"I have a hunch – which I haven’t the opportunity of confirming or rebutting, but would be interested to hear the opinions and observations of others about – that a study of successful creative achievements in the face of opposing forces within the self – in our own patients or in the reports of others, will advance our knowledge of the mechanisms of environment therapy."
Presented here is the full text of a previously unpublished, confidentially-presented document prepared in 1971 by Dr. Marjorie Franklin (1887-1975), who had founded the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in 1966, and who had coined the term "planned environment(al) therapy" sometime prior to World War II. Dr. Franklin put the paper together at the request of the Planned Environmental Therapy Discussion Group, which met regularly at her home between January 11, 1963 and December 12, 1972 - 107 meetings in all, the minutes of which are held in the Archive and Study Centre. The paper itself is pretty self-explanatory.
As she notes, PET was the third significant Discussion Group she had chaired during her career, the first having led to the creation of Hawkspur Camp in 1936 (and to Donald Winnicott's introduction to residential therapeutic communities for children and young people: as outlined here). Hawkspur Camp is one of the recognised tap-roots of Therapeutic Community, and she presents some exciting and previously unexamined personal and professional connections in 20th Century therapeutic community history; as well as showing some interesting personal associations : HMP Grendon, Leila Rendel, George Lyward....Is there any reason why this energetic and influential woman continues to be virtually unknown, within the world of therapeutic environments and outside it?
Note her use of "Environmental" vs. "Environment" - still a delicate point among some; and an instance where small grammatical differences can create interestingly significant differences in nuance of meaning.
[A somewhat amplified edition has been asked for. MEF – Not yet prepared.]
Paper for Planned Environmental Therapy Discussion Group, March 19th, 1971
PLANNED ENVIRONMENT THERAPY TRUST:- its origins and “those others”
and about learning from success. By Marjorie Franklin
Having asked you to read an explanatory prologue and compiled a title and sub-titles, I feel rather stuck on how to continue! However I have set down some thoughts and incidents from my professional background that appear to have led me personally to think the subject of the Trust important and to have been hitherto neglected. I don’t mean that environment as a subject is neglected – far from it. One reads about it in the newspapers daily and hears about it on the mass media; there is a Ministry for environment, we are rightly concerned lest our environment be destroyed or polluted, we realise that a bad environment can harm mental as well as physical health; we sometimes beautify our surroundings by green belts, parks and gardens & better housing. We realise in a general way the importance of an environment of friendly people and the harm if it is hostile. The aims of the Trust are more specific, as I have tried to show in the prologue. I have scanned some recent relevant literature and have not found that adapting environment factors in the treatment of the sort of people the Trust is concerned with is acknowledged as a serious branch of therapy. Some of the psycho-analytical studies which I have been reading by Heinz Hartmann tell us a great deal about the relation of human beings to each other and to their surroundings, from which could accrue a greater understanding of value in treating “THOSE OTHERS” for whom intensive individual treatment is not available. I quote: “… a separation of the individual from the world in which he lives is totally artificial”, and “Human conduct is oriented to its environment …”. He ends a long essay on “Psychoanalysis and Sociology” (1944) in which he comes near to, but does not actually embrace (so far as I have read) an applied form of analytic treatment which would adapt an environment therapeutically to a number of “those others” in need of help, with these words: “… the relation between Psychoanalysis and Sociology … appears … to be … a dynamic process of mutual inspiration aiming towards new investigations which can prove fertile for both sides.”
My professional background was varied for I qualified in two professions: that of teacher, for which I trained under Miss Charlotte Mason, a pioneer of progressive methods, at her college in the beautiful Lake District of Westmorland. I enjoyed my training and made lasting friendships and I learnt much of value, including respect for children as persons. However, I did not want to teach professionally and after some social work and travel, I studied medicine, and a few years after qualifying I specialised in psychological medicine which I studied in America and England (in that order).
My professional appointments in psychiatry included two as a junior medical officer at some mental hospitals, work I liked and anticipated remaining. However my boss, Dr. Henry Devine, under who I was working as a locum, fortunately for me urged me to train in psychoanalysis. I trained in Budapest, under Dr. Ferenczi and also in England. My analytical training, subsequent practice and my membership of the British Psychoanalytical Society, to which I was admitted in about 1926, enlarged and deepened incalculably my understanding of human behaviour, thinking and feeling and the wide range of my chosen work, but it did not nullify earlier acquired knowledge. Like most medical analysts, I did not practise psycho-analytical treatment exclusively, but also undertook shorter methods of psychotherapy in some cases, and likewise held appointments of a more general kind. The latter, in particular, combined with my earlier experience at mental hospitals and elsewhere, increased my awareness of the position of those “other” people not selected for special attention.
My feelings of unease about this were increased after 1930, when I was elected to the executive committee of the Howard League for Penal Reform, on which I served for 39 years (till I retired in 1969). I was among colleagues who were forward looking and experienced and it was an era of reforms and progressive achievements. I did not myself work in large penal institutions and the Portman Clinic (I.S.T.D.) (of which I was a foundation staff member) is for out-patients only whom the psychiatrists see by appointment, and I did not hear about those crowded out of the waiting list. Through my membership of the Howard League I got to know many of the hopes, frustrations, disappointments and successes of contemporary penology. And, by the way, it was at a committee of the Howard League that I first heard of David Wills, as “one of our members in Wales” who was working hard in our campaign for the abolition of corporal punishment by order of the court! Little did I think – etc.!
I visited prisons and other institutions and welcomed the fact that social workers and psychiatrists were being appointed to some of them – a new thing in the thirties. But I had learnt that to change a disordered personality was an intensive, time consuming business. Besides the problem of numbers (several thousands in some places), it seemed to me that too many good and necessary ideas were being regarded as single panaceas, especially in the prisons; e.g. “work” in some places, unlocking doors in others. Even inmate participation in community management, or “self-government”, or “shared responsibility” does not cover the total environmental needs of those psychologically disturbed and inadequate, while to follow the slogan “thou shalt not punish” blindly, if it is divorced from intimacy and affection, sympathetic understanding and security can be very frightening for children, yet so helpful if properly applied. Among the central things that are hopeful about Grendon Underwood Prison is, to my mind, that it treats the totality of human beings, in the round, so far as it can – as was done at Hawkspur and I think the members of our group do.
I realise that it was from extensive explorative treatment of a comparative few by Freud and his followers that discoveries have been made which have transformed our outlook and knowledge of mankind. It could therefore be contended that the many patients who appear to have been untreated have indirectly benefited from the knowledge gained from these discoveries. But I was not a scientific pathfinder, but a humdrum specialist physician who had trained in order to treat patients as well as she could, and I still occasionally wondered about those people who formed the majority of the mentally and nervously ill, and of the delinquent and inadequate, yet were not selected as suitable and accessible for special treatment.
Well, I found there were other therapists for “those others”, not nearly enough, but still people of professions including teachers, social workers, and various others, who were pioneering in small therapeutic communities by environmental methods. I very much wanted to know more about what the best of these were doing, how far they had got and especially whether our laboriously acquired knowledge could help.
I don’t think I seriously thought at that time that I myself would be taking part in this environmental remedial work, but I suppose the seeds had been sown. I think that fundamental progress can best be made in small communities and institutions and that the Trust will do well to concentrate research mainly there. The results might be found applicable on a larger scale. I quote some examples that preceded the “Q” venture by a short head: Miss Rendel for maladjusted and potentially maladjusted boys and girls, George Lyward with adolescent boys, and among state projects: Llewellyn for North Sea Camp Borstal (largely building their own camp and reclaiming land from the sea), various open prisons for men and one at least for women, Allec Patterson on the administrative side, various ventures for the aged including clubs of which Dr. Lawrence Kubie (American psychoanalyst) has written about, and a good deal earlier, the work of Mott Osborn in U.S.A. within prisons – to take a few illustrations at random – and more recently day schools and hostels.
If you will bear with me – I would like to pass now to the second sub-heading, LEARNING FROM SUCCESS: chosen because it seems to have a relevance in the practice of environment therapy.
We are often told that we can learn from our mistakes, or failures, and it is true, we can learn from them, but I think it is rather a tendentious remark – a consolation perhaps for guilt or inferiority feelings. There is another, impersonal, kind of “failure” from which we all needs must learn. I mean the failure of our patients, of those who seek our help, to have attained, before coming to us, what they feel to be their optimum of health. But perhaps much depends on the way we look at a case, and whether something is success or failure may be but different facets of the same picture. I do not think we can accurately define mental health, but I think we can usually recognise it, and the many attempts that have been made to define it throw light on some of its ingredients. Anyway, whatever criterion for health we favour, no one is completely well, nor completely ill, and the latter applies even to chronic deteriorated mental patients. Thus whether we consider a person to have failed or succeeded in his life potential and achieved what was in him to achieve, or not, can depend on the facets of the picture.
I wonder whether any of you have noticed the pile of cards I keep in the hall? They were sent me from time to time as advertisements for a tranquilliser which, according to the advertiser, might, if only these tablets had been invented early enough, have relieved the nervous disorders of the painters, writers, musicians, statesmen, generals, inventors and other famous people whose portraits, or the pictures they have painted, are illustrated on these cards.
Perhaps it is true that in these people, selected from the roll of fame, there was distressful imbalance in the immensely complicated structure and functioning of personality, sometimes even leading to depression and suicide. But their names are remembered for other things – their fame is due to outstanding achievements and not to exceptionally interesting disorders: I do not mean that mental ailments are a necessary part of exceptional talents or genius. I think if – well, perhaps not the tablets, but some method of therapy which was also not yet discovered had been available, they would have benefited. In our own practice, too, whether as environmentalists or psychotherapists, we are I expect all sometimes surprised at the extent of recovery in someone of whom we had made a poor prognosis.
I have found it convenient sometimes, in my papers to the group, to speak of the “urge to recovery”. This is no new conception but a sort of shorthand for the behaviour of the various instinctive drives conflicting or integrating in tune with a maturing ego and super-ego and leading to the formation of new relationships and interests in life, with healthy development of both. I seldom use the word cure, but rather we help our patients to get better – pave the way for recovery.
I have a hunch – which I haven’t the opportunity of confirming or rebutting, but would be interested to hear the opinions and observations of others about – that a study of successful creative achievements in the face of opposing forces within the self – in our own patients’ or in the reports of others, will advance our knowledge of the mechanisms of environment therapy. One reason for the hunch is that these favourable results are generally manifested in relation to external reality, or to the environment, which is much the same thing in this context, so perhaps the digression may be forgiven.
I now propose, for the remainder of my allotted time, if I may, to proceed to give an account of some of the factual origins of the Trust, as exemplified by Q Camps, from my own angle, which will make it, I’m afraid, rather eccentric, but I hope not too boring.
I think it really begins for me in 1928, about two years after my admission into the psycho-analytical society. I was a member of the Royal Medical Psychological Society (R.M.P.S.) since my mental hospital days, and for a reason which remains a mystery to me, was put on its research committee. Although I am neither trained nor experienced in research. The relevance to the origin of Q Camp, and hence to Planned Environment Therapy and, indeed, to this group, is that one day, during a session of the research committee, Colonel Lord, the president, asked me if I would run a discussion group under the auspices of the Society. I agreed and obtained permission for membership to be by invitation irrespective of belonging to the R.M.P.S., though the name of that society was printed on the notices. In the event I think the majority of members were psycho-analysts and, or, belonged to the British Psychological Society, with a scattering of members of the parent organisation and some of course freelance.
Thus began the first and largest of the three confidential, informal, discussion groups of which I have been chairman, and of which our Planned Environmental Therapy Discussion Group is the third. This first one was named the Psychopathological and Psychotherapeutic Discussion Group, and met on the first Tuesday of the month at my consulting room at 86 Harley Street and continued for 8 or 9 years. Dr. Denis Carroll, afterwards leading psychiatrist at Hawkspur camp, and who became internationally recognised, was a tower of strength at this first discussion group, as he was with whatever he was involved, and was also helpful in starting the next one, which was contemporaneous (after about 1933 or 4) with the first, but outlasted it with some breaks. But I knew Carroll already and would have asked him to join Hawkspur anyway, so cannot claim he came from the group. I think Dr. Kubie, from U.S.A., had the record in never missing a meeting during the two years before he returned to the States. The second discussion Group, mainly for social workers, especially belonging to Howard League and I.S.T.D., (the latter formed in 1933) and including several of their office staff, as well as senior members, met every other month at my flat, in response to a demand. It continued for some years with different secretaries and at different places, though I was retained as chairman, the secretaries and hosts, after my flat, were Drs. Kate Friedlander and Huiman (jointly) , and later Dr. Schmiedeberg (those were members of the first group) and last Miss Ethel Perry. This second group was named the Social and Psychological Discussion Group and I suppose is more pertinent to what we are supposed to be discussing than the first undertaking, though all were of educational value to me personally, so perhaps this digression may be forgiven.
To return to February 1st, 1928, the first night of the Harley Street group, which soon was to grow to capacity, mostly by invitation from one member to another, and, though I had put a notice in the journal of the R.M.P.S., that produced just one person! That first night there were only three of us, Dr. Adrian Stephen, (psychoanalyst) who came alone as his wife was unwell, myself, and a newcomer who responded to the notice in the journal. He was medical superintendent of Northumberland House Mental Hospital and a man who, as I later discovered, generated original ideas and was especially interested in the study and implementation of experiments in community living. His name was Dr. Norman Glaister, and I have no doubt at all that but for his unexpected arrival at that meeting, I would never have been implemented in Q Camps or in what it led to.
Dr. Glaister came often to the discussions and soon drew me into his own interests, including a small study circle that met at his house and later interested me in Gryth Fyrd camp (subsequently called Grith Pioneers) which was to become the parent of Q Camps , for Q Camps committee started as a sub-committee of Grith. It soon formed an independent organisation, though on friendly terms with Grith and with some overlapping of membership. Grith’s aim was to give an educational experience for young men, in simple camping life, in accordance with certain philosophical ideals. This was in the nineteen thirties, which was a time of massive unemployment and poverty, and the ideals attracted some of the more serious minded of the unemployed. It was a private enterprise but the Ministry of Labour recognised it for training – as they did later on for Hawkspur Camp – and this was of much practical help. I became a member of the council of the camp near Fordingbridge, and got to know some of the men there. There was another camp in Derbyshire which I did not see till many years later. The Camp Chiefs of the Fordingbridge camp were in succession two brothers named Vere who gave up secure jobs to do this social work, the elder, Colston, leaving soon for Gower Social Services. He has been dead for many years. The younger brother, Leonard Vere, succeeded him as chief and later married Dr. Glaister’s daughter. Mary Vere wrote to me a few months ago, on my resigning from Grith Pioneers Council, and told me of the use of the Derbyshire land for international holiday camps.
Returning to the 1930s, I had for a few holiday weeks accompanied my friend Miss Gertrude Easton, International Director and vice-chairman of the Howard League, in the last two of her many annual visits to Geneva during sessions of the League of Nations in her long campaign to take up internationally the cause of improvement in the treatment in member countries of political and other prisoners and other persons deprived of their liberty, and also to sign undertakings to observe certain ‘minimum rules’ for their treatment. These undertakings were passed at the second of the visits I was at, and Miss Eaton resigned the post for Miss Margery Fry to take over, and I went to Geneva for a third time for Miss Fry’s first visit. I should mention that these obligations (or most of them) were taken over by U.N.O. but little observed, it seems.
My visits to Geneva were, I have felt, memorable and stimulating, but their object was to combat known evils and to demand a minimum remedy – albeit a high minimum if fully carried out. It made me the more anxious to do something constructive and to look for the maximum available for the best of our knowledge and powers and to try to increase these.
Thus I was very ready to use the opportunity Grith Fyrd was soon to offer. At this time the Government were opening more training centres for unemployed youth and the attractions of the high thinking and simple living of Grith Pioneers waned, so suitable applications declined. Instead the secretary was asked to take delinquents on probation or young men with difficulties in coping with life and needing a degree of skilled help which Grith was not formed to give, but whose needs he, Guy Keeling, thought we should try to find a way of meeting.
So, one day at a Council meeting of Grith Fyrd, Guy Keeling, reminding me of my connection with the Howard League, asked if I would draw up a scheme for this different kind of camp and form a committee. I had ideas, and it seemed something I really wanted to do, almost a culmination of some of the propelling influence I have described in this paper. I gladly accepted, provided Dr. Glaister joined the committee, which he did --- but even that was a kind of lucky chance for immediately after some one asked him to help form a children’s camp and he said he couldn’t do both and I had got in first! We got Cuthbert Rutter, headmaster of a progressive school and once a Borstal housemaster, to join as chairman, and I was Hon. Secretary. I stayed at Harley Street that night and drew up the scheme – later known as the ‘memorandum’ – working till 5 a.m. and having typed it ready to discuss with Norman later in the morning. That, I think, marks the real start of Q Camp (alias Hawkspur) to the bare bones of which David Wills, in collaboration with Denis Carroll, was to give life of a lasting quality as an expression of some of the ways in which planned environment therapy can be used. You know much of the rest, perhaps to repletion. An excuse for writing personal reflections must be age and that so few of the participants are living.
There is a point I would like to make – a recent publication states that David Wills was housemaster at Rochester Borstal before his appointment as Camp Chief of Q. This is a mistake, as he will remember. He was already appointed to Q and went to Borstal to gain additional experience during the time of preparation.
Similarly, Walter Smith, an appointed staff member, took a temporary post as Warden of a Remand home. To the early workers the whole Q Camp project was an important pioneer enterprise – I refrain from using the word “experiment” because of Dr. Carroll’s objection to that word being applied to Q, which he said had already justified its value and ceased to be experimental.
Its ending after so short a time, and its very promising successor having so short a life also was a cause of grief and at Dr. Carroll's suggestion [Q Camp: An Epitome] was compiled. I have felt touched and grateful at the serious way it is treated here, and I expect the other two are also. It makes me think that perhaps it was worth while, besides the benefit to the men and boys, and the families of the latter, who were there.
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1. 'Planned Environment Therapy Trust: its origins and "those others" and about learning from success'. By Marjorie Franklin. (1971)