CANADIAN GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY FOUNDATION
DR. WILLIAM E. POWLES AWARDDr. Powles presenting endowment cheque to Linda Goddard, Secretary
Treasurer of CGPF.
Dr. William E. Powles, B.A., M.D.C.M, Dip. Psych. (McGill), F.R.C.P., ©
F.A.P.A.P., F.A.G.P.A., F.C.G.P.A., of Kingston, Ontario has been
acknowledged by the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Foundation for his
distinguished contributions to mental health, particularly through the
teaching and practice of group psychotherapy.
The Dr. William E. Powles Award of $10,000 provides an endowment in Dr.
Powles’ name for the advancement of the teaching and practice of group
psychotherapy. Annual income will be distributed to students of group
psychotherapy to enhance their educational opportunities.
The Dr. William E. Powles Award was made possible by a generous grant of
the Jackman Foundation, Toronto.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: WILLIAM E. POWLES, M.C., FCGPA
Dr. William E. Powles Endowment Fund
William Earnest Powles was born in Japan in 1919 of Canadian missionary
parents, Percival S. C. Powles and b. Ruth Mount Powles, who were
classmates in McGill Arts 1910. Hi mother educated her six children so
that they were all able to enter the Montreal school system and go on to
graduate from McGill, Bill with a classics major B.A. in 1940 and an
M.C., C.M. in 1943. He married Edith A. Pritchard of Ottawa in the
middle of the war. They have two sons, a marine biologist and director
of fisheries research in the federal government, and an orthopaedic
surgeon heading his department at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage,
Following internship and Army service, Bill did general practice in
Alert Bay, B.C., then returned to McGill for post-graduate training in
Psychiatry, qualifying as a specialist in 1952. He caught the group
psychotherapy "bug" early in his training. After a stint in the mental
health services of British Columbia, he changed careers, moved the
family to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1959, and started into academia as a
teacher and researcher. Finally, wishing to return to Canada, he came
to Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, as director of the
psychiatric residency programme and remained there since 1966. His
interests have been wide, he has taught general psychiatric manpower,
and the theory of psychiatric illnesses. His major publication, in
1992, was a text on research in human development and the psychiatric
Dr. Powles’ great love has been in the psychotherapies and in
particular the multi-person therapies with small to large groups. This
interest, which caught him early in his training, partly, he thinks, was
because he belonged to a large family living in an exotic culture,
partly because of a conviction of the importance of the social nature
and involvement of human beings, and partly because of the enthusiasm of
his teachers who had picked up the "new learning" overseas in the War.
Bill had conducted many kinds of groups: ward governments for chronic
psychiatric patients, "milieu therapy" or the social manipulations of
the ward environment, groups of alcoholics, adolescents, "hopeless
neurotics", and adult analytic groups. He sees therapy with marital
couples as a form of group therapy and a very profitable investment of
effort on behalf of whole families.
Joining the American Group Psychotherapy Association in 1952, he became
increasingly active, was elected a fellow in 1962, and served on the
Board as well as chairing the Standards and Ethics committee and the
History Committee. The Canadians who met at AGPA, under the leadership
of Dr. John Salvendy, Dr. Fern Cramer-Azime, Dr. Eric Jackman and
others, decided to try to form a Canadian Association, which was
launched in 1978 and held its first successful conference in 1980. The
rest is history.
Following formal retirement in 1985, Bill continued to work part-time,
and kept his energies for the Canadian Association and its sister
organization, the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Foundation, which was
incorporated in 1990 under the presidency of Dr. Eric Jackman. Bill has
served as secretary-treasurer and more recently honorary chairman of the
Foundation. He is proud to have attended every annual conference of the
CGPA, except for 1993 when it conflicted with his fiftieth medical class
reunion, and in 199 because of illness. He was President of the CGPA in
1986-88, and has served on various Committees, most recently the
Constitution Committee. There are too many people to name whom he would
like to thank for their friendship, stimulation and leadership in the
Association and the Foundation over these many years, but he wants them
to know how very much he appreciates all of them.
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