The Tavistock and Portman: A history of ideas

Event overview

The Tavistock and Portman: A history of ideas

Tavistock Centenary

The story of psychoanalytic, psychodynamic and systemic thought is enmeshed in the story of the Tavistock and Portman. Join us for a lunchtime talk for a fascinating look at the history of our ideas with Sebastian Kraemer, Glenn Gossling and Sarah Helps.

Sebastian Kraemer will talk about founder Hugh Crichton-Miller, the early figures and the early days of the Tavistock Clinic. He will talk about the profound cultural changes that took place during the earlier decades of the twentieth century, in which the Tavistock played a significant part.

Glenn Gossling will talk about some of the early female pioneers and those forgotten by history. From the very beginning, women have played a hugely important role in the development and history of the Tavistock and Portman . A feminist perspective of history brings to the fore the women who played a vital contribution to thinking and practice in society but who contributions are not enshrined alongside male counterparts.

Sarah Helps will then continue the talk from a systemic perspective. From the child, to the dyad, to the family, to the system of concern, Sarah will chart the way assessments and interventions evolved in the child and family department at the Tavistock and Portman. She will start in the early 1960s and track from Freda Martin to John Bowlby to Byng-Hall to Campbell to Barratt and onwards to the present day. She will particularly emphasise social justice and a consideration of the social graces. She will also map what was going on societally that recursively influenced developments like dads being more involved, different family structures and diversity.

For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.

Our centenary festival will celebrate our history and explore contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It will consider how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion.

“For decades, the Tavistock’s work has helped shape how we see ourselves, as persons and as a society. Much thinking that has entered the mainstream emerged from its challenging, interdisciplinary research and practice.”

Dame Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize winner


Sebastian Kraemer, Honorary consultant

Sarah Helps, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist 

Glenn Glossling, Senior Communications Officer


1 to 2pm, Thursday 22 October



Book your free place on Eventbrite.

22 October 2020 13:00 to 14:00