A therapeutic update

Having written the earlier piece, I find there is a source of interesting material about the Henderson Hospital:


And another interesting if less detailed site:



2 Responses to “A therapeutic update”

  1. 1 Craig Fees January 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Politics, policy and administration come together in therapeutic communities, in a particularly focused and essential way, with pretty rapid feedback in many cases. David Clark wrote the classic book “Administrative Therapy” from the standpoint of a psychiatrist and Physician Superintendent, developing therapeutic community wards within a fairly tired old mental hospital for which he had become responsible; Maxwell Jones (‘the father of therapeutic community’ – but not quite) took the three to a kind of radical extreme, and through administrative structuring and adroit aattention to the politics, was able to set in motion processes which ultimately saw the virtual elimination of a conventional psychiatric hospital in the Scottish Borders. As long ago as the Northfield Experiments, in which a number of Army doctors pioneered therapeutic community approaches within a military psychiatric hospital in World War II Birmingham, the essential intersection, analysis, and experimentation with administration, policy and politics was clear (became clear!) and key to the nature and success and failure of the innovations. The Henderson situation crystallises their significance. Perhaps there is material for a conference here.

  2. 2 mikerowe January 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Sorry for the slow response. Marking…

    Thanks for your contribution. I come at the subject with an interest in challenging public services to respond actively to the needs of their clients. I used mental health as a case study because of the particularly vulnerable nature of the clients. One of the key problems they face in doing this is the systems and organisations within which they work. At the same tim, and this is some years ago, colleagues at Nottingham Trent University did some work with the Prison Service on their financial management systems, training prison governors etc. They came across Grendon Prison and wrote on the very issue of financial constraints imposed by organisational forms. This is what prompts part of my interest in the Henderson Hospital case.

    As to a conference, yes. It is of such cross-disciplinary interest that we might think about this seriously.

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