robinreevesIt is with deep regret that we share the news of the death of Dr. Christopher Reeves, whom many of us knew as Robin.

It is difficult to convey the full scope of his contribution to the field of therapeutic work with children and young people - over the past few weeks alone, and just in the small world of the Archive here, he organised the sending of an unpublished paper by Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale to Australia for potential publication, and recordings relating to Marion Milner to Canada. This by someone who retired some time ago, and as by-products - not even core activities - of an extremely busy, creative, positive and ongoing professional life, which included numerous books and other publications, some still in press.

He spoke recently at the Mulberry Bush School's celebration of founder Barbara Dockar-Drysdale's hundredth birthday. His brief and characteristically erudite talk can be heard here.

He, of course, took over as Therapeutic Advisor to the Mulberry Bush in the summer of 1975, succeeding Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale herself. He left that role in December 1980, and at the invitation of the Trustees, in January 1981, became Principal, succeeding John Armstrong, retiring himself in 1991. A full appreciation of his life and work will appear in due course, but underpinning this work for the Mulberry Bush was a rich background and training as a Child Psychotherapist: He studied psychology and philosophy at Oxford, with a potential eye on the ministry; and then trained in the Department of Children and Parents at the Tavistock Clinic, where John Bowlby was Department Chair, and where over the course of two years he took part in seminars run by the seminal paediatrician/psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. He brought the two influences together in his collaboration with Judith Issroff and Bruce Hauptman on "Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby: Personal and Professional Perspectives" published by Karnac in 2005.

Robin completed his doctorate in Philosophy at London University in 1979 with a thesis on the models of the mind in the early writings of Freud, and this enthusiasm for scholarly exploration and academic rigour remained fundamental to his character. Among many other things, he was a retired President of the Medical Section of the British Psychological Society, and edited the Journal of Child Psychotherapy from 1980-1982. He was a former Trustee of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, and Chair of the Squiggle Foundation from 2009-2011.

"Like Louis Armstrong, who it is said improvised his solos on a particular tune until they couldn't get any better and then carried on playing the same perfected solo..."

The latest in the Bi-Blog dialogue between David Kennard and Bob Hinshelwood.


It's never too late to support a good cause!mydonate

PETiTATHON 01 on November 30th brought you four new features:

'Continuity and Connectivity'

'The First Time I Saw the Queen'

'On the Importance of the Archive'

'Holding. Longing. Belonging'

Any one of which would be worthy of your support!

PETiTATHON 02: December 28th! will bring you still more!

But why wait? Donate Today! Support the work! Support those who are supporting the Work! Please.


mydonateA huge thank you to everyone who supported the 'PETTATHON' fundraising marathon in October. Thanks to your generosity and support we topped over £7,000 in two weeks! What an immense morale raiser! Now, to press forward towards our ambitious 2012-2013 target of £50,000. To ensure we can continue to do the work we've been reporting on, and even grow it, we are holding a PETiTATHON on the last Friday of each month...

Welcome to PETiTATHON November!

"What has PETT ever done for me?" - 'Provided continuity and connectivity'

"PETT Showcase" - 'The First Time I Saw the Queen' A digital story by Mark from the Caldecott Community

"Guest Blog" - 'On the Importance of the Archive' by Pauline Weinstein (but it's more than that!)

"Favourite Photographs" - 'Holding. Longing, Belonging'

We very much need your support!

If anything in this brief campaign touches a chord or indicates that we are deserving of your support, please use our 'BT Mydonate' page to add your £10, £20, £50, £150 (hey - £15,000 - go for it!) to that of others. BT MyDonate itself does not take anything out of what you give, although your credit or debit card will make a small charge.

Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you (or to us!).

An indication of the cost of work and activities here, and how your contribution can have a direct impact, is on our 'Sponsor a...' page:

Finally, we apologise if this communication is unwelcome, and if you don't wish to receive future 'Pettitathons', communications or updates from us,please let us know and we'll take you off our mailing/email list immediately.

Thank you,

The Team.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported the PETTATHON fundraising marathon in October, in every way possible - through donations, through guest blogs, through patience(!), through ideas and feedback. 

Thanks to your generosity and support we topped over £7,000 in two weeks! What an immense morale raiser! Now, to press forward towards our ambitious 2012-2013 target of £50,000, to ensure we can continue to do the work we've been reporting on, and even grow it, we'll be holding a PETiTATHON on the last Friday of each month....

November 30th 2012 - PETiTATHON

Keep a look out for our brand new Guest Blog, Showcase, Favourite Photograph and What has PETT ever done for me? feature!  And if you'd like an idea of just how important your donation will be to us, take a look at out Sponsor a... page for inspiration!

Thank you and see you tomorrow!

Therapeutic child care pioneer Barbara Dockar-Drysdale would have celebrated her 100th birthday on October 17th. To mark this milestone, the Mulberry Bush Organisation asked PETT to prepare an exhibition of photographs and documents, and commissioned former Mulberry Bush School Directors Dr. Christopher Reeves and Richard Rollinson to speak about Mrs. Dockar-Drysdale after the Organisation's AGM on October 19th. Mrs. D, as many people affectionately called her, founded the Mulberry Bush School for socially, emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children in 1948, and was its director for many years before becoming Therapeutic Consultant to the late Cotswold Community.mrsd

[To hear the talks given by Mulberry Bush CEO John Diamond, Dr. Christopher Reeves, and Richard Rollinson, please click here.]

PETT's Executive Director Richard Rollinson, Trustee Dr. Linnet McMahon and PETT volunteer / former Mulberry Bush child Barry Northam all took part. PETT Team members Dr. Craig Fees and Matt Naylor added their support. Matt had prepared photographs of Mrs. D and her husband Dockar for the display boards, as well as papers relating to Mrs. D from the Mulberry Bush archives. Craig recorded the talks of John Diamond, Christopher Reeves, and Richard Rollinson.

Richard Rollinson and Christopher Reeves gave insightful speeches on Mrs. D, with Dr. Reeves focusing on Mrs. D as a caring individual known for communicating with children 'on their terms', without necessarily analysing every element of conversation – a point which had been made earlier by Mrs. D's eldest daughter Sally, who was also present. Richard Rollinson focussed on Mrs. D as an intellectual figure and mentor, recollecting how her works had inspired him in his professional life.

Heads were nodding in agreement, and there were many warm smiles in the room. This enjoyment in shared reflections may have been enhanced by the pieces of  Mrs. D's centenary celebration birthday cake, baked in the School kitchen and brought around to the attendees by current Mulberry Bush children.

The AGM itself was an extremely positive event, demonstrating how The Bush continues to grow from strength to strength.  One of the year's successful innovations was the launch of MBOX - Mulberry Bush OXfordshire - the Mulberry Bush's new reaching-out service to support early intervention for the inclusion of children made vulnerable by their Social, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, across Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties. (For more information, see

The AGM also welcomed  40 new "Members" of the Mulberry Bush Organisation. These are Founders, Patrons, former Trustees, Friends of the Bush, experts in the field, and others who have an interest in this great charity, who have agreed to help strengthen the governance of the Mulberry Bush Organisation by becoming Members, and attending general meetings of The Mulberry Bush Organisation Ltd, including the Annual General Meeting (‘AGM’), asking questions, receiving the Annual Report and Accounts,  and electing or re-electing Trustees.  PETT Trustee Dr. Linnet McMahon, PETT Executive Director Richard Rollinson, and archivist Dr. Craig Fees were among those appointed.


To hear the talks given by Mulberry Bush CEO John Diamond, Dr. Christopher Reeves, and Richard Rollinson, please click here.

For more information on Barbara Docker-Drysdale, a PETT article can be found here.  Read Chris Beedell's obituary to Mrs. D. in The Independent, and Simon Rodway's in The Guardian.