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Joyce Edward, MSW

Deceased February 4, 2024 | Posted February 12, 2024

It is with a saddened heart that we inform you of the passing of our esteemed and honored member Joyce Edward on February 4, 2024. She was humble and wise, with a noble, elegant presence wherever she appeared. Her contributions to AAPCSW and the wider psychoanalytic field through her publications, presentations, and teachings will remain with us.

Her recent interview “A Life Well Lived” (video recorded June 12, 2023) was presented at the 2023 AAPCSW/NIPER conference.

Another video with Joyce was on the Inspiration Series made in 2017:

We are collecting tributes in her honor. Please send them to Penny Rosen at: rosenpmsw@aol.com. The compilation will be on our website.

May her memory live on.

AAPCSW Colleagues and friends:
Sue Fairbanks, Sheila Felberbaum, Karen Redding, Penny Rosen, Golnar Simpson


It is with deep sadness to acknowledge the death of Joyce Edward. She was an important member, advisor, teacher, supervisor, and friend of NYSPP. She was also my friend and mentor, a beautiful woman inside and out. Her elegance, warmth and intelligence will be greatly missed. She was a vital part of NYSPP since its very beginning. Her participation over many years, even in her retirement, was of great importance to us. I personally always enjoyed seeing her at our conferences as well as those held by AAPCSP since its founding. Joyce was a role model for me as a woman as well as a professional colleague. She lived a long productive life and leaves a wonderful legacy.

Carol Thea, New York, NY.

I would like to contribute, as my memorial offering, some reflections about Joyce Edward taken from my introduction of her for a professional gathering, written in November 25, 2014: I chose Joyce Edward as my first analytic supervisor at the NY School for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (NYSPP); but then felt she was so far beyond me intellectually that I told her I couldn't continue because her office was too far away. Joyce saw through me, right away. When she confronted me, I confided that I just couldn't keep up with her. “It's my job to keep up with you,” she said. Well, I'm still trying to keep up with her! If it weren't for Joyce's perseverance in encouraging me to continually rewrite my chapter for Fostering Healing and Growth: A Psychoanalytic Social Work Approach, a book she co-edited, it would have ended up in a file titled “Undone by the Process.” The following illustrates the clarity she brought to clinical supervision and to the aforementioned book. This is from her chapter “Listening, Hearing and Understanding”: “Just as it is difficult for the patient to speak freely, so is it difficult for the therapist to listen openly. As a fellow human being, the therapist shares with the patient a need to protect against knowing, experiencing, and feeling certain phenomena. That which we cannot as therapists attend to in ourselves, frequently becomes difficult to comprehend in our patients (p.25).”

It's impossible to list her full background and accomplishments. Joyce Edward is a social activist, a writer, a board certified clinical social worker with certificates in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis from the Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy and has served as faculty and training analyst at the NYSPP and the Society for Psychoanalytic Research and Study. She is a Distinguished Practitioner in Social Work and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work. Joyce has been on the faculties of the Schools of Social Work at Adelphi, Hunter, and Smith College and was on the Editorial Board of the Clinical Social Work Journal. She practiced psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for 30 years before retiring. Publications include Separation Individuation: Theory and Application, The Social Work Psychoanalyst's Casebook, Clinical Voices in Honor of Jean Sanville, and The Sibling Relationship: A Force for Growth and Conflict. When The Sibling Relationship was first published Joyce discussed the book at an institute on Long Island. It was the first time that I'd heard psychotherapists talking not about their patients, but about themselves. When asking a question or offering a comment they introduced themselves as: I am a brother, I am a sister… Well, I am a friend who is thrilled to present an exceptional individual and friend who will delight you with some psychoanalytic reflections on friendship.

I loved and admired Joyce as a supervisor, mentor, and colleague. She was also a sister, a mother, and a dear friend to me. The only reason I missed her 100th birthday party was because I was at my own early 80th Birthday celebration in Chicago with my family. She understood, graciously as ever!

Sheila Felberbaum, New York, NY.

It is with profound sadness that I write these words about Joyce Edward's death! I am also filled with gratitude for having the good fortune of knowing her as a friend and a role model in my professional life.

When I saw Joyce a couple of months ago on a Zoom meeting sponsored by AAPCSW's Diversity and Social Action Committee, I marveled once more at her abiding commitment to pursuance of excellence in professional knowledge and skills with a laser focus on issues of human dignity and social justice! Just her presence at the meeting brought joy to those in the audience who knew her!

As such, Joyce was a true student of the human condition in all the vicissitudes of life. As a life-long learner, she brought a joyous energy, disciplined curiosity, and mindfulness to the process. Joyce was also friendly, kind, playful, and had a dry sense of humor. It is these unique qualities among others that earned her the admiration and respect of the broad social work and psychoanalytic professional communities. Our profession has lost a most valuable member, and we have lost a dear friend and colleague in our community. We shall miss her! In sadness and gratitude,

Golnar Simpson, McLean, VA.

Joyce Edwards was an important and much beloved figure in my life. Among her enriching and extensive contributions to social work psychoanalysis, her commitment to social justice ran deep. I first encountered Joyce for consultation, when she was trying to organize and lobby against the harsh impact of managed care on our clients and the mental health profession, as was I. During that time, she received an award for her consumer advocacy. Later she was the presenter for the Annual Texas Society for Clinical Social Work conference, and we presented her with a tee shirt "Social Workers Have Always Managed with Care.” Her knowledge, care, and graciousness were always foremost.

Joyce wrote an article "Psychoanalysis Beyond the Couch," as a vehicle for us all to broaden our thinking about the wide-ranging usefulness of psychoanalytic theory. As psychoanalytic thought was fast leaving the schools of social work, Joyce funded three years of seminars at her alma mater, Case Western Reserve, so students could see how psychoanalytic theory could be of value in social work practice. She was an inspiration to me in setting up an endowment for the application of psychoanalytic knowledge in social work at my alma mater. In fact, she was the third speaker at the annual psychoanalytic lecture, that is part of the endowment. She was always available for consultation, about the endowment, in a variety of different ways, up until before her passing. Through all the years I knew, admired, and loved her, Joyce, as learned as she was, continued studying psychoanalytic thought, and remained steadfast in her commitment to applying psychoanalytic knowledge beyond the couch. For many years, after she retired, she taught classes at her retirement community on psychoanalytic thought.

My tribute to Joyce comes from my knowing her to be so very dear, compassionate, thoughtful, a role model for everything psychoanalytic, as well as a life well lived. I am ever grateful for Joyce's presence in my life. She will live on in my heart.

Sue Fairbanks, Austin, TX.

Joyce Edward was devoted to clinical social work and psychoanalysis and held onto its values. After retirement, she pursued her interests in music, literature, and poetry, studying at a university's lifelong learning institute till the Fall of 2023. When she wrote The Sibling Relationship: A Force for Growth and Conflict (2010), it was a subject that was not widely investigated. She is also known for Co-authoring: Separation/Individuation: Theory and Application; and Co-editing: Fostering Healing and Growth; and The Social Work Psychoanalyst's Casebook. What made Joyce unique was that even after retirement, she was able to say she was not well versed in an area, for example relational theory. She was admired by everyone who met her. For me, she was the epitome of the “grande dame” in our field. She will be missed. May her memory be a blessing.

Penny Rosen, New York, NY.

What a loss for the profession and the world! Joyce was such a wise, elegant, and generous presence. She mentored so many young social workers and served as a model to the older generation of how to be generative long into advanced age. She was a luminous person whose kindness radiated outwards and who touched so many of us. I am glad to have known her as long as I did. What a life well lived.

Joan Berzoff, Northampton, MA.

Joyce was indeed a special person. I met her in the 1960s in Trudi Blanck's seminar held every Monday morning for 3 hours and it's practically impossible to believe sixty years have passed. I met many wonderful people in that group that lasted for many years. There were about twenty of us as I remember, and they added so much to my life. Just about a month ago Sheila Felberbaum mentioned her and gave me her email address. I wrote to her, and she answered with a lovely letter. One of the most difficult things about aging is losing people, and I'm so glad we connected recently. Joyce was a kind, generous, friend. She contributed so much to those who knew her and to the field. She holds a permanent place in my heart. Such special people don't need memorials because they are unforgettable.

Jane Hall, Altadena, CA.

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Joyce Edward who was such an important leader in activism on behalf of mental health as well as a contributor to mental health treatment through her writings. I served with her for many years on the National Mental Health Coalition. It was an honor to work with her.

Helen Krackow, New York, NY.

With sadness I received the news about the passing of the illustrious member Joyce Edward. An immeasurable loss to her family, her friends, and her colleagues. I am sorry. As an international member of the AAPCSW, living so far away, I didn't have the valuable opportunity to live and achieve the teachings of Joyce Edward, as I would like. I remember the first time, when I knew about her name, through a quote from our unforgettable Bill Meyer in his wonderful paper: The Psychoanalytic Social Worker/The Social Work Psychoanalyst: What Shall Be Our Message? “Joyce Edward (personal communication) asks a haunting question, ‘Will anyone remember what good treatment is?’ The answer depends on us.” (Meyer, 2000, p.367). My Best Regards,

Sonia G. M. Seixas, Brazil.

I had a chance to briefly know Joyce, and just re-read and heard the tributes to Joyce's life, so thank you so much for this reminder!

Joyce was a powerful presence in our Analytic Social Work worlds, within AAPCSW over the years, and I appreciate your resending this to all of us! Her impact and clinical contributions, in addition to the way that Joyce 'walked through the world' will be held by many of us, for years to come… May her memory be a blessing to us all…

Lou Pansulla, Brooklyn, NY.

Joel Kanter shared the following from the AAPCSW listserv post by Joyce Edward on February 3, 2016:

Dear Colleagues,

I have been reading the thoughtful ideas about "loving" and "liking" patients that members have recently been contributing to our list serve. In looking back on my many years of practice I still am trying to understand my feelings for patients and have very much appreciated the discussion.

I have respected my patients, cared for them, and had some whom I felt that had I met them outside of therapy I would have enjoyed as friends. I have been deeply interested in each of them, and tried to serve them well. I would however not call my attitude towards them love, in the common sense of the word.

When I think of loving I think of feelings I have for my long-deceased parents, my late husband, my children and grandchildren, my sister who died recently and a few very close friends. The nature and depth of the love I have had for these individuals varies, but they “people” my mind. How do my feelings differ from those I have for patients? The most significant difference is that no matter how much I have valued my patients, though I had feelings of sadness when they concluded the treatment, I did not grieve their loss. My world was not emptier. Ten years after retirement, I still think of various patients and wonder how they have fared since we journeyed together, but I feel no pain, no great longing to see them as I do with those who have meant so much to me.

I do not think we can really love someone with whom we do not have some form of a reciprocal relationship. While we gain much from our patients, we are focused on their needs. While attitudes have changed with regards to the patient-therapist relationship since the days when we were likely to place a high value on abstinence and anonymity, I don't think therapists would consider it good practice to complain of a headache in a session or ask the patient for an aspirin. We do not look to them for advice or support or expect them to tolerate our moods or engage in activities outside the consulting room.

We do offer things to a patient that are aspects of love - respect, attention, concern etc., attitudes which have significant therapeutic value. I am reminded of a young woman, Adele, I treated many years ago who had come into treatment after a suicide attempt. This was at a time when interpretation was viewed as the major therapeutic tool and at the time, I imagine l thought that her gains had something to do with my understanding and wise interpretations. Perhaps ten years after her treatment when she had moved to another state, Adele wrote to say she was visiting relatives nearby and wondered if she could visit and introduce her two daughters to me. During that visit Adele began to talk about the value her treatment had had for her and identified what she thought had meant the most to her in the years we worked together. “You were so interested in me, in what I was thinking, what I was feeling, what I was doing.” she noted. She went on to say it made her feel as if she must have been a more interesting person than she thought she was at the time. In thinking back, I don't believe she felt I loved her, but I do think she recognized she was important to me and that I saw her value and valued her. Let me say I was very pleased to see her and to know that she was enjoying her marriage and her children, but I easily bid her goodbye.