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Tip: To sort articles by source…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Obholzer, A. (1989). Containing Anxiety in Institutions. Selected Essays by Isabel Menzies Lyth. Published by Free Association Books, London, 1988; 269 pages; £12.95 paperback; £30.00 hardback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(3):461-462.

(1989). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(3):461-462

Containing Anxiety in Institutions. Selected Essays by Isabel Menzies Lyth. Published by Free Association Books, London, 1988; 269 pages; £12.95 paperback; £30.00 hardback.

Review by:
Anton Obholzer

Isabel Menzies Lyth is this generation's best known writer on psychoanalytic perspectives on caring institutions - this book makes it clear what the basis of her reputation is, and why it is deservedly so. The book, the first of a two-volume compendium of her writings, contains some of her best papers, ‘The functioning of social systems as a defence against anxiety’ (1959), two papers on ‘Action research in a long stay hospital’ (1973, 1982), ‘Staff support systems: task and anti-task in adolescent institutions’ (1979), and ‘The development of the self in children in institutions’ (1985). Some of these papers have been added to/modified since the original publications. Additional social perspective is added by the inclusion in the volume of letters in response to the early nursing paper. Also included is her paper ‘Thoughts on the maternal role in contemporary society’ (1975) and a 42-page interview with the author entitled ‘Reflections on my work’.

The volume hangs together well. Robert Young who commissioned the volume and Ann Scott, the Editor, are to be congratulated on making this important body of work available to the professional public.

The earliest paper, the study of the nursing service of a general hospital, is as relevant as ever. In it she spells out the pain inherent in the work, the defences against the anxiety, and how these anti-task phenomena are presented as if they were the most task appropriate way of organising the work.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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