DR DAVID HENDERSON
19 December 1950 – 8 November 2023
The son of Protestant missionaries, Dr David Henderson was born and raised in Angola, with periodic furloughs spent in America. His family was evacuated for a year at the outbreak of war in 1961. The highlight of David’s schooling was attending high school at TASOK in Kinshasa where his friendships with classmates across the world remained vital throughout his life. Africa was forever a deep part of his soul.
As a young adult in America, David explored an extensive range of ideas and practices including Buddhism in treks across the Far East, Quakerism as a resident of Pendle Hill Retreat Centre in Pennsylvania and Catholic monasticism as a novice Trappist monk at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia.
David began studying and practicing psychotherapy after moving to England in his early 30’s. He began private practice in 1984 and steadily created a robust professional and academic life. He conducted individual and group psychotherapy, individual and group supervision, study groups, workshops and taught numerous psychotherapy training courses and staff groups for NHS and social services. As a Jungian analyst and psychotherapist, he was registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and was a member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation (BPF), the British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA), the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) and the British Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Supervision (BAPPS).
David was part of the first intake of students in the MA program in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies at the University of Essex and earned his PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London. His thesis was published as a book, Apophatic Elements in the Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis: Pseudo-Dionysius and C.G. Jung. He is author of scholarly articles, book chapters, and edited books in the Western and Eastern spiritual traditions, psychoanalysis, philosophy, art, culture, society, and clinical practice. Included in his most influential writing are papers discussing cultural homelessness, shame as an achievement in analytic training, and the hermit and the analyst. Links to his publications may be found here: https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/repository/search?q=author%3Ahenderson%2C%20d.&page=1&sort=title
From 1988 to 2018 he was a core member, tutor and clinical supervisor of the Association of Independent Psychotherapists (AIP), London, which he founded. As a key player of the ‘core group’, he guided the organisation’s development for 30 years over which 42 psychoanalytic psychotherapists completed their training. The core group met weekly, with an external analyst in attendance to facilitate a reflective process. He designed the training structure and curriculum, hosted workshops and conferences and managed the process of UKCP accreditation.
He was a senior lecturer at the Lancashire School of Health and Postgraduate Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, the Institute of Psychotherapy and Social Studies, London, and from 2008 to 2019 taught seminars, designed course curriculums, supervised Masters and PhD dissertations and organized international conferences at the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University, London where he became an honorary researcher. In 2019 he became a lecturer in Jungian Studies at the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex. He became founding Director of the Comparative Psychoanalysis Research Group where he hosted international scholars, offered ongoing seminars and study groups and became editor of Comparative Psychoanalysis Book Series published by Routledge. A tribute to David from the University of Essex appears here: https://www.essex.ac.uk/news/2023/11/29/tribute-to-dr-david-henderson
David was known as an intellectual and gifted teacher, a thoughtful, skilled master clinician, and a passionate, compassionate and valued colleague to his many peers and friends. He was committed to the promotion of dialogue, fiercely rejecting what we have come to call ‘silos’, unthinking attachments and transferences to ideologies, particularly – although not exclusively – within psychoanalysis. He did not confine himself to the “pen” or keyboard but worked tirelessly to set up the spaces and systems whereby dialogue would take place.
David loved music, art, poetry, the Cornwall coast, grappling with ideas, walking the dog. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Jeri Onitskansky, her children Nico Sanders and Mischa Stevens, his step-granddaughter Goldie Sanders, and his siblings Kathleen Ashley, Nancy Henderson-James, and Mark Henderson.
The funeral for David Henderson will be held at the Islington & St Pancras Cemetery, 278 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9AG on Friday 8 December at 2pm GMT.
2:00: Service in the Islington Cemetery Chapel, followed by burial in the adjacent Woodland Burial Area. Parties will then adjourn to a reception at The Clissold Arms, 105 Fortis Green, London N2 9HR. All are warmly welcome.
Also, there will be a video link for the service for those who are not able to attend in person: Log onto https://watch.obitus.com and then enter the unique user name wodo5597 and the password 897716 and you will be able to view the service from the back of the chapel. You will not be seen by anyone either in attendance or online. The facility will go live ten minutes before the service time.
In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for the Ron Johnson Ward at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital where David was cared for so kindly and attentively over the last two months of his life.