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Timeline :: Scottish Institute of Human Relations is launched


The Scottish Institute of Human Relations (SIHR) was launched in 1970. The aim of the institute was to promote a broader understanding of mental health and training and the value of talking therapies. Its origins go back to the practice of Dr Ronald Fairbairn, the Scottish psychoanalyst, and the return to Scotland in 1968 of Dr. Jock Sutherland, former medical director of the Tavistock Clinic in London. Megan Browne from the University of Edinburgh played a key role in this development. Working in a voluntary capacity, she managed the institute until 1978 when Alan Harrow was appointed Director, helped by her longstanding friend and companion, Sheila Oppenheim, who died in 1989. She also with others, established the Sutherland Trust, launched at the Royal College of Physicians. This was originally formed in association with SIHR as ‘The Social Workers and Allied Professionals Trust Fund’, but changed its name to The Sutherland Trust, in honour of Jock Sutherland’s work in Scotland. The Trust later launched as an independent charity in its own right in October 1993.

The SHIR closed in 2014. It has now been superceded by  Human Development Scotland, which offers the training and services previously delivered by the Scottish Institute of Human Relations. As its website states, these 'have at their heart the psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and systemic ideas that offer a profound understanding of how people relate to one another. Our training courses for professionals working particularly in the NHS, social services, education and voluntary sector translate these ideas into practical tools for understanding the central role that human relationships play in our mental health and emotional wellbeing'.