AllTavistock ClinicPortman ClinicGIDSChildren's DepartmentAdult DepartmentDepartment of EducationTavistock Consulting
Agnes Bryan

Agnes Bryan

Alexis Brook

Alexis Brook

Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Anton Obholzer

Anton Obholzer

Bernadette Wren

Bernadette Wren

Robert Gosling

Bob Gosling

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Caroline Garland

Caroline Garland

David Armstrong

David Armstrong

David Malan

David Malan

Domenico Di Ceglie

Domenico Di Ceglie

Dr Mervyn Glasser

Dr Mervyn Glasser

Rob Hale

Dr Rob Hale

Edward Glover

Edward Glover

Enid Balint

Enid Balint

Estela Welldon

Estela Welldon

Esther Bick

Esther Bick

Frank Lowe

Frank Lowe

Grace Pailthorpe

Grace Pailthorpe

Henry Dugmore Hunter

Henry Dugmore Hunter

Hugh Crichton-Miller

Hugh Crichton- Miller

Isabel Menzies Lyth

Isabel Menzies Lyth

Isca Salzberger-Wittenberg

Isca Wittenberg

JD ‘Jock’ Sutherland

John Bowlby

John Bowlby

John Byng-Hall

John Byng-Hall

John Rickman

John Rickman

John Steiner

John Steiner

Jon Stokes

Jon Stokes

JR Rees

JR Rees

Julian Stern

Julian Stern

Kamalini Sarabhai

Kamalini Sarabhai (née Khatau )

Laverne Antrobus

Laverne Antrobus

Lily Pincus

Lily Pincus

Louise Lyon

Louise Lyon

Margaret Rustin

Margaret Rustin

Margot Waddell

Margot Waddell

Martha Harris

Martha Harris

Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth

Matthew Patrick

Matthew Patrick

Michael Balint

Michael Balint

Nell Nicholson

Ms Nell Nicholson

Nick Temple

Nick Temple

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins

Rita Harris

Rita Harris

Sebastian Kraemer

Sebastian Kraemer

James Robertson and Joyce Robertson

The Robertsons

Wilfred Bion

Wilfred Bion

William Moodie

William Moodie

Agnes Bryan

Agnes Bryan (born 1954 ) was one of the first black senior clinicians at the Tavistock and Portman and up to our centenary year in 2020, she remains the only black senior manager (Associate Dean) to have been employed by the Trust. She created the black workers’ group and the black trainee and students’ group.

Agnes is of African-Caribbean descent. She was born in Grenada and moved to England in 1967, completing her secondary and university education in the UK.

She took a degree in sociology at North East London Polytechnic (now UEL) and her first masters at Birkbeck, before going to the University of Bath and completing a PhD in the management directorate in 2000, while also training to be a psychotherapist at the Gestalt Centre.

While studying, throughout the 80s and 90s Agnes was also highly involved in activism, helping establish the black women’s centre in Brixton and a large education and skills training establishment in Woolwich. She ran projects for black single mothers in Lambeth with the community relations councils.  She also worked with Hackney Community Relations Council and was highly active in challenging inequalities across London.

Agnes Bryan joined the Tavistock and Portman in February 2001 with a specific remit to address issues of access for black and minority ethnic groups and within the Training and education curriculum. Agnes worked with Brit Krause to create the in-roads for black and BAME students and communities, particularly at the level of post-graduate training and courses. She had a mandate to increase the number of BAME students and trainees recruited, and not just to get people through the door, but to make sure that they were well integrated. As part of this she developed support networks for staff, students and trainees.

Agnes also set up a critical enquiry group, which was comprised of senior black professionals from outside the Trust and operated as a think-tank to bring in black professionals, hold lectures, seminars and workshops. Out of that group came three black African psychology conferences, which featured prominent black psychologists from America.

The conferences were a way to expose students to different voices and help validate the students’ own experiences. She successfully increased the number of students and trainees from minority groups. The importance of this work led her apply for and become an Associate Dean and the only black senior manager in the Tavistock and Portman’s 100 year history.

With Frank Lowe she organised a black leadership course for black managers that actively targeted who they wanted to engage. Agnes also created a masters in management and leadership which attracted a number of black senior managers, primarily from education, health and social care sectors.

Across her career at the Tavistock and Portman, Agnes created a visible change in the student and staff bodies, but not nearly at the level that Agnes felt was required and that further work remained to be done.

She retired from the Tavistock and Portman in December 2014.

After retiring from the Trust she maintained her psychotherapy practice for a while, but now specialises in coaching senior executives and consulting to organisations.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Agnes Bryan 2020


Alexis Brook

Alexis Brook (1920 to 2007) was a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic and led the Clinic as Chairman of the Professional Committee from 1979 to 1985. He initiated new areas of work in the community, taking a psychoanalytic understanding out of the consulting room and into GP surgeries and hospital clinics. Throughout his career he developed an extraordinary range of links with professional disciplines, including: ophthalmology, general practice, coloproctology and gastroenterology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry, occupational health and nursing and helped introduced psychotherapeutic practices to them.

Alexis Brook was born in Chiswick, south-west London, on 24 January 1920 and was the son of Russian parents who had moved to England in 1914. He studied at St Paul’s School and then went on to Cambridge to study medicine. His clinical training was at the Middlesex hospital and he qualified in 1943, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in 1944 serving in India, Burma, and Vietnam. It was during the war that Alexis began his lifelong interest in the interaction between mind and body.

Alexis was demobbed in 1947. He then trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospitals, obtaining his DPM in 1953. He then spent 3 years at Napsbury Hospital, before moving to the Cassel Hospital in 1956, where he remained for 15 years.

Alexis Brook’s work in the community began while he was at the Cassel, beginning by running Balint seminars for GPs. This led to research on the high level of emotional problems that GPs find in their patient and often do not know how best to help. At that time the idea of psychiatrists working in the community was an innovation and Alexis was the pioneer.

In 1971 Alexis Brook became a consultant at the Tavistock Clinic. Initially he worked part-time at the Clinic, combining this with lecturing at St Bart’s and working as a consultant in mental health to Islington. Working in the Adult Department, Alexis established a Community Unit to work with local GP surgeries.

Alexis had also begun working with occupational health doctors after noticing how often the patients he saw with GPs had developed their symptoms in relation to their work, developing a particular interest in the study of the emotional environment within organisations. This led to further research and the publication of papers.

In 1979 Alexis became Chairman of the Professional Committee of the Tavistock Clinic, the equivalent of being Chief Executive, and held the position until 1985. Under his leadership both the Library and the Training Administration were acquired for the Clinic, and the post of Dean was created, confirming the Tavistock Clinic’s status as a training institution. He also established the Tavistock Foundation charity to generate funding for research and training.

Following his retirement from the Tavistock and NHS in 1985, Alexis took on a project at St Mark’s Hospital, developing psychotherapy for patients with gastroenterological disease. Then in 1992 he began investigating the links between ophthalmology and psychiatry. This led to a one-day symposium called ‘The Mind’s Eye’ at Moorfields Hospital and his cofounding the Eye and Mind Society.

Alexis Brook died on 7 August 2007 aged 87.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020


Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper was appointed Professor of Social Work at the Tavistock and the University of East London in 1996. Since then he has also held other senior positions as Head of the Social Work Discipline, Dean of Post Graduate Studies and Director of Research and Development. Andrew has co-ordinated the Tavistock Policy Seminar Series since 2003, published two books in the Tavistock Clinic Series, and set up and led the Professional Doctorates In Social Work and Social Care. He works as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in the Adolescent Department Family Therapy service, and through writing and speaking has contributed nationally and internationally to the project of bringing psychotherapeutic understanding to bear on social and political life.

The son of a Scottish priest, Andrew was born in 1953 and grew up in the village of Ampthill. He went to Warwick University, graduating in philosophy and taking an MPhil, in part as a way of managing the impact of facing a life threatening cancer.

After recovering he moved to London and became a residential social worker and then taking a position as a trainee field social worker in Kensington and Chelsea, where he was seconded onto a social work training course at Southbank University. After completing this he returned to Kensington and Chelsea, where he worked for a further five years becoming a senior social worker.

While there Andrew had his first contact with the Tavistock Clinic taking the now discontinued course, introduction to psychotherapy for social workers in 1984. In 1986 he became a lecturer in social work at the West London Institute of Higher Education and remained there until 1996.

In 1992 he became a member of a cross-national research team looking at child protection, welfare systems and practices in European countries. And at the same time he trained as a psychotherapist with the British Association of Psychotherapists.

Andrew joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1996 as Head of Discipline and Professor of Social Work. He was elected as Dean of Post Graduate Studies and Director of Research and Development in 2000. At that time education at the Tavistock was on an upswing and social work was an important part of that. The Advanced Social Work course had just been established, and the Tavistock’s infant and young child observation training for social work teachers and educators gave the Clinic a national profile and influence. A strong working relationship with UEL had been established giving the Tavistock’s trainings university accreditation and when the postgraduate qualifying MA programme was launched it became one of the most sought-after opportunities for social workers in the country.

On the clinical side, however, things were swinging the other way. Therapeutically oriented and relationship based social work had been in decline for over a decade and the Tavistock was its last bastion. Andrew’s role was two-fold: developing and promoting social work within the Tavistock, but also disseminating the Tavistock model to influence the external environment.

In his role as a social work leader he became involved in some of the wider child protection crises, such as taking part in the national enquiry on Victoria Climbié and appeared on national media. Such high profile representation was important to link the Tavistock with the current real world of social work and its struggles.

Another ‘real world’ issue that Andrew had to tackle head on was race. When Andrew came to the Tavistock he was shocked by the lack of representativeness in both its staff and student bodies. As Dean Andrew was able to secure the budget to appoint two race training consultants: Agnes Bryan and Britt Krause. Together they embarked on a series of projects to tackle the issue of race in the training programmes at the Tavistock. The appointment of Agnes Bryan acted as an encouragement to other black staff to apply, creating a small but meaningful wave of staff that included Frank Lowe, Onel Brooks and Yvonne Ayo.

The difficulty with the diversity of the students was part of a wider structural problem across the British university system as a whole. The only area where there was a pool of eligible and racially diverse students was in social work. This meant that when the social work qualifying training (M23) was created with UEL in 2003, the Tavistock suddenly became significantly populated by a large cohort of BAME students.

Since 2003 Andrew has also co-ordinated the Tavistock Policy Seminars which are a regular feature of the Trust’s public facing programme of events. These seminars are a wide-ranging and ever evolving project of engagement with mental health and public policy.

Andrew now works part-time at the Tavistock and Portman, but this did not stop him from developing an online MOOC (massive online open course) with FutureLearn on loss, death and dying in the Covid period.


:The Blessing - a series of short stories:

:A short history of education and training at the Tavistock and Portman

Anton Obholzer

In 1985 and Anton Obholzer (born 1938)took up the leadership of the Tavistock Clinic and led it during a particularly turbulent time in its history, overseeing its merger with the Portman Clinic and becoming an independent NHS trust. He was the only Chief Executive to have worked in every department of the Tavistock Clinic.

A South-African by birth, with Austrian lineage, Anton Obholzer grew up during World War 2 only knowing his father through the barbed wire of an internment camp. His original career choice was forestry, but then switched to medicine before going on to psychiatry. When he came to London he got a job at the Tavistock Clinic, and although it gave him a foothold in the Tavi it wasn’t paid, so he also worked nights at a county asylum until he was able to get a paid job.

Anton joined the Tavi in the late 60s and describes it as ‘the era of free love and all that’, everyone had analysis with everyone else, and working at the Tavi he became a firm Kleinian. Although he worked in every department, he is most often associated with the Adolescent Department, which was on the same floor as the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. Through the connecting double doors he had free and easy communication, and although he had always had an interest in groups and how they relate to each other, this perhaps influenced his organisational abilities and awareness.

Anton Obholzer took charge of the Tavistock Clinic in 1985, during a period when the elected Conservative government came to power with a mandate to reduce public spending. This cut across all areas of public services and the NHS was not exempt. Radical changes were introduced, such as General Management, where for the first time clinicians and professional staff had to answer to managers.

Working closely together, Rob Hale, the then head of the Portman, Anton Obholzer began a strategy of making the two clinics more outward facing by building support at the Houses of Parliament and generally publicising the work of the two institutions.

In the late 80s the Conservative government introduced competition and internal markets into the NHS. Then in 1990 the National Health Service and Community Care Act introduced NHS trusts. It was an era of takeovers and asset stripping. The Professional Committee realised that if they didn’t become a trust in their own right it was likely that they would be taken over and become the mental health arm of another trust.

The changes required to become an NHS trust were significant, they needed to create all the standard administrative functions (HR, finance and so on) necessary to function as an independent organisation, but with no extra funding to do so. In 1994 the Tavistock and Portman clinics merged, and successfully became one NHS trust, while remaining as two separate clinics.

As well as this big structural change, under Anton Obholzer’s leadership a whole range of important and innovative projects were seeded, took root and grew. These included: the Trauma Unit, Tavistock Consulting, the Gender Identity Disorder Unit, the academic partnership with the University of East London. Under his leadership the trust bid for and won national training contracts. Anton Obholzer continued to emphasise the promotion of the clinic and this led to the BBC’s six-part series, The Talking Cure. He was also the co-editor of The Unconscious at Work, commonly regarded as the seminal book on organisational consultancy. He retired from the trust in 2002 and has continued working as a psychoanalyst, and group and organizational consultant, including as a Senior Faculty Member of INSEAD Global Leadership Centre, Paris.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Bernadette Wren

Bernadette Wren, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Family Therapist, was a leading clinician and theorist in the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). She was a key member of GIDS as it grew into a nationally-commissioned service with an international reputation for expertise and leadership. During 25 years at the Tavistock and Portman, Bernadette was also a leading teacher and supervisor of research and a vocal head of the psychology discipline at a time of institutional change.

Bernadette came to the Tavistock with degrees both in philosophy and in psychology. Qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 1988, she arrived at the Tavistock and Portman in 1995 to complete her family therapy training. She joined GIDS immediately afterwards, initially for a three-year period, but returning in 2011 until her retirement in 2020. 

Bernadette’s main contribution was in bringing a systemic approach to the work of GIDS.  She articulated the view that the issues facing GIDS were not just clinically challenging but ethically, philosophically and politically complex too, and that this dense web of inter-implicated uncertainties was especially taxing in the absence of an adequate causal framework for gender diversity in young people, and with a limited evidence base for interventions. She stressed that the effective clinician must think in terms of multiple perspectives; the focus needed to be not just on the sensitive exploration of the individual child’s experience of gender and the body, but on the many layers of context in which the family’s and child’s (and the professionals’) difficulties were embedded.  She highlighted how very different sets of assumptions and values were often at stake, with different implications for feeling and action. As a member of the GIDS Executive, she negotiated relationships with key ideas and key organisations, while trying not to replay prevalent polarising dynamics. She strongly held the view that, while the GIDS model of care regarded all medical intervention as a serious step, for some young people such interventions create the conditions for flourishing and rewarding lives.   

She wrote and taught widely about the ethical aspects of the work, drawing attention to the idea that different, seemingly opposed, clinical outlooks and decisions might be ethically defensible. In 2017 she set up the ‘GIDS Ethics & Law Sounding Board’ to ensure that different ethical and legal frameworks, relevant to GIDS activity, were up to date and visible.

Having completed her own doctorate in 2000, Bernadette took up a Tavi post in training. She became a Teaching Fellow at Essex University, taught and supervised research across a wide range of courses, and co-organised the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy (M10). She fostered initiatives to bring together research students from all disciplines, including the annual Tavistock Research Week, the annual Doctoral Research Conference and the Cross-Doctoral training programme.

Bernadette’s clinical collaborations included a substantial clinical/research project enquiring into ‘domains’ processes in family communication. She also worked with parents with mental health difficulties.  And she became interested in the implications of modern models of evolutionary processes for the theory and practice of psychotherapy. She co-authored papers in all these areas of interest with fellow Tavistock staff.

In 2008 she became lead Child Psychologist, and in 2011 the Trust-wide Head of Psychology and a member of the Trust Clinics Committee, just as Psychology became the largest Tavistock discipline.  She strongly defended the distinct role of disciplines within a context of interdisciplinary learning and collaboration, and helped foster closer relations between discipline leads. In a time of cuts, redundancies and service redesigns, she championed the value of protecting clinician autonomy, creativity and morale, challenged the encroaching demands of hyper-managerialism, and was a robust voice in trying to protect the sovereign value of team-working based on trust.

Author: Bernadette Wren 2020

:feature article



Bob Gosling

From 1968 to 1979 Bob Gosling (1920–2000) led the Tavistock Clinic as Chair of the Professional Committee, during a period of significant expansion for the Tavistock Clinic, both in the extent and range of work of the Clinic.

Born in Birmingham, he obtained a BSc in physiology and received a Rockefeller scholarship to do his clinical training at Cornell. However, after six months in the US he developed tuberculosis, which incapacitated him for four years. The experience, however, gave him the insight that whether someone got better or worse depended to a significant degree on their emotional state and led him to an interest in psychoanalysis.

After obtaining his MD at Cornell, he started psychiatric training at the Maudsley Hospital, working as registrar to Professor Sir Aubrey Lewis. In 1956 he took up post as senior registrar in the Adult Department of the Tavistock Clinic, working for Michael Balint. At the same time he underwent analysis with Wilfred Bion and qualified as a member of the British Psychoanalytic Society in 1958.

Robert Gosling was the first and foremost of the new generation of psychiatric staff that shaped the Clinic after the retirement of Jock Sutherland. He led the Tavi from 1968, bringing in a facilitating and participatory style that led to a flowering of creativity in the institution.

Bob Gosling had a lifelong interest in group and institutional processes at work. Throughout his career he was closely involved with group relations. He participated as a consultant in the Leicester Conferences and he wrote the seminal paper on very small groups. It is not surprising that under his leadership the relationship with the TIHR remained strong.

He also encouraged different disciplines to work together and promoted outward facing work in schools, residential homes for the mentally sick, and health centres. In late middle age his hearing failed and he took early retirement from the NHS in 1979. He was awarded an OBE in recognition of his work and retired to Gloucestershire, where he took up carpentry and farming as hobbies.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020


Brian Rock

Brian Rock is the current Director of Education and Training and Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the Tavistock and Portman. He took up this position in 2015, but has had a long involvement with the organisation since coming to the UK from South Africa in 1996, and began working in the NHS.  He has been a student, trainee, clinician at the Tavi in this time and his longest stint with the organisation commenced in 2009.  As Dean he has played a key role in growing the reach and impact of the Trust’s educational offer, including taking the Tavistock and Portman’s courses to international markets in a more systematic, coordinated way and the development of our new Digital Academy launched in our Centenary year. As a clinical service lead, Brian led the Trust in winning awards from the BMJ, British Psychoanalytic Council and the Royal College of Psychiatry for the work of the City & Hackney Psychotherapy Consultation Service, which he set up and established. 

Born in South Africa, Brian started out studying Commerce at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. During his first degree his interest in human behaviour and the helping professions developed as a trainee “’caregiver’ in a local hospice. This experience influenced his decision to study psychology. 

From 1991 to 1993 he returned to the University of the Witwatersrand to study for a Masters in Clinical Psychology. He was exposed to both psychoanalytic and systemic thinking and this is where Brian started developing an awareness and connection with the Tavistock’s core ways of thinking and practice.

After qualifying Brian worked for the Goldstone Commission that was set up to examine political violence at the time of South Africa’s transition to democratic rule. This led led to a report on political violence and children being presented to Nelson Mandela when he took office as the first black president of South Africa. Brian also edited and authored a number of chapters of a book called ‘Spirals of Suffering’ addressing harm and repercussions of political violence on black children. His work with the Goldstone Commission led to him being appointed as the founding director of an NGO, The Children’s Inquiry Trust, researching the effects of political violence on children and working with community workers and government in supporting people working with children.

Then in 1995 Brian visited the Tavistock Clinic in London to find out about training opportunities. He moved to England in 1996 and began working for the NHS. He began training with the Institute of Psychoanalysis qualifying as a psychoanalyst in 2004 and at the same time trained at Tavistock in Adult Department as part of the Tavistock Qualification in Adult Psychotherapy (TQAP). He was appointed as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust in 2004 where he worked with Eric Karas for 10 years in the provision of complex psychological therapies.  He also held an overarching remit for CPD and training.

Brian returned to the the Tavistock and Portman in 2009 as a consultant psychologist and service lead helping set up the City & Hackney Primary Care Psychotherapy Consultation Service (PCPCS) along with Phillip Stokoe, Louise Lyon, Rob Senior and Rhiannon England, a GP in City & Hackney. Julian Stern joined this service approximately 18 months after its inception. This innovative service grew out of the Adult and Forensic Services at the Tavistock and Portman, to help manage the complex needs of people who often fall between gaps in mental health provision. The primary focus of the service was to assist people with complex difficulties that are hard for GPs and other medical professionals to diagnose, explain or treat effectively.

This service received significant professional recognition, winning the British Psychoanalytic Council’s Innovative Excellence Award, being the joint winner of the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Psychiatric Team of the Year in 2013 and receiving the BMJ Award for Mental Health in 2015.

In January 2015 Brian Rock became the Director of Education and Training and Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the Tavistock and Portman. In the first month of taking up his role, Brian led his first graduation ceremony at which Margaret Rustin was conferred an honorary doctorate. This was a moving and significant point for Brian, having met Margaret in 1995 when he visited the clinic, when almost passing the baton she quietly advised him to take up the role now ‘in your own way.’ As Dean he has made significant strides in underpinning the Trust’s education and training provision. This has included establishing a separate directorate; creating roles specific to overseeing and delivering our long and short courses, establishing the roles of Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching and Portfolio managers; and investment in a student information management system, MyTap, to support the learning journey of students and the student experience. Further professionalisation has included the establishment of a dedicated student recruitment and marketing team and the creation of a new role of Operations Director.  

In the period of Brian’s tenure, the higher education sector has become more complex and competitive and Brian’s leadership has focused on position the Tavistock & Portman’s rich educational provision on a firmer footing. Brian brought a focus to international business growth and developing relationships with mental health providers in other countries including China. The academic year 2019/20 achieved both the highest number of student enrolments and the highest level of student satisfaction.

However one of the biggest challenges faced so far has been the impact of Covid-19. With ‘lockdown’ the Tavistock and Portman were forced to close all their face to face education and training classes. During the two week Easter break preparations were made to move all education and training online. By the end of the summer term almost 3,500 sessions per week were delivered and produced over two million minutes of online content in June.

This has continued into the new academic year, September 2020, and long-term development plans were brought forward, with the Trust’s Digital Academy launching to a global audience.

The Digital Academy keeps the Tavistock and Portman at the forefront of mental health and wellbeing. It increases the reach of the Trust’s training and educational work allowing more people to benefit from the heritage, skills and experience of the Tavistock and Portman. The Digital Academy makes the Tavistock and Portman’s unique high-quality training available not just across the UK, but internationally, making our 100 years of educational experience ready for the next 100 years.

Brian has an MBA from Henley Business School. He is currently a Trustee for Student Minds, a national charity supporting students in higher education with their mental health and wellbeing and has a Board position with Independent Higher Education (IHE), an umbrella membership organisation for alternative higher education providers.

:A short history of the City and Hackney primary care psychotherapy consultation service

:A brief history of education and training at the Tavistock and Portman

Caroline Garland

Caroline Garland is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in private practice who worked for 25 years in the Adult Department at the Tavistock Clinic. A long-standing interest in trauma and in psychoanalytic group therapy led to the publication of ‘Understanding Trauma’ (1999) and ‘The Groups Book’ (2009), in both of which she is editor and principal author. She was also the founder of the Trauma Unit, which was begun with ‘seedcorn’ money allocated by Anton Obholzer, eighteen months after the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise, in 1987.

The Herald of Free Enterprise was a ferry which capsized moments after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on the night of 6 March 1987. There were 459 passengers and 80 crew on-board – 193 died. On seeing the shocking footage of the disaster Caroline travelled to Dover with Dr David Bell, also of the Adult Department, to offer help in the way of back-up, support, learning and expertise. What she saw and learned that day was the first stage in the formation of the Unit for the Study of Trauma and its Aftermath.

The Unit developed a psychoanalytic approach to the treatment of traumatised states of mind. Being caught up in a traumatic event can stir up unresolved pains and conflicts from childhood. Thus the unit looks at the meaning of the events as well as what took place, linking the present with the past.  At the time they were working against frequently heard advice to ‘put it out of your mind.’  Instead the Trauma Unit developed an approach where events are remembered and worked through, rather than being encapsulated in a no-go area.

Caroline Garland worked for over fifteen years with a number of colleagues specialising in the theoretical understanding and the psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma, retiring from the Tavistock and Portman in 2008.

As well as working in the NHS Caroline Garland has been writing as a poet since 1989 under the name Beatrice Garland. She has won both the National Poetry Competition and the Strokestown International Poetry Prize, and was short-listed for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize. Her poem ‘Kamikaze’ has been included in the GCSE syllabus for the past three years.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Caroline Garland 2020

Selected Bibliography

Caroline Garland, Understanding Trauma: A Psychoanalytical Approach, Routledge, 2018

Caroline Garland, The Groups Book: Psychoanalytic Group Therapy: Principles and Practice, Routledge, 2018

Caroline Garland, ‘Group-analysis: Taking the non-problem seriously’. In: Foundations of group analysis for the twenty-first century: Foundations. The New International Library of Group Analysis . Routledge, 2018

Caroline Garland, ‘Psychoanalytic group therapy with severely disturbed patients: Benefits and challenges. In: The Psychoanalytic Therapy of Severe Disturbance, Routledge, 2018

Caroline Garland, ‘Psychotic processes in large groups’. In: Living on the border: Psychotic processes in the individual, the couple, and the group. pp. 132-146The Tavistock Clinic Series . Karnac, 2013

Caroline Garland, ‘Group therapy: Myth in the service of work’. In: Bion today. p298-316, New Library of Psychoanalysis . Routledge, 2011

Caroline Garland, “Tragical-comical-historical-pastoral”. Groups and group therapy in the third age. In: Looking into later life: A psychoanalytic approach to depression and dementia in old age. p90-107, Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac, 2007

Caroline Garland, Francesca Hume, Sarah Majid, ‘Remaking Connections: Refugees and ahe Development of ‘Emotional Capital’ in Therapy Groups’, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 16(3):197-214, October 2002

BBC, Talking Cure, London, BBC, 1999

Caroline Garland and Stephanie White, ‘Children and day nurseries. Management and practice in nine London day nurseries’

Caroline Garland, ‘The lasting trauma of the concentration camps’, British Medical Journal, 1993 307 77-78

Beatrice Garland, The Invention of Fireworks, Templar Poetry, 2013

Beatrice Garland, The Drum, Templar Poetry, 2017

Beatrice Garland’s home page

A live recording of Beatrice Garland reading her poems ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘The vineyard’  from her collection The Invention of Fireworks at her launch at the Keats House, Hampstead.

:The Trauma Unit

David Armstrong

David Armstrong (born 1934) has spent most of his working career involved in one way or another with the various Tavistock organisations. He has specialised in group relations, the management of change and strategic leadership, becoming a thought leader in the field. He was one of the founder members of Tavistock Consulting, where he worked for fifteen years and remains an associate consultant.

David Armstrong studied philosophy at Oxford University and then psychology at Cambridge University, before going straight to the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR).

When David Armstrong first joined the TIHR it was in the same building as the Tavistock Clinic at Beaumont Street. A little later the TIHR took premises in Devonshire Street, but the relationship between the two organisations was very close. He found the two organisations to have an open environment where discussions could take place across disciplinary boundaries.

All the training for the two organisations was run by the TIHR, because, when the Clinic joined the NHS, training was not officially part of its role. All the staff at the TIHR and the Clinic were encouraged to attend any of the training seminars that they were interested in, so David started attending clinical seminars, family workshops, scientific meetings and the lecture series.

At TIHR David worked with Eric Trist and colleagues on the impact of automation on work organisation and relationships as part of the socio-technical projects that they had been commissioned to work on by the Department of Economic and Social Research. Later working with Eric Miller he was part of an action research study of management innovation in the setting up of a new integrated steel works in South Wales.

During his time at TIHR David Armstrong gradually became more intrigued and involved in the psychoanalytic tradition. In 1964 he attended a study group on group relations led by Wilfred Bion, the last group relations group that he ran in Britain. David was strongly influenced by Bion and his way of working. His frequent conversations with Isabel Menzies led him to his decision to enter analysis in 1968.

David Armstrong remained at TIHR until 1968, when he moved to a Senior Research Fellowship at Chelsea College, which was then part of the University of London. While there he ran an action research project into student drop-out and failure, looking at the relationship between institutional and individual variables.

In the late 1970s he renewed his interest in group relations work attending a Leicester conference that was jointly run by the Tavistock and The Grubb Institute. This conference reignited David’s interest and he began working with a colleague at Chelsea, running groups with student teachers to investigate the dynamics of groups in classrooms. During this time he met John Bazalgette from the Grubb who asked him if he would be interested in joining the Grubb to take part in an action research project on young unemployed people in transition to working life.

In 1978 David moved to the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies. The Grubb was an independent organisation working at the intersection of organisational dynamics and systems thinking. He remained there for about 16 years.

At that time The Grubb Institute worked in a similar tradition to the TIHR, but was less rooted in psychoanalysis and had a strong emphasis on systemic approaches to thinking about work in organisations. While at the Grubb David continued working in group relations settings, eventually becoming responsible for directing the Grubb’s annual group relations conferences.

While at the Grubb Institute David also began to develop one to one consultations with people from both public and private sector organisations including: prisons, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, churches and manufacturing companies. While doing this he began research that would later feed into the concept of ‘organisation in the mind’. He became more and more interested in the links, in terms of ways of working, between psychoanalysis and organisational work. It was as a result of this work that Jon Stokes approached David to see if he would be interested in joining a new consultancy service at the Tavistock Clinic.

In 1994 David Armstrong came back to the Tavistock, but this time to the Clinic. It was at the time that Anton Obholzer and Jon Stokes were setting up Tavistock Consulting. David was excited at the prospect of returning to a more psychoanalytically oriented milieu to develop his ideas. While based on the 4th floor of the Tavistock Centre, the proximity of the Adult Department enabled work and thinking to once again be shared across disciplinary boundaries.

From the outset Tavistock Consulting operated commercially and did not rely on public or other sources of funding. Within the unit itself, there was a tremendous exchange of ideas and views. The work was extremely varied, ranging from one-to-one consultations to the analysis of whole organisations. David developed a specialism in helping leaders and managers to develop their ability to understand and make use of organisational dynamics in identifying new approaches to challenges they and their organisations were facing.

David Armstrong has remained at Tavistock Consulting working in organisational consultancy and group relations with a wide variety of organisations both in the UK and overseas on which he has written and published extensively. In 2005 a collection of his papers edited by Robert French was published by Karnak: Organisation in the Mind: Psychoanalysis group relations and organisational consultancy. In 2014, with Michael Rustin, he co-edited Social Defences Against Anxiety: Explorations in a paradigm. Since retiring in 2009 he has continued working on a part-time basis as an associate consultant at Tavistock Consulting.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

:Article - 'Bion at War':

:A history of Tavistock Consulting

David Malan

David Huntingford Malan DM FRCPsych is a British psychoanalytic psychotherapy practitioner and researcher recognised for his contributions to the development of psychotherapy. He worked at the Tavistock Clinic from 1956 until his retirement in 1982.

David Malan was born in the province of Tamil Nadu in India on 21 March 1922, the son of an English father in the Indian Civil Service and an American mother. He spent the first seven years of his life in India, until his father died from pneumonia. He then moved to England to boarding school and later as a scholar at Winchester College, where his early his early love was Latin and Greek, but later he developed an interest in Chemistry, which he studied at Oxford University.

During World War 2 David Malan was seconded to the Special Operations Executive, initially to develop devices for resistance fighters, and later incendiary bombs for use in the Far East. Then after the War he worked for Courtaulds as a research chemist for a year. During this time, he entered a short lived therapy with Hilda Stekel, Wilhelm Stekel’s widow, who carried on her husband’s tradition of intuitive brief psychotherapy based on dreams. In 1947 David Malan began medical training and at the same time began a training analysis, first with Michael Balint and then later with Donald Winnicott.

After medical qualification David Malan worked first as a casualty officer, then at the Maudsley, finally moving to the Tavistock Clinic as a senior registrar and psychotherapist in 1956. He stayed at the Tavistock Clinic for the rest of his professional career, becoming a consultant in the Adult Department in 1966.

While at the Tavistock Clinic, David Malan worked with Michael Balint researching whether brief focal therapy was effective. Although Malan trained as a psychoanalyst and used analysis in therapy, he was concerned about the length of time the process took. Participating in the workshop on brief focal therapy gave him the opportunity to bring his scientific training to bear on issues in psychodynamic therapy, writing a thesis for the Oxford postgraduate degree of DM, and subsequently developing the ideas in A Study of Brief Psychotherapy (1963). Then in 1967 he took the brief psychotherapy model forward developing the Brief Psychotherapy Workshop, which attracted students from around the world.

The approach, however, was not universally accepted and met with considerable suspicion from the analytic community, including some of David Malan’s colleagues at the Tavi, who argued that brief psychotherapy was a superficial treatment that could only bring about superficial results. But David Malan’s careful and detailed outcome research exploded the ‘myth of superficiality’ and provided a solid evidence base that brief psychotherapy and intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy can profoundly transform the lives of patients who have deep-seated and long-standing emotional problems in lasting ways.

Brief Psychotherapy as conducted in the Brief Psychotherapy workshop was time limited (with a maximum number of 30 sessions) and generally the therapy was focussed on one theme defined from the initial interview. Results were best if the theme was related to a central conflict in the patient’s childhood. The therapist’s approach was actively interpretive and this form of therapy made use of resistance, transference, countertransference and interpretation as well as using Malan’s triangles.

These two triangles – the ‘triangle of conflict’ (defence, anxiety, and hidden feeling) and the ‘triangle of persons’ (current, transference/present, and past) became the cornerstone of the method. Although the triangles had been formulated previously, David Malan saw that by integrating them and recognising the importance of the relationships between the corners of the triangles, they could form the basis for key interpretations that the therapist made. The aim was to give patients insight into their behaviour patterns by working through their defences, bringing hidden feelings into awareness and making it clear how these have impacted on the relationship of the patient with others.

In 1974 Habib Davanloo, an Iranian psychoanalyst working in Montreal, presented video tapes of his therapeutic work using intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP) at the Tavistock clinic. This initiated a twelve year collaboration with David Malan. Although aspects of Davanloo’s challenging and abrasive technique were antipathetic to him, Malan recognised that the challenge was to the defences, not to the patient directly, and the results were conclusive and convincing. It later became apparent that the abrasive element when challenging the defences was not necessary and the same results could be achieved by blocking them much more gently but persistently until they disintegrated and the patient reached and experienced their buried feelings.

David Malan shifted the emphasis of his technique from the sole use of active interpretation to a more affective experiential approach as used in intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy. The essence of this therapy is to enable the patient to reach and experience hitherto unconscious painful feelings in a safe environment. Facing and experiencing these feelings frees the patient from emotional responses which have previously led to deep-seated neurotic patterns of behaviour that in many cases have crippled their lives. Typically, in forty sessions or fewer, patients may recover from a range of long-standing emotional and psychosomatic illnesses.

A hallmark of David Malan’s work is his scientific approach to research in psychotherapy. He is a firm believer in the ‘objective study of subjective matter’ and in particular the use of long-term follow-up interviews. Throughout his career he published papers evaluating outcome data which showed that the results of brief psychotherapy are as good as, or better than, those found in long-term therapy.

After his retirement in 1982 David Malan continued to write and lecture extensively on brief psychotherapy and intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP). He organised two large conferences in Oxford from which Core training groups in ISTDP were established in the hope that it would be used in the NHS. His book Individual psychotherapy and the Science of Psychodynamics (1979) has been translated into eight languages and is still in print as a classic textbook for psychotherapists.

In 2005, at an International Conference of Experiential and Dynamic Psychotherapy, David Malan was presented with a Lifetime Career Achievement award for his contribution to the research and practice of Psychotherapy. While at the Tavistock Clinic he also received the highest UK medical merit award for his national and international lecturing on Brief Psychotherapy.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

A Selected Bibliography

D.H Malan, A Study of Brief Psychotherapy, Tavistock Publications. Reprinted Plenum, 1963

D.H. Malan, The Frontier of Brief Psychotherapy, New York: Plenum Press 1976

D.H. Malan, Toward the Validation of Dynamic Psychotherapy, New York: Plenum Press, 1976

D.H. Malan, Individual Psychotherapy and the Science of Psychodynamics, London: Butterworth- Heinemann, 1979

D.H. Malan, and F. Osimo, Psychodynamics, Training and Outcome in Brief Psychotherapy, London: Butterworth- Heinemann, 1992

D.H. Malan, Anorexia, Murder, and Suicide, CRC Press, 1997

Michael Alpert, David Malan, Leigh Mccullough, Robert J. Neborsky, Francine Shapiro, Short-term Therapy for Long-Term Change, W. W. Norton & Company, 2001

D.H. Malan and P. Coughlin Della Selva, Lives Transformed – a Revolutionary Method of Dynamic psychotherapy, London Karnack, 2006


David Malan, ‘On the problem of finding out if psychotherapy is effective’. Paper read at Tavistock Clinic on 29.3.62, and at the Royal Medico-Psychological Association on 11.4.62.

David Malan, Frederick Balfour, Victor Hood, and Antonia Shooter, ‘Group Psychotherapy: A Long-term Follow-up Study’, Archives of general psychiatry, 33(11), 1303-15, (1976). DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770110031002

D.H. Malan, E.H. Rayner, H.A. Bacal, E.S. Heath and F.H.G. Balfour, ‘Psychodynamic assessment of the outcome of psychotherapy’. In R. PORTER (editor), The role of learning in psychotherapy. A CIBA Foundation Symposium. London, Churchill, 1968.

David Malan, E. Heath, Howard Bacal and Frederick Balfour, ‘Psychodynamic Changes in Untreated Neurotic Patients. II. Apparently Genuine Improvements’, Archives of general psychiatry, 32(1):110-26, February 1975, DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760190112013

Domenico Di Ceglie

Domenico Di Ceglie MD, DipPsychiat (It), FRCPysch, has worked for the Tavistock and Portman since 1979. He is the founder and former director of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust. This is the UK’s only gender service for children and young people. He is a lifetime honorary consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman; an honorary senior lecturer, Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London; Docente, Scuola di Specializzazione in Psicologia Clinica at La Sapienza University in Rome (2015–2018); honorary doctor of education (honoris causa) at the University of East London, and emeritus member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Domenico was born on 17 January 1947 in Cassano Murge (Bari, Italy). His father was a well-loved GP (Medico Condotto) by the population he served in the small town of Cassano and after his death they named a street after him. His mother helped with the administration of his GP practice.

Domenico went to the Liceo Scientifico Alessandro Volta in Milan and received his Diploma di ‘Maturita` Scientifica’ in 1965. In 1972 he completed a degree with honours (110/110 cum Laude) in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Perugia. Then in 1976 he completed a Diploma of Specialisation in Psychiatry (an EEC recognised Specialist Qualification) at the University of Perugia.

During this period he also held a number of posts in Italy. He was a Medical Officer at the Institute of Industrial Medicine of ENPI from 1972 to 1973. He was ‘Assistente Universitario’ (University Assistant) in the Department of Nervous and Mental Diseases (Clinica Delle Malattie Nervose e Mentali)  at the University of Perugia from 1973 to 1974. Then between 1974 and 1976 he became a lecturer at the same university.

In 1976 Domenico moved to England. Initially he worked as a Registrar in Psychiatry, at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London, before being appointed to a residential service for adolescents at the Northgate Clinic, in 1977.

In June 1979 Domenico joined the Tavistock Clinic as Senior Registrar of the Conjoint Training Programme in Child, Family and Adolescent Psychiatry. As part of this he worked at the Hill End Adolescent Unit in St Albans and then moved to the Tavistock Clinic’s Adolescent Department. During this time he also continued with his education, becoming a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1984 and completing the Higher Training in Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatry at the Tavistock Clinic. In 1985 he became Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Croydon CAMHS and subsequently in 1994 at the Adolescent Department of the Tavistock Clinic.

It was in the early 1980s that Domenico had his first encounter with a teenager affirming to be a boy in a female body who had taken three overdoses and was very distressed. At the time, Domenico knew very little about the subject and decided to see this teenager to offer help to alleviate the distress and also expand his training experience. After an initial assessment he began a series of psychotherapy sessions with this young person who at the time wished to be addressed with female pronouns. Very little happened verbally in these sessions, but a lot seemed to occur in a nonverbal way.  Domenico became very curious about this young person’s experience and started to research the literature and found that the existing material on the subject was not helpful in better understanding this young person’s experience. After two years of exploratory therapy the sessions  came to an end as this young person had to move to another town for work, but left a legacy: In one of her last sessions she said that perhaps this form of help had come too late, and that her parents should have been aware of how she was feeling by the way she behaved. She wondered why they had not sought help for her when she was a child. This inspired Domenico to think about creating a service for children and adolescents facing gender identity issues.

Soon afterwards he began a workshop in Croydon, with two or three other members of staff, who were also interested in this area of work. It was this experience that convinced Domenico that there was a need for a service for children around gender identity development.

In 1989 he founded a specialist service for children, adolescents, and families facing gender identity issues in the Department of Child Psychiatry at St. George’s Hospital, London. It operated one afternoon per fortnight and was staffed by Domenico and three others.

In 1992 the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) organised the first international conference on gender identity issues in children and adolescents at St George’s Hospital. There were presentations by eminent clinicians and researchers at the time. Domenico presented a paper that outlined the approach taken by the GIDS.

For Domenico, altering the ‘gender identity disorder’ was not a primary therapeutic objective, rather the primary objectives were the developmental processes that had been negatively affected. What was important was targeting developmental and family processes, maintaining an open mind to what solution an individual would find to their conflicts and assisting both the child and family in the search for the best solution. He had started to regard the experience of these young people as developing new identities which received a legal recognition, in adults, years later.

This approach produced some controversy in the discussions that followed. And it still does.

However, this model has remained core to the way that the GIDS works and has evolved, particularly in relation to the physical interventions that have since become available, but as a service the GIDS can still look at Domenico’s therapeutic aims and abide by them. Similarly, the original ‘network model of care’ offering a holistic approach which involves close and enduring collaboration of the GIDS with local services such as GPs, schools, social services and other appropriate agencies of support has continued to be adopted over the years.

In 1996 the GIDS transferred from St George’s to the Tavistock and Portman Trust and was initially based in the Portman Clinic building. The work of GIDS generated curiosity and interest in other members of the Tavistock and Portman staff, but also controversy.

In November 1996 the GIDS organised an international conference at the Tavistock Centre on the theme of ‘Atypical Gender Identity Development and Mental Health’. Papers from the conference, with some additional original contributions, were collected into the book A Stranger in My Own Body (1998). A further international conference was organised in 2000 where therapeutic models of management of children and adolescents with gender identity issues were debated, and Milton Diamond presented a paper summarising his lifetime’s work on the psychosocial management of children with intersex conditions (now DSD).

Over the years the number of children and teenagers referred to the service gradually increased. Staff and users contributed creatively to the development of the service. On one occasion a mother of a child with gender identity problems, who was involved in a dispute over contact with her ex-partner, asked Domenico if she could meet other parents facing similar issues. This led to the establishment of group work for parents and eventually the formation of the self-help organisation known as ‘Mermaids’.

In 2009 the GIDS became nationally funded and in March 2009 Domenico retired as director.

The GIDS now provides a multidisciplinary service countrywide, offering consultation, training, and research. Since Domenico’s retirement the service has continued to expand and at an accelerated rate. Between 2012 and 2017 the annual number of referrals expanded almost tenfold from 209 to over two thousand. In 2017 the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic, the oldest gender identity service for adults in the UK, also joined the Tavistock and Portman. With both an adult and the only children and young people’s service being based at the Tavistock and Portman, the Trust is now in a position of national, and arguably global, leadership in this area.

As well as his work in the area of gender identity, Domenico has also been honorary senior lecturer at The Royal Free and University College Medical School in London; visiting professor in adolescent psychiatry at the University of Perugia, Italy (1992–1996); a psychotherapist at the Lincoln Centre for Psychotherapy and a member of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists. He has been the organising tutor of an MA course accredited by the University of East London in adolescent mental health for professionals. He has widely published papers about his work and co-edited a book, A Stranger in My Own Body—Atypical Gender Identity Development and Mental Health (Karnac, London, 1998). He was highly commended in the Health and Social Care Awards, 2004. He gives frequent lectures worldwide. Recently he presented papers on gender identity at the Freud Conference in Melbourne, at The International Journal of Psychoanalysis Centenary Conference in London and at a study day on Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspectives in Gender Diversity and Sexualities organised by the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) in Brussels.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Selected Bibliography

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2018) ‘Autonomy and decision-making in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria’. In: Justice for children and families: A developmental perspective. Royal College of Psychiatrists, Cambridge, pp. 145-153. ISBN 9781108457699

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2015) ‘Clinical management of gender dysphoria in adolescents’. In: Management of gender dysphoria: A multidisciplinary approach. Springer, London, pp. 61-72. ISBN 9788847056954

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2014) ‘Gender dysphoria in young people’. In: Clinical topics in child and adolescent psychiatry. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, pp. 349-363. ISBN 9781909726178

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2014) ‘Care for gender-dysphoric children’. In: Gender dysphoria and disorders of sex development: Progress in care and knowledge. Focus of Sexuality Research. Springer, New York, pp. 151-169. ISBN 9781461474401

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2018) ‘The use of metaphors in understanding atypical gender identity development and its psychosocial impact’. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 44 (1). pp. 5-28. ISSN 0075-417X

Skagerberg, Elin and Di Ceglie, Domenico and Carmichael, Polly (2015) ‘Brief report: Autistic features in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria’. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. ISSN Print 0162-3257; Online 1573-3432

Di Ceglie, Domenico and Skagerberg, Elin and Baron-Cohen, Simon and Auyeung, Bonnie (2014) ‘Empathising and systemising in adolescents with gender dysphoria’. Opticon1826, 16 (6).

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2012) ‘Identity and inability to mourn in The Skin I Live In’. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 93 (5). pp. 1308-1313. ISSN 0020-7578

Di Ceglie, Domenico and Jones, Rebecca M and Wheelwright, Sally and Farrell, Krista and Martin, Emma and Green, Richard and Baron-Cohen, Simon (2012) ‘Brief report: Female-to-male transsexual people and autistic traits’. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42 (2). pp. 301-306. ISSN 0162-3257 (Print) 1573-3432 (Online)

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2012) ‘Response to Alessandra Lemma – APP Lecture. Research off the couch: Revisiting the transsexual conundrum’. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 26 (4). pp. 290-293. ISSN 0266-8734

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2009) ‘Engaging young people with atypical gender identity development in therapeutic work: A developmental approach’. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 35 (1). pp. 3-12. ISSN 1469-9370

Di Ceglie, Domenico (2008) ‘Working at the edge: S’engager dans un travail thérapeutique avec des jeunes ayant un développement atypique de l’identité de genre’. [Translated Title: ‘Working at the edge: Engaging in therapeutic work with young people with atypical gender identity development’.]. Neuropsychiatrie de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence, Vol 56(6), Sep, 2008. pp. 398-402., 56 (Sept). pp. 398-402. ISSN 0222-9617 (Print)

:Gender through time

Dr Mervyn Glasser

Mervin ‘Chips’ Glasser (1928 – 2000) was born in Johannesburg and read psychology at the University of Witwatersrand. He left South Africa in 1952 to study psychoanalysis in London graduating from Westminster hospital medical school in 1958. He qualified as an associate member at the London Institute of Psychoanalysis in 1963 and subsequently taught there, joining the Portman Clinic in the early 1970s. Glasser was best known for his writing and teaching on the origins of delinquency and perversion. His research included the development of the ‘core complex’. At the Portman, Glasser also organised international conferences that brought in academics from all over the world; built links with the Institute of Psychiatry’s forensic department, the Tavistock Clinic and the Home Office; with academia, particularly the LSE; with London hospitals, the police, the prison service and probation service.

:The Portman Clinic: An historical sketch

Dr Rob Hale

Rob Hale is a key figure from the history of the Tavistock and Portman and worked for both clinics. As Director of the Portman he worked closely with Anton Obholzer on the joining of the two clinics into an NHS trust.

Rob Hale trained originally in psychiatry and psychoanalysis and held a research post at St Mary’s Hospital in London where, for five years, he worked closely with people who had attempted suicide. Hale has treated suicidal patients in long-term psychotherapy and since 1980 has worked at the Portman Clinic and the Tavistock Clinic.

His initial clinical interest was in self-destructive acts moving to perverse acts, particularly of those individuals who seek help for paedophilia. This clinical experience has provided the basis for the consultative work, both clinical and organisational, in other institutions, starting with his work in drug dependency. He spent significant time working with medium and high secure hospitals as an external consultant for the clinical staff and managers of those institutions.

In the early 1980s as Director of the Portman Rob worked closely with Alexis Brook on the Hampstead Health Authority and were involved with presenting evidence to the Seymour Commission. Thanks to input from the Portman, the Seymour Report (1985) found that psychotherapy had a continuing role to play in the NHS. After Alexis stepped down Rob working closely with Anton Obholzer, extensively lobbying the Houses of Parliament and getting the media on side to build support for the two institutions.

In the late 1980s Rob joined the Tavistock Clinic and served as our second Dean from 1987 to 1994.

In 1994 Rob Hale took over leadership of the Portman again, when Mervyn Glasser retired. Back at the Portman, Rob worked closely with Anton Obholzer to prepare a joint bid for the two clinics to become an NHS trust and in 1994, as part of the fourth wave of applications they successfully became the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Anton Obholzer became Chief Executive of the new trust and Tony Vinehall, previously of Unilever, became the Chair of the Trust Board.

:A brief history of education and training at the Tavistock and Portman

:The Portman Clinic: An historical sketch

Edward Glover

Edward Glover (1888-1972) was a founder of the Portman Clinic, its chairman for 28 years and a key figure in the early days of the British Psycho-Analytic Society. He is perhaps less well known than he should be and this is because of the antagonistic part he played in the Controversial Discussions between Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, which led to his resignation from the British Psycho-Analytic Society. He does, however, remain a major figure in forensic psychiatry and criminology, and founded the British Journal of Criminology and the British Society of Criminology.

Born in a small Scottish village, he was the third and youngest son of a country schoolmaster. He hated his early schooling and religious instruction, but on entering secondary school, under his father’s direction, he threw himself into his work matriculating at sixteen, starting medical training, and qualifying MB, ChB with distinction at the age of twenty-one.

He was appointed House Physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and learned to apply scientific method to clinical practice and research. Four years later he became Senior Resident at the Glasgow Children’s Hospital. Edward’s medical career was greatly influenced by his oldest brother, James, who had moved to London to join the Institute of Psycho-analysis with Drs. Jessie Murray and Julia Turner.

Together the two brothers developed an interest in Freud’s psychonalysis and in 1920 went to Berlin to undergo training analyses with Karl Abraham. Edward returned to London in the fall of 1921 becoming an associate member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and a full member the following year. James became very close to Ernest Jones, acting as his right hand man, but died in 1926. Edward took over many of his commitments and his influence in the British Society became second only to Jones.

It was through the British Society that Glover most likely met Grace Pailthorpe, who had begun training under Jones in 1922. Throughout the 1920s Grace Pailthorpe was also working with Maurice Hamblin Smith, Britain’s first authorised ‘criminologist’, and produced a study of women offenders at Birmingham Prison that was highly influenced by Freud’s ‘Criminals from a sense of guilt’ (1916). However, when she submitted her manuscript of Studies in the Psychology of Delinquency to the Medical Research Council, its publication was held up. Glover, who also had an interest in criminology, intervened, behind the scenes, to ensure this important work was published.

On the back of this publication Grace Pailthorpe founded The Association for the Scientific Treatment of Criminals in 1931, which changed its name to the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD) in 1932, at the suggestion of Edward Glover.

Almost from the outset Glover quickly took on a major role in the organisation, helping to gather respected Vice-Presidents that included: Freud, Jung, Adler, Cyril Burt, HG Wells, Havelock Ellis, Julian Huxley and Laurence Housman as well a range of high ranking figures from religion and  the nobility. While the campaigning side of the organisation built up a head of momentum, Glover also began to develop its clinical side and on 18 September 1933 the ISTD opened The Psychopathic Clinic, which became the Portman Clinic when it joined the NHS in 1948. When it opened few psychoanalysts had begun to develop practical psychoanalytic thinking and application to the field of criminality and delinquency. From its inception, the Portman Clinic has had as its purpose assessment, treatment, research and education. It was and remains a unique institution.

Throughout the 30s Edward Glover campaigned hard around criminality and delinquency, managing a strong press campaign that raised both his and the organisation’s profiles. Within the British Psycho-analytic Society his position was also strengthening and as Ernest jones prepared to retire Glover positioned himself to take over.

Then came the Controversial Discussions. There was a theoretical split between Freud and Melanie Klein. While the Freuds were in central Europe and Klein was in London it was possible to keep a lid on these disagreements, but following the annexation of Austria, many European analysts, including Sigmund and Anna Freud, escaped to London. During World War 2, to try to resolve their differences Ernest Jones organised a debate. In the event Jones was not able to attend and ceded the chair to Glover. By this time Glover had established himself as an eloquent heresy-hunter – against Jung, Rank, Klein and others.

The debates, which took place during the Blitz, were often so heated that they failed to heed the air raid sirens. Glover’s chairing lacked impartiality and the result was huge divisions in the British Society. Although his aim was to keep the Society strictly Freudian the end result was to open up a space where Freudians, Kleinians and British Independents had equal footing. So although it was not his intention, the rich post-war tradition of independent analytic thought in Britain has to be considered part of his legacy.

In post-war Britain the ISTD continued to be able to influence the government and judicial system. For example, in 1954 Edward Glover and Denis Carroll presented to the Wolfenden Committee on behalf of the Portman Clinic and argued that tolerance and not treatment were the main solution to homosexuality and that homosexuality per se should not be treated as a crime.

In the post-war period Glover also continued to write influentially, and his output included text books like The Technique Of Psycho-Analysis (1955) through to his important contributions to the study of psychopathy and crime as reflected in The Roots of Crime (1960).

He died in 1972, at the age of 84.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

:A Brief Introduction to the History of the Portman Clinic:

:The Portman Clinic - an historical sketch

Enid Balint

Psychoanalyst and welfare worker, Enid Balint (1903-1994), was one of the three women, along with Lily Pincus and Alison Lyons, who founded the Family Discussion Bureau, now known as Tavistock Relationships.

She was born as Enid Flora Albu in London in 1903, going to Hampstead High School, Cheltenham Ladies’ College and the London School of Economics, where she graduated in 1925, specialising in public administration. In 1926 she married Robert Eichholtz, a professor of philology, and became the mother of two daughters.

During World War 2, hearing of the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, Enid established a school for German-Jewish refugee children. Enid was also closely involved with the organisation and administration of the Family Welfare Association and Citizens’ Advice Bureau, helping families who had lost their homes during the Blitz.

Because of her experience of the dislocations suffered by families during the war, in 1948 she began a training analysis under John Rickman. After Rickman died in 1951, she continued with Donald Winnicott. In 1952 she was accepted as an associate member of the British Psychoanalytical Society (BPAS), and became a full member in 1954.

After World War 2 concern about the rising divorce rate led to the government considering a state-sponsored marriage welfare service, but then following the recommendations of the Harris Committee in 1948 support was given to three voluntary organisations which already offered marriage counselling services. One of these was the Family Welfare Association, and in 1948 Enid Eicholz set up the Family Discussion Bureau, to provide couples with a space to speak privately in a secular setting.

Realising that she would need help dealing with the intricacies of family life Enid contacted ATM Wilson from the Tavistock Clinic. This meeting sparked a remarkable revolution in marriage guidance. ATM Wilson had been part of the team in which Wilfred Bion had developed the ‘leaderless group’ and was one of the founders and first Chairman of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR). Enid’s idea of working with couples and families tied in closely with the Tavistock’s new group work.

ATM Wilson introduced Enid to the works of Sigmund Freud and invited her to meet with his clinical colleagues, offering her an entry into the exciting post-war community at the Tavistock Clinic. Moreover he had the power to offer real support to Enid’s Family Discussion Bureau. Enid quickly co-opted ATM Wilson to work alongside her along with Isabel Menzies, Tom Main and John Bowlby. With such support in place the Family Welfare Association agreed to fund the project and the first marriage welfare centre opened at 21 Kempson Road, in Walham Green in October 1948.

In the late 40s Enid began working with Michael Balint around the growth and management of the organisation. By the early 50s this developed into an affair and in 1952 she resigned as head of the Family Discussion Bureau marrying Michael Balint in 1953.

Enid Balint remained a lively presence in the British mental health community, collaborating extensively with her new husband on Balint Groups and the application of psychodynamic ideas in the field of general medical practice. Enid was in charge of the training and research course for general practitioners at the Tavistock Clinic until 1965 and under her leadership a number of Balint organisations developed in several countries.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Estela Welldon

Dr Estela V. Welldon MD DSc (Hon) FRC PSYCH was born in 1939 in Mendoza, Argentina and is an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy at Tavistock and Portman NHS Clinics. She is the founder and honorary elected president for Life of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy; fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; honorary doctor in sciences Oxford Brookes University; honorary consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy at Tavistock Portman NHS Clinics; honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association for Psychoanalysis. She is a member of the BAP, the CBP, IGA, AGP, IAGP and honorary member of the Society of Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists, Tavistock Clinic. She works privately as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist, and lectures worldwide. She is the author of many papers and chapters on group analytical psychotherapy and forensic psychotherapy and the following books: ‘Mother Madonna Whore, the Idealisation and Denigration of Motherhood’ (1988); ‘Sadomasochism’ (2002); ‘Playing with Dynamite: A Personal Approach to the Understanding of Perversions, Violence and Criminality’ (Karnac, 2011) and was the main editor of ‘A Practical Guide to Forensic Psychotherapy’ (1997).

:The Portman Clinic: An historical sketch

Esther Bick

Esther Bick (1902-1983) was intensely passionate about her work, which she pursued with a single minded focus and dedication. Her best-known contribution to psychoanalysis was her development of infant observation, which still underpins child psychotherapy training not just at the Tavi but around the world.

Esther Bick was born Esteza Lifsza Wander in Galicia (near Kraków in Poland) in what at the time was the Austro-Hungarian empire. She was born into an orthodox Jewish family. At the age of seven years, she was sent to Prague, to assist her aunt in caring for a baby. She then worked as a nursery teacher. Unable to study medicine in Poland because of the many restrictions on Jews, she moved to Vienna, where she worked with Charlotte Bühler on the experimental observation of young twins, completing her PhD in 1935.

After leaving university she married a medical student Philipp Bick and after the annexation of Austria in 1938 the two fled to Switzerland. Not being granted a work permit, Esther then emigrated, without her husband, to Manchester in England, where she began an analysis with Michael Balint, while working first in a nursery and then a child guidance clinic.

During the war her brother and most of her family perished in concentration camps and the psychoanalytic community gradually became her replacement family. It was not until later, in the 50s, that she learned her niece had escaped and was living in Israel.

After the end of the war she moved to London, completed her psychoanalytic training and then started a second analysis with Melanie Klein.

She joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1946 and in 1948 just after the clinic joined the NHS she was invited by John Bowlby to devise and lead a new child psychotherapy training for the special context of NHS work with children, adolescents and their parents. It was in doing this that she organised her first Infant Observation seminars and introduced this method into the core of the child psychotherapist’s training.

In the first two years Esther Bick was lucky to have an unusually talented cohort of students that included Mary Boston, Martha Harris, and Frances Tustin. The combination of Bick’s inspirational teaching and her intuitive grasp of talent enabled her to develop and realise the potential of Infant Observation. The emphasis on observing an ordinary baby at home for two years grounded child psychotherapists in an understanding of normal development, and enabled then to understand subsequent encounters with pathological behaviour in terms of a developmental trajectory.

Esther Bick’s contributions to psychoanalysis are not properly represented by her few published papers. Even though her two best-known papers, ‘Notes on infant observation in psycho-analytic training’ (1964) and ‘The experience of the skin in early object relations’ (1968), have classic status she was not a natural writer. Her forte was as a teacher and her legacy is very much in the work of her students. Her sensitivity to forms of infantile experience were vividly communicated through her teaching. Her acute mind, grasp of detail, and unflinching directness made her a remarkable teacher, who could bring to life the psychosomatic experience of a baby with memorable eloquence.

Bick’s ideas took shape at the same time as Bion’s work on ‘A theory of thinking’, and Bowlby’s development of Attachment Theory. These explorations of the early mother-child relationship are profoundly complementary. Esther Bick died in 1983. It is perhaps the rigor of her methodology and her sense of ethical conduct, that have led to Infant Observation having such a profound influence on child psychology.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Margaret Rustin 2020

Frank Lowe

Frank Lowe is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and Head of Social Work in the Adolescent and Adult Directorate at the Tavistock and Portman. He is also a teacher and trainer within the Directorate of Education and Training and manager of Thinking Space.

Frank joined the Adolescent Department in 2001 and with the support of Onel Brooks and Maxine Dennis he developed The Tavistock-Caraf Empowerment service, which provided support to Black adolescents at risks of exclusion from Camden schools. He also developed the Young Black People Consultation Service with Onel Brooks, as a way of making psychotherapy more accessible to young black people.  Frank’s major contribution to the Tavistock and Portman is Thinking Space, which he started in 2002 as a participatory event where staff and trainees could reflect and discuss  about ‘the self ‘and ‘the other’ and learn from this experience. Thinking Space continues to be an important learning forum at the Tavistock for staff and trainees and was commissioned in 2013 by Haringey as a public health response to community mental health in Tottenham following the 2011 riot. Frank was given an award for Psychoanalysis and Diversity by the British Psychoanalytic Council in 2015 for establishing ‘Tottenham Thinking Space’.


Grace Pailthorpe

Grace Pailthorpe had many lives. She was a surgeon during the First World War, a psychoanalyst who studied under Ernest Jones, a criminologist, a campaigner for reform, founder of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency (the clinical wing of which became the Portman Clinic) and a surrealist artist, praised by Andre Breton and now included in the collection at Tate Modern.

Grace Pailthorpe was born on 29 July 1883 in Sutton, Surrey. Both of her parents belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, a conservative, evangelical Christian movement and she grew up in what she described as ‘an atmosphere of strictest Puritanism’.

In 1908 Grace Pailthorpe enrolled at the Royal College of Music in London and began studying to be a concert pianist. Then in September of 1908 she applied to study medicine at the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women. In 1914 she was one of only four women to qualify. Grace Pailthorpe qualified as MB BS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) at the University of Durham, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle at the age of 31.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914 Grace Pailthorpe decided to volunteer, went to the War Office in London and filled out her application, but was rejected on grounds of her sex. Undeterred, she volunteered for the French Red Cross and in January 1915 she started work as a surgeon with the Bromley-Martin Hospital Unit in the Haute-Marne District in France.

It is likely that this is where Grace Pailthorpe would have first come into contact with victims of shell-shock. As a fluent French speaker she might have come across French works on psychoanalysis at that time. Certainly her work after the war indicated that she was already familiar with works such as Janet’s The Major Symptoms of Hysteria.

Her active service saw her in charge of a flying ambulance in Salonika as well as a period at the Military Hospital of Val-de-Grâce in Paris.

After the war Grace Pailthorpe travelled extensively abroad, working as a general practitioner in Australia and New Zealand, including working as a medical officer at a gold-mining company. On her return to England in 1922 she began psychoanalytic training at the London Institute of Psychoanalysis under Ernest Jones.

In 1922 Grace Pailthorpe also started working with Maurice Hamblin Smith, Britain’s first authorised ‘criminologist’, at whose suggestion she began her study of women offenders at Birmingham Prison. Grace Pailthorpe’s work during the 1920s was to make her one of the leading figures in English psychoanalytic criminology between the wars. The idea to set up The Association for the Scientific Treatment of Criminals was first aired informally with a friend who was a lawyer, but on 22 July 1931 Grace Pailthorpe, Ernest T. Jensen (who acted as Chair), Victor Neuburg and Runia Tharpe officially formed The Association for the Scientific Treatment of Criminals, then in 1932 the name of the organisation was changed to the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency at the suggestion of Edward Glover. On 18 September 1933 they opened their clinical wing: The Psychopathic Clinic, which became the Portman Clinic when it joined the NHS in 1948.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

:The early life of Grace Pailthorpe:

:The Portman Clinic: an historical sketch:

:A brief introduction to the history of the Portman:;

Henry Dugmore Hunter

Henry Dugmore Hunter (1911-1980) was a consultant psychiatrist and, along with Derek Miller, was one of the founders of the Adolescent Unit. He was a key force in developing it into a unique and innovative service and department at the Tavistock Clinic.

Dugmore Hunter was born in Nottingham to Scottish parents and trained in medicine at Edinburgh University, before going on to train in psychiatry.

From 1942 to 1946 he was in the army, working as a psychiatrist and during the World War 2 came under JR Rees the director of the Tavistock Clinic. He was fortunate enough to work with Wilfred Bion as part of the experimental War Office Selection Board in Edinburgh, meeting a number of the influential psychiatrists who would form the core of the post-war Tavistock Clinic.

He was then transferred to Cairo where he also ran a War Office Selection Board, before working as a psychiatrist with the 10th Army, during the invasion of Italy. He was responsible for providing early forward psychiatric treatment that prevented many people who had broken down in battle from suffering chronic psychiatric disablement later in their lives. He was awarded an MBE for his outstanding service

After the war, in 1948, Dugmore Hunter joined the Tavistock Clinic finding a home working as a senior registrar for John Bowlby, sharing the burden of his clinical and teaching work and functioning to all intents and purposes as a consultant long before his appointment to such a post. At the same time he trained with the British Psycho-Analytical Society, being elected to membership in 1953. He was also closely involved in picking up on Bowlby’s pre-war work on juvenile delinquency and this led him to his work with adolescents.

Because of this work in 1959 Dugmore Hunter was given the task of setting up a pilot adolescent unit at the Tavistock Clinic and he became its first chairman. In the early 60s Dugmore Hunter and Derek Miller obtained funding from the Tavistock institute of Human Resources for the Adolescent Unit and established it in rented rooms at Hallam Street, with part-time staff in the form of psychologists and psychiatric social workers loaned from other departments.

They had the backing of the Professional Committee and the work quickly established itself to be of sufficient importance for the Adolescent Unit to be allocated space in the plans for the new building at Belsize Lane.

Originally the Adolescent Unit was oriented towards gifted, neurotically inhibited students, but the focus soon shifted to include behaviourally disturbed, acting out delinquents. Dugmore Hunter envisaged a service not just for individuals, but also for their families and other social settings such as schools and employment, and so actively set out engaging relevant organisations from schools and universities to remand homes and borstals.

Over the years, the scrupulous and dedicated work of the Adolescent Department has built up a unique knowledge of the developmental phases and endocrinal and neurological changes that take place during adolescence. Dugmore Hunter fostered a supportive and innovative approach to working with this difficult client group. It is perhaps because of this that other innovative projects such as the Gender Identity Disorder Unit founded by Domenico Di Ceglie also have their roots here.

Dugmore Hunter retired from the Tavistock Clinic in 1977.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Hugh Crichton- Miller

Hugh Crichton-Miller founded the Tavistock Clinic in 1920. He was a doctor who had an early interest in psychological medicine and following his experiences treating shell-shock in the First World War wanted to adapt Freud’s theories of neurosis for civilians. Hugh Crichton-Miller was honorary director of the Tavistock Clinic from 1920 until 1933 and remained on staff until his final resignation in 1941.

Hugh Crichton-Miller (5 February 1877 to 1 January 1959), was born in Genoa, the son of a Scottish minister and was an only son with five sisters. He grew up to be tri-lingual, speaking English Italian and French. At the age of twelve he travelled across Europe by himself to take up a place at a boarding school in Edinburgh. He went to Edinburgh University in 1894, taking the arts as well as the medical course. He received his MA in 1898 and his MB, ChB from Edinburgh University in 1900, choosing hypnotism as the subject for his MD thesis.

He spent a year doing his house appointments at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh and then he set up practice in San Remo on the Italian Riviera where he established a family home and in Aviemore, Scotland where he summered.

In May of 1911 he moved to Harrow on the Hill in London. By that time he was firmly interested in psychology and had begun to practise what he called ‘binocular vision’ – attending to both the physical and psychological needs of his patients. In London Hugh Crichton-Miller opened Bowden House, a nursing home for the treatment of neurosis and similar disorders, and also set up a practice in Harley Street.

When World War 1 began in 1914 Hugh Crichton-Miller volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps and was posted to the 21st General Hospital, Alexandria in Egypt where he saw many examples of shell-shock and argued that most cases had ‘broken down, either from the emotional strain associated with trench life or from the… chronic apprehension of danger’. He also found a significant pattern of what he called ‘developmental flaw’ relating to childhood experiences.

This idea that the mind could influence the health of the body and that physical health influenced the state of the mind became Hugh Crichton-Miller’s key insight from his work on shell-shock and a major influence on his work after the war. It related closely to his ‘binocular vision’, which his colleagues colloquially called the ‘double-barrelled approach’.

After the war Hugh Crichton-Miller re-established his Harley Street practice, re-opened Bowden House and was also able to commit time to his family of six children, but during the war a new idea had taken root in his mind. He wanted to use his experience in the military by adapting Freud’s theories of neurosis for civilians.

In 1920 Hugh Crichton-Miller opened the Tavistock Clinic.

His dream was to have a clinic run on the simplest lines, with the minimum of publicity and the maximum work. Staff would work on a voluntary basis and patients would be charged a nominal fee of five shillings (if they could afford it) and would always be seen by the same doctor.

The clinic was located in a house was at 51 Tavistock Square, which is where it took its name from. In the beginning the Tavistock Clinic was the home of a small band of seven doctors: Hugh Crichton-Miller, Dr JA Hadfield, Dr Mary Hemmingway, Dr Neill Hobbhouse (Neurologist), Dr Leslie Tucker, EA Hamilton Pearson, and Dr JR Rees. It was EA Hamilton Pearson who saw the first patient, a child, on 27 September 1920.

From the beginning, staff had complete freedom to use whatever methods they thought best, but the general orientation was to ‘have no doctrine’, but Hugh Crichton-Miller laid down the principle that they were to be doctors first and psychiatrists second.

From the earliest days the Tavistock Clinic regarded education as one of its most important activities. Case conferences and staff meetings were organised to train the clinic’s staff, but they soon started lectures for medical students and ‘popular’ lectures for parents and teachers. Hugh Crichton-Miller with his soft Scottish accent was said to be a very good speaker, articulating his thoughts with an economy of words, and expressing the need for respect and patience.

For the first year or two Hugh Crichton-Miller paid the general maintenance and running costs of the clinic from his own pocket. And from then on at the beginning of each fiscal year they had to raise funds to clear the overdraft and pay for their current work.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Tavistock Clinic gradually grew. In 1932 it moved to larger premises at Malet Place. By 1939 the honorary medical staff numbered ninety.

Many of the new staff leant towards a more psychoanalytic approach rather than Hugh Crichton-Miller’s ‘doctrine of psycho-physical parallelism’. Hugh Crichton-Miller increasingly he felt ‘the “Tavy” was on the wrong track’, and although the Tavi was his ‘baby’, shortly after overseeing the Tavi’s move to Malet Place Hugh Crichton-Miller resigned as Director. He retained a nominal position, but remained very much in the background.

When the Second World War came in 1939 Hugh Crichton-Miller volunteered for the Emergency Medical Service of the Ministry of Health becoming the Medical Director of a war neurosis centre for air raid casualties. The Second World War was intensely difficult for the Millers. Their son Campbell was killed in action in February 1943 and three months later Campbell’s wife Sheila gave birth to a daughter who lived only four days.

During the war Hugh Crichton-Miller also found out that he had Parkinson’s and scaled back his activities. He resigned from the staff of the Tavistock Clinic in 1941, from his private practice in 1945 and from his position as medical director of Bowden House in 1952.

Hugh Crichton-Miller died on 1 January 1959.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020


Isabel Menzies Lyth

Isabel Menzies Lyth was a distinguished psychoanalyst and social scientist; a pioneering figure in the founding group of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, best known for her work on unconscious mechanisms in institutional settings.

Born and raised in Scotland, Isabel Menzies took a double first in economics and experimental psychology at St Andrews in 1939, where she became a lecturer from 1939 to 1945. During the war she became involved with the experimental War Office Selection Board, working alongside Wilfred Bion, Jock Sutherland and Eric Trist studying social dynamics in officer training. She also contributed to the Civil Resettlement Units for prisoners of war.

After the war Isabel Menzies Lyth moved to London to join her war colleagues at the newly formed Tavistock Institute. She qualified as a psychoanalyst in 1954 and underwent a second training analysis with Wilfred Bion. She became a highly regarded child and adult psychoanalyst in the Kleinian tradition, and continued to develop an equally distinguished career as a researcher and consultant, most significantly in the context of nursing and health care.

Isabel Menzies Lyth is best known for her classic 1959 study of hospital systems as defences against the anxieties of caring for people in life and death situations. By establishing rigid hierarchies, fixed roles and fixed routines of work hospitals spread the responsibility and anxiety from the individual nurse to the system as a whole. That benefit, however, has a cost: the use of the primitive defences of splitting, denial and projection prevented more mature forms of coping with anxiety and stifled individual growth.

Her conclusions give a powerful picture of dynamic processes at work within an institutionally defensive system. She continued to explore the role of institutions in containing anxiety throughout her life. It is not surprising that her work was hugely influential for the founders of Tavistock Consulting and the writers of the text book The Unconscious at Work.

Isabel Menzies Lyth was also a powerful presence at the Leicester group relations conferences on authority, leadership and organisation and was never afraid to explore the psychotic nature of groups. She would also get down on her knees with flip chart paper in the children’s ward at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, working with the nursery nurses to see how they might organise their rotas in the best interests of the children.

She died peacefully in hospital on 13 January 2008.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Isca Wittenberg

Isca Salzberger-Wittenberg is a Consultant Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist who worked at the Tavistock Clinic for twenty-five years and was its Vice-Chairman for ten years. She was a Senior Tutor in the clinical training of child psychotherapists and head of child psychotherapy in the Adolescent Department. She later also trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with adults.

Isca was trained during the 1950s on the Tavistock Child Psychotherapy course established in 1948 by John Bowlby and Esther Bick, and she later rejoined the clinic in 1965 as a senior staff member.

Her special interests as a teacher built on two features, her devotion to Infant Observation, which she taught for many years, and her conviction that the use of group process in small and large group teaching greatly enriched the learning of group members. Throughout her career as a senior trainer,  she energetically encouraged the use of  attention to the emotional life and atmosphere of the group alongside attention to the object of study.  

Building on the Introductory Group Relations-based event attended by all new students each September, she created a parallel experiential ‘leaving event’ for trainees when their courses ended.

In the early 1970s she took on the leadership of a hugely successful part-time course for teachers at all levels of education to help them understand the emotional aspects of teacher/pupil relationships and to think about the systems within which they worked. This work led to an important book opening up the field of counselling aspects of education in the same way that her earlier influential book introducing psychoanalytic ideas to social workers had done. Her final book returned to her long term fascination with the vital meaning of beginnings and endings in human life.

As vice-chair of the Professional Committee, she played a lively part in the direction of the clinic’s development and wider place in the community, and in its social life, including staff pantomimes. Within the adolescent department she was a major figure, interested in new clinical services, and supervising generations of psychiatrists as well as child psychotherapists.

She has lectured and run seminars in Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the USA and run workshops in Australia and South Africa. She held temporary professorships at Turin and Klagenfurt University and is a life-long honorary senior staff member of the Tavistock. She has published articles in professional journals, contributed chapters to a number of psychoanalytic books and written three books: Psychoanalytic Insight and Relationships, The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching and Experiencing Endings and Beginnings.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020


JD ‘Jock’ Sutherland

Jock Sutherland (1905 to 1991) joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1946 and became Medical Director in 1947, overseeing our transition into the NHS in 1948 and one of the most dynamic phases of the clinic’s history.

Although Jock Sutherland was new into the Tavi, he had worked with JR Rees and other Tavi staff as part of the ‘invisible college’ throughout the war. Jock Sutherland became a key member of the group that set up an experimental War Officer Selection Board (WOSB) in Edinburgh. He worked alongside Wilfred Bion, Eric Trist, and Eric Wittkower (and a group of officers from the army, which also included Harold Bridger) to develop new methods selecting officers. The radical solution put forward by Wilfred Bion was the ‘Leaderless Group Project’.

By birth Sutherland was a Scot, born and educated in Edinburgh. He read Chemistry and then Psychology at Edinburgh University before going on to do his medical training at Glasgow University. While studying for his medical degree, he worked in Drever’s Department of Psychology in Edinburgh, alongside William Fairbairn and later undertook a personal analysis with him. Then after experience in general psychiatry, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1941 coming under Brigadier J. R. Rees. By the end of the war Sutherland had the rank of Colonel.

After the war Jock Sutherland and John Bowlby were among key staff that Wilfred Bion recruited into the Tavi. With their military experience, their psychiatric and academic qualifications they brought a degree of expertise and credibility that was essential when the Tavi joined the NHS in 1948. In the immediate post-war period, the Tavi instituted radical democratic new processes and Jock Sutherland was first Clinical Director to be elected by the staff.

As well as becoming the Clinical Director, Sutherland also became the head of the Adult Department, while John Bowlby became Deputy Director and Head of the Department for Children and Parents. Sutherland had strong interests in the institutional and sociological approaches being developed by the newly founded Tavistock Institute of Human Relations that were based on Bion’s theories of group dynamics.

Sutherland re-organised the Adult department into decentralised units. He supported Bion’s research into groups, which later led to Group Relations, while giving John Bowlby the freedom to re-organise the Department for Children and Parents, instituting the research that led to Attachment Theory and the training that led to Infant Observation.

Sutherland was a strong proponent of critically examining methodology and scientific validation. Once in the NHS the Tavistock Clinic’s exposure to a much wider patient group quickly led to the development of greater clinical expertise around a range of conditions and led to further new developments such as marital services and the adolescent department. 

Under Jock Sutherland’s leadership the Tavistock Clinic became firmly established in the NHS and developed a strong reputation as an educational institution. In the early sixties he initiated plans to move the Clinic to a new bespoke building at Belsize Lane, which opened in 1967. Jock Sutherland remained Medical Director until 1968, when he left to take up an academic appointment at the University of Edinburgh, where towards the end of his life he began to develop a highly original approach to object-relations and post-Kleinian analysis. He died in Edinburgh in 1991.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

John Bowlby

John Bowlby (1907-1990) was a psychiatrist and paediatrician whose work on the bond between mother and child led to his development of ‘Attachment Theory’, which has profoundly influenced not just psychotherapy, but parenting styles around the world. Bowlby joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1946 and worked here until his retirement in 1972.

John Bowlby came from a privileged background. His father was Major General Sir Anthony Bowlby, 1st Baronet, who was surgeon to King Edward VII’s household. Bowlby himself studied medicine at Trinity College, Cambridge, and University College Hospital, London. On qualification he specialised in psychiatry, child psychiatry and psychoanalysis. From 1933-35 he worked as a clinical assistant at the Maudsley Hospital and then in 1936 he joined the staff of the London Child Guidance Clinic where he stayed until 1940.

At the London Child Guidance Clinic he undertook a study of child criminals and found that a significant number had experienced prolonged separation from their mothers before they were aged five. Published in 1944 as ‘44 Juvenile Thieves’ this marked the start of a lifetime’s work into the nature of the bond between mother and child and the emotional quality of attachment.

At the start of World War 2 Bowlby contributed to The Cambridge Evacuation Survey, a detailed study of the impact of mass evacuation on children. During the Second World War he also served as a consultant psychiatrist in the Royal Army Medical Corps, under JR Rees, the Tavistock Clinic’s second director. Bowlby worked with Wilfred Bion, Jock Sutherland and Eric Trist on the experimental War Office Selection Boards – Bowlby evaluated the effectiveness of the boards and demonstrated that in the long term it reduced the failure rate of officers from 45% to 15%.

After the war Bion recruited his former colleagues Bowlby and Sutherland from the Army into the Tavi. Sutherland became director and head of the Adult Department. Bowlby became deputy director and head of the Children and Parents Department. In the run up to the Children Act being published in 1948 Bowlby realised that nationally large numbers of rained people would be needed to work with children. He made training and education a significant focus of his department’s work and encouraged Esther Bick to develop child psychotherapy training. Her response was to develop Infant Observation.

Bowlby also developed the Tavistock research unit. This initially included himself James Robertson and Mary Boston, but went on to include Dina Rosenbluth, Mary Ainsworth, Christopher Heinicke, Rudolph Schaffer and others. In 1956 Ainsworth, Boston and Bowlby published, ‘The effects of mother-child separation; a follow-up study’, which is where the term ‘attachment was first used.

Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their mothers or caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. Unlike most psychoanalysts, Bowlby was acutely aware of the necessity of evidence to support his theories. Some of this was evidence was captured by James Robertson in the now famous film A Two-year-old goes to Hospital. Bowlby’s Attachment and Loss trilogy was published in 1969, 1972 and 1980.

Following the findings relating to maternal deprivation, Bowlby sought to develop a theory which would support and explain his results. The result was Attachment Theory. Even though this has wide acceptance nowadays it initially met fierce resistance, not least because it was seen as a challenge to Freud’s drive based model, basing the model of intra-personal connection on the emotional quality of attachment rather than adult sexuality.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

John Byng-Hall

John Byng-Hall (1937 to 2020) was a distinguished and pioneering family therapist who established systemic therapy at the Tavistock and Portman in the early 1970s. An associate of John Bowlby, John Byng-Hall integrated attachment theories with his own ideas of family scripts and myths into family systemic therapy. His publications and presentations earned him an international reputation as an original thinker. With Rosemary Whiffen he led the first family therapy training course in the UK at the Tavistock Clinic, until his retirement in 1997.

John Byng-Hall was born in Kenya in 1937 and grew up in a rich and varied landscape ranging from lakes and savannah through to shrub, forest and volcanoes. His father worked as a farm manager and amateur vet, while his mother worked as a voluntary VAD nurse on the farm. As a child John explored the farm on horseback and by the time he was ten he was a capable shot with his .22 rifle.

When John was in his teens the family bought their own farm, high on the wall of the rift valley. After about a year of living there the Mau Mau rebellion began, leading to a state of emergency in Kenya. One of their next door neighbours was killed and another attacked and mutilated. It was a tense and difficult time and when John went to boarding school he worried about his family all the time.

John left school at the age of 18 with the intention of going to Cambridge University to read agriculture. He first did nine months National Service, training in the essentials of medicine and nursing as a medical orderly.

After completing National Service he set off on an Italian liner with three friends intending on travelling in Europe before starting at Cambridge in September 1956. On the liner he began to feel ill and by the time they reached Suez his legs were completely paralysed. The ship’s doctor diagnosed him with polio.

An emergency landing was made at Brindisi and John was taken to a small ill-equipped hospital, until the British Consul arranged transport to London, where he was taken to Queen’s Square Hospital for Nervous Diseases. He was there for two months, during which time he lost almost all of the muscle in his abdomen and legs. He was then transferred to the Nuffield in Oxford for long-term rehabilitation.

John returned to Kenya for three months convalescence before starting at Cambridge a year later than planned. Farming was no longer a sensible career, so John and his father decided he should switch to medicine.

Life at Cambridge University was difficult. There were many elements of the medical training that posed massive physical challenges for a disabled student and it took him three years to complete the Natural Science Tripos. John then took a place at University College London for his three years of clinical training and during his studies he was introduced to John Bowlby’s work, becoming interested in the psychological dynamics of illness and a patient’s journey.

He completed his house jobs at University College Hospital and Addenbrooks, in Cambridge. He then took a registrar post at Fulbourne Hospital between 1965 and 1968, traveling each week to the Tavistock Clinic for the two year psychotherapy registrar course.

After this he trained at the Maudsley on the children’s ward as a registrar. Then towards the end of 1969 John Byng-Hall made his move to the Tavistock Clinic, working part-time as a senior registrar in the Adolescent Department and part-time at the new adolescent unit at Hill End in St Albans, where he and Peter Bruggen started to use a family approach with adolescents and families.

Family therapy, or systemic practice as it has come to be known, grew tentatively from the work of John Bowlby. Systemic thinking can be understood as a way of examining the structure or pattern of an organisation and families can be understood as kinds of organisations.

In around 1971 John Byng-Hall was one of the people who set up the Family Therapy Workshop at the Tavistock Clinic and in 1972 he and Rosemary Whiffen became the Co-Chairs of the Family Therapy Programme in 1974, establishing the first family therapy training in Britain in 1975. Since it was founded the family therapy training course has gone on to develop a life of its own, giving rise to other notable figures in systemic therapy: Caroline Linsey, David Campbell, Gill Gorell Barnes, and Ros Draper.

John Byng-Hall was a key figure in the development of systemic therapy, which could not have happened without his establishing family therapy at the Tavistock Clinic, and without his giving the subsequent generation the freedom to explore different ideas that led them from the Milan to the post-Milan approaches, where concepts of language, power and discourse were incorporated from theorists such as Foucault and Bakhtin.

Throughout the 1970s John Byng-Hall collaborated with Bowlby on his attachment research, introducing new techniques that were useful to systemic theory and turning attachment into a coherent story where the family functions as a secure base.

John Byng-Hall has written extensively on family systems and the concept of family scripts. His work has contributed significantly to the way systemic theory has developed a picture of a family lifecycle. John Byng-Hall retired from the Tavistock Clinic in the autumn of 1997. After retirement he gradually became more and more disabled by what is known as post-polio syndrome, but continued to have an important role, writing and publishing important work throughout the first two decades of the 21st century.

John Byng-Hall died on Friday 17 July 2020.

Author: Glenn Gossling, 2020


John Rickman

John Rickman was born in 1891 to a Quaker family on Rose Hill, Dorking. He took natural sciences at Cambridge University, also winning a rowing Blue while he was there. He completed his medical degree at St Thomas’s Hospital in London and qualified in 1916.

During World War 1 he applied for exemption from conscription as a conscientious objector. He joined the Friends War Victims Relief Service and was sent to Buzuluk, in the Samara Oblast province of South Russia, where he provided medical and relief services to refugees from the war. While there Rickman married American social worker, Lydia Cooper Lewis. Their civil marriage certificate was the first in the area to be issued after the October revolution in 1917. When civil war broke out the newly-weds embarked on a three month journey to escape via the trans-Siberian railway to Vladivostock, returning to Dorking via the United States.

He then studied psychiatry at Cambridge. In 1919 Rickman went to Vienna to have analysis with Freud. He made many contacts there, including Karl Abraham (1877–1925) and Sándor Ferenczi (1873–1933). He continued with Freud until 1922, when he qualified as a psychoanalyst. In 1928 he travelled to Budapest to have treatment from Ferenczi. It was around this time that Rickman joined the ISTD and Psychopathic Clinic. In 1934 Rickman began an analysis with Melanie Klein that was to continue, intermittently, until 1941 and again for some sessions after the war.

In 1938 Dr Wilfred Bion, who had been working as a psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, asked Rickman to be his training psychoanalyst. This was brought to a premature end by the onset of the World War 2.

At the beginning of 1940 Rickman was sent to Wharncliffe Hospital near Sheffield, where his work attracted considerable interest and admiration from army psychologists and psychiatrists, including Wilfred Bion, who visited him there.

During the Second World War Rickman drafted ideas on what was to become the therapeutic community movement. With the Royal Army Medical Corps he treated soldiers at Northfield Military Hospital near Birmingham and with Wilfred Bion conducted revolutionary experiments that led to developments in the understanding of group behaviour.

At the end of the war Rickman renewed his involvement in the British Psychoanalytical Society and was elected president from 1947 to 1950. After the war he also held board level positions at the Tavistock Clinic, taught there and supported Wilfred Bion with hiss work on groups. He died on 1 July 1951, aged 60.

:The Northfield Experiment:

John Steiner

John Steiner worked as a consultant in the Adult Department of the Tavistock Clinic between 1972 and 1997. He is the author of Psychic Retreats (1993), Seeing and Being Seen (2011), and Illusion, Disillusion and Irony in Psychoanalysis (2020), and has also edited and written introductions to several books including The Oedipus Complex Today, (1989), papers by Hanna Segal entitled, Psychoanalysis, Literature and War, (1997) and essays on Herbert Rosenfeld’s clinical influence, entitled Rosenfeld in Retrospect, (2008). Recently (2017) he has edited Melanie Klein’s Lectures on Technique which she gave in 1936. Throughout his career he published a number of influential papers and is responsible for coining a number of terms and phrases that are used in contemporary psychoanalysis.

John was born in Prague in 1934, but he and his family left when the Germans invaded in August 1939. They spent nine months in France before moving to New Zealand. It was a very traumatic time. His mother’s family were able to escape to the US, but almost all of John’s father’s family died in Auschwitz.

He and his family loved New Zealand. His father established a furniture businessand his mother became a schoolteacher.

In 1952 John began studying medicine at the University of Otago and became interested in Freud and psychoanalysis. After qualifying as a doctor in 1958 John went to California and worked with the Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist Roger Sperry at Caltech. He then did research in experimental psychology at the University of Cambridge, completing his PhD in 1964.

In 1963 he married Deborah Pickering, who later trained as a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic under Mattie Harris, and then as a psychoanalyst at the Institute. In the 1990s she wrote two of the volumes in the Tavi series ‘Understanding Your One Year Old’ (1992) and ‘Understanding Your Six Year Old’ (1993).

In 1964 John moved to London where he trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital. There he was influenced Aubrey Lewis and Henri Rey, a lively French speaking psychoanalyst from Mauritius who taught him how to apply psychoanalytic ideas in a psychiatric hospital. After qualifying as a psychiatrist John remained at the Maudsley, doing research with the help of a Wellcome senior fellowship.

In 1967 John Steiner began a personal analysis with Hanna Segal and then started psychoanalytic training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. Hannah Segal became a major influence on his work, along with Herbert Rosenfeld and Betty Joseph.

John Steiner joined the Tavistock Clinic as a part-time Consultant in the Adult Department in 1972, having sessions both there and at the Maudsley. After two years he found the split post too difficult to manage and he temporarily left the Tavi until he was able to return in 1976.

John found the Tavi stimulating and conducive to enjoyable work which allowed him to develop his psychoanalytic ideas and their application to psychotherapy. Under the Chairmanship of Bob Gosling decisions at the Tavi were made slowly and by consensus. Initially he says that he found the process frustrating, but later he appreciated the priority given to thought over action. When John joined the Adult Department group psychotherapy and group relations were an important feature and almost everyone conducted at least one or two groups.

While at the Maudsley John had been interested in borderline patients and this continued at the Tavi where psychotic and borderline patients were commonly referred to him. When he returned in 1976 he established a weekly seminar which became known as the Borderline Workshop. A feature of the workshop was the linking of clinical and theoretical understanding, and each seminar consisted of an hour of clinical presentation followed by the discussion of a theoretical paper. From time to time senior psychoanalysts were invited as guests.

In addition to the workshop John established the introductory course, D58, that is still running today in which the students were offered clinical supervision and were expected to be in individual therapy themselves.

While at the Tavi John helped to set up The Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the NHS (APP) and became its first Chairman from 1982 to 1988 helping to establish the journal, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

It was around this time that John began to develop the idea of psychic retreats and in 1993 he published his first book on this topic. Building on Klein’s central concepts of projective identification, and the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions, John described how borderline patients use such retreats as defence anxiety and depression. He showed how pathological organisations can help to evade pain and anxiety, but how this often leads to a resistance to change that may bring about stasis both in personal life and analysis. Later he explored the obstacles that patients have in emerging from a psychic retreat and emphasised the problems patients had in overcoming embarrassment, shame and humiliation.

John retired in 1996 but continued to teach, write and developing his ideas most recently collected in his book Illusion, Disillusion and Irony in Psychoanalysis (2020).

Author: Glenn Gosssling/John Steiner 2020


Jon Stokes

Jon Stokes was the founder and founding Director of Tavistock Consulting which he established in 1994 and led for 5 years. Jon is a Senior Fellow in Management Practice at Said Business School, a Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and Director of the leadership advisory firm Stokes & Jolly Ltd. He is a Business Psychologist and Chartered Clinical Psychologist Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Clinical Associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society.

Born in London in the 1950s, the son of a diplomat, Jon travelled the world from an early age developing an interest in how individuals and organisations work. Then while studying psychology at Oxford, he discovered the work of Wilfred Bion.

From his first exposure Jon recognised Bion as an original thinker and discovered that he came from a place called the Tavistock. He wrote to them to see if he could train there, but they had stopped doing clinical psychology training, so he went to Kings College Hospital, joining the Tavi after he qualified and later training there in adult psychotherapy.

Jon Stokes first became a member of staff at the Tavistock Clinic in1980, taking a post in the Adolescent Department. He then moved to the Northgate Clinic, a therapeutic community, which at that time was closely connected to the Tavi.

Later Jon returned to the Tavistock Clinic becoming Chair of the Adult Psychotherapy Department and started working part-time with the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. He realised that if psychoanalysis is about the internal world and how that gets projected onto the external world, then the Tavistock Institute was about how the external world, the structures, the systems, the culture and influence the individual. The internal world and external world interact play with each other continuously. He realised that organisations can both have either a progressive or regressive effect, bringing out the best or the worst in human beings.

It was through this insight that Jon became interested in the business of leadership in a practical sense. He found that he was more interested in consulting to leaders and organisations, and the creation of organisations that have a constructive effect on human beings, than in developing a private practice.

Jon wanted to bring together psychoanalysis and an understanding of organisations from a systemic point of view. In the mid-90s he approached the Tavistock Clinic’s then chief executive, Anton Obholzer with the idea that the Clinic set up a leadership consultancy service, who agreed.

Jon then brought in David Armstrong and Clare Huffington. David had a great understanding of systems and working with people in a leadership role. Clare came from a family systems background which looked at organisations more from a family dynamics point of view. And Jon had an individual and group psychotherapy background. Tavistock Consulting was essentially about bringing these three strands of thinking together to provide a service to organisations and leaders.

In 1994 Jon Stokes founded Tavistock Consultancy Service, which later became Tavistock Consulting. Since that time, Tavistock Consulting has developed systems-psychodynamic thinking through creative application and innovative design by considering the individual in the system and the system in the individual, in depth. Its domain is working across boundaries and ‘below the surface’ of organisational life, helping people to make sense of ‘what is really going on’.

The work of Tavistock Consulting has led to the development of a body of knowledge that now forms the basis of the Tavistock’s D10 Masters programme ‘Consultation and the organisation: psychodynamic and systemic approaches’.

Since leaving Tavistock Consulting Jon has been a founder member of the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision and a founder member of the Association of Business Psychologists. Jon is a former Visiting Professor, Strathclyde Business School, and Associate Fellow of the Institute for Government.

He consults primarily in the fields of leadership and leadership development, selection and assessment. In addition to leadership coaching assignments, his consulting work includes advising chief executives and senior management boards on inter-personal, group and organisational dynamics, particularly the management of change; as well as providing in-depth assessment and selection of executives for senior roles, and assisting with their on-boarding and development.

His publications include ‘The Psychodynamics of Teams’ and ‘Organisational Stress’ in The Unconscious at Work (Routledge, 1994), ‘Why Do We Work’ in Talking Cure (Duckworths, 1999), ‘Executive & Leadership Coaching’ in the Complete Handbook of Coaching (Sage, 2018), ‘Using Emotion as Intelligence’ in Ed Schein et al. Organizational Therapy (AV Publishing, Boston,  2010), ‘Defences against Anxiety in the Law’ in Social Defences against Anxiety (Karnac, 2015), ‘The New Landscape of Leadership: Living in Radical Uncertainty’ in The Tavistock Century: 2020 Vision’ (Phoenix, 2020).

Author: Glenn Gossling/Jon Stokes 2020

:An interview with Jon Stokes:

:A History of Tavistock Consulting:

JR Rees

JR Rees (1890 to 1969) was the second Director of the Tavistock Clinic. He was one of the seven founding staff members and oversaw the growth of the Clinic from a small outpatient service to large clinic and significant educational establishment.

Rees was born in Leicester, grew up in Leeds and like Hugh Crichton-Miller was the son of a minister. Rees went to King’s College, Cambridge, where he read the Natural Sciences Tripos and Medicine.

During World War 1 Rees volunteered with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, tending the wounded at Ypres. His work helping trapped civilians and providing mass immunization during a typhoid epidemic won him a Belgian ribbon, which marked him as a ‘veteran’ when he transferred into the Royal Army Medical Corps.

His time in the trenches was tough. He described the mud, the unsteady duckboards, the corpses, rats and lice as mere ‘travelers’ tales’. What affected him was ‘seeing young soldiers, who had been broken by anxiety and run from their duty, being shot at dawn’, a proceeding in which he as Medical Officer had to take part.

After the war, while working as a GP Rees had occasion to refer a case to Hugh Crichton-Miller for his opinion. The two got on well and Rees was invited to join the staff of the Tavistock Clinic. Mary Hemingway and JR Rees were married in 1921.

Rees quickly became known for his organizational prowess and became assistant director in 1926. As the clinic grew he saw the opportunity to develop its educational programme. The move to Malet Place was part of a strategy he had designed to position the Tavi as part of London’s university scene.

He took over as Director when Hugh Crichton-Miller resigned in 1933. Under JR’s direction 1932 to 1939 was the Tavi’s greatest period of expansion in treatment, training, external lecture courses and in numbers of staff and trainees. He also managed the PR coup of obtaining royal patronage and managed to get academic recognition for some of its courses.

Then in 1939 when World War 2 started Rees was appointed consultant psychiatrist to the Army at Home, responsible for the mental health of approximately 3 million people. He brought a range of talented people into the army from the Tavi and they operated as an ‘invisible college’ and overhauling selection processes, basic training, morale and psychological intelligence.

During the war Bion led two key developments, firstly with the use of leaderless groups for officer selection and then with the Northfield experiment – a landmark in the evolution of group psychotherapy and in the therapeutic community. On both occasions this led to friction between Rees and Bion.

During the war JR Rees and HV Dicks also had the secret duty of looking after Rudolf Hess, and at the end of the war Rees oversaw other members of the Nazi hierarchy before the Nuremburg trials.

Rees resigned as Director of the Tavistock Clinic in 1947 just before we joined the NHS. He went on to become President of the World Federation for Mental Health, acting almost as a mental health ambassador to the world. Hr died at his home in 1969.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020


Julian Stern

Dr Julian Stern is currently a Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy in the Adult Complex Needs dept, having also served as the Director of Adult and Forensic services from 2016-2019.

After studying Medicine in Cape Town, South Africa , Julian trained in  Psychiatry and Adult Psychotherapy at the Maudsley Hospital in London, and completed the Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy training at the Lincoln Centre (now part of the BPF). He is also a Clinical Associate Member of the BPAS where he is pursuing further training.

Julian worked for 17 years as Head of the Psychological Medicine Unit at St Mark’s Hospital, treating Gastroenterology and colorectal patients with co-morbid psychological symptoms, and working closely with the health professionals attending to their needs.

Prior to 2010 he was an honorary consultant at the Tavistock for several years, and he was appointed to his substantive post in 2010, in Primary Care and Adult Complex Needs. In Primary care, he was academic and clinical lead in the Prize winning PCPCS (City and Hackney service)-which was awarded both the BMA Mental Health team of the year award and the RCPsych Team of the year award, as well as leading the bid for, and then implementing the Camden TAP (Team around the Practice) project . He then took on the role of Head of Adult complex Needs, before being appointed to the role of Director in 2016.

Julian is a popular teacher and supervisor, dedicated to integrating psychological and medical understanding and practice, as well as making psychotherapeutic treatments available to “difficult to reach” patients and families. 

Julian has published widely in Psychiatric, Psychotherapy and Gastroenterology journals, with more than 50 peer reviewed publications and 15 chapters; he teaches internationally and has co-edited 2 textbooks: “Core Psychiatry” & more recently “Functional GI disorders: a biopsychosocial approach”.

Author: Julian Stern 2020

Kamalini Sarabhai (née Khatau )

Kamalini Sarabhai (1925-1981) was probably the first non-white clinician to train and work at the Tavistock Clinic. She is a key figure because she took the theories and practices of the Tavistock Clinic to India, where she established a school, a community mental health programme and the BM Institute of Mental Health in Ahmedabad, which was widely considered to be a model of good practice not only in India, but across the whole of South-East Asia.

Kamalini was the daughter of Dharamsey Mulraj Khatau, a board member of the Khatau Group, one of the oldest business conglomerates in India and she married Gautam Sarabhai (1917-1995), the head of Sarabhai Industries in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, one of the largest industrial concerns in India.

Historically the Sarabhai family were a major player in the textile industries, but after independence they diversified into pharmaceuticals, chemicals, advertising and a range of other activities. The Sarabhais were a wealthy and influential family with close ties to Ghandi and were known as the Indian Rockefellers.

In the early 1940s Kamalini Sarabhai travelled to London, where she trained at the Tavistock Clinic and British Psycho-Analytical Society. She developed links with Anna Freud and had a special interest in child development.

After training she returned to India and Ahmedabad, where she founded the Balghar School in 1949. This was an experiment in nursery education (now a primary school), where children could learn at their own pace.

Then in 1951 Kamalini Sarabhai set up the Bakubhai Mansukhai Institute of Mental Health (BM Institute) in Ahmedabad, which she organised along the lines of the Tavistock Clinic. Kamalini Sarabhai was the director of the BM Institute from its founding until her death in 1981.

The BM Institute played a pioneering role in psychological research in India throughout the 1960s and 1970s experimenting with child psychology, behavioural therapy, cures for mental illnesses and autism. The BM Institute became a model of good practice, not only in India but also across all of South- East Asia.

Kamalini’s training at the Tavistock Clinic also influenced the commercial aspects of Sarabhai Industries and in the mid-50s the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR), led by AK Rice, conducted a research programme introducing automatic looms and establishing semi-autonomous work groups to address social and production problems.

This research and the experience of working with TIHR led the Sarabhais to play a key role in founding the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

In 1962 AK Rice returned to Ahmedabad, but this time with Jock Sutherland, Medical Director of the Tavistock Clinic. They helped the Kamalini Sarabhai set up a Community Mental Health Service in a large industrial settlement in Ahmedabad and Kamalini worked closely with Jock Sutherland on this project.

Kamalini, her husband Gautam and his sister Gira all had an interest in art and architecture. Together they developed the Sarabhai family estate as a retreat for artists.  Many prominent artists visited the Sarabhai Retreat, including: Alexander Calder, Le Corbusier, Isamu Noguchi, John Cage, Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, Merce Cunningham, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Rauschenberg.

This led to Kamalini’s husband, Gautam, founding a National Institute of Design in India.

During the early decades after independence there was widespread experimentation with different forms of educational institutions and practices to address the inadequacy of the mass schooling system in India. Kamalini Sarabhai’s training at the Tavistock Clinic helped her establish a model of child‐focused research and practice in both the Balghar School and the BM Institute. It also helped her influence her husbands commercial and industrial projects, bringing new methods of work organisation to India. Kamalini Sarabhai became one of the leading names in the field of mental health services in India.

:long read

Laverne Antrobus

Laverne Antrobus is a Child and Educational Psychologist and is one of the best known clinicians at the Tavistock and Portman. Like Donald Winnicott before her, Laverne’s media and television work has helped popularise child development and a broader interest in the psychological approach. She did her Masters at the Tavistock and Portman in the 1990s and has worked at Gloucester House and various CAMHs teams within the clinic. Laverne also leads ‘Level Up’ – our first digital-first project, which works with at school children transitioning from primary to secondary school. She joined the Tavistock and Portman in 2000 as our first black clinician.

Laverne’s family is of Caribbean heritage. Her parents came from St Vincent just after the Windrush part of migration eventually settling in Reading. Laverne went to Plymouth Polytechnic and studied Psychology. After obtaining a PGCE Laverne worked as a teacher becoming the school special needs co-ordinator, which put her in touch with children’s learning difficulties in a very different way. This experience spurred her on to train at the Tavistock and Portman.  

After completing her Masters Laverne worked as an Educational Psychologist in Hammersmith and Fulham, and then Enfield, before returning in 2000 to take a position at Gloucester House – our independent special school, which has a fully integrated specialist clinical team.

Between 2004 and 2006, Laverne appeared in the BBC Three series Little Angels, which was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2005. Her work with the BBC continued with Teen Angels, The House of Tiny Tearaways and War in the Womb.  Laverne made a documentary series (a collaboration between the BBC and the Open University) called Growing Children and the Horizon programme ‘Carrot or Stick’. As well as appearing in numerous documentaries Laverne was a regular guest on Women’s Hour, BBC Breakfast TV and more recently the BBC’s Newsround.

In 2019 Laverne also fronted the highly popular Channel 5 documentary Britain’s Naughtiest Nursery and presented the series Violent Child, Desperate Parents.

In 2013 Laverne moved across from Gloucester House into the Family Mental Health Team.  As well as being a clinical supervisor on the professional doctorate in child and educational community psychology, working to train the next generation of psychologists, Laverne worked briefly as part of the leadership team for this training.

During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic Laverne has had a key role on Newsround, on documentaries and in print media (The Telegraph, The Guardian) giving advice to children and parents on anxiety induced by the pandemic and explaining the effects of anxiety disorders.

During this period, she has also led the development of Level Up, an innovative digital-first project that works with children from primary schools in Camden, Islington and Haringey. It uses digital platforms to provide Year 6 children and their parents with an interactive journey from the last term of primary school, through the summer holidays and into the first month of secondary school. The project builds on a child’s strengths, develops communications and coping strategies, promotes positive attachments to help reduce risky behaviours and further develop good decision making.

At the trust, Laverne is a member of the BAME staff group and is one of the leads for Equality Diversity and Inclusion and currently offers a group space for BAME students and Students with a Disability.

Laverne has also published the book Ain’t Misbehavin’ and contributed chapters to Robert Winston’s Help Your Kids With Growing Up.  She also authored ‘Being a Parent in the Real World’.

She has been involved with the charity Shelter and is currently a trustee with ChildHope UK and Siya Phulaphula.

For several years Laverne was named as one of Britain’s 100 most Influential Black People on Powerful Media’s Powerlist.  The publication aims to recognise an individual’s contribution to their profession and to inspire and motivate many young people through distribution of the publication particularly to school children.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Laverne Antrobus 2020

:Laverne interviewed:

:Laverne on 'Level Up':

Lily Pincus

Lily Pincus was one of the three women, along with Alison Lyons and Enid Eicholz, who founded the Family Discussion Bureau, which is now known as Tavistock Relationships.

Lily Pincus was born in the Austro-Hungarian city of Karlsbad as Lily Lazarus. When she was five the family moved to Berlin and from 1914 to 1916 Lily trained in scientific photography in the Lettehaus. In 1918 she met Fritz Pincus and they were married in 1922, moving to Potsdam 1925.

From 1931 Lily distinguished herself as an administrative secretary at the Hoffbauer Foundation Hermannswerder. During the 30s Pincuses’ house became a meeting place for Paul Tillich and his circle of German intellectuals until Tillich, whose writings brought him into conflict with the Nazi movement had to flee.

From 1937 Lily’s home became a refuge for Jewish children, whose parents had been arrested or who had been abandoned and were homeless. Then in 1939, the couple emigrated, initially to London, but then on to Harlech in Merionethshire, Wales, where Lily got a job in an adult education college. In April 1943 the couple moved back to London and Lily was employed as a social worker in family welfare.

After World War 2 public concern about the rising divorce rate led to the government setting up the Denning Committee in 1947. This advocated the development of a state-sponsored marriage welfare service, but in the event, support was instead given to three voluntary organisations which already offered marriage counselling services. One of these organisations was the Family Welfare Association, and in 1948 they set up the Family Discussion Bureau, with psychoanalysts from the Tavistock Clinic. It was led by Enid Eicholz with Lily Pincus serving as her day-to-day right-hand woman.

Lily Pincus, Alison Lyons and Enid Eicholz (who later became Enid Balint) sought to find a deeper understanding of the psychological forces underlying marital difficulties and to use psychoanalytic methods to develop a theory of relationships and practical therapeutic interventions.

Although the Family Discussion Bureau was essentially a social casework agency, they actively developed working links with the Tavistock Institute and Clinic, which could provide more direct psychiatric help in severe cases. And because of this close association, the Family Discussion Bureau transferred from the Family Welfare Association to the Tavistock Institute in 1956, becoming one of the growing number of ‘clinic-linked’ activities of the Institute, and in 1967 it became an independent unit.

In 1957 Enid Eicholz resigned as head of the Family Discussion Bureau and Lily Pincus took over management of the unit until 1967, when it moved into the Tavistock Centre and became the Institute of Marital Studies. She continued to work there until she retired in 1973.

As well as running the Family Discussion Bureau Lily Pincus became an important writer in the field of marital studies and also published an autobiographical account of her life from Berlin to London.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Louise Lyon

Louise Lyon first worked for the Tavistock and Portman in 1984 and has been an important and senior figure at the Trust for the last 25 years, holding roles such as Trust wide Head of Psychology, Clinical Director of the Adolescent Department, and Trust Director.

Louise has a solid clinical background as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and worked clinically in the Adolescent Department throughout her career with the Trust. She was one of the drivers behind the national award winning City and Hackney primary care psychotherapy consultation service. More recently she has been Director of Quality and Patient Experience, responsible for steering the Trust through its CQC inspections. Louise has also had an important role in supporting equalities at the Trust, particularly tackling equality in relation to sexual orientation.

Louise was born in Norwich. Her parents both came from Barnsley in Yorkshire and they moved to Norwich not long before she was born. She studied psychology at Durham University and graduated in 1976.

After university Louise moved to London, taking a range of temporary jobs before finding a position as a nursing assistant in the Brookside adolescent unit. After this she worked at what is now University of East London on a research programme ’Social learning in the under-fives’. Based at Newham Maternity Hospital London, she waited with pregnant mothers and then filmed the first half hour of life after birth, recording how both parents responded to the birth of the baby and then followed the babies over the first few years of their lives. As such, it was an observational study of child development and the development of social relationships.

Following this Louise trained in Clinical Psychology and qualified in 1984.

Then in 1984 Louise applied for a two-year fixed-term post in the Adolescent Department at the Tavistock Clinic and it was this experience that established Louise’s core area of clinical interest.

Louise then took two jobs: one at Hillingdon Hospital, working with adults and the other at Atkinson Morley Hospital, working with young people with personality disorders and the hospital’s two eating disorder teams, one specialising in anorexia and the other in bulimia.

Working on two jobs proved impractical so she applied to the adult psychology service at St Mary Abbott’s Hospital and worked there for 11 years with both in-patients and out-patients. She set up a primary care service’ and developed ways of working with people with psychosis, with adult survivors of child sexual abuse and with obesity. It was while working at St Mary Abbott’s that Louise started training as a psychoanalyst at the Institute at Psychoanalysis in 1992.

Since 1996 Louise has worked continuously at the Tavistock and Portman in a number of roles including in the Adolescent Department, where she developed a model of brief therapy for young people (Time-Limited Adolescent Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Stephen Briggs , 2019, was based on Louise’s work on a 16 session model).

In 1999 Louise began working with Prof Phil Richardson and became interested in clinical governance which subsequently led on to her work on quality. Louise became Deputy Clinical Governance Lead for the Trust and Deputy Head of Psychology in 2002, becoming the Head of Psychology for the Trust in 2004, while still retaining her clinical role in the Adolescent Department.

In 2009 Louise Lyon was one of the founders of the City and Hackney primary care psychotherapy consultation service (PCPCS). This service was established to help manage the complex needs of people who often fall between gaps in mental health provision. The primary focus was to assist people with difficulties that are hard for GPs and other medical professionals to diagnose, explain or treat effectively. The service also has a focus on persistent frequent attenders. In 2013 the PCPCS won the award for ‘Innovative Excellence’ from the British Psychoanalytic Council and ‘Psychiatric Team of the Year’ from the Royal College of Psychiatry. Then in 2015, it was a finalist in the mental health category, British Medical Journal Awards.

In January 2007, Louise became Clinical Director of the Adolescent Department taking over from Deirdre Moylan, who became co-Director of Tavistock Consulting. Then when Mathew Patrick became Chief Executive Louise was promoted to Trust Director in May 2008. This role meant that she was the operational lead for the Trust and led the Heads of Discipline. Louise was Trust Director for six years, during a time when the Tavistock and Portman grew but also faced the challenge of making considerable savings.

In 2014 Louise Lyon contacted Stonewall and worked with them around equalities issues to help the Trust attain the standard of being a Stonewall Health Champion. She chaired the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee from 2013 to 2018 and led on the development of the 2017-20 Race Equality Strategy. In 2014, after Paul Jenkins had been appointed as Chief Executive, the role of Trust Director ceased to exist and Louise continued with two aspects of her role as Director of Quality and Patient Experience, and Director of Adult and Forensic Services.

Louise stepped down as the Director of Adult and Forensic Services in 2016. She continued as Director of Quality and Patient Experience and led on introducing quality improvement methodology to the Trust. Then in May 2019 Louise formally retired from her Director role but continues to work as the Chair designate of the Trust’s new charity, the Tavistock and Portman Charity, and chairing the centenary programme.

:A short history of the City and Hackney primary care psychotherapy consultation service

Margaret Rustin

Margaret Rustin (born 1942) is one of the key figures in establishing the Tavistock and Portman as a major provider of education and training in the NHS. She has been Dean and later Chair of the Professional Committee during her long career at the Tavi.

She was born in Kettering during World War 2, the daughter of a Baptist Minister. Her family moved to Leeds in 1949 and this is where she went to school. Margaret read Classics at Oxford, but quickly realised that this was not what she really wanted to do.

She met her future husband Michael Rustin during her first year, while he was in his final year. When he left, they wanted to get married. Margaret also wanted to change her course and she ultimately left Oxford to move to London and marry Michael.

She then studied philosophy at UCL, where the department chair was Richard Wollheim, who wrote a seminal introduction to Freud. While at UCL Margaret found out about the child psychotherapy training at the Tavistock Clinic and she was interviewed by Mattie Harris and John Bowlby who encouraged her to finish her degree and gain practical experience working with children, which she did, getting a job at an infant school in North Paddington. This confirmed her sense of direction.

Margaret was then accepted for the child psychotherapy training starting in 1967. The Tavi had just moved to Belsize Lane, and trainings was were available for psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists alongside child psychotherapists. Margaret studied under Bowlby, Mattie Harris, Bob Gosling and Hyatt Williams.

Her first case was supervised by Mattie Harris, her second by Shirley Hoxter and her third by Esther Bick. By the time she qualified in 1971 she was also pregnant with her first child and began working part-time at the Tavi and the Newham Child Guidance Training Centre. She got her first senior post at the Tavi in 1974.

By the mid-70s interest in child psychotherapy was growing and as Mattie Harris opened up training more widely, she encouraged Margaret to teach.

Margaret became Head of Child Psychotherapy in 1985 at a time when questions were being asked about how the Tavi fitted in with the wider NHS. In 1987 she became a vice Dean and was able to help broker academic accreditation for  Tavistock courses with the University of East London, building on the link made by Joan Hutton for her post-qualifying social work doctorate. There was a positive synergy and by the end of the 90s there were more than 20 Masters level courses and more than a thousand Tavi students on University of East London programmes.

In 1993 Margaret became Dean just as the Tavi became an NHS trust and won an NHS contract for national training. Suddenly the Tavi was taking itself seriously as an academic institution and for a period more than 70 per cent of its income came from training. Margaret had an ambition that child psychotherapy should not be limited to London and helped to establish the Northern School of Child Psychotherapy in Leeds and to support courses in Birmingham, Bristol, and Scotland.

She has written and co-edited a number of books and has been an enthusiast for the Tavistock book series as writer and reader.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Margaret Rustin 2020

:A short history of education at the Tavistock and Portman

Margot Waddell

Margot Waddell (born 1946) is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Visiting Lecturer at the Tavistock and Portman. She works in private clinical practice and previously worked for many years in the NHS, as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in the Tavistock Clinic’s Adolescent Department. In addition to publishing many papers and books, she has taught extensively in the UK and around the world, and remains strongly committed to this element of her work. For the last twenty years she has also edited the Tavistock Clinic Book Series (recently acquired by Routledge). As Series Editor she has worked on the more than fifty books published to date, a collection that represents a rich diversity of psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic subjects springing from the Clinic’s range of work.

Margot was born in 1946. Her father was a scholarship boy from Edinburgh and her grandfather had worked on the railways, driving the Flying Scotsman on its record breaking runs between London and Edinburgh. Margot’s mother was brought up under the Indian Raj. Both her mother and elder brother lived through the Blitz in London, and were traumatized by the experience, before they were able to escape London for Gerrards Cross. During the war her father was in the military and had fought in D-day. Then after the war he joined the Home Office.

Margot’s parents gave her a strong sense of community duty and her mother introduced her to the pleasures of literature. Originally she was sent to a girl’s day school, but hated it and eventually managed to persuade her parents to let her go to the local grammar school instead. Margot did well there and went on to study Classics and English at Cambridge, before completing a PhD on the novels of George Eliot and her intellectual background. Part-way through her PhD Margot suffered a crisis of confidence. Her best friend suggested that she might speak to her godfather, saying: “His name is John Bowlby and he works in London at a clinic called the Tavistock.” So Margot went and knocked on his door. He spoke to her very kindly for a while, telling her about his work, and then suggested that she went to speak to Mattie Harris about the Tavistock’s child psychotherapy training. At the door he turned to her and said, “And if you get in, I can be a sort of Godfather to you too.”

Margot enrolled on the Tavistock Child Psychotherapy training in 1968. Before starting she asked her tutor, Mattie Harris, what she should read before embarking on two years of infant observation. Mattie paused, before saying, “Don’t read anything. Preconception blocks observa­tion.”

Soon after qualification, at Anton Obholzer’s suggestion, Margot applied for a job in the Adolescent Department and became a staff member. She played a central role in the development of psychotherapy for the increasingly disturbed young people being referred for treatment. Her teaching about the growth of the personality became a greatly valued part of Tavistock training courses, forming the basis for her enormously influential first book. Later she undertook analytic training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis (IoPA), where she was supervised by Michael Feldman and Hanna Segal. In later years her teaching about psychoanalytic theory, particularly the work of Wilfred Bion, inspired many students.

When the Tavistock Clinic book series was launched, Margot and Nick Temple became joint editors and Margot continued as series editor after Nick’s retirement. There are now more than 50 books in the series, including two by Margot herself. This is a hugely important resource for those who study and work at the Tavistock, and many of the volumes have had a very wide impact, making the ideas of the Tavistock available world-wide.

Selected bibliography

Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of Personality, Duckworth, 1998 (Karnac, 2002)

Understanding 12–14-Year-Olds, Rosendale Press, 2004 (Jessica Kingsley, 2005)

On Adolescence: Inside Stories, Routledge, 2018
The Tavistock Century: 2020 Vision, co-edited with Sebastian Kraemer, Phoenix Press, 2020

Martha Harris

Martha Harris (1919-1986), or ‘Mattie’ as she was more commonly known at the Tavi, was an exceptional teacher and analyst. It is not an understatement to say that she was hugely important to the development and establishment of child psychotherapy in the UK and beyond, and also that her work was crucial to making infant observation a cornerstone of psychoanalytic education and a key to understanding both child development and primary relationships.

Martha Gemmell Dunlop Harris was born and spent her early life on her parent’s farm in Beith, Scotland. When she was eight, her family moved to Sussex, where she flourished academically, going on to study English at University College London. She often credited her literary education with giving her access to the unconscious and emotional experience necessary for a career as a child psychotherapist and psychoanalyst.

When World War 2 came she worked as a teacher in secondary schools and read psychology at Oxford. Then after the war she enrolled on the second child psychotherapy course at the Tavistock Clinic under Esther Bick. After this she also trained as a psychoanalyst of adults and children at the British Psychoanalytical Society with Herbert Rosenfeld, Wilfred Bion and Melanie Klein among her supervisors. Both Bowlby and Bick saw Mattie Harris’s talent and when Esther Bick retired, Mattie Harris was invited to take responsibility for the training that Esther Bick had established.

In 1960 she gradually set about extending the scope of the training of child psychotherapists. Her belief in the importance of Bick’s infant observation led her to the idea of extending this knowledge and training to other professions working with children in different contexts. She initiated the publication of the hugely successful ‘Understanding Your one/two/three/etc Year Old’ series with Elsie Osborne. The opening up of pre-clinical seminars to a range of interested professionals working in   non-clinical settings significantly expanded the teaching that the clinic provided.

During her life Mattie Harris married three times. The first time was during World War 2 to Harry Thompson, an ecologist working for the Forestry Commission. They divorced in 1949. Her second husband was the poet and English scholar Roland Harris (1919-1969), with whom she had two daughters. Then, after the tragic early death of Roland, she married Donald Meltzer and they shared a remarkable personal and working partnership.

From the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties Mattie Harris and Donald Meltzer lectured and supervised in Italy and India among other places,  helping to establish child psychotherapy training, following the Tavistock model, in those countries.

Martha Harris died in 1987 following a serious car accident. Her teaching and clinical supervision were profoundly formative for a generation of child psychotherapists and other disciplines at the Tavi and led to students from many other countries spreading this model of training across the world.

Author: Glenn Gossling/Margaret Rustin 2020

Mary Ainsworth

Along with John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999) was a key researcher around attachment. She is perhaps best known for her Strange Situation Test, which showed how attachment styles can vary between children. She made substantial refinements and extensions to Bowlby’s attachment theory and led to ground-breaking changes in how we think about the bond between an infant and its caregivers.

Mary D. Salter Ainsworth was born in Glendale, Ohio in December of 1913 and when she was five her family moved to Toronto, Canada. Aged 15, she came acrss William McDougall’s Character and the Conduct of Life (1927) in her local library and reading this book spurred an interest in psychology and a distinguished career.

She enrolled at the University of Toronto in 1929 and was only one of four to complete an honours degree in psychology. At the onset of the Second World War she obtained a post at the University of Toronto and remained there for three years until she joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1942.

After four years in the army she returned to the University of Toronto as assistant professor and taught introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and personality assessment. She became engaged to graduate student, Leonard Ainsworth, and they married in 1950. The couple moved to London and Mary Ainsworth secured a position at the Tavistock Clinic with John Bowlby in the Tavistock research unit. This meeting with John Bowlby was a working relationship that would span many decades.

In 1953 Mary Ainsworth and her husband moved to Uganda and she took a position as research psychologist in the East African Institute of Social Research in Kampala, where she conducted a short-term study of the mother-infant relationship. At the end of two years, the couple moved back to America, where Johns Hopkins offered Mary Ainsworth work as a lecturer, with an emphasis on clinical instruction and supervision. In addition to lecturing and supervising students, she set up a private practice devoted to children. Ainsworth became a full professor in 1963, one year after beginning the research for which she would become best known.

This research known as – the strange situation – was an experiment for observing attachment between parents and children. Children were observed playing in various situations, some with their parent present and some with their parent absent and then returning. The stress children felt without their parent was measured in terms of amount of playing and exploring they engaged in, as well as their reactions to the departure and return of their parent. Mary Ainsworth identified three attachment styles: secure, anxious-ambivalent insecure, and anxious-avoidant insecure.

Attachment theory holds that infants need a ‘secure’ attachment to thrive, while anxious attachments can lead to problems. She argued, on the basis of her research, that picking up a crying baby does not spoil the child; rather, it reduces crying in the future. Mary Ainsworth died in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1999.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Matthew Patrick

Matthew Patrick joined the Tavistock Clinic in 1990 as a senior registrar and spent a significant portion of his career as a consultant psychiatrist in the Adult Department, spending 24 years in all at the Tavi. He was the Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust from 2007 to 2013 overseeing a significant expansion of the Trust, with important developments across both its clinical, and training and education portfolios.

Over his working life Matthew had effectively three careers: the first as a clinical academic contributing to research and literature on mother-infant relationships and attachment; the second as a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, clinical and educational leader in psychological therapies; and the thirdly as a board level executive, first at the Tavistock and Portman and then the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. 

Matthew Patrick was born and grew up in London. He went to the Westminster School and then in 1979 to the London Hospital Medical College. While doing his elective in Sydney, Australia, the practical experience of child and family psychiatry gave him a sense of fit and connectedness that he had never had with general medicine which subsequently led to his becoming a psychiatrist.

When he came back to the UK, he completed his Undergraduate Medical Training at the London Hospital Medical College, receiving a 1st Class Honours BSc in Physiology in 1982 and his MBBS in 1985. He then went to the Maudsley to train in psychiatry.

He joined as a Registrar in psychiatry and quickly realised that the branch of psychiatry he was particularly interested in was psychological therapies. At the same time as working through his registrar period, Matthew went into analysis, which then became a training analysis at the British Institute of Psychoanalysis. He received his MRCPsych in 1990.

Matthew then spent a number of years as a research Fellow, firstly with the the Medical Research Council (MRC) and then with the Welcome Trust linked to  University College London, conducting developmental research with Peter Hobson as his professor. During this period Peter Hobson became the Chair of Developmental Psychology at the Tavistock Clinic and Matthew moved with him and completed his senior registrar training at the Tavi.

In 1990 Matthew Patrick became a staff member of in the Adult Department at the Tavistock Clinic and in 1993 he became an honorary consultant. After he finished his analytic training he then took charge of David Taylor’s clinical unit, one of the three clinical units of the Adult Department.

Over time Matthew took on more management responsibilities. In 2004 he took on the role of Trust Director. This gave him oversight over all the clinical services and responsibility for financial and operational performance and was his first Board level role. He went on to work closely with Nick Temple, when he was Chief Executive, on the application for Foundation Trust status and then managing the transition from Trust to Foundation Trust.

Matthew Patrick was Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman from 2007 to 2013. During his tenure Matthew worked to positioned the Trust as a contemporary and relevant organisation within the health service. Under Matthew the Tavistock and Portman grew year on year, successfully winning contracts and tenders, delivering more training and more clinical services.

After being Chief Executive at the Tavistock and Portman for a number of years Matthew was approached about becoming the Chief Executive of the Maudsley. After considerable reflection he decided to return to the Maudsley and finish his career where he started it. He formally retired from the NHS in July 2019.


Michael Balint

Michael Balint (1896-1970) was a well-known psychoanalyst whose analysis of the doctor–patient relationship and use of group therapy made him an internationally acclaimed figure.

Michael Balint was born Mihály Maurice Bergmann in Budapest, Hungary on 3 December 1896 and was the first of two children of a Jewish GP. In 1914 he began studying medicine at the Semmelweiss University of Budapest, but was called up in the First World War, serving in Russia and then the Dolomites, returning home injured in 1916. He completed his medical studies in Budapest in 1918 and also changed his name at around this time.

While studying medicine he read Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Tabu, and began attending the lectures of Sándor Ferenczi, who in 1919 became the world’s first Professor of Psychoanalysis. In 1920 Balint moved to Berlin and split his time between working on a doctorate in biochemistry with Otto Warburg (a future Nobel Prize winner) and the Berlin Institute of Psychoanalysis, under Hans Sachs.

In 1922 he started analytic training with Hanns Sachs in Berlin, but returned to Budapest in 1924 and began analysis with Ferenczi. It was in Ferenczi’s waiting room that Balint first met Melanie Klein

In 1935, following Hitler’s annexation of Austria, life became difficult for those with Jewish ancestry. Ernest Jones helped Balint and his wife escape Austria and settle in Manchester, but within a few months his wife died unexpectedly.

At that time Balint was involved mainly with child psychology and became director of the Child Guidance Clinic in Manchester. In 1944 he moved from Manchester to London, where he joined the Tavistock Clinic and began learning about Bion’s group work. He also obtained a masters in psychology, with a thesis titled ‘Individual Differences in Early Infancy’. Then in 1945, Balint’s parents committed suicide to avoid being arrested by the Nazis.

In 1949 Balint met Enid Eichholz, who worked in the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations with the Family Discussion Bureau, and they married in 1958. Together they developed what are now known as ‘Balint groups’: a unique, radical application of understanding regression in ordinary medical practice. Balint Groups emphasised the active search for causes of anxiety and unhappiness, and treatment by remedial education aiming at insight rather than tablets.

Michael and Enid also developed a form of brief therapy called ‘focal psychotherapy’. In this one specific problem presented by the patient is chosen as the focus, with stress was laid upon the creative role of the patient. This work formed the initial subject of David Malan’s research into brief therapies.

In 1968 Michael Balint became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society and died in 1970 while serving as President of the British Psychoanalytical Society.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Ms Nell Nicholson

Nell Nicholson is the headteacher of Gloucester House, the Tavistock Children’s Day Unit and Outreach Service. She has been in post since 2005 and has passion and commitment for education and mental health collaborations to support the development of children with complex and severe social, emotional and mental health difficulties. She has diverse experience of leading and managing in mainstream and special schools, PRUs and in complex multidisciplinary teams. She has always pioneered a commitment to integrated approaches to addressing complex social, emotional and mental health needs in children and families. When she was headteacher of the Pupil Referral Unit in Islington (between 1999 and 2005) she was successful in securing Children’s Fund charity money to set up an integrated mental health provision in the PRU. This was outcomes driven and the success of the model resulted in this integration being made a permanent feature.

At Gloucester House she has championed integrated approaches and wrote her systemic masters on multi disciplinary team work. She worked alongside Dr Kasinski to broaden the field of clinical approaches in Gloucester House and her commitment to this has never wavered.

She has led Gloucester House through some dark times from near closure in 2014 to a thriving, growing innovative service in 2020.  She has also developed Gloucester House Outreach Service that works with schools, networks and families to facilitate thinking holistically to support children . Nell also works with school leaders to audit systems and implement new systems in their schools around behaviour and staff support. She offers consultation to schools around meeting the needs of particular children and groups of children.

The service (under Nell’s leadership)  has a long documented evidence based track record of remarkable and notable success for children and their families with previously very poor prognosis/trajectory.

Nell has an MA, from the Tavistock & Portman & UEL, in Applied Systemic Theory which focused on working systemically with families and working in and with organisations. She has provided training and organised and spoken at many conferences about therapeutic education for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

:Gloucester House:

:A short history of child guidance in England

Nick Temple

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is the Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and was appointed in December 2013. He was previously the Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, the leading national mental health membership charity. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 for his role in setting up NHS Direct. Outside of his role at the Tavistock and Portman Paul is Chair of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network and of the Cavendish Square Group of the London Mental Health Trusts.  He is also a Trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Paul has worked in the health and care sectors since 1985, combining roles in central Government, the voluntary sector and the NHS. He led the establishment of NHS Direct, the nurse-led telephone and online information service that was established in 1998.

Between 2007 and 2014 Paul was Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness. In 2009 it launched the national ‘Time to Change’ campaign, run in partnership with Mind, which set out to end mental health stigma and discrimination and empower people to speak openly about their own mental health experiences. In 2011 Paul helped set up the charity’s Schizophrenia Commission; an independent national commission investigating the state of schizophrenia care in the UK, which published a ground-breaking report called Schizophrenia – The Abandoned Illness in 2012.

In 2013 Paul Jenkins was appointed as Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. At the Trust Paul has supported a number of significant developments. This has included the development and dissemination of, Thrive, a new population health model for children and young people’s mental health services. He has overseen the expansion of the  Trust’s work on training and education including a significant increase in student numbers and the launch this year of the Trust’s Digital Academy opening the Trust’s courses to wider audiences in the UK and internationally.

Paul has positioned the Trust as an important voice on mental health workforce issues through the establishment of a National Workforce Skills

Development Unit, commissioned by Health Education England to support the growth and development of the mental health workforce.  

Recently Paul has led the Trust through the testing times of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen massive changes to how the Trust operates, moving rapidly from face to face services to socially distanced, digital and online services.

Rita Harris

Rita Harris was the CAMHS Director of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and has worked for the NHS for over 30 years. She was a Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist in a fostering, adoption, and kinship care service within the Trust as well as an Organisational Consultant and Systemic Leadership and Management Trainer. Working in partnership with The Anna Freud Centre, Rita Harris was one of the key figures in developing the integrated multi-agency services that are the basis of ‘Thrive’ – a new model for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Rita then managed the national implementation of ‘Thrive’, which is now nationally recognised as a model of good practice.

Rita was born in 1953, grew up in Romsey, Hampshire and went to school in Winchester. She comes from a large extended family and links this to her interest in how we are influenced by and influence others (systems thinking). Rita read Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Wales. She then undertook postgraduate research in the Welsh School of Architecture exploring office design and quickly saw layout as a symbolic expression of social relations, specifically a means of social control.

Rita moved to London in 1980 to train as a clinical psychologist and from the outset her clinical interest was in working with children, young people and their families, known to social care. From the mid 1980’s, long before this work was recognised by services as so necessary, Rita was developing partnership services with local authorities, the voluntary sector and often young people themselves, providing mental health services in schools and social work teams. It was during this time that her interest in multi-agency consultation developed and in 1990 she completed her systemic training at the Tavistock and Portman.

She then went on to train at The Grubb Institute and took her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Cantebury Christ Church College.

Rita joined the staff at the Tavistock and Portman in 1996 and continued to work with children and young people living away from their birth families, the subject area of her doctoral research and much of her writing. In 2003 she took on the leadership of the Child and Family Department (later the CAMHS Directorate) and continued as CAMHS Director from 2008 until 2015. In this role she built strong relationships with commissioners and other agencies.

Her recognition of the vital role of schools in promoting mental health led to service developments and trainings in this area and along with colleagues, a series of international conferences bringing together the richness and variety of ideas of child mental health and educational professionals across Europe.

Although Rita stepped down from her Director position at the Tavistock and Portman in 2015, she has remained in the NHS as the Clinical Lead of i-Thrive and as a non-Executive Director of Kingston Hospital. She is also an honorary lecturer at University College London.

During her time at the Tavistock and Portman Rita’s commitment to integrated care and multi-agency working was instrumental in the development of ‘Thrive’. She understood the Tavistock and Portman as part of a wider system and recognised the creative potential of crossing boundaries, widening perspectives and recognising the strengths of others.

Selected bibliography


Rita Harris, Sue Rendall, and Sadegh Nashat, Engaging with complexity. Child and adolescent mental health and education, Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac (2011)

Book sections

Sara Barratt and Rita Harris, ‘The changing context of permanency: Unifying stories in the context of divided loyalties’, in: Narrative therapies with children and their families: A practitioner’s guide to concepts and approaches, 2nd Edition, p133-146, Routledge, Abingdon, (2017)

Rita Harris and Yvonne Ayo, ‘The role of a child and adolescent mental health service with looked-after children in an educational context’ in: Engaging with complexity. Child and adolescent mental health and education, p151-166 Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac (2011)

Rita Harris, ‘Surviving the task of management’, in: Organizations connected: A handbook of systemic consultation, p127-149 Karnac Books, London, (2008)


Anna Moore, Paul Jenkins, Rita Harris, Peter Fonagy, and Miranda Wolpert, ‘The crisis in CAMHS: Can I-Thrive provide a solution?’, p4-10, Children and

Sebastian Kraemer

In 1976 Sebastian Kraemer arrived as a psychiatric registrar at the Tavistock Clinic Department for Children and Parents with a degree in philosophy and qualifications in paediatrics and psychiatry, but little training in thinking. Learning from experience began here; in clinical supervision—both through a one-way screen with families, and from written-up sessions with child and adult patients—in work discussion, infant observation, group relations, and in John Bowlby’s reading seminar. In 1980 he was appointed consultant in the Child Guidance Training Centre (then located on the first floor of the Tavistock Centre) with three sessions in the paediatric department at the Whittington Hospital.

The merger in 1985 of CGTC and the Tavistock Department for Children and Parents brought together their two training rotations for senior registrars in child and adolescent psychiatry. As a consultant in the newly created Tavistock Child and Family Department he took on the leadership of this now enlarged training scheme (M2), which, besides several placements in the Clinic itself, offered other specialist experience at three local paediatric departments (including the Whittington), four CAMHS clinics, and four inpatient adolescent psychiatric units. It was at that time one of the largest training programmes of its kind in the country, and included quite a number of part-time trainees (all of them women with young children). For five years Sebastian was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s special advisory committee on child and adolescent psychiatry (CAPSAC), visiting and inspecting training schemes all over Britain. He was the training programme director for fifteen years.

Throughout these decades he worked in a very busy multidisciplinary clinical team with many inspiring colleagues, each joined by their trainees; a group relations event in itself. In 1999 he was a family therapist in the BBC TV series about the Tavistock Clinic, ‘Talking Cure’. He retired from the Trust in 2003, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of education by the University of East London/Tavistock a few years later.

Meanwhile, starting from a single handed post in 1980, he built up an emergency and liaison mental health service in the Whittington Hospital paediatric department. Besides psychiatry, the mental health team included child psychotherapy, family therapy and social work. It was fully integrated with medical, nursing and other colleagues, a selection of whom attended the weekly multidisciplinary team, always chaired by a consultant paediatrician. In this meeting, in addition to doctors, nurses and the mental health team there were the hospital specialist teachers, play specialists, safeguarding leads, medical and nursing students and sometimes a visiting colleague, such as a social worker or health visitor who was involved in the care of one of the patients being discussed. This liaison model was the basis for the first National Service Framework in hospital paediatrics. The team also led work discussion groups for nursing staff in the neonatal intensive care unit and on the wards, and for consultant and trainee paediatricians. After leaving the Tavistock, Sebastian continued at the Whittington Hospital for a further twelve years, finally retiring from an increasingly pressured front line in 2015.

From the 1980s onwards Sebastian has been writing and lecturing on themes related to his professional and personal development: family systems therapy and its relationship with psychoanalysis; the role of fathers from anthropological and cultural perspectives; paediatric mental health liaison; learning from experience in professional development; the fragility of the developing male; the damaging effects of wealth inequality, and the perinatal promotion of secure attachments. Papers on these and other subjects can be found at He recently joined Margot Waddell as co-editor of The Tavistock Century: 2020 Vision (Phoenix Press, 2020).

 His work now is largely facilitating NHS work discussion groups—in primary care, mental health, general medicine, and child health—and as a member of a ‘reflecting team’ of family systems therapists in a north London GP practice.

The Robertsons

James (1911-1988) and Joyce (1919- 2013) Robertson are best known for their profoundly influential film work. Their work documenting the impact of separating children from their parents, combined with several decades campaigning, changed the way that children’s departments operated, not just in the NHS, but around the world.

James Robertson was from a Glaswegian working class family. He left school at 14 to work in a steelworks, but from around 1930 he started attending part-time courses at Glasgow University, studying literature, history, economics, and philosophy. In 1939 he went to Fircroft College for the Higher Education of Working Men in Birmingham and studied the humanities. It was here that he met Joyce, his future wife and colleague.

Joyce Robertson was from a large working-class family in London. She too had left school when she was 14 and enrolled in evening classes at the Workers’ Educational Association. In 1939 she went to the Hillcroft college for working women.

James Robertson was a Quaker and during World War 2 both he and Joyce were conscientious objectors, working at the Pacifist Service Unit in East London with the victims of the Blitz.

In 1941, Joyce began working as a student with Anna Freud looking at her shelter for women with families who had been bombed out. Anna Freud asked her to research the different methods of childcare and write detailed observations on pieces of card. James, who was courting Joyce at the time, also got a job at the nursery as a boilerman, fire watcher and handyman and it was through this that he met Anna Freud.

During the war James took the Social Studies course at London University, taking the Mental Health Certificate at the London School of Economics after the war, and then training at the British Psychoanalytical Society, attaining associate membership in 1952, and full membership in 1970.

In 1948 James Robertson was employed as psychiatric social worker and psychoanalyst at the Tavistock Clinic in the Tavistock research unit, which initially consisted of him, John Bowlby and Mary Boston. Later it expanded to include Dina Rosenbluth, Mary Ainsworth, Christopher Heinicke, Rudolph Schaffer and others.

At the time, visiting of children in hospitals was restricted often to two hours or less per week. When James Robertson first entered a children’s ward to make observations, he was shocked by the distress and unhappiness he saw. It was in this context that he began his research on the effects of separation from the mother in early childhood. Over time he formed a theory about the phases of response a child goes through: protest, despair and denial/detachment.

In the early 50s James Robertson decided to make a film record of a young child’s stay in hospital. With a grant of £150 he purchased a cine camera and 80 minutes of black-and-white film. He had never used a cine camera before, but by 1952 he had shot A Two-year-old goes to Hospital. Over the years James and Joyce Robertson made a series of important films vividly illustrating the effects of separation and campaigned tirelessly for change.

Although James Robertson’s research was initially met by hostility from the medical profession, A Two-year-old goes to Hospital is now recognised as being of ‘national and historic importance’. It remains as distressing, vivid and relevant as when it was made.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

Wilfred Bion

Wilfred Bion (1897-1979) and John Bowlby are the two most famous members of Tavistock Clinic staff. Bion at the Tavi is most famous for his group work, but this was actually just one small brief strand of his work.

Wilfred Bion was born in Muttra in the Punjab and grew up in an Anglo-Indian family. His father was a ‘good shot’ who went big game hunting with King George V and Bion was wrapped in the values of colonialism.

As was customary for the sons of British Government officers of that time, Wilfred Bion was sent to England for his formal education. He found that ‘the cruelty embedded in the school system’ turned him into an ‘accomplished liar’ who could slip neatly into the different codes of behaviour of the establishment.

He finished school in 1915, a year after the start of World War 1. As soon as he left he took the train to London, went to a recruiting office and was devastated to be rejected. His father pulled some strings and in January 1916 he joined the armed forces. After training Wilfred Bion was posted to the 5th Tank Battalion and his first posting was Ypres.

By Christmas that year he had been nominated for a Victoria Cross, which was later reduced to a DSO (Distinguished Service Order) and was one of three surviving members of the company that had embarked just six months before.

After the war, the day after being demobbed Bion went to Oxford University and got in, largely he believed, on his sporting prowess. Although he enjoyed Oxford he was still haunted by his war experiences and night after night he found himself in a nightmare, waking up bathed in sweat.

Not long after qualifying a friend introduced him to the work of Freud. In 1924, when Bion enrolled to study medicine at University College Hospital, he already had it in mind that he would study psychology, but kept it to himself at the interview. At University College Hospital he studied the physiology of the brain under Elliott Smith and began his housemanship as surgical dresser to Wilfred Trotter.

While at UCL Bion also suffered a serious emotional crisis and went into analysis with someone he dubbed doctor ‘Feel it in the Past’ – a ’kindly man’, who kindly allowed him ‘to accumulate a debt’. Bion gained his medical and surgical qualifications in 1930, taking the gold medal for clinical surgery. He then launched himself straight into psychiatric practice.

In 1932 Bion joined the Tavistock Clinic and was initially employed as an assistant doctor without pay. He began training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy under JA Hadfield. Between 1933 and 1935 Bion treated Samuel Becket at the Tavistock Clinic and then in 1935 followed Hadfield to the Portman Clinic, taking up a post at the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency where he remained until 1940.

In 1937 Bion went to see John Rickman and began training analysis with him, which lasted until September 1939. At the time Rickman was in analysis with Melanie Klein and was highly influenced by her. Bion’s training analysis was brought prematurely to an end by the outbreak of the Second World War, joining the army as a Major. By the spring of 1940 Wilfred Bion was part of a team under his former director at the Tavistock Clinic, JR Rees.

Bion thought that he would be given a senior position at headquarters, but was ‘surprised’, ‘angry and hurt’ when he found himself ‘removed to a lesser post’ assisting with officer selection. In spite of this, his contribution of the ‘leaderless group’ was of huge significance to the experimental War Officer Selection Board and continues to be used to this day.

Again when there was room for promotion Bion found himself overlooked and took it badly. He asked to be transferred to a dismal mental hospital just outside Birmingham, where John Rickman was based. It was here that he and Rickman initiated the Northfield experiment. This was a radical experiment in group analysis that undermined concepts of hierarchy. The pair had not sought permission to do this so just six weeks after starting the experiment both Rickman and Bion were given 48 hours to leave Northfield and report to other postings.

In spite of this, the Northfield experiment has proved to be one of the most influential developments in group therapy and therapeutic communities and was taken up by Tom Main in the second Northfield experiment and at the Cassell hospital after the war.

At the end of the war Bion left the army at the same rank he had entered and returned to the Tavi. Here he took control of the Professional Committee and instituted radical policies of democracy where all senior staff had to be elected to post, founded the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, began further experiments with groups, started another training analysis but this time under Melanie Klein, relocated the Tavi from its temporary war-time location to a new premises at 2 Beaumont Street and re-organised the Tavi to get it ready for joining the NHS, not least by recruiting former military colleagues Jock Sutherland and John Bowlby.

Then in 1948, feeling he didn’t want to work for the state, he resigned. By 1950 he had abandoned his work on groups (though this was picked up by others at the Tavi who ran with it: Eric Miller, Eric Trist, Harold Bridger and went on to develop group relations). Bion began working with psychotic patients and expanding Klein’s concepts. It was during this phase of work that he came up with the idea of containment, or the container contained. This period forms the main body of his work and flows from his analysis with Klein.

Then towards the end of his life he had another creative flowering where he developed an epistemological theory of thinking – as a capacity for engagement with the self and the world, a capacity for self-reflection – the idea that the capacity to bear frustration is an important factor in the function of thinking, because if you can’t bear frustration you can’t think.

Towards the very end of his life Bion returned to his earliest experiences and tried to master the experiences that had shattered him during World War 1 with a series of autobiographical works. He died in Oxford in 1979.

Author: Glenn Gossling 2020

:Leaderless Groups

:Northfield Experiment

William Moodie

Dr William Moodie (1886-1960) was the founder and first medical director of the London Child Guidance Clinic. For just over fifty years Child Guidance was a hugely influential movement with clinics and centres all over the country and officers providing mental health support in almost every school. The London Child Guidance Clinic grew into the national Child Guidance Training Centre (CGTC). In 1967 it moved into the Tavistock Centre, with the Tavistock Clinic, but remaining a separate organisation until 1985 when the government withdrew its funding. Rather than completely lose such expertise the CGTC merged with the Children and Parents Department of the Tavistock Clinic to become the Child and Family Department. This combined department became the largest and most creative department in the field in the country. The other CGTC legacy that the Tavistock Clinic picked up was Gloucester House, which continues to this day as a highly successful and unique strand of work at the Tavistock and Portman.

William Moodie was born on 15 March 1886 in Arbroath, Scotland. His father was Robert Moodie, a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland and a mathematics teacher. His mother was Mary Lithgow, daughter of Donald Mackintosh, a schoolmaster at Shotts, in Lanarkshire.

William Moodie went to Arbroath High School, where his father taught, and then on to St. Andrews University. He was an assistant professor of physiology and a Carnegie research scholar in clinical pathology from 1910 to 1911. In 1912 his interest in neuropathology led him to the Maudsley Hospital, but with the outbreak of World War 1 service with the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1914 to 1920, took him first to France and then with the Russian Expeditionary Force. After the war he returned to the Maudsley, but his military experiences gave him a new interest in clinical psychiatry, particularly in children.

In the aftermath of World War 1 there was huge concern about child development. There had been around 40 million casualties in the war and this was followed by a Spanish Flu pandemic that killed between 20 and 50 million people worldwide. Many families were left without fathers or mothers. Beyond this, the industrialization of warfare and the Russian Revolution were huge shocks. The nature of society was changing and people were worried about a growth in child delinquency.

In 1927 Cyril Burt of the Maudsley Hospital founded the Child Guidance Council, which arranged for eight representative professionals to study in America, these included Dr William Moodie and Doris Robinson a social worker from the Tavistock Clinic. They studied the newly interdisciplinary technique of child guidance in America for several months. When William Moodie returned he set up the London Child Guidance Training Centre with the financial assistance of the Commonwealth Fund of America and in 1929 became the first medical director of the London Child Guidance Clinic.

They found suitable premises at the Tudor Lodge, 1 Canonbury Place, Islington on the estate of the Earl of Northampton and after the necessary alterations had been made the clinic opened in July 1929.

From the very start the centre emphasized a multi-disciplinary approach. Treatment was initiated by a diagnostic procedure: a psychiatrist reviewed the child’s physical and mental health, a psychologist assessed their intelligence and education, while a social worker examined the home environment. They then held a conference, chaired by the psychiatrist to agree what intervention was needed. This method was known as the medical model.

William Moodie remained at the London Child Guidance Clinic until 1939, when he returned to military service during World War 2, commanding the medical division of the British Military Hospital in Tobruk until 1942, and then the Military Hospital in Gibraltar until 1945.

On his return home he resumed his directorship at London Child Guidance Training Centre, and was appointed assistant physician in the department of psychological medicine at University College Hospital.

He retired in 1953, but continued in consulting practice, although he was physically restricted by repeated small coronary thromboses. Dr William Moodie died 24 May 1960.

William Moodie’s contribution to his specialty was the introduction and thoughtful development of child guidance in England. And in particular the development of multi-disciplinary teams consisting of a child pyschiatrist, an educational psychologist and a pyschiatric social worker, which is now accepted as a commonplace. His major published works were concerned with child psychiatry and included: The Doctor and the difficult child (1940), Child guidance (1946), The Doctor and the difficult adult (1947) and Hypnosis in treatment (1959).

Author: Glenn Gossling 2019

:Read about the Child Guidance Training Centre:

:Gloucester House: