Child Care General Archive.

50 Years of Early Years Provision 1971-2021

Foreword: John Diamond | Contributors: Sonia Jackson, Gillian Pugh, Naomi Eisenstadt, Teresa Smith and Roger Bullock. Seminar held in March 2022. John Diamond’s Foreword to the report is reproduced below. The full report is included on the site in PDF format. Read 50 years of early years provision 1971-2021. The PDF will open in a […]

Organic Growth and the Collective Enterprise

By John Diamond | ‘How does your garden grow’. ATC Conference, Windsor 2003. ORGANIC GROWTH AND THE COLLECTIVE ENTERPRISE. Building on the work of Barbara Dockar-Drysdale to develop the new therapeutic task. John Diamond, Director, Mulberry Bush School. Introduction. This paper traces some of the key themes in the evolution and development of the primary […]

Punishments and Rewards

Punishments & Rewards – Consequences & Discipline (In Work with Children and Young People who have Suffered Trauma and Other Adversities) By Patrick Tomlinson | January, 2019. Introduction and link to full article in PDF format Introduction. This article aims to provide some food […] for thought on this interesting and complex subject. It is […]

The Use and Misuse of Planned Environmental Therapy

By Marjorie E. Franklin | Paper read at the Psychopathology and Psychotherapy Discussion Circle, 199 Gloucester Place, NW1, on December 1st, 1944. | Paper reproduced “with some omissions and some amplifications” as Paper 1 of the Psychological and Social Series, Edited By Melitia Schmideberg and Marjorie E. Franklin, London, 1945 The Use and Misuse of […]

Kitezh and the Therapeutic Community Concept

By Dimitri Morosov | Published in Joint Newsletter of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, the Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities, and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust. Number 8, July 2003. The basic unit of Kitezh is the adoptive family. In Kitezh there are currently ten. All the families share a common financial source, legal protection, […]

The Development of Self in Children in Institutions

By Isabel Menzies Lyth | Published in Containing Anxiety in Institutions: Selected Essays Vol. 1. London: Free Association Books (1988) | Reprinted from Journal Child Psychotherapy, (1985) 11: 49-64 The theoretical basis for thinking in this paper centres on a particular aspect of the development of the self, development that takes place through introjective identification. […]

The Importance of Child Care History

By David Lane | Talk for CCHAG Seminar, 4th June 2019. John Diamond asked me to speak about “an aspect of child care history you are especially interested in”. This invitation was generously open, and offered me scope to talk about whatever I fancied – Homer Lane and the Little Commonwealth perhaps, or the Standon […]

Building and maintaining the therapeutic structure, and some thoughts on the consultant’s role.

By John Burton | July 2018. In The Handbook of Residential Care (Routledge 1993) I wrote a chapter called “Creating helpful organisation”. It covered buildings, furnishings and decoration, using money, boundaries, public and private space, kitchens, bathrooms and lavatories, food and catering, team and community meetings, supervision, staff support groups, training and development, rotas, routines […]

The Meaning and Management of Endings

By Isca Salzberger-Wittenberg | Published in The Journal of Educational Therapy Volume 2, Number 3, May 1989. The subject of endings is rarely discussed, probably because it evokes the most painful emotions. Endings recall separation from those who are dear to us; they conjure up the passing away of relatives and friends and the notion […]

The Anti-group: Destructive Forces in the Group and their Therapeutic Potential

By Morris Nitsun | Published in Group Analysis, Vol. 24 1991. Introduction: The Foulkesian Tradition My training as a group analyst and years of experience running patient and staff groups have left me with the impression that while groups have great therapeutic potential, they can also be volatile, unpredictable and destructive processes which require considerable […]

Gloucestershire Counselling Service – Beginnings

By Diana Russell-Carey, Gloucestershire Counselling Service. Much of the content on this website is about therapeutic communities and how they were created, quite often, by pioneering charismatic figures. This paper illustrates a similar level of pioneering zeal and social entrepreneurship in the creation of a counselling service in Gloucestershire. Open Beginnings. The PDF will open […]

Patrick Tomlinson’s Blog – Professional and Personal Development

Patrick Tomlinson describes this as a “blog on our own development as a worker. What often gets referred to as professional development, but I think it is far more than that. […] I include workers at all levels who are involved with traumatized children. Carers, therapists, supervisors, managers and directors, among others.”

The blog is made available through this site in PDF format.

Patrick Tomlinson Blog – Therapeutic Approaches in Work with Traumatised Children

Patrick Tomlinson says of his blog: “This blog is primarily for individuals and organizations who provide services for children and young people who have been traumatized – particularly by abuse and neglect, but also from other circumstances. So on the one hand it may be of interest to a counselor, therapist, foster or residential care […]

The Quintessence of a Therapeutic Environment

By Rex Haigh | Published in Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 34 No. 1 2013. Rex Haigh is a consultant psychiatrist at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Bracknell, UK. This paper describes the necessary primary emotional development experiences for healthy personality formation. The paper is presented here in proof copy format. […]

Selfless Genes, Altruism and Trauma: Research and Clinical Implications

By Graham Music. From the Introduction… In this paper I will argue that psychoanalytic thinking might have underestimated the role of altruism as a natural feature of human development. Altruism does not quite feel a satisfactory term for what I want to describe; it might have too many connotations of philanthropy, but equally many alternative […]

The Study and Reduction of Group Tensions in the Family

By John Bowlby. New Paths in Family Studies. Child guidance workers all over the world have come to recognize more and more clearly that the overt problem which is brought to the Clinic in the person of the child is not the real problem; the problem which as a rule we need to solve is […]

Touch, Physical Restraint and Therapeutic Containment in Residential Child Care

By Laura Steckley. British Journal of Social Work Advance Acces, published July 7, 2011 Abstract The relationship between touch and physical restraint in residential child care is not well understood. Theories of therapeutic containment offer insight into the practice of physical restraint, the place of touch in residential child care practice and the impact of […]

Assessing the Needs of Traumatised Children to Improve Outcomes

By Patrick Tomlinson. From the Introduction… This paper is about the development of an outcomes-based treatment approach in work with traumatized children and of an assessment model to measure progress. In particular, it shows how a spider diagram is used to give a powerful, visual representation of a child’s progress. The work described has been […]

Clinical observations of the differences between children on the autism spectrum and those with attachment problems – the Coventry Grid

By Heather Moran | Published in Good Autism Practice, 2010. From the Introduction… This paper raises the issue of differential diagnosis in children who present with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Some of these children will be on the autism spectrum and some will not, their difficulties being explained by attachment problems. There will be […]

A Note on the Dynamics of a Family Business

The obvious and crucial complication in the family business is that the individuals concerned have roles and role relationships in two systems: as members of the nuclear or extended family system; and as owners and/or managers and/or dependents in relation to the business. Arising from these ambiguities there are various dynamics and processes that often lead to breakdown.

Communicating with Traumatised Children

By Patrick Tomlinson | Published in The goodenoughcaring Journal, Vol. 14, December 2013. Communicating with Traumatised Children is the text of Patrick Tomlinson’s Lecture for Foster and Residential Carers in Japan, October 2013. From the Introduction… It is important to understand the nature of trauma, how it impacts on child development and the kind of […]

Getting Better Makes It Worse

Every teacher has at some stage faced the frustration of seeing a child who has been showing great improvement suddenly relapse or a child who is doing good work deliberately spoil it. This paper is an exploration of some of the difficulties children face when ‘getting better’ in an attempt to understand why this happens

The Female Entrepreneur and The Organisation – A Tentative Hypothesis

Eric J Miller’s introduction to this paper begins:
“Over the last 25 years I have had the privilege of working as a consultant with a number of organisations led by the founding entrepreneur. In several cases this was a woman. These female-led organisations have varied in size, from a score or so of people to several hundred, and been engaged in differing tasks, in both the commercial and non-profit sectors. One had an all-female membership. They nevertheless seem to have had in common a distinctive underlying dynamic. In this brief paper, my purpose is to describe that dynamic and offer a hypothesis that may go some way to explain it.”

Youthful Misbehaviour – To Condemn or to Understand?

By Peter Wilson | Text of a lecture given to mark the life and work of Jane Blom-Cooper. From the Introduction… The main thrust of this lecture is to attempt to link the tension between the young and the old, and the tension between condemnation and understanding, with a plea for some kind of integration; […]

The Value Added Task

By Richard Rollinson | This paper was given to a conference organised by the Scottish Institute of Residential Child Care. From the Introduction… Several weeks ago I realised that this was a very special occasion, not simply because I’d been asked to give the opening and keynote address, and hence my ego had been polished […]

The Mulberry Bush as a Therapeutic Community

This paper was written for the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Mulberry Bush School, and presented at the Community Housing and Therapy Conference ‘therapeutic environments’ held in London, December 2008. The paper explores some historical influences on the development of the school and how these have shaped the evolution of the relationship between the theory and practice of the therapeutic task.

The Study and Reduction of Group Tensions in the Family – John Bowlby

Child guidance workers all over the world have come to recognize more and more clearly that the overt problem which is brought to the Clinic in the person of the child is not the real problem; the problem which as a rule we need to solve is the tension among all the different members of the family. Child guidance is thus concerned not with children but with the total family structure of the child who is brought for treatmen

The Healthy Organization by Eric Miller

Eric Miller.

This is based on a talk given at the Clinical Psychology and Organizational Consultancy conference on “What makes a healthy organization – models for intervention”. April 27, 1993.

Play as therapy in child care, 1967

I read this paper last summer (1967) to a child care course at the North-western Polytechnic. This was in itself a rewarding experience, and has been followed by a series of seminars during which I have been able to discuss the paper with members of my audience, in terms of their own experience.

I think that a definition can usefully be made between spontaneous play, therapeutic play groups, and play therapy: and that therapeutic play groups could make a valuable contribution to residential child care in homes, school and hostels.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale.

The possibility of regression in a structured environment, 1963

These notes were written during a difficult time, when it seemed that the Mulberry Bush would have to be turned from an organism into an organisation. I was attempting to adjust to changes which I found intolerable. This paper was an attempt to come to terms with a deeply altered emotional climate. These were problems for everyone concerned with the Mulberry Bush during this phase of development, many of which have now been resolved.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

Residential treatment of frozen children

This paper was built up from a short communication read in 1956 to the British Association of Scientists. I remember my horror and amusement when I found comments on the ‘frozen children’ in a daily newspaper, which described them as ‘leading a Jekyll and Hyde existence’.

In fact, the realisation in this paper proved of very great importance, since the dawning understanding of one category of unintegrated children helped us to recognise others. It was at this point that I met the Winnicotts: I had a discussion with both of them about ‘frozen’ children, when they confirmed and clarified much that I was as yet only seeing ‘though a glass darkly’.

This paper was also published in the British Journal of Delinquency. I think my main object – in the first place, at all events – was to insist that people should realise what it was like to live and work with such children.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

The provision of primary experience in a therapeutic school, 1966

This paper is in a sense a summary of everything I had thought and written up to this point: it is also a statement about the Mulberry Bush School and the people who worked there during an important period. I found this a difficult paper to write (I read the communication in its original form to the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic): several years passed before I could clarify and arrange the material for publication – I was too emotionally involved to find this an easy task. Had it not been for the skill and endurance of Mrs Elizabeth Irvine I am sure it would never have reached its final form: at which point the paper was published in the ‘Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry’.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

Only Connect

A sexually abused girls’ rediscovery of memory and meaning as she works towards the transition from a therapeutic community to a foster family.

Joined-up Psychotherapy

I would like to share some attempts to ‘join-up’ therapeutic experience around young children resident in a therapeutic community. I will describe the community, and talk in some detail about the work with two of the children. What I particularly want to focus on is the way that individual psychotherapy is truly only a part of a more total therapeutic experience, and how vital it is for the child that all the adults involved in their care to talk, think and act with a common understanding and a shared purpose.

How does a group learn to work together?

By Ben Morris. This paper was made available to the staff at the Cotswold Community in the mid-70s, by Ben Morris, who did some occasional training and consultancy work there. I don’t know if it was ever published. I have continued to find this paper very useful and come back to it time and again, […]

The Trouble with Teenagers – A guide to caring for disturbed adolescents

By Melvyn Rose. Forward. By Barbara Kahan, OBE, MA (Cantab), M(Univ) co-author of The Pindown Experience and the Protection of Children. You can read this book in two hours or so, which means that even busy managers as well as tired residential staff have time to do so. It is worth finding the time because […]

The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School

Bruno Bettelheim wrote a considerable amount about the work of the Orthogenic School. In this paper his successor provides a useful summary, overview or snapshot of the Orthogenic School. I’m not aware of a similar paper by Bettelheim.

Working with Anxiety in a Primary Residential Special School

The title of this paper is deliberately ambiguous. It leaves open the question of “whose anxiety” I am referring to. Working with deprived and emotionally disturbed children can be a painful as well as a rewarding experience. In order to understand the children, it is important to understand the many conflicting feelings they arouse in the adults who work with them and to accept that the communication of their unhappiness, anger, fear and despair to these adults is necessary if they are to recover. In this paper I wish to explore the many ways in which these feelings can be expressed and the manner in which professionals work with, and respond to, them.

Using Regression in Foster Care

Pirjo lives and works in Finland (Tampere). I first met her in the late 1990s when she visited the Cotswold Community among other therapeutic communities in England. Pirjo has, for several years, run an annual conference in Tampere. I have had the
pleasure of presenting material at two of her conferences. Other contributors have been Paul Van Heeswyk, Richard Bowlby and Dan Hughes. This paper is an interesting example of her work. She has since become a fully qualified Theraplay therapist.


Greenacres (Calne, Wiltshire), formerly a Community Home with Education (CHE) and prior to that an Approved School, no longer exists. Isabel Menzies Lyth, who was already a consultant to the Cotswold Community, was brought in to consult on the attempt to transform Greenacres from a “run-of-the-mill” CHE to a planned
therapeutic environment. I have deliberately not used the term “therapeutic community” because I don’t recall that being on the agenda. I think this document is a very good example of Isabel’s style of management consultancy. Naming it “management consultancy” doesn’t do justice to the breadth and depth of the knowledge and experience she brings to this role. It is also a good example of how the production of “Working Notes” following a period of intense consultancy work, identifies “work in progress” and the agenda of work she would expect the staff team to pursue between consultancies.

The Accident that could just be a Decipherable Hint

In the 80s, the Guardian used to run a regular column, “Body and Soul”. One of the regular contributors was the psychotherapist, Peter Tatham. He took everyday things or events and gave them a psychodynamic interpretation. This is what he said about,“accidents”.

Consultancy: Understanding Resistance

The paper is an extract from “Flawless Consulting: a guide to getting your expertise used” by Peter Block. I was given this paper while at the Cotswold Community and found it a useful reminder of the various forms that resistance can take – some obvious and some much more subtle forms.

The Community Meeting

One of the great benefits of attending the regular meetings of Directors, of the various therapeutic communities that made up the Charterhouse Group, was the opportunity it gave to share good practice or indeed to share things that were found not to work. The Cotswold Community, during the years that I was there (1972 – 1999) did not have regular whole community meetings as part of its therapeutic programme. Each of the four group living households had regular household meetings, which were mini-community meetings. I became very interested in discussing this with David Dean who was Principal of Raddery, a school for children with special needs run on therapeutic community lines on the Black Isle in Scotland. I asked David if he would write down the key features of their community meetings, which he did in a letter to me on the 7 May 1990. The following is extracted from that letter.

Residential Treatment: A Total Therapy

At the time of writing this paper Melvyn Rose was the Director of Peper Harow therapeutic community. Like the Cotswold Community, Peper Harow had been an Approved School and had to go through a similar dramatic transformation. Both communities took heart from one another through the hard times, of which there were many.

The Loneliness of the Leader

After I became Principal of the Cotswold Community in 1985 I regularly attended the residential Windsor Conference (organised by the Association of Therapeutic Communities) at Cumberland Lodge in early September each year. In the spirit of therapeutic communities everyone was encouraged to participate. It was where I gained some confidence, still fragile I have to say, in writing and speaking to a group. It was possible to take a paper, still in draft form, present it at the conference and from the ensuing discussion complete it and submit it for publication in the journal. An excellent process I think.
One of the many pleasures at the Windsor Conference was the opportunity to renew friendships among the substantial contingent who attended from the Netherlands. Hany Eykman was held in high regard. As a result of ill health he had missed several conferences but he returned to deliver this paper which was well received. As a leader of a therapeutic community myself, I could relate very well to this paper.

Helplessness in the Helpers

I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of this paper during my first year at the Cotswold Community. There were many times I felt completely useless and helpless in attempting to meet the needs of emotionally unintegrated boys. Reading this paper helped to find the courage to continue and during my career I have read it several times.

Groups Stay Poles Apart

Having spent a working lifetime in groups I was very interested in this short article by Charles Gibb. I found myself in sympathy with the view that groups don’t tend to achieve consensus by going for moderation. It also chimed for me with Morris Nitsun’s work on “The Anti-Group”.

Task and Anti-Task in Adolescent Institutions

Isabel Menzies Lyth had been a consultant to the Cotswold Community for several years when she wrote this paper, and clearly the difficult transformation of an Approved School into a therapeutic community provided several examples used by her in this paper. For a full appreciation of her contribution to the development of the Cotswold see, “The experience of external consultancy in a therapeutic community for children”, in the Papers section of this website.

Routines, Limits and Anchor Points

This booklet was first published in 1956 and reprinted in 1974. I still find it useful because of the detailed approach to everyday issues and how these can be used therapeutically. At the time this was written there weren’t the same concerns as there are today in relation to the physical management of children and smoking, for example. Allowing for these differences, there is much that is worthwhile within this booklet. I have included the entire text of the booklet on this site.

“United we stand…..?” Stress in Residential Work with Disturbed Children

This quotation, “United we stand, divided we fall”, (from a speech by Winston Churchill), is not intended as a rally cry, but as an attempt to raise some key questions that we need to consider regarding staff support and development. For example: – Do we really need it? and if so – Why? If we need support in our work – then why doesn’t the butcher, baker and candlestick maker also need support? If we don’t help each other in our work with the children in our care, does it necessarily mean that the second part of the quotation “divided we fall” is a natural consequence?