A Life Well Lived: Maxwell Jones - A Memoir (Community, by Dennie Briggs

By Dennie Briggs

Starting with their first assembly in 1956 and finishing with Maxwell Jones' loss of life in 1990, A existence good Lived follows the expansion of a friendship among key figures in social psychiatry and tracks the evolution of healing groups from their experimental beginnings to the proven practices that exist this present day. As an in depth buddy and common collaborator, Briggs is ready to recount intimately Jones' progressive paintings in psychological hospitals, prisons, groups and faculties, and gives an extraordinary and fascinating perception into the brain of 1 of crucial pioneers within the healing group box.

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I excused myself and took a seat at the back of the room from which vantage point I could observe the audience. Of course, everyone took the lecture very seriously—you came to expect that—god forbid they should enjoy themselves! Nevertheless, Max was disappointed by the lack of response to his requests for involvement and he was becoming impatient. He continuously shifted about; his pronunciation was clipped, almost brusque. He looked through the faces and then directly at me. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he rose and pointed, “I would like to introduce a distinguished psychologist who is sitting in the back row in disguise.

The hospital was the major source of employment in the village; many staff were third-generation employees. Thus his word carried considerable authority. It never seemed to bother him that so many people had placed him on a pedestal. Not that he took it for granted or in any way used his position to gain favors, as others might have done. Despite Max’s Scottish heritage, the villagers viewed him essentially as an outsider. Had he pretended to be one of them, I realize now, he would have earned their contempt rather than their friendship.

I wasn’t much concerned, however, since I’d been doing that pursuit most of my life. And the money wasn’t great—as head of the hospital, Max’s salary was about the equivalent to that of an intern in the US. But I needed rest rather than money. Still, the financial loss would be great: I owned a home in southern California, cherished mementos from my two years in Japan, plus quantities of books and papers. I couldn’t very well ship them to Scotland. In spite of these considerations, however, I welcomed the chance to escape for a while.

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