Isabel Menzies Lyth: her work and her relevance for today.

Isabel Menzies Lyth was a psychoanalyst who was passionate about the relevance of psychoanalytical ideas to the world outside the consulting room.  She trained in Scotland and moved south during the war, working with demobilising soldiers and was involved in the early development of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.  She entered analytical training and became herself a training analyst at a time when the ideas of Melanie Klein were being developed by analysts such as Wilfred Bion, Elliot Jaques and Hanna Segal, and she used and developed these ideas to illuminate everyday transactions and relationships in many settings, for example, hospitals, charities, adolescent units, day care for under fives, and the London Fire Brigade.


Authored on :
26/01/2021by :
Susan Maciver

Containing Groups

A morning’s workshop led by Susan Maciver and Julia Segal.

6th March, 2021.  10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Delivered by zoom

Free for APPCIOS members: £10 for non-members. To register please email Susan on

This morning is a celebration of her work and an opportunity to think together about some of her insights and their relevance today.

 Julia went to Isabel Menzies Lyth for help setting up and delivering counselling in a self-help charity by and for people with multiple sclerosis.    The support and insights she received had a significant and lasting effect on her work over the following forty years. 

Susan was supervised for many years by a supervisee of Isabel Menzies Lyth on her work with children and young people in schools and other settings.


There will be two presentations followed by a discussion of a Menzies Lyth  paper.

Susan Maciver: Discovering Task and Anti-task in Adolescent Institutions*

Julia Segal: Being supervised by Isabel Menzies Lyth 1983-85.

Discussion in 2 small groups of Menzies Lyth’s topical paper:

Nurses Under Stress

This paper is  reprinted in *Containing Anxiety in Institutions. Selected essays of Isabel Menzies Lyth.  Free Association Books 1988 and will be sent out in advance.

Numbers will be limited to 16 participants.

Participants will be requested to send the organisers 2 sentences about themselves before the workshop.


10:0 introductions

10:15-11.00 SM

11:15-12:10 JCS

12:15 -12.45 Discussion of "Nurses under Stress" (to be read by participants beforehand)

12.45 - 1pm Closing thoughts

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