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Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Twenty: Teacher, Counsellor, Therapist: Towards a Definition of the Roles (1972). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 305-316.

Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Twenty: Teacher, Counsellor, Therapist: Towards a Definition of the Roles (1972). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 305-316

Chapter Twenty: Teacher, Counsellor, Therapist: Towards a Definition of the Roles (1972) Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

This paper—originally a talk—compares and contrasts the roles of teacher, counsellor and therapist, given an educational system which is deficient in containing emotional problems. Such containment, in any role, requires emotional awareness of the destructiveness within and a distinction between persecutory and depressive anxieties. The teacher's role is (primarily) externally oriented, but merges informally into counselling in “protected time” with either groups or individuals. The effectiveness of counselling depends to some extent on containing despair and loneliness, and injecting vitality and hopefulness. It has the advantage of mobilizing other external resources in the child's environment; its limitations are insufficient privacy and a reliance on conscious verbalization. Analytic therapy has the methodology to penetrate “the deeper-than-verbal transference of primitive anxieties” where this is what is ideally required, and the capacity to effect a “fundamental change in character structure”.

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