Where is the love? A psychoanalytic history of the Cotswold community

PhD thesis

Brown, K. 2023. Where is the love? A psychoanalytic history of the Cotswold community. PhD thesis Middlesex University Psychology
TypePhD thesis
TitleWhere is the love? A psychoanalytic history of the Cotswold community
AuthorsBrown, K.

This thesis presents a historic account of the Cotswold Community (1967-2011), a therapeutic community for adolescent boys who had experienced trauma and disrupted attachments. The research is a case study of a single institution, using archival research and some elements of autoethnography. The thesis examines themes of deprivation and delinquency, therapeutic love and hate, and the roles that men and women working with the boys took. The central question this thesis addresses is about the nature of therapeutic love, argued to be present at the Cotswold Community. The social utility of the psychoanalytic idea’s of Winnicott, such as containment, regression and the ‘care-cure’ to address children's difficulties are explored from a perspective informed by attachment theory.

The thesis begins by exploring the historic context of residential therapeutic childcare, the wider therapeutic community movement and approved school system. This thesis describes, and analyses the model of psychoanalytic treatment at the Cotswold Community developed by Balbernie, and Dockar-Drysdale for children who had been considered difficult to treat therapeutically and required a form of total cover. Delinquency is conceptualized as behaviour stemming from the multiple deprivations the boys had experienced. This relates to wider psychoanalytic discourse about delinquency being the result of privation or deprivation. The treatment model was based on Dockar-Drysdale’s understanding of the provision of primary experience, by the men and women working with the boys. Understanding of therapeutic love draws on the work of Fromm. Hate and rage are conceptualized as a state of panic leading to violence stemming from traumatic early life experience. The cure for this is the emotional involvement of the men and women working closest to the boys. This quality of emotional involvement, although complex, has the possibility of being transformative. Understanding this emotional involvement may be of use to the current generation of therapeutic community practitioners working with difficult to reach children.

Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Department namePsychology
Science and Technology
Institution nameMiddlesex University
PublisherMiddlesex University Research Repository
Publication dates
Online25 Mar 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted11 Jan 2023
Deposited25 Mar 2024
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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