ABSTRACT

J. D. Sutherland, one of the founders of the Scottish Institute of Human Relations (SIHR), was fond of quoting Kurt Lewin’s aphorism, “There is nothing more practical than a good theory” (Lewin, 1952, p. 169). The title of this book, Making Spaces: Putting Psycho-analytic Thinking to Work, describes not only the process of applying psychoanalytic ideas, but also speaks to a human anxiety evoked by the struggle to find one’s place in the world, and by the need for spaces in which to love, to work, and to grow. Psychoanalytically speaking, human responses to this anxiety are understood to be ambivalent. So, externally, they are expressed in a tension between, for example, a search for wilderness vs. a need for city dwelling, whereas internally, they might be found in a conflict between seeking individuality and solitude vs. a compulsion to bond together as a defence against the fear of abandonment and isolation. Psychoanalytic thinking provides resources to help us make and explore spaces in which this anxiety can be contained and worked with, both within the consulting room and, as this book illustrates, in a wide variety of other settings. These spaces shape our inner and outer worlds, and create conditions in which to develop our capacities for loving, working, and growing.