cropped IMG 1293

Back in 2000 Brian Gannon of CYC-Net conducted an email interview with me. In response to one question - "It is often said that the success of therapeutic programmes is a function of the leader - that programmes are successful because of an inspired and charismatic director? Do you find this so?" - I wrote "The simple answer is 'No'. Do you want a more complex answer?" I'd be intrigued to see what my more complex answer would have been.

To the question "What do you think are the positives and negatives of the 'isolation' implied by milieu treatment? What variations have been developed around this "enclosed" system." I answered:
 
I don't think 'isolation' is implied by milieu treatment; quite the opposite. Where the difficulty which is being tackled lies in a child's relationship to itself and to others, it is crucial to develop belonging; and while the capacity for relationship is being developed I think both the child and the adult worker have a right to be protected. We don't generally allow people to walk onto a stage in the middle of a performance - that would tend to destroy the magic of the symphony or dance or play which is built up in the relationship between audience and performer - but that is not isolation. Isolation is a cutting off and a defence against relationship, which is precisely what milieu treatment is trying to overcome. Where a relationship - or a system of relationships, as in a children's home, say - has become isolated, then it has almost certainly started to become untherapeutic.