Judith Tindall, PhD
Note: The following feature article was written by Lois Charley, Executive Secretary for NPHA and Editorial Assistant for The Peer Facilitator Quarterly. It appeared in the Fall, 2003, Volume 19 edition.
An unforeseen meeting in 1978 helped shape the career of Judith Tindall, PhD, licensed psychologist and consultant from St. Charles, Missouri, as well as her peer helping involvement. The late Joe Hollis, an editor and owner of Accelerated Development, a book publisher, was in the audience during one of Judy’s training sessions in Atlanta, Georgia. He asked Judy if she had considered writing a book based on her training materials. Her first response was, “I can’t write a book.” With Joe’s encouragement and guidance, Judy found her original response was unwarranted. To the gratification of peer helping professionals who were seeking written guidance, Judy wrote her first peer helping training manual – Peer Power, Book 1: Becoming an Effective Peer Helper.
“There was a real need for published information about peer helping. Right after that, Bob Myrick’s Caring and Sharing materials were published, but at the time I wrote my first book there was definitely a void.” Judy said.
Over the following three decades, Judy has been recognized as one of the leading authors of peer training manuals. Judy has written five books, co-authored another five, and has published more than 20 articles. She is a National Peer Helpers Association (NPHA) Board Approved Trainer and a highly experienced workshop leader, speaker, and peer-program consultant.
As part of her efforts to promote peer helping nationally, Dr. Tindall was instrumental in organizing the NPHA and was recognized as the association’s first NPHA Scholar, awarded in 2001. The award’s criteria is testimony to the impact Judy has had on the peer-helping profession and her contemporaries. The award recipient must have a scholarly record for a number of years as evidenced by publications and presentations in peer programs; must currently be producing scholarly materials in peer programs; must provide evidence of in-depth study in peer programs; must be a significant contributor to peer programs; must be a member of NPHA; and must be capable of communicating ideas and facts to groups with diverse memberships.
Anne Hartline, NPHA President, in her introduction of Judy at the 2001 NPHA Conference Awards Luncheon, noted, “The first peer helper materials that I ever saw were Judy’s Peer Power books. She indeed is one of the pioneers in peer helper materials. There were no materials, or very few, when Dr. Tindall began writing.”
The Peer Power books provide an introductory training program for adolescents and adults to learn eight peer helping skills and to use these skills in conflict mediation. These skills are learned through group work and completion of 67 exercises. Readers learn how to apply these skills as a conflict mediator while having peer support and professional supervision.
Early in her career, Judy recognized the importance of peer helping. At Pattonville School District in St. Louis County, Judy’s first exposure to the benefits of peer helpers came in her counseling programs with middle school students and continued as she transitioned to Rockwood School District, Eureka, Missouri, as guidance director and counselor. Judy played a major role in initiating peer counseling, professional development, and career counseling programs for faculty and students. As a school counselor, she came to view peer helping as an effective intervention tool, and she saw the value and importance of peer helping in impacting lives.
“What keeps me going is that I have developed a passion for peer helping. I can see the power of our young people, how much they help our community and our schools, and how much they really change the norms. I still live in the same community where I had my first program, and I still run into the peer helpers as parents and grandparents. They come up to me and say that it was the most meaningful experience they had in their entire school years.”
Judy was one of the original NPHA start-up Board members. Ira Sachnoff, the organization’s first President, asked her to serve on the original Board and take charge of the first NPHA conference in St. Charles, Missouri, in 1986.
“The first conference in St. Charles was an exciting event,” Judy recalls. “For the first time, experts in the field were able to meet. There was a strong feeling by participants that “I have found a home.” At that time, we got together for three days and found a foundation for a strong organization and movement.”
Judy recalls that 350 attended first NPHA conference, and that’s when the seed was planted for developing the Programmatic Standards. Jim Toole and Judy chaired the first meeting to formulate the resulting NPHA Programmatic Standards and Code of Ethics. Judy remembers coming away with about 50 pages of notes from their initial meeting.
Judy has seen changes in the conference’s operations. “Until 2001, we did not have awards presentations. Until recent years, we did have a resource center where participants paid on the honor system because Don Sorenson ((Educational Media Corporation) and I were on the conference committee along with peer helpers from Lindenwood University.”
In her continuing contributions to NPHA, she has taken on many leadership roles. She has served as President, Vice President, and Member at Large. She assisted in rewriting the organization’s bylaws, has chaired the Professional Development, Development and Program Committees, edits the NPHA Newsletter, and works tirelessly on grant proposals and training.
Through her relationship with NPHA, she has met numerous individuals who have shared her beliefs with the common denominator of caring deeply about peer helping. As the peer helping boundaries and NPHA have grown, Judy has been receptive to welcoming new ideas and adopting new ways of doing things. She is grateful to other pioneers in the National Peer Helpers Association, including Ira Sachnoff, Kathy Quaranta, Barbara Varenhorst, Jo Lynn Johnson Avett-Wood, Elizabeth Foster, Grant Thomas, Jim and Pam Toole, and Thelma Daly, who helped shape the values of the NPHA. As the organization has grown, she has seen new individuals emerge who have been willing to lead the organization and break new ground, including Randy Black, Bob Myrick, Bob Bowman, Anne Hartline, Gayle Horn, Cindy Wynn-Cranmer, Phyllis Lewis, Mike Patterson, Sue Routson, and Leonard Taylor.
Career highlights for Judy include overseeing the development of the NPHA Programmatic Standards and Code of Ethics and the progression to training utilizing these standards.
Sue Flohr, chair of the 2002 revision of the NPHA Programmatic Standards and Ethics, said, “In preparing to introduce you to the revised edition of the NPHA Programmatic Standards and Ethics, I read Volume 7, No. 4 of the Peer Facilitator Quarterly published in June of 1990. It was the “Special Issue” written to debut the original Standards and Ethics. Dr. Judith Tindall was the guest editor. She told about the 2 year process of creating the Standards and Ethics and recognized the individuals who toiled with her. Twelve years later, many of those contributors are still very active in NPHA. I am grateful to them for creating an outstanding document. So outstanding, that when the Programmatic Standards and Ethics Committee asked for suggested revisions from established practitioners from across the country, many responded with comments about how functional and sound they were. Most had no suggestions for changes.”
Anne Hartline notes that “Judy is truly a scholar and incredible lady. She reads, writes, develops materials, and consults. She never stops. She gives untold hours to NPHA and other organizations. She gives a lot to her community also. I admire Judy for many reasons, but one of those is that she seems to have achieved the balance that we all strive for.”
Judy, a staff psychologist and consultant at Psychological Network in St. Charles, Missouri, develops curriculum, consults in the field, designs programs, trains students and faculty, develops evaluation design, and evaluates programs. Her services encompass a full array, from training in beginning peer programs to advanced training (trainer of trainers) and service to those who want to enhance existing programs. As a consultant with businesses, she is involved in leadership development, team building, evaluation (individual and organizational), forensic work, and evaluation. A wide realm of services is offered, including consulting with schools in terms of special needs, organization consulting, and family counseling.
“I recognize the power of peer helping throughout the life span and throughout different settings, including schools, businesses, retirement homes, and the health field,” Judy explains.
Judy observes that, “Students with problems usually seek out other students, faculty, or other staff whom they trust. They seek them out for advice; help in getting assistance, or just to provide empathic listening. I see the NPHA as vital in training professional staff to lead and implement quality peer programs that follow national standards and ethics.”
Judy acknowledges that the “NPHA is the organization that is leading peer program efforts. The international network, NPHA Programmatic Standards and Ethics, and individual and program certification make this organization stand out.”
With effective basic training, Judy believes peer helpers can help in almost any topic area. She sees peer helpers as vital in crisis management, delivering health and safety messages, as advocates for healthy school environments, by providing one-on-one listening, mentoring, and as mediators.
“We have to advocate and validate, and we have to continue to do research. My hope is that I will continue to help push those efforts.”
Judy has a B.S. degree from Southwest State University in speech and political science. Her Masters degree is in counseling and guidance from the University of Missouri. She has a specialist degree in counseling and guidance from Southern Illinois University, and her Ph.D. in psychology is from St. Louis University. She holds certifications from the Custody Evaluation, National Board of Certified Counselors, is a National Certified School Psychologist, has a lifetime teaching certificate from the Missouri Board of Education. She is licensed as a psychologist in Missouri and Illinois and licensed as a professional counselor in Missouri.
For relaxation, she golfs, spends time with friends and family (husband of 38 years, Boone, and two adult children, Jarrett and LaMont) and reads. Jarrett Tindall, is married, has one child and works for Reuters. LaMont Headd works for Yellow Pages in Oklahoma City. Judy’s husband, a former school administrator, is an important supporter of Judy’s choices. In recognition of the support he has provided to Judy in her peer helping accomplishments, he was awarded a Special President’s Award of Appreciation in 2001.
The NPHA has been fortunate to have benefitted from Judy’s wisdom and commitment, but her energies don’t stop with this organization. She was named Rotarian of the Year in 2001 by the Sunrise Rotary Club, St. Charles. She serves on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Organization of Youth Serving (NOYS) initiatives and other professional organizations.