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Obholzer, A. (1988). Fostering a Climate for Growth. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):186-191.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):186-191

Fostering a Climate for Growth

Anton Obholzer

My aim in this paper is to focus on the social climate that is most conducive to the development of the nation's mental health and how this might be fostered. I believe that psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy have a key contribution to make in the creation of this climate. No doubt they in turn will benefit from this, with greater demands being made on psychotherapists and psychoanalysts for both therapy and teaching, but this is a welcome side-effect rather than the reason for fostering it.

The present state of the nation's mental health is, I believe, truly appalling. 25% of all NHS beds are for mental illness. About 1 million people receive psychiatric care in the course of a year, and 69,000 children are in care. There are 150,000 divorces annually, and 1 in 5 children born today will have to cope with their parents' divorce before the age of 16. Nearly 3 million people are unemployed. 50,000 people are in prison.

In all of the above-mentioned situations psychological factors play a major role; equally each and every person subsumed in the above statistics makes a contribution to the perpetuation of the cycle of deprivation. The deprived, abused and neglected of this generation become the abusing, depriving and neglecting parents of the next.

Given the scale of the problem, I believe it is not enough for us to keep beavering away in our consulting rooms, clinics or training organizations. We need to take an active part in the public debate and in creating and fostering a climate of awareness.

[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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