Judith Landau

(1942 Johannesburg, South Africa) Child, family and community neuropsychiatrist

(1942 Johannesburg, South Africa) Child, family and community neuropsychiatrist. has consulted with treatment centers, mental health professionals, organizations and interventionists around the world. Former professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester, and Senior Consultant to the Trauma Studies Program at NYU and Columbia, she privileged systemic thinking and practice. She was one of the founders of IFTA.

Umberta Telfener: The last time I met her was a few months ago in Malaga, Spain in March 2023 at an IFTA Conference. The first time was at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic in the late seventies. Fifty years had passed but I recognized her immediately: her wit, her courage, the propensity to laugh,  her being determined and decisive, her sense of humor … Next time we meet I look forward to dissecting together her traditional African healer role since this is again a common passion. She is a member of 4 Winds Indigenous Healers, an organization committed to unite traditional wisdom and western science.

Judith is a forceful woman, part of the history of the systemic movement. She told me about the 1970 South African Psychiatric Conference. Donald Bloch, Jessie Turborg (both Ackerman Institute, US), James Anthony (Greece) were present. Jessie stunned the participants by doing one of Virginia Satir’s sculpting exercises. The buzz, both positive and negative, continued through the group for the rest of the conference. “How could one bring family members into a session disrupting the privacy of their patient?” “Outrageous revealing such intimate matters in public” etc. As President, she had to hear many complaints which gave her the opportunity to advocate for our field of Family Therapy and the importance of systemic thinking.

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