It is with very great sadness that we learned about the death of Louise Emanuel, child and adolescent psychotherapist, following a very sudden and traumatic illness.
Trained at Tavistock in London, a respected and beloved colleague of international repute, Louise had a gift for presenting psychoanalytic ideas clearly and helpfully. She had a formidable energy and her work brought acclaim to the Tavistock. Her capacity to make sense of behaviour helped relieve young children of their anxieties and find more adaptive modes of coping, thereby supporting emotional growth in the entire family.
In 2000 she took over the management of the Tavistock Master’s degree course in Parent Infant Psychotherapy (PIP) and ran this successfully for 16 years. Many of the people who did the course went on to set up PIP clinical services round the country. In addition, she launched a bi- annual short course in PIP, which was enthusiastically supported by many therapists from both UK and abroad.
In her capacity as a psychotherapist, Louise was able to make swift connections with children and she wrote about the importance of this in a chapter entitled What Can the Matter Be? in the book she co-edited with Elizabeth Bradley in 2008, A Slow Unfolding at Double Speed. “For therapeutic interventions to be effective,” she said, “the therapist had to combine patience with close attention to the moment
In recent years, she used her therapeutic skills in work with a South African charity, Siya Phula Phula (“We listen”), to help households sometimes headed by children as young as 12 and trained mental health workers to support them. Her overall inspiring contribution at home and abroad was immense, and she will be greatly missed by all of us.
Louise was an active member of AIMH UK who will be dearly missed. During her last summer she was able to display the full range of her talents at the 2016 Prague meeting of WAIMH where she was a main speaker in many presentations and conducted a clinical supervision masterclass. One of her aims was to raise the level of psychoanalytic thinking in WAIMH.
This year, the Association for Infant Mental Health UK will award a Louise Emanuel prize for a significant contribution to the field of infant mental health.
Juliet Hopkins and Jane Barlow
On behalf of the Tavistock and AIMH UK