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In Honour of Patrick Loftus

15 November 2016

BAAT regrets to announce the death of Patrick Loftus, well-respected art therapist, psychotherapist as well as supervisor and lecturer...

BAAT regrets to announce the death of Patrick Loftus who died aged 63 after a short illness in St Luke' Hospice, Sheffield on 23rd August 2016. Patrick was a well-respected art therapist, psychotherapist as well as supervisor and  lecturer on the Sheffield University Art Therapy training course.

In honour of the influence and high regard he generated within the art therapy and wider psychotherapy community Susan Allaker asked a number of colleagues and friends to contribute to this obituary. Thank you very much to his partner Mariela and his family with help in biographical details.

Patrick was brought up  in Liverpool, and was educated both there and in Ireland. He attended Liverpool and Newcastle  Art Colleges, later  gaining a degree in Sociology  from Sussex University. He trained as an art therapist  in 1984 , the first year Sheffield University ran the  course    He had a long career in the NHS working within adult mental health. He furthered his therapy skills by training  in psychoanalytical psychotherapy in 1991 at the Hallam Institute, Sheffield . From  1994 he worked on the Sheffield University Art Therapy training course till 2008 when he  retired from both the university and the health service. Patrick took early retirement at 55, not due to health reasons but with the plan to spend time enjoying things he wanted to do. He completed a MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies in UCL in the early part of his retirement and enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on his long career as therapist with plans to write papers on his particular interest of  working with trauma . He volunteered during his retirement for Freedom for Torture charity and was planning before his untimely death to work for the Samaritans.   It is of great comfort to those close to him that he had those eight years of retirement to enjoy his passions of walking, travel , study and literature.

Patrick was a friend of mine for over twenty years.  He was always gentle, kind and loyal.  His quiet patience, unassuming nature and ability to delight in so much in life made him wonderful company.  Patrick touched many people's lives and is greatly missed.

Susan Allaker


Contribution from Angela Logan art therapist (who was supervised by Patrick):

Patrick was a visiting lecturer at Sheffield University when I first encountered him as a trainee Art Therapist in the early 90s. Nearly twenty years later, when we both worked for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, he provided clinical supervision and professional advice. Our monthly contacts spanned almost the course of one year.
Patrick's professionalism was accomplished. He remained steadfast in his approach throughout prolonged and ongoing organisational change. Patrick engendered a calm and steady influence for the course of each work session. Most impressive for me, was his understanding of the statutory healthcare organisation and his quest for the integration of the psychotherapist's role within this. I remember Patrick with respect and thanks. 

Contribution from Steve Bamford psychologist (colleague and friend):

Patrick worked as a psychotherapist in Bassetlaw in North Nottinghamshire for a period of fifteen years or so, during which time he gained a reputation as a highly skilled therapist.  He played a leading role in setting up a small team of psychologists and psychotherapists, and while he himself worked within a psychodynamic and art therapy framework, he was very respectful of alternative approaches, enabling him to work constructively and creatively with other disciplines.  His cheerful, friendly demeanour made him a pleasure to work with, and he had an abundance of good ide-as to contribute to the Team.  Latterly, in recognition of his experience and expertise, he was appointed as professional lead for psychotherapists, and despite facing some very difficult challenges he was always dedicated to his profession, with a determination to promote its development with-in the Trust.


Contribution from John Maculey Chair of Hallam Institute of Psychotherapy:

Patrick was a member of the Sheffield-based Hallam Institute of Psychotherapy from its early days in the mid-1990s.   He is remembered fondly by members of the Institute and was liked as much for his gentleness and warmth as he was respected for his depth of knowledge and intellectual capacity.  A member recalls: 'I remember his lectures as knowledgeable and inspiring’.  News of his death has brought a deep sense of loss to our psychotherapeutic community.

As well as serving the Institute as Hon. Treasurer and on the Executive, Patrick was a longstanding member of the Events committee that gave the Hallam a reputation for hosting engaging and relevant talks, film events, and conferences that attracted people from a wide range of backgrounds and the wider area of the north of England.
Patrick was also generous with his own thinking often sharing through talks and seminars.

For many years and up until quite recently, Patrick was a member of the Sheffield Psychoanalytic Journal Club (a small group of around 10 psychotherapists that meets once a month to discuss psychotherapeutic theory, clinical practice and wider social issues), where as a colleague noted 'he generously shared his depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the psychoanalytic perspective with us’.


Contribution from Jude Boyles- Freedom from Torture North West:

Patrick joined Freedom from Torture as a volunteer following his retirement from the NHS. He worked as a therapist at FfT for a couple of years, and was a well-respected therapist in the team. He was kind and thoughtful with our clients, all of whom are survivors of Torture seeking asylum in the UK.


A celebration of Patrick's life was attended by family and friends in September in Grindleford,
Patrick is survived by his partner Mariela and son Tom.

Donations in his memory are welcome and the family have requested they are made to St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield who cared for him in his final days.