Remembering Issy Scriven

A tribute from Katja Windheim and Ann-Marie Catterell.

We would like to remember our friend and fellow clinical psychologist Issy Scriven, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 36 after an unexpected diagnosis of bowel cancer 14 months earlier. Her untimely death left those who knew her shocked and sad, but we would like to look back on her short career with a sense of positivity and pride.

Psychology was one of Issy’s great passions in life and her dedication to her profession stood out to anyone who had the privilege to work with her. She initially studied English Literature but soon after realised her true vocation and completed a psychology conversion course at Oxford Brooks University. She then moved on to work as an Assistant Psychologist at Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service, at Oxfordshire Learning Disability Trust and at Croydon Memory Service.

Issy started her clinical training at the Institute of Psychiatry in London in 2004. Around the same time she first started experiencing problems with her health and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was admired amongst her tutors and peers for her strong determination to still finish her training and continue her career as a psychologist. She never allowed her MS to define her or her outlook and joined in with everything as normal, taking it all with an incredible sense of humour. Issy was a vital part of her year group in training and through her strong and grounding presence contributed to her cohort forming a close bond, which still exists today.

Issy began her first post as a qualified clinical psychologist in a Community Mental Health Team in Lambeth in 2010 before moving on to a similar post in Southwark. In this post she had the responsibility of being the team’s sole clinical psychologist and was also part of a specialist Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) team. Apart from enjoying her work with the DBT model, Issy was very interested in third-wave therapies, such as mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Issy loved being part of multi-disciplinary teams and working with a range of professionals from different backgrounds, and her colleagues commented on how she made teams more harmonious and collaborative by being so approachable and supportive.

To us, it was a unique combination of qualities that made Issy a special psychologist and person. She was open and frank about her own experiences, but at the same time deeply interested in other people’s stories. She was gentle and quiet but with determination and passion, not only for psychology, her colleagues and her clients, but also for her family, friends and many interests.

Issy met her partner Evan when they were at Oxford University. They were a happy and warm couple; they were incredibly close and a central part of each other’s lives. Their daughter, Marie, had just turned two when Issy died. Marie brought a profound happiness to Issy’s life and Issy’s joy in Marie was apparent to everyone who saw them.

We are devastated that Issy’s life and career have been cut short at this early point. We believe she would have continued to make a great contribution to psychology and especially to clinical developments in the NHS, which she cared about deeply. She will not be forgotten and we will endeavour to take some of her spirit forward with us into our own working lives.

Katja Windheim

Ann-Marie Catterell

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