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Berke, J.H. (1987). February 1986 at the Royal Society of Medicine: The Arbours, 15+ Years. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(1):72-75.

(1987). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(1):72-75

The Arbours Association Anniversary Lecture 11

February 1986 at the Royal Society of Medicine: The Arbours, 15+ Years

Joseph H. Berke

On behalf of the Arbours Association I would like to welcome you to our 15th anniversary celebration. In fact in a couple of months' time it will be 16 years since the group was established in the spring of 1970. In considering 16 years of Arbours activities I would like briefly to review, our past - our history, as well as touch upon our present work and future plans.

The Arbours was founded by Dr Morton Schatzman, myself, our wives and others in order to provide personal, psychotherapeutic support, and places to live outside mental hospital for people in emotional distress. I would like to quote from a statement in one of our first brochures as it presents some of our motivating beliefs, beliefs which we continue to hold today:

We feel it is more helpful and humane to give persons who have been or could become mental patients a chance not to be seen as mentally ill, called mentally ill, or treated as mentally ill. There are practical reasons for this approach. The label ‘mental patient’ remains a severe social stigma. It may limit work, travel and educational opportunities. Other people - friends, relatives or strangers - behave differently towards those they perceive as ‘mentally ill’. They are often intimidating, rejecting or patronising. Furthermore the term ‘mental illness’ can be confusing and unhelpful for the people to whom it is applied. The ‘mentally ill person’ tends to take on others' unsympathetic attitudes and abdicate responsibility for his life to outside authorities or institutions, all to his detriment.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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