By Sallie James
OCEAN RIDGE — Glory B. King, a pioneering psychotherapist who founded the avant-garde Here and Now Institute in Boca Raton in the 1960s, died on Dec. 9 at Willowbrooke Court at St. Andrews of complications related to diabetes. She was 97.
A more than 30-year resident of Ocean Ridge, Ms. King was born on Sept. 30, 1924, in Waukegan, Illinois. She was raised in the Midwest with Midwestern values. Her upbringing set her on a lifetime course of helping others.
She attended college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she earned a bachelor of arts, then enrolled in graduate school at Smith College in Massachusetts, where she received a degree in psychoanalytic theory and practice.
Ms. King never married or had children. She considered her closest friends as family.
She moved to Florida for the warm weather in the 1960s, settling first in Stuart, then moving to Ocean Ridge. In the late 1960s she founded the HAN Institute in Boca Raton, a progressive center that focused on a wellness model instead of an illness model. The HAN Institute moved to Delray Beach in 1978 after fire ravaged the facility in 1977 and killed her business partner, artist Barbara Romine. The HAN Institute closed in 1995.
“We were dear friends and colleagues,” said Patricia Donaldson, a friend and business partner who met Ms. King 52 years ago when she went to her for marriage counseling. “I was so taken with the whole process of psychotherapy and group therapy and what I was learning that I went ahead and got a master’s in social work myself and worked with her for eight years.”
Donaldson’s marriage did not work out, but her friendship with Ms. King flourished. She eventually became Ms. King’s caretaker and took care of her until she died.
Ms. King, she recalled, was small but mighty.
“She was 5 feet tall, short, pillowy — a little chubby, with a radiant smile and clear eyes,” Donaldson recalled. “She could make eye-to-eye contact with you that actually felt almost a soul connection. And she was a natural redhead.”
Ms. King retained personal friendships that lasted more than 70 years, including a sorority sister from University of Michigan. She was a force to be reckoned with.
Ms. King was a charter member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers; and a member of the American Orthopsychiatric Association and the prestigious Menninger Foundation. She taught at the College of Boca Raton, Palm Beach Junior College and University of Michigan.
One of her teachers was Virginia Satir, an author and psychotherapist known as the “mother of family therapy” for her work in family reconstruction therapy. Ms. King’s own work was influenced by the Esalen Institute in California and the Gestalt therapy of Fritz S. Perls.
“She was a trailblazer,” Donaldson said. “She integrated the mind, body, psychological and spiritual influences.
“She was pretty much all about work and she gave everything to her work. Her work focused on Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, family therapy and sensory awakening. She was also known for groundbreaking sensory awakening therapies such as laughing meditation — and actions to bring out the inner child.”
Ms. King was a pioneer in addiction therapy in West Palm Beach and in hospice and psychiatric social work at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh. In both instances, she designed and implemented psychotherapy and group therapy programs.
“I think she was one of the first if not the first clinical social worker in the county,” Donaldson added.
Ms. King developed a curriculum for Barry University, taught at Palm Beach Junior College and worked in a clinic before she founded her own private practice. She also worked at the 45th Street Mental Health Center in West Palm Beach.
She never did retire. After a full career in psychotherapy, she had a calling to the priesthood at age 69. She attended the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York and graduated with a master of divinity at age 73.
“Glory King embodied love. She embodied it with her whole person, her whole heart and her whole soul in such a way that it became redemptive and transformational to those of us who had the privilege of being in her therapeutic efforts,” Donaldson said. Her obituary should be titled “Love and Glory,” Donaldson said.
Her survivors include a wide circle of dear friends.
Premier Funeral Services in Lake Worth handled arrangements. A celebration of life and service of burial will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach at a future date.
Contributions may be sent to the Rev. Paul Kane Discretionary Fund at St. Paul’s, 188 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444.