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Scott, A. Young, R.M. (1988). Isabel Menzies Lyth in conversation with Ann Scott and Robert M. Young. Free Associations, 1(13):7-47.

(1988). Free Associations, 1(13):7-47

Isabel Menzies Lyth in conversation with Ann Scott and Robert M. Young

Ann Scott and Robert M. Young

Robert Young (RY): We wanted to achieve two purposes in talking to you. One of them was by way of introduction to the book and the other was to put you and it in a broader context — that is, to ask questions about how you got into these things and how you see them now. The first question I wanted to approach was: which came first, your interest in institutional aspects or analytic work itself, and how you've seen them evolve over time.

Isabel Menzies Lyth (IML): I'll tell you about my first experience of this kind. I did my first experiment at the age of sixteen, I suppose. Looking back on it, it seems a kind of portent of what was coming. I went to a new school at fifteen, into the fifth form. I had been there a month when the headmaster called me out of class and said he was going to make me a house captain. I remember thinking: ‘He must be crazy! There are girls here who have been in this school for four or five years and he's jumped me over all of them to make me a house captain. They must resent this.’ But perhaps he was not crazy. I did what had been done at my last school, which I must have valued but no one at my new school did. I ran the house through a committee of one elected representative from every form and all three fifth-form girls. The other houses were run from the top.

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