Ψ We Remember Dr. Janet Matthews

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Dr. Janet R. Matthews, “cherished and esteemed” colleague to many in the psychology community, died March 31, 2019, in Metairie, Louisiana, after a struggle with cancer. She was 73.

Dr. Matthews was known to be a remarkably competent person in all of her many roles–– educator, mentor, leader, author, and professional psychologist. She gave generously of her time, knowledge, and experience to others, and attracted them to her with her knowledge, wit and wisdom. Her strength, kindness and common sense made her a rock of the community.

“Janet was a powerful force in my professional life from my time at Loyola until the present day. I will always carry her with me,” wrote Dr. Laurel Franklin Harlin, colleague of Janet’s.

Dr. John Robinson, now Professor Emeritus at Howard University in Washington, DC, said, “Janet was my supporter…. my colleague…….my mentor…….and my dear friend.”

“Janet was as an absolute giant in psychology,” wrote Dr. Christoph Leonhard, “not just in Louisiana but nationwide. I personally was lucky to benefit from her wise and warmhearted council on many occasions and will forever be indebted to her …”.

The outstanding service and accomplishments of Dr. Janet Matthew’s life have left an “indelible mark on her colleagues, her students, her profession, and her community,” said a message from the Louisiana Psychological Association.

Dr. Matthews was a clinical and neuropsychologist, and held the diplomat in clinical from the American Board of Professional Psychology. She served as Full Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans until retirement.

Her contributions included extensive professional service, including the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association (APA) and president of multiple APA divisions and organizations. She was honored as a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academy of Practice and earned both the Mentoring award from Section IV (the Clinical Psychology of Women) of the APA Division of Clinical Psychology and later the Lifetime contribution to clinical psychology award.

She was named the 2011 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association for life achievements.

A Full Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, she served the university in numerous areas, including the Faculty Senate, the Arts & Sciences Awards Committee, the Psychology  Department Curriculum Assessment Committee and the Advisory Board for University Honors Program. She was the faculty advisor for the Psychology Club and received her university’s award for Excellence in Advising.

Janet published five books including Introduction to Clinical Psychology published by Oxford University Press and Your Practicum in Psychology: A Guide for Maximizing Knowledge and Competence published by APA. She was a contributing author for 13 book chapters including
“Clinical psychology: Ethics of Therapists,” in The Handbook of 21st Century Psychology, published by Sage.

She has published over 80 journal articles, including her many contributions to Journal of Personality Assessment, Journal of Medical Education, Teaching of Psychology, Professional Psychology, and American Psychologist. And she presented over 100 professional presentations.

Dr. Matthews reviewed for PsyCRITIQUES and for Teaching of Psychology. She was a textbook reviewer for APA Publications, Harper Collins, Macmillian, McGraw-Hill, John Wiley, Harcourt Brace and others. She served as Consulting Editor for Teaching of Psychology.

Janet also served as an item writer for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, and she worked on the Advisory Panel for the G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series at APA.

She served on the Advisory Board of the American Board of Assessment Psychology and was Associate Editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Dr. Janet Matthews “loved professional service,” she said in 2009, explaining her long-standing involvement and depth of service in the American Psychological Association, punctuated by a position on the APA Board of Directors.

Janet also served as Chair of APA’s Board of Educational Affairs. She was President of Division 31, President of Division 2, and Division 12 sections IV & IX, and Secretary-Treasurer of Division 2 and Secretary of Division 12. She was a Fellow in APA Divisions 1, 2, 12, 29, 31, 35, 40, 42, and 52.

She was Chair of APA’s Committee Undergraduate Education, Board of Professional Affairs, Policy & Planning Board and Membership Committee, on the Council of Representatives for both Division 2 and Division 12, Ethics Committee for Division 2, Committee on Adulthood & Aging Division 42, and Fellows Committee Division 12, among many other contributions.

Janet was a member of Southwestern Psychological Association where she has served as President, President-elect, and as Secretary-Treasurer. She was a longtime member of the Louisiana Psychological Association, the Southeastern Psychological Association, the Association of Women in Psychology, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and the International Neuropsychological Society. She was a member of the International Council of Psychologists, and the National Academies of Practice – Psychology, and member of the former New Orleans Neuropsychological Society, and served as president & secretary.

She served a full five-year term on the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, including chair.

At Loyola, Dr. Janet Matthews was able to do what she truly loved. “I love teaching,” she said in 2009. “Teaching is the focus of my university. I love mentoring and keeping in touch with my students. I can tell you where dozens of my former students are now as practicing psychologists, because we keep in contact– constantly.” Her love of teaching and mentoring was reflected in the number of her former students who remained in regular contact with her.

She held a strong belief in the value of learning psychology. In 2015 she said that psychology enriched students’ lives and that was why it was so popular. “The material can be applied to a myriad of life experiences,” she said. “Thus, they have immediate relevance rather than something which needs multiple layers and future application.” It was important for today’s young adults, she said, “Because it can be used to better understand their world.”

She is survived by her beloved husband of 53 years, Dr. Lee H. Matthews of Kenner, also a very accomplished psychologist.

“I got into psychology in a somewhat atypical way,” Janet once explained. “I married a psychology major.” As an undergraduate at the University of Tampa, set to study law, she became engaged to her husband and soul mate, Lee, a psychology major, and “that was it.”

Their lives together took them to Trinity University and then to Kent State, and three during the Kent State shootings. Janet did not know for hours if Lee was safe. After that, Janet packed them up immediately and the couple headed back to San Antonio and Fort Sam Houston. The next years took them to North Carolina and Pembroke State University, then to Old Miss for doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, internships at U. of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, to a
teaching position at Creighton University, -and finally to New Orleans and Loyola.

Janet once explained how the couple always worked flexibly with the demands of dual careers, “That’s who we are. Its so much of what we do.” Janet and Lee wrote together on the subject: “A professional pair at the job market,” in American Psychologist, and “Husband/Wife psychologists describe life in post-hurricane Louisiana” in The National Psychologist. They authored their book Dual Career Couples, “Going shopping: The professional couple in the job market;” and a book chapter in Your Career in Psychology.

The Louisiana Psychological Association recently passed a resolution to honor Janet, writing, “…to acknowledge with gratitude the outstanding service and accomplishments of her life and the indelible mark she has left on her colleagues, her students, her profession, and her community.”

“… the members of the Council, and on behalf of the membership of the Louisiana Psychological Association, do hereby express sincere sorrow at the death of Dr. Janet Matthews whose loss leaves a void in our community and in our hearts, and extend posthumous tribute to her distinguished career of excellence and her commendable service to the community and her colleagues.”

Dr. Bill McCown, said, “Janet was indeed one of our few true legends. Her immense intelligence and wisdom were only equaled by her commitment to our profession–and by her heart. She always seemed to represent the best of what Psychology could be, even in our worst times. Perhaps her legacy needs to be for us to somehow come together more fully and rededicate our efforts towards the memory of this remarkable professional and human.”

“Janet was a friend and most respected colleague,” wrote Dr. Michael Chafetz. “She was a shining star in her leadership in the Psychology community as a teacher, researcher, mentor, noted author, organizer, leader, and just all-around Mensch!”

Janet was born September 2, 1944 in New York City, the daughter of the late Eugene Travis and Louise Baker Rogers. She is survived by her beloved husband of 53 years, Dr. Lee H. Matthews of Kenner, LA and their cat Judy as well as two cousins, Dr. Philip Rogers and wife Dr. Rima Salys of Boulder, CO, and Ms. Denise Rogers of Jackson, NJ.

The family invites you to share your thoughts, fond memories, and condolences online at www.lakelawnmetairie.com

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