay between psychosocial functioning, psychopathology. Julia’s interest in identifying effective treatments has led her to explore the effect of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in ADHD and mental health more generally. She has employed rigorous scientific methodology including randomised-control designs (RCTs). She is currently one of the most prolific researchers in the field of mental health and nutrition. In making this award NZPsS President Dr Kerry Gibson noted that Julia “possesses the attributes worthy of the award to a remarkable degree.”

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The Dame Marie Clay Award- Jan Johnson

Jan Johnson has been presented with the Dame Marie Clay Award. This award recognises valuable contributions to educational and developmental psychology in New Zealand Psychological Society members through original research, the dissemination of research or best practice. The award is jointly funded by the NZPsS and the Marie Clay Trust and recognises Jan Johnson’s contribution to best practice as an educational psychologist. Over a career of spanning some 34 years Jan has made an important contribution to management teams, steering committees, and working groups, often in the role of convenor or chair. She has assisted in the development of several assessment protocols, and in doing so has made an important contribution to the discipline. Central to Jan’s contribution has been her development and updating of the ‘situational analysis framework –process to practice’ a tool created to guide intern educational psychologists through a ‘case’ from the referral, through data gathering, analysis, planning and implementing an intervention. Rather than being merely didactic the framework pushes the practitioner to reflect, link research and observations, and to work in collaborative ways. Jan has also been noted for her high ethical standards in which client needs are at the forefront of her thinking and practice. Those she supervised have appreciated and sought to emulate those ethical standards. NZPsS President Dr Kerry Gibson noted that Jan’s contributions have also extended to the guidance and support of interns all of which mark her out as an exemplary practitioner and teacher.

The G.V. Goddard Early Career Award-Research and Scholarship- Dr Natasha Tassell-Matamua

The G V Goddard Early Career Award commemorates the contributions Professor Graham V Goddard, Head of Department of Psychology, University of Otago, made to psychology. The award recognises early career achievement and excellence in research and scholarship in basic psychological science. The recipient of the award is Dr Natasha Tassell-Matamua. Natasha’s primary research interests include cultural psychology and near-death studies. In cultural psychology Natasha is particularly interested in the application of psychological principles to indigenous peoples, indigenous ethics, and kaupapa Māori psychology: interests that are reflected in her work in near-death studies. In her publications she has tackled the topic of how universal codes of ethics/declarations can undermine efforts to be culturally sensitive. Natasha’s focus on indigenous psychology has resulted in invitations to contribute international conferences.

Natasha’s writing on near-death experiences demonstrate her breadth of research skills and her ability to situate findings in relation to Māori beliefs about death and the afterlife. She has been praised for the rigorous nature of her work and her relating of her findings to international research.

Award for Services to International Psychology- Dr Barry Parsonson and Dr JaneMary Castelfranc-Allen

The Executive of the New Zealand Psychological Society has honoured the extensive voluntary work in Georgia by NZPsS Members Dr Barry Parsonson and Dr JaneMary Castelfranc-Allen by presenting them with an award for services to international psychology. This award recognises Barry and JaneMary’s 18 years of volunteer work in developing alternatives to orphanage care for children in Georgia. This included returning children to families, foster-parenting and small group homes for those unable to be placed. They also worked on establishing inclusive education practices, family support services for those with special needs children and emergency foster care for abandoned children. Through the NGO they established, they have engaged with the training of psychologists and developed and taught in undergraduate and post-graduate psychology programmes at Tbilisi State University. They have acted as advocates with the Government, in working with Ministries and UNICEF as well as in co-ordination with other NGOs with whom they teamed up. In presenting this award the NZPsS Executive also honoured Barry and JaneMary’s active membership of the Society and their support of their colleagues through the work they have carried out on behalf of the Society. In conferring the award, President of the Society, Dr Kerry Gibson noted that the Society is justly proud to have Barry and JaneMary as members of the Society.

Karahipi Tumuaki –President’s Scholarship- Stacey Mariu Ruru

Stacey Mariu Ruru was presented with the Karahipi Tumuaki –President’s Scholarship at the NZPsS Conference in Hamilton. This award recognises research that is Māori centered and of value to the Māori community. The research proposed by Stacey Mariu Ruru to ‘explore Māori womens’ perspectives of leadership and wellbeing, to identify Māori practices and values that Māori women implement within their leadership roles, is very relevant to both Māori and to the discipline of psychology. This research will provide narrative evidence of some of the themes that Māori women in leadership roles draw on to understand and carry out their roles. The particular emphasis on the wellbeing practices Māori women leaders use will add to an understanding of possible habits and customs psychologists may wish to employ in leadership roles. Stacey shows a willingness to engage with kaupapa Maori/indigenous research designs using qualitative research methods to develop her knowledge and skills as a researcher. The research has an overall empowerment focus for Maori women in leadership roles. President, Dr Kerry Gibson wished Stacey well with her research and noted that we look forward to hearing more about her work in future years.


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