Family Systems psychotherapist, Joan C. Barth, Ph.D., died May 14, 2023.
Born in Kearny, N.J., and raised in nearby North Arlington, Joan graduated from Our Lady Queen of Peace High School. Later she graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall University which she attended at night while working days at The Newark News. She was president of Student Council at Seton Hall.
Following graduation, Dr. Barth worked with emotionally disturbed children at The Children’s Service Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Dr. Barth married Robert Barth, Ph.D., a Central Bucks principal whom she met in college. They had two children – Stephen and Patricia.
When Patricia began kindergarten, Dr. Barth returned to school – The University of Pennsylvania for a master’s degree and worked with couples at The Marriage Council. While at Penn, she began work as counseling psychologist for Rudolf Serkin at The Curtis Institute of Music. Serkin told her “you are like the lights and the heat – we need you.”
While working there part time, Dr. Barth started private practice in Doylestown, Pa., where she specialized in family therapy. She was devoted to client families and her own family. She visited her family farm in Potter County as often as possible and compiled a genealogy of her family there. Her mother, born on the Fourth of July, was proud of the fact that her great-grandfather had homesteaded the farmland.
During that time, Dr. Barth wrote articles and book chapters for the American Psychological Association and other groups in her field. In 1993, her book It Runs in My Family was published. It emphasized her belief that people felt doomed to follow their family’s health history without realizing they can change that legacy.
Dr. Barth learned new techniques such as hypnosis, NLP and coaching during her years of private practice. She returned to school for a Ph.D. degree after Stephen graduated from George School and Patricia from Central Bucks East. She actively continued writing and completed her next book, “Wild Pigs in Snow,” based on the life of her grandmother.
Her three grandchildren moved out of Doylestown but remained close to their grandmother. Mackenzie Barth lives in New York City where she started her own fashion company, Manhattan Bleach, after working as a designer for Ralph Lauren and is married to Mariusz Lis. Grady Barth is director of growth for International Work Group (IWG) after completing his undergrad and master’s degrees from Lehigh University.
Dr. Barth is survived by her son, Stephen Barth, of Doylestown and her daughter, Patricia Barth Tatar, her husband, Richard, as well as her three grandchildren: Mackenzie and Grady Barth and Adam Tatar.
A celebration of Joan’s life will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 at James-Lorah Memorial Home Auditorium, 132 N. Main St., Doylestown (entrance on Broad Street).
Reed and Steinbach Funeral Home, Doylestown