The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training

Author(s) : Martha Harris, Author(s) : Esther Bick, Editor : Meg Harris Williams

The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training

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This is one of a new two volume edition of Collected Papers of Martha Harris and Esther Bick, which includes some papers not published in the first edition. The companion volume, Adolescence, by Martha Harris and Donald Meltzer, contains those papers by Martha Harris specifically related to adolescence.

Reviews and Endorsements

'These papers span sixteen years of development. They illustrate the conviction that detailed observation, especially as taught by Mrs Bick, is the basis of learning about emotional life. Thus the first few papers, while ostensibly describing the training of a child psychotherapist, are actually a guideline for learning about one's own emotional experience and hence of becoming a person. Mattie was very much inspired by Melanie Klein's teaching but was aware of the basic assumption groupings that arise, both internally and externally, through idealization of a great figure and which are death to individual thinking. Bion was an especial influence on her, particularly his idea of learning from the experience of tolerating frustration, and eschewing memory and desire in order to focus on the present moment.
The majority of her papers link experiences of infant observation with descriptions of analysis of child or adult cases. Each paper describes new aspects of the experience required for the development of an alive character. They are written in the concise, even-handed style of Mattie's personality and show her intense interest in the details that make each of us unique.'
- Joan Symington, Child psychiatrist and training analyst, Australian Psychoanalytical Society

'A sentence of Bion's that Martha Harris often paraphrased was that we should not worry so much about our inhibitions, but about our proclivity to inhibit others. Many chapters in this book put across most vividly Martha Harris' enabling talent, both in her teaching and in her clinical work.'
- Gianna Polacco Williams, Psychoanalyst; honorary child and adolescent psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic

'[Harris's] readers will have the experience of sharing in the thinking and work of a highly original and creative individual who frequently delights and astonishes the reader by combinations of simplicity and profundity. Her writings vividly convey the analytic experience with its excitements, tedium, bafflement and enlightenment.'
- Shirley Hoxter (review of the original edition of Collected Papers of Martha Harris and Esther Bick)

'If ever anyone had "greatness thrust upon them", it was the reluctant Mattie at the time when Mrs Bick left the [Tavistock] Clinic and it was up to Mattie to either take over or to let the infant Child Psychotherapy course fade away'
- Donald Meltzer, Psychoanalyst

About the Author(s)

Martha Harris (1919-1987) read English at University College London and then Psychology at Oxford. She taught in a Froebel Teacher Training College and was trained as a Psychologist at Guys Hospital, as a Child Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, where she was for many years responsible for the child psychotherapy training in the department of Children and Families, and as a Psychoanalyst at the British Institute of Psychoanalysis. Together with her first husband Roland Harris (a teacher) she started a pioneering schools counselling service. With her second husband Donald Meltzer she wrote a psychoanalytical model of The Child in the Family in the Community for multidisciplinary use in schools and therapeutic units.

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Esther Bick was born in Poland. She found her way to Switzerland during the Second World War, where she did her Ph.D. under Charlotte Buhler before moving to England to train as a psycho-analyst. She worked closely with Melanie Klein and initiated the Child Psychotherapy Training at the Tavistock Clinic which Martha Harris continued to nurture following her retirement.

Meg Harris Williams, a writer and artist, studied English at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, and has had a lifelong psychoanalytic education, working closely with Donald Meltzer. She has written and lectured extensively in the UK and abroad on psychoanalysis and literature. She is a visiting lecturer for AGIP and at the Tavistock Centre in London, and an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Center of California. She is married with four children and lives in Farnham, Surrey.

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