[This was published anonymously on the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre's website in 1997, as the first entry in a "From the Archives" series]

1. Comment: Denis Carroll and the Second Northfield Experiment.

The origin of the term "therapeutic community" is generally associated with the two extremely influential experiments at the Northfield Military Psychiatric Hospital during the Second World War, and particularly the second. For more information on these see "1946: The Papers That Launched the Therapeutic Community", a special commemorative issue of the journal Therapeutic Communities (17:2, 1996) based on the May 1946 issue of the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic (which was devoted to the pioneering work at Northfield); and the subsequent issue, Therapeutic Communities 17:3 (1996), in which there are further commemorative papers. 

What is not so generally recognised is the amount of "therapeutic community" activity which was going on in Britain well before the Northfield Experiments and the war, though without the benefit of the term "therapeutic community", and for the most part, apparently, outside the realm of the psychiatric hospital.

One of these experiments was Hawkspur Camp, set up by the Q-Camp Committee in 1936 on a rural site in Essex for the treatment of delinquent and difficult young men. It ran until 1940, when the war effectively brought it to an end. The Camp Chief was W. David Wills, who wrote of it in The Hawkspur Experiment and later went on to create therapeutic communities for disturbed children at Barns House, near Peebles in Scotland, and at Bodenham Manor, in Herefordshire, writing books about both (see below). He was one of the founding Trustees of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, the founder of which, Dr. Marjorie Franklin, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, had been the Honorary Secretary of the Q-Camps Committee.

Denis Carroll was the Commanding Officer at Northfield from March 17, 1944 until the end of December 1944 or the beginning of January, 1945, and S.H. Foulkes thanks him in his Introduction to Group-Analytic Psychotherapy(1948), p. 18, for his "active interest and support". Indeed, Dr. Tom Harrison (unpublished manuscript held at the Archive) suggests that "The first step in the earliest phase of the Second Experiment was a series of organisational changes (probably initiated by the Commanding Officer, Dennis Carroll)..."

Before the war, Denis Carroll had been actively involved as a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst with Hawkspur Camp as a member of the Q-Camp Selection and Treatment Committee, the meetings of which he hosted and chaired. He also treated a number of the residents of the camp, and was instrumental in establishing the second Hawkspur, this one for maladjusted boys, founded in 1944.

According to David Wills, in a typescript paper dating from 1978 and held in the Archive ("The Moral Perspective", PP/WDW 3A/3.6):

"Carroll was a brilliant young man whose star was in the ascendant in the psychiatric field, who put at their [Q-Camp's] disposal all the resources of the ISTD [Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency], of which the Portman Clinic was at that time an integral part. Carroll however did not join the committee, but he gave ungrudgingly and instintingly [sic] of his professional skills and expertise, which were considerable."

Marjorie Franklin had known Carroll for some years, presumably through the ISTD, of which they were both founding staff members, and he the Medical Director. In 1928 she was asked to join the Research Committee of the Royal Medical Psychological Society, and then agreed to run a subgroup, the "Psychopathological and psychotherapeutic discussion group". She says of this ("Paper for Planned Environment Therapy Discussion Group, March 19th 1971"; ts):

"Dr. Denis Carroll, afterwards leading psychiatrist at Hawkspur Camp, and who later became internationally recognised, was a tower of strength at this first discussion group, as he was with whatever he was involved in, and he was also helpful in starting the next one...the Social and Psychological Discussion Group..."

(other members of which included Kate Friedlander and Melitta Schmideberg). In the same paper she speaks of:

"...the real start of Q-Camp (alias Hawkspur) to the bare bones of which David Wills, in collaboration with Denis Carroll, was to give life of a lasting quality as an expression of some of the ways in which planned environment therapy can be used."

"...To the early workers the whole Q-Camp project was an important pioneer enterprise - I refrain from using the word 'experiment' because of Dr. Carroll's objections to that word being applied to Q which he said had already justified its value and ceased to be experimental."

At Carroll's suggestion a small monograph, Q-Camp: An Experiment in Group Living with Maladjusted and Anti-Social Young Men (1943) was put together and in another paper ("Planned Environment Therapy Trust, its origins, and 'those others' and about learning from success (especially successful achievements of persons under stress)"; ts.), Franklin says that Carroll could not contribute a chapter because

"he was still engaged in his military service duties in charge of the Military Hospital and Psychiatric Training Centre at Northfield, Birmingham. His commanding officer read the first edition of the book and commented favourably on it as 'what we ought to do here'."

In his talk for Marjorie Franklin's memorial meeting in 1975 (PP/WDW 3A/10.46), David Wills said:

"Marjorie Franklin developed these ideas in collaboration with the late Dr. Dennis [sic] Carroll, who took them with him to Northfield Hospital during the war. Much has been written about concepts - such as the idea of the therapeutic community - deriving from that fertile breeding ground, but so far as I am aware none of those writings makes any mention of Dennis [sic] Carroll, much less of Marjorie Franklin."

In a footnote to the 1966 edition of Q-Camp Marjorie Franklin wrote:

"During the war Dr. Carroll was in charge of an R.A.M.C. psychiatric hospital. He told, with humour, how his Colonel showed him the newly published 'Q-Camp' (first edition of this pamphlet) and advised Major Carroll to use the methods! Perhaps Q's influence was more widespread than we knew."

All quoted archival sources are from publicly available collections held by the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre.

Non-archival sources, which are available in the Study Centre Reference Library and, where indicated by links, from the Bookstall:

FOULKES, S.H., Introduction to Group-Analytic Psychotherapy, Wm. Heinemann Medical Books (London), 1948.

FRANKLIN, Marjorie, ed., Q-Camp: An Experiment in Group Living with Maladjusted and Anti-Social Young Men, Planned Environment Therapy Trust 1966 (orig. 1943).

WILLS, W. David, The Hawkspur Experiment, George Allen and Unwin (London), 1967 (orig. 1941).

WILLS, W. David, The Barns Experiment, George Allen and Unwin (London), 1945.

WILLS, W. David, Throw Away Thy Rod: Living With Difficult Children [Bodenham Manor], Victor Gollancz (London), 1960.



The article can be found in situ here: http://web.archive.org/web/19991008151858/http://www.pettarchiv.org.uk/fa1.htm