chapter  4
The Organization of Activities
Pages 21

The Unit staff attempt to implement their ideology through a system o f organized activities. Each kind o f activity can be seen in terms o f its function with reference to the ideology o f treatment and rehabilita­ tion. Viewed atomistically, each also has a separate history in the Unit and in the profession as a whole. The general tendency among the Unit staff, however, is to view the programme o f activities as an organic whole in which each o f the parts derives its principal meaning from its place in the total pattern. Unit staff make statements like the following:

‘The Unit treatment is like a symphony; each person’s contribution, singly or in groups, is like the contribution to music made by the parts o f a symphony orchestra/

The Unit staff attempt to apply their ideological principles and rationales pervasively to every aspect o f Unit life. Their therapeutic rationalizations for every aspect o f Unit life can be illustrated by their attitudes toward the physical plant. The building is an old-fashioned, poorly constructed (originally a workhouse, not a hospital), bombdamaged, structure in which patients are housed in very large wards which tend to be rather poorly heated and generally uncomfortable. The Unit sees these as favourable conditions for the patients they are treating in that the poverty o f the surroundings provides a realistic background for treatment, similar to the working-class neighbourhoods to which patients will have to return. In addition, the shabbiness o f the amenities is seen as an advantage for the occupational therapies in that there is a great deal o f work to be done by way o f decorating, furniture repair, etc., that constitutes a tangible and really needed contributionnot just ‘make-work’.