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Pines, M. (1987). Change and Innovation, Decay and Renewal in Psychotherapy: (The Arbours Lecture - 11 February 1986). Brit. J. Psychother., 4(1):76-85.

(1987). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(1):76-85

Change and Innovation, Decay and Renewal in Psychotherapy: (The Arbours Lecture - 11 February 1986)

Malcolm Pines

How, I ask myself, am I to celebrate a 15th anniversary. 15 years is too old for a Barmitzvah address, that mixture of congratulations and warnings fit for the onset of puberty; perhaps an early coming of age would be more appropriate; for an Institution 15 years' duration is already quite lengthy. Having been given a free hand by the organisers to choose my own subject I thought my somewhat elaborate title appropriate for the celebration of an organisation that stands for innovation and change in the understanding and treatment of disorders of mental and emotional life. My intention is to present psychotherapy as an historical process, a process of development but also of decay in our understanding of the mind. We so often take progress and development for granted, that what we do today must be an advance of heretofore, that we build on the solid foundations left to us by our forefathers. May this not, however, turn out to be a wish fulfilment, an illusion, a family romance of psychotherapy in which we count ourselves lucky to be the inheritors of royal mantles. A harder look at our own history may give us a different picture, then we can heed the warning given to us by Santayana, for those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

So I turned to the history that I know best, which is my own personal history in psychotherapy.

In 1953, during my psychoanalytical training, I was invited to select two books as gifts to myself from the Ella Freeman Sharp Memorial Fund.

[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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