After the war a new Interim Medical Committee was elected by the whole of the staff with Wilfred Bion as Chair to take the Tavistock Clinic forward. Under Bion’s leadership ‘Operation Phoenix’ was put into action. Radical democratic processes were instituted in the way that the Clinic was run that included the election of senior positions. New staff were co-opted from the military, particularly those who had worked on the War Office Selection Boards. These included: Eric Trist and Jock Sutherland, followed by John Bowlby. Bion initiated one of the most dynamic phases of the Tavistock’s history.
The Tavistock Clinic had suffered during the Blitz. Tavistock Square, Malet Street and the new building they had bought on Store Street, ready for further expansion, were all destroyed, along with most of the Clinic’s records.
First order of the day was finding a new home and in August 1945 the Tavistock Clinic moved into 2 Beaumont Street.
During the war Bion and his colleagues had begun to look at social organisation, so once back at the Tavistock Clinic he created a study group on group dynamics that included John Rickman and Jock Sutherland. In 1946 this work gave birth to a new organisation: The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) . Created, in part, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, it pioneered a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach to the behavioural sciences in relation to the workplace. The two organisations worked very closely together, sharing the same staff and same building.
At the same time the Clinic began preparations to join the new NHS. The Clinic as a whole expanded its patient base, opening itself up to patients from the whole income range. John Bowlby re-structured the Children’s Department. With the new colleagues from the military came a new spirit of professionalism. Many of the old colleagues from before the war left. This included JR Rees, and in 1947 Jock Sutherland became the new Director.