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Herman, N. (1989). Ilse Seglow in her Time: Reflections on her Life and Work. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(3):431-441.

(1989). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(3):431-441


Ilse Seglow in her Time: Reflections on her Life and Work

Nini Herman

There can be little doubt that without Ilse Seglow's momentous energy and drive there would be no LCP as we, who are the legatees, now take as a fact of life. Nor without that group of colleagues who joined forces in the early fifties in something of a wilderness, as we are about to see, could the several institutions embodying Psychotherapy as a calling and a practice linked but clearly distinguished from classical Psychoanalysis now be going from strength to strength. Before the years obliterate these vital considerations this tribute, doubtless overdue, is not to set a record straight in any partisan spirit but to celebrate ‘a wonderful generosity of spirit (which) was a keystone of Ilse's character’ as well as the devotion which her colleagues poured into this revolutionary enterprise.

Hopefully a day will come when that history is written in the detail it deserves. Some of the pioneers were colourful individuals. Many charitably gave their services over two or more decades to the cause. This sketch in outline may eventually encourage the larger task. My main intention, here and now, is to take the clock back far enough to sketch a rudimentary outline of Ilse Seglow's work and life: a life of vision and of strife but clearly instrumental in tirelessly meeting need in persons and organisations according to her passionate light. That the ultimate reward was often not commensurate with her wholehearted investment belongs to certain facts of life. I myself am one of many who remain indebted to her kindness, her capacity to penetrate to the roots of another's need in the creative here and now.

[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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