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INTRODUCTION: ‘AN ENIGMA TOTHEIR PARENTS’
In 1929 two psychiatrists associated with the Jewish Child Guidance Clinic inthe East End o London, Noel Burke and Emanuel Miller, published an arti-cle in the proessional outlet
British Journal of Medical Psychology
. Teir topic was ‘child mental hygiene’, an issue which, they claimed, had only recently beensubject to a ‘more scientic attitude … coupled to philanthropy’.
Te ollow-ing year Miller was again in print, this time in the recently ounded popular journal
Mother and Child
. Tis article was entitled ‘Te Di cult Child’ and inhis opening remarks Miller commented that ‘with the growth o civilization tothe complex orm that it has assumed today’ children could no longer pass easily rom childhood to adolescence to maturity as had previously been the case in‘primitive societies’. Indeed it had to be recognized that the pressures o contem- porary lie had ‘brought about strains and tensions and disruptive tendencies which probably did not exist beore’.
Around a year later, in autumn 1931, the Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinicopened in Glasgow, an event described by the local Catholic newspaper. Centralto the composition o the clinic, it was suggested, was a team consisting o a psy-chiatrist, a psychologist and a psychiatric social worker (PSW). Te clinic’s aim was not to deal with children who had ‘denite organic disease, mental deect, orepilepsy’. Rather, its object was the ‘study and treatment o children who, thoughgiven average home and school conditions, remain an enigma to their parents’.
Some six years later Douglas MacCalman, a psychiatrist who had worked atNotre Dame beore becoming General Secretary o the Child Guidance Council(CGC) in London, addressed the Royal Institute o Public Health and Hygieneon the subject o ‘Te Management o the Di cult Child’. Part o his argument was that while all the causes o a child’s emotional and psychological di culties were as yet unknown, what had been ascertained was that ‘parent–child relation-ships play a huge part in the production o nervous and behaviour disorders’. Was it a ‘visionary dream’, he asked, that ‘a vast system o parent education couldbe organized?’
In 1955, meanwhile, an o cial committee investigating ‘mal-adjusted children’ noted that while ‘maladjustment’ was a term used in Britain