Re: DSM: troubles at PacVillage

From: Ardeshir Mehta, N.D. (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Sat May 26 2001 - 18:59:51 EDT


Hi there:

Joe Jackson wrote:

> > One could think of
> > Homer Lane, A.S. Neil and be happy that they did not hold your beliefs
> > about therapeutic schools.
>
> While Neill was big on the integration of psychology within his school in
> his time, that aspect has, to put it mildly, faded. IMO, the fact that
> Neill performed therapy sessions on students was not one of the best things
> about the school, which has a great many things in common with the Sudbury
> school.

As I understand it, Neill was of the opinion that a good school
would be therapeutic by its very nature.

But since Neill in his youth was also involved with psychoanalysis,
especially when he was living in Austria and Germany, he tried his
hand, to some extent separately from his involvement as founder of
Summerhill, at healing students at Summerhill having specific
psychological problems.

If I recollect correctly, he also wrote at one time -- and that too,
somewhat ruefully -- that people were sending their children to
Summerhill as a "last resort", when the child was not able to "fit
into" any regular school. The implication, as I recall, was that the
parents did not really believe deep down about the importance of
freedom, but were willing to try anything in a desperate situation.
This, of course, resulted in several "failures".

In the end, though, he came to the conclusion -- with which I fully
concur -- that the one thing that worked best for healing, as well as
for the other sutdents at Summerhill, was the clear and unambiguous
feeling that was transmitted to them that they were loved -- and loved
simply for who they were, not for what they did or did not do.

One of my happiest memories was when I finally met him personally,
at a time when he was fairly aged, at Summerhill, after having read
in India (where I grew up) virtually everything he had written -- during
which interview he remarked to me: "Good Lord, you seem to know
more about me than I do myself!" I still treasure that remark as a
marvellous compliment, even after more than 35 years. The man was
a world treasure, and one can never say enough that is good about him.

Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/education.html>

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