Archive Material from the work of the Cotswold Community.

Principles of The Cotswold Community

In 1975 Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, consultant child psychotherapist, enabled the one of the households to formulate some principles (not rules) to guide and inform their day-to-day living.

Need Assessment: II Making an assessment, 1970

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale’s discussion and examples of a particular kind of need assessment that came into being as the result of a collection of experiences at a school for deeply disturbed and deprived children (the Mulberry Bush) and in a therapeutic community which evolved from an approved school (the Cotswold Community).

A Critical Historical Analysis of an Approved School Transforming into a Therapeutic Community: The Journey of a Healing Culture

By Jessica Phillips Abstract This research project conducted a critical historical analysis of the Cotswold Community, an approved school that transformed into a therapeutic community treating disturbed adolescent boys. To do this, the study created a definition of a successful healing culture, it used this definition to measure the change and to track the developments […]

Therapeutic Communities, volume 32, no 4, Winter 2011

Contributions from John Whitwell, Richard Balbernie, Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, Eric Miller, Olya Khaleelee, Patrick Tomlinson and Dave Cooper. The Therapeutic Communities journal, volume 32, no 4, Winter 2011 is dedicated to the work of the Cotswold Community, which closed earlier that year. During the 1970’s and ’80’s the Community pioneered therapeutic care and education for emotionally […]

Interview with Paul Van Heeswyk

In the mid-1990s we decided to make a second video of the work of the Cotswold Community, “The Recovery of Childhood“. By this time Paul Van Heeswyk was the Community’s Consultant Psychotherapist. In this clip of film, Paul explains the nature of therapeutic care and the complexities of helping children with attachment problems.

Interview with Barbara Dockar Drysdale

In the late 1980’s the Cotswold Community made a film about the therapeutic care and education we provided, A Healing Culture. Barbara Dockar-Drysdale was our Consultant Psychotherapist (although reaching the end of her working life) and in this excerpt she articulates the therapeutic practice and principles. I am not aware of any other film of […]

A Journey In Therapeutic Care

By Patrick Tomlinson. Beginning and the Cotswold Community In 1984 I was returning to England after spending 6 months working as a volunteer on a Kibbutz in Israel. In Israel people would always be interested in asking what you planned to do next. I had a degree in Social Administration and had done some voluntary […]

Meeting children’s emotional needs, 1969

This paper was read to a large Home Office group during a course at Nottingham University in 1969. It brings together a lot of learning experience in a way which led me to further realisation. I remember my pleasure and surprise when I met so much sympathy and understanding in my audience (which included senior staff from approved schools). The discussion which followed was of value to me, and the next paper, ‘Syndrome’, presented during the same course also led to useful communication.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

Emotionally deprived parents, 1969

I have always of necessity and of choice worked with the parents of disturbed children. This particular paper was written for a course run by Chris Holtom at Bristol University for child care officers, probation officers, and others. My audience gave many interesting examples of experiences with deprived parents.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale.

The Management of Violence

This paper was read late in 1970 as my contribution to a seminar on violence run by the Department of Health and Social Security. The material at the end of the paper was an experiment for use in discussion groups, and was sufficiently successful for
me to wish to repeat the technique.

Internal Mental Space

This paper examines the notion of an ‘internal mental space’ in which to carry out therapeutic work in everyday situations with children and young people. The issues involved are discussed firstly from a theoretical perspective, examining some of the aspects that characterise the internal mental space. Secondly, the idea is viewed from a practical perspective using an example of an incident with a child that describes some of the difficulties the author experienced in creating and maintaining an internal mental space.

The Role of Food in the Therapeutic Aims of the Cotswold Community

By Dr. Faith Spicer O.B.E., M.B., B.S. | 1995. This brief description of the importance of food in the overall therapeutic philosophy of the Community, is written to clarify some points brought up in the report of the Social Services Department Inspection Unit 1994. I attended many meetings of the ‘Household Resource’ group as well […]

The X Factor

Unlike Isabel Menzies Lyth, Eric Miller did not write a “Working Note” after each of his consultancy days at the Cotswold Community. I guess this reflected his style, which was paying more attention to the process than producing “answers”. However, now and again (and it was very much worth waiting for) Eric wrote something, arising from his consultancy, as a catalyst for further work within the Community. This working note was written early on in my tenure as Principal (1985 – 1999). The concept of the ‘X’ factor was something we came back to time and again, especially when we sensed that staff morale had taken a dip.

Staff Consultation in an Evolving Care System

By Barbara Dockar-Drysdale | This paper was given to The Evolving of Caring Systems conference at the University of Dundee in 1973. When Barbara Dockar-Drysdale (Pip) presented this paper in 1973, she shared the platform with Richard Balbernie, Professor Ben Morris and Anthea Hay. Pip wrote this at a point when the Cotswold Community’s therapeutic […]

Intrapsyhchic Factors in Staff Selection

By Olya Khaleelee and Patrick Tomlinson | Published in Therapeutic Communities (1997), Vol 18 No. 4. Abstract The authors examine how a psychodynamic assessment method has been used in a residential therapeutic community for staff selection and development. The assessment method which includes the Defence Mechanisms Test and an in-depth interview, is used to develop […]

The Defence Mechanism Test

I was responsible for recruiting Residential Social Workers at the Costwold Community from 1979 – 99. We took great care to select the right people by having a series of informal visits and extended visits before making a decision as to an applicant‟s suitability. Despite this we were puzzled why people who seemed ideal candidates didn’t last the course. This wouldn’t have mattered so much except for the way it impacted on the children and certainly didn’t help resolve their attachment problems. This is why I turned to Olya Khaleelee. This paper, and the one she wrote with Patrick Tomlinson describes how the Defence Mechanism Test was used as a tool to gain greater understanding about the work we were asking people to do and the personality characteristics we should be looking for in the selection process.

The Management of an Evolving Care System

By Richard Balbernie. Richard Balbernie wrote this paper in 1973 and delivered it at a conference, “The Evolving of Caring Systems”, at the University of Dundee. When he wrote this, the Cotswold Community had become a therapeutic community but the ordeal of transforming an Approved School was still very raw and this comes across in […]

The Impossible Task?

Adapted from “Residential Care for Young People: The Invisible Illness and the Hopeless Task”, an unpublished paper delivered to the Reading branch of the British Association of Social Workers on October 22, 1971.

Physical Contact, Touch and Personal Space in Work with Children

I have known Jacqueline since we worked together at the Cotswold Community in the early 1990s. Jacqueline was able to “think outside the box” and intellectually “poked and prodded” at some of the conventional thinking within the Community. In particular, she raised awareness of the experience of being a woman in a therapeutic community that worked with boys. This paper about touch is a good example of the sensitivity and insight that she brings to an important and potentially difficult subject.

Needs of Staff, Needs of Clients

I have known and worked with Peter Millar since we worked together at the Cotswold Community from the mid 1970s. When I became Principal in 1985 it was obvious and natural, that Peter would be the Vice-Principal. When I left the Community in 1999 Peter became the Acting Principal. In 2000 Peter became the Consultant Psychotherapist to the Cotswold Community, working primarily with the staff teams, as Paul Van Heeswyk and Barbara Dockar-Drysdale had done before him. Peter is now a practicing Jungian analyst in the Cirencester area.

The Cotswold Community Farm

By Dave Cooper | Published in Therapeutic Communities (2002), Vol. 23, No. 2. Chance is a fine thing and often travels in unexpected ways. I first arrived at the Cotswold Community in 1985 to work as the farm assistant. 310 acres of arable crops and grassland surrounded the tight cluster of buildings that is the […]

Sex Education for Emotional Disturbed and Sexually Abused Children

The following work took place at the Cotswold Community which is a residential therapeutic community, situated near Cirencester. It provides care, education and individually-tailored treatment programmes that are designed to identify and repair some of the damage done to the development of the children in their early lives. A focus of the work is to try to enable the children to make connections for themselves between how they feel now and some of the possible root causes of these feelings, whilst being provided with clear, firm management and consistent, concerned, non-delinquent and caring adult role models.

Therapeutic Education at the Cotswold Community

Ron Dare was the Consultant Educational Psychologist to the Cotswold Community during the 1970s and 1980s. He took on this work following his retirement as Senior Educational Psychologist in Wiltshire’s Education Department. He was committed to a psychodynamic approach as the following short article makes clear.