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Emerita Councilor - Ann Sinclair

Ann Sinclair

One of the first wave of Society leaders who had not been present at its founding, Ann Sinclair came to Balint work in the mid-nineties, attending one of the first intensives, held at Galveston, and was recognized immediately for her leadership potential.  Like Enid Balint, she had trained in Social Work, receiving her MSW from Portland State University in 1995 along with a commendation for outstanding scholarship and performance. Her career in medical education centered on the Oregon Health Sciences University, where she held a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and the Department of Family Medicine.

Ann was elected to Council in 1999, reelected to a second term, and served as a voting or ex-officio member of that body for the next fifteen years, sometimes fulfilling more than one role at once. Those roles included member of the Credentialing Coordinating

Committee, Coordinator of Intensives (2003-05), Secretary of the ABS (2005-06), and President-elect/President/Past-president (2009-14). She helped create the operating and election procedures for the Intensives Committee, and became the person to consult on all matters concerning the ABS By-Laws. A gifted clinician and mentor, she also stood out for the clarity of her governance style, which brought a gentle gravitas, and when called for, a gentle humor, to the work she considered so important.

Meanwhile she hosted multiple Intensives (1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015), establishing Portland as an important hub of Balint work. She was invited to serve as faculty at a dozen more. Her record for most frequent faculty service might have stood longer than it did, had she not needed to retire from that involvement because of worsening health. Her supervision of multiple credentialing candidates contributed to her unparalleled teaching legacy with the ABS.

That legacy was also international. Ann traveled to Australia and New Zealand on several occasions to co-lead with the Australians and New Zealanders in a mentoring role at their Annual Balint Group Intensive Workshops. Ann was pivotal to helping their founding members to become leaders at Intensives. Closer to home, but still multinational in scope, she co-chaired and helped to establish the first Enid Balint Essay Contest, awarded in 2014, the ABS parallel to the Ascona Prize, which has been wildly successful since its inception.  At her death the ABS allowed donations in Ann’s name, one of the rare times it had earmarked gifts for a specific purpose. Ann’s final service to the Society through these donations for the Enid Balint Essay Contest was to help put it on a firm foundation for years to come.

An artist in more than one medium, Ann wove and made fibre art and was a poet with multiple publications. Though she would have claimed she was not a showman, one of her memorable works was a lecture on the parallels of Balint groups and weaving delivered at a Pittsburgh Intensive. Her death was a huge loss to the national and international Balint communities. A champion of high quality and growth, she helped the Society fulfill its promise with integrity throughout her tenure. With her acceptance as an Emerita Councilor, she will, quietly, as usual, become the Society’s first such posthumous honoree. Approved by ABS Council January, 2018.

 "Restoring the Core of Clinical Practice: What is a Balint group and how does it help?" by Laurel Milberg, PhD and Katherine Knowlton, PhD. Available in paperback or ebook Order Now

The American Balint Society
, is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the therapeutic relationships between healing professionals and their clients/patients. The American Balint  Society is a member society of the International Balint Federation