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Hinshelwood, R. (1988). Models of Demoralisation. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):218-227.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):218-227

Models of Demoralisation

R.D. Hinshelwood

Therapy begins at home, and low morale is just as anachronous in a social science institution as an outbreak of typhoid would be in a public health department.

(Elliott Jaques)

This paper looks at psychodynamic aspects of institutional pathology. Some clinical illustrations describe a typical form of decline into institutional demoralisation which becomes permanent through a reverberation between individual personalities and detrimental institutional phenomena. This is a true psychodynamic process as it involves unconscious experiences, actions and effects, with consequent uncontrollable institutional states.

Mathematical models can express the patterns in a formal way. The ones used here are not original but are intended to demonstrate their use in prompting rigorous formal thinking about subjective experience. The ideas in this paper are explored in more detail elsewhere (Hinshelwood 1987); and similar mathematical models applied to other social and institutional phenomena are described in Postle (1980).

Institutional Crises

Rapoport (1956) in his famous paper on oscillations in therapeutic communities

Figure 1.

[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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