Author Archives: Charles Sharpe

About Charles Sharpe

Editor of the goodenoughcaring website and the goodenoughcaring Journal. Child care consultant Psychodynamic counsellor and psychotherapist

Selma Fraiberg’s Magic Years

The first two parts of Joel Kanter’s series of articles about Selma Fraiberg are now available to read in the goodenoughcaring Journal.

In his introduction Joel Kanter writes of Selma Fraiberg:

Selma Fraiberg was a social worker, a psychoanalyst, an author and a pioneer in the field of infant health. She devoted her career to understanding the developmental needs of children, to creating programs that promote infant mental health, and to reaching parents and policymakers through her clear, persuasive prose. In her brief 63 years, she accomplished enough to fill three careers.

The first article Fraiberg Remembered Part One The Magic Years can be found at Fraiberg Remembered Part One The Magic Years

The second Selma Fraiberg’s Magic Years Part Two “An unconventional Analytic training” can be read at Fraiberg’s Magic Years Part Two An Unconventional Training

John Cross, 1931 – 2017

John Cross

John Cross, for over 60 years an influential figure in the field of planned environment therapy in therapeutic communities for children has died aged 85 at his home in Cheltenham. He retired from his role as Director of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in 2012. Until the onset of his illness in the autumn of 2015,  John continued to be  involved in the daily life of PETT at Toddington in Gloucestershire.

In 1952, his early ambition to take up a place at Durham University and  to become a politician faded on the completion of his National Service when the direction of his life was altered by a summer placement at Bodenham Manor School where David Wills was the Warden. John decided that what was going on at the school felt right and that shared experience in a therapeutic community would provide the pathway for his life. In the following decades John was engaged in the community life of Bodenham Manor School, Herefordshire, Ashley House Remand Home, Worksop, New Heys Reception Centre, Liverpool and New Barns School, Toddington.

At the same time as he was engaged as a member of the group of children and adults at New Barns John became a psychotherapist, served as a magistrate in the Juvenile Justice System, was the Chairman of the Youth and Family Courts and  Vice Chairman of the Gloucestershire Probation Committee.

John maintained his relationships with those who had been with him and his colleagues at New Barns. Over the years he became a ‘best man’ at their weddings and a godparent at the christening of their children many times over.

John played an influential role in a number of other organisations. He was a founding member of the Association of Workers with Maladjusted Children (AWMC) which later became the Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association (SEBDA) and for over 40 years served on its Council. Prior to his death was John was the only living founding member of PETT. He was a founding member of other groups too including the Charterhouse Group, Young Minds and the Child Care History Network.

Over his career John wrote and presented a number of influential papers about therapeutic communities and planned environment therapy and he co-authored the controversial 1979 Quaker publication Six Quakers Look at Crime and Punishment: A Study Paper.

John was a Quaker. He was a man modest about his achievements. For him achievement was the shared experience of a community. John is survived by his two sisters Sybil and Cynthia. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by so many of the people with whom he shared experience and a community life.




Here is the text of an interview with John from 2010 and this is the article he wrote for the goodenoughcaring Journal in 2012, Some tentative thoughts on the concept of planned environment therapy is at

School failures and rebels, something else to ponder

In a recent issue of The Atlantic Daily Ashley Lamb-Sinclair writes

“that Albert Einstein was bad at school, but less known is that he was also bad in school. Einstein not only received failing grades—a problem for which he was often summoned to the headmaster’s office—but he also had a bad attitude. He sat in the back of the class smirking at the teacher; he was disrespectful and disruptive; he questioned everything; and, when he was faced with the ultimatum to straighten up or drop out, he dropped out. That’s right: Albert Einstein was a dropout. And yet, he grew up to become one of the greatest thinkers in human history.”

“One can write off Einstein’s accomplishments as an exception to the rule; they can reason that his behavior was actually a symptom of being so smart that school didn’t challenge him, which is probably somewhat true. But what if what made Einstein a change agent was his rebellious nature rather than his intelligence?”

The full text of Ashley Lamb-Sinclair’s article The Case for the Rebel  can be found  here

Next Limbus Lecture : Sally Weintrobe – Climate Change and the New Imagination

Farhad Dala has reminded us of the next Limbus Lecture in two weeks time (details below). You can book and pay on line via the website.

May 20, 2017
Sally WeintrobeClimate Change and the New Imagination10.30 to 1pm. £20
Studio 3, The Space, Dartington Hall

Or come and pay at the door.
If you intend to pay at the door, please arrive well before 10.30 to avoid holdups.
Full Details on our website:
Sally Weintrobe
Climate Change and the New Imagination

Abstract: Sally Weintrobe argues that current dominant culture serves neo-liberalism. The culture drives the false belief that we are entitled not to have to face a particular reality. This is that neo-liberalism has led to climate change and social instability and we are caught up in its structures. This talk aims to help open up a conversation that allows us to think together about needed changes in a way that recognises that change may be disturbing, troubling and difficult as well as enlivening.

Sally Weintrobe is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society. Currently she is writing a book on the culture that promotes disavowal of climate change. She edited and contributed to (2012) Engaging with Climate Change, shortlisted for the International Gradiva Prize for contributions to psychoanalysis.
Some of her talks can be found at:

2017 programme

May 20, Sally Weintrobe  Climate Change and the New Imagination
Sep 16, Paul Zeal          Breath, Gender and Nature’s Dreaming
Nov 11, Sue Mizen         Metaphor Making in the Relational Brain

This month’s author : Cynthia Cross

Each month during 2017  we are highlighting articles of authors who have contributed to the goodenoughcaring Journal over the years. The first author featured in this series is Cynthia Cross. The articles we have selected are  Acceptance,  Winnicott and Residential Work and Defensive Adults.
There are a number of other excellent articles written by Cynthia to be found in the goodenoughcaring Journal. Cynthia welcomes discussion of the issues she raises and comments about them can be mailed to

In brief, more of Winnicott on Adolescence

“Is it not a prime characteristic of adolescents that they do not accept false solutions? They have a fierce morality which accepts only that which feels real, and this is a morality that also characterizes infancy. It is a morality that goes much deeper than wickedness, and has as its motto, ‘to thine own self be true’. The adolescent is engaged in trying to find the self to be true to.       This is linked with the fact that, as I have said, the cure for adolescence is the passage of time, a fact which has very little meaning for the adolescent.”


Excerpt From: D. W. Winnicott, Clare Winnicott, Ray Shepherd & Madeleine Davis (1984) Deprivation and Delinquency.  London, Tavistock Publications

The Next Limbus Talk: Learning Disabilities Psychotherapy

Farhad Dalal has informed us of the next Limbus talk which will take place at Studio 3, The Space, Dartington Hall on February 25, 2017. The talk Viewing Learning Disabilities Psychotherapy through an Attachment Lens: Theoretical Perspectives & Practical Strategies will be given by Kelly Camilleri & Kathy McKay.

It begins at 10.30 and admission is £20. You can pay at the door or online through the website at

If you intend to pay at the door you are asked to arrive well before time to avoid hold ups.

Abstract : This talk aims to explore themes around working therapeutically with people who live with labels of intellectual disability, autism and acquired brain injury. What are the psychological sequelae of being born with or acquiring a disability in terms of attachment and early relations? How might therapy need to be adapted to meet individual cognitive or sensory needs? What is the role of trauma in psychological distress and how might this manifest differently in people with these labels? How is power perceived and played out in our systems of care? The talk aims to provide a psychological understanding from a variety of perspectives, with special consideration for the use of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) for this group and their systems. Within the context of a short term, goal orientated therapy world how can we provide meaningful support which is individually tailored?

Dr Kelly Camilleri is an independent Consultant Clinical Psychologist. She qualified 19 years ago from Birmingham University and has since worked with children and adults with learning difficulty, autism, and acquired disability. Kelly has worked in a variety of sectors including the NHS, charity and the private sector. She is particularly interested in the role of attachment and trauma for the individual and their systems. Kelly is a keen proponent on the use of DDP for this group which she feels enables a dual approach focusing both on peoples internal and external worlds. She is on the Division of Clinical Psychology Southwest Committee and is the coordinator for local Psychology Against Austerity Group.

Dr Kathy McKay is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked in Learning Disability Services in the NHS since qualifying in 1995. She has also worked in Independent Practice since 2007. Settings have included community Learning Disability teams, In-patient Units and a Secure Forensic Unit. She has also worked in a CAMHS Service in a secure childrens home, and currently provides regular input into a Local Authority Family Centre to support them in taking into account a parents learning needs in their assessment and intervention processes. Kathy has provided training on attachment and trauma in learning disabilities, and further on creating attachment friendly environments in a number of the aforementioned settings. Like Kelly, Kathy has completed training in DDP, which was a driver for this area of work.

Other talks on  2017 Limbus programme

May 20, Sally Weintrobe  Climate Change and the New Imagination

Sep 16, Paul Zeal               Breath, Gender and Nature’s Dreaming

Nov 11, Sue Mizen            Metaphor Making in the Relational Brain


Something to consider : Adam Phillips on teaching

‘The only reason to go to school, that I can see, is to make friends whom you love and like. If you’re lucky, you find something that really interests you. You’ve got to learn to read and write and basic numeracy and so on, but, other than that, it’s absolutely pointless to teach children things that they’re not interested in. The education system needs to factor that in. I remember one of my daughter’s teachers saying to me, “She only works at the subjects she’s interested in.” I was thinking, Great! That would be the point. You go to school, and teachers offer you the things they think are good, but you choose them. It’s always true that the student chooses the teacher.’

This is an extract from  Sameer Padania’s 2010 interview with the psychoanalyst and essayist Adam Phillips for Bomb Magazine. The full text of the interview can be found at


Issue 20 of the goodenoughcaring Journal is now online

The final scheduled issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal is now online. Articles submitted or commissioned in the future will continue to be published but regular readers will we relieved to know that after the next one they will know longer have to read the promotional email we send out to you every six months.
This issue is an interesting and informative one, a challenging one, a controversial one and perhaps a disturbing one. We would welcome and encourage your comments on any of the articles.

In this issue :-
Dr. Elaine Arnold tells of the significance education held for immigrants to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean while Margaret Hughes recollects the City of Birmingham’s efforts to meet the social and educational needs of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent and elsewhere in the 1950s,60s,70s and 80s.
Noel Howard discusses religion, spirituality and the importance of place in social care. Michael J Marlowe considers how relationships may be made with children who are difficult to reach and Maurice Fenton proposes and develops a concept of ‘relationship based self-care.’
Alex Russon reflects on relocating with his young family from the midlands of England to the north-east of Scotland and Justin Frost reviews three feature films which deal with divorce, parenting and family break up.
Cynthia Cross examines the issues which can lead to a cycle of disruption in residential child care. Maurice Fenton proposes and develops the concept of ‘relationship based self-care.’ In a further article he contemplates the notion of ‘vicarious confidence’ in the care of children and young people and Simon Blades reviews Maurice’s latest book ‘The Stolen Child’.
Colin Maginn proposes that we can do better than good enough caring. John Stein recalls how times have changed in child and youth care. In a second article Elaine Arnold argues that aspects of attachment theory remain significant throughout life.
Mark Smith has written a startling, challenging and important article on the prosecution of those accused of child sexual abuse.
In his editorial Charles Sharpe has attempts a brief explanation of what those who founded the Journal believed goodenoughcaring to be and with it he provides a brief history of the goodenoughcaring Journal.

We hope you find something to interest you in this issue. We’d like to thank all the people who have written for us and helped to built up this superb archive about children growing up and about the adults who care for them and educate them. Each piece of writing is interesting and thought provoking. The archive will remain open for everyone who is interested in the nurturing of children. News items will continue to appear on the home page and occasional articles will be published when they are submitted.
Finally we would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of people who visit and read the Journal. It is good to be part of this community.