Last December marked the 10th anniversary of the inception of Human Development Scotland (HDS). Lindsay Shrubsole, Chair of the Board at HDS, shares more about the journey we've been on, and the journey ahead.

In times of change

I wonder where people thought we would be today, 10 years ago…certainly some of the more dramatic events wouldn’t have been imagined.  The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, was a huge challenge for us.  With all the courses we run being full to capacity, we had to quickly find ways to continue the training while we couldn’t travel, meet in person, use the offices or the training suite in Glasgow.  All our students had to be supported to make difficult adjustments to continue their training under quite isolating circumstances.  Delivering a training on-line, that was designed to be delivered in-person, required a rapid and flexible response from the Course Leads, tutors and our wonderful office staff, without whose support we would never have achieved any of it.  Looking back, I can’t quite resist noticing a bit of a parallel with the origins of HDS.

Establishing HDS

Back in 2012 The Scottish Institute of Human Relations (SIHR) finally closed its doors. Its origins went back to the work of Ronald Fairbairn, the Scottish Psychoanalyst, and the return to Scotland in 1968 of John (Jock) Sutherland, previously medical director of the Tavistock Clinic in London.  The Institute existed to expand the application of psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking through conferences, training programmes and short courses, based on a similar multi-disciplinary model to the Tavistock Clinic in London.  It ran successfully for forty years but when it finally closed in 2012, due to insolvency, there were a number of students still in the middle of their training. HDS was established, in part, to provide an organisation to support some of those students to complete their training and to continue the mission of SIHR to promote a fertile ground for the expansion of psychodynamic thinking in Scotland. 

Adapting to the challenges

And so, during the pandemic, we had to be creative and innovative yet again, to support our existing students through their courses.  And we did. It was a difficult time for everyone but we have all come through it and we are beginning to return to our original course design of in-person training.

We learned much during that time, including that with some modification, it is possible to deliver some of our training quite successfully on-line.  So we are thinking about how we can extend that training to the more remote areas of Scotland, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, expanding on some of the shorter courses we have already offered to those areas.

Moving forwards

Looking ahead we are constantly thinking about our future and how we can contribute to the psychological well-being of Scotland.  We have recently been looking at developing more partnerships with other organisations whose work overlaps with ours.  An example of this is the work we have done with the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS), contributing to a programme of workshops for community nurses and midwives working in primary care in areas with high levels of poverty, deprivation and multimorbidity.  The aim of the programme is for these nurses to learn more about coping with the complex interpersonal relationships inherent in this work. This highly successful programme is the type of project we are hoping to have more involvement with in the future.

Our thanks to Graham

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank our previous Chair, Graham Monteith who, after many years of hard work, stood down from his role with HDS at the end of last year. Our organisation is indebted to Graham for his tireless commitment, his wisdom, his level head and calm containment during some of the most challenging circumstances for HDS. 

During his tenure Graham was instrumental, with the support of others, in writing a Proposal for Improving Access to NHS Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy in Scotland.  Through his judicious approach to the Scottish government with this proposal, the document has been positively received and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has subsequently accepted a bid from the Association of Child Psychotherapists to take forward this work.  This offers one of the most potentially significant opportunities for the expansion of Child Psychotherapy in Scotland in recent years. At present we are the sole provider of Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic training in Child Psychotherapy in Scotland and we are preparing for how we might be able to expand the training we can offer to meet this opportunity.

The next decade and beyond

So, the years ahead are full of opportunities and scope for development, notwithstanding the inevitable and often unpredictable, hurdles along the way.  We have learned over the past ten years that we are a resilient organisation and we are working to ensure we continue to be, so that we can meet future challenges and opportunities to continue our work for the next decade and beyond.

As we marked the 10th anniversary of the inception of Human Development Scotland (HDS), we decided this significant landmark warranted a formal acknowledgement and so we have modified our logo to reflect this.

10 year anniversay logo for HDS