Rex Haigh has been appointed as Honorary Professor of Therapeutic Environments and Relational Health in Nottingham University’s School of Sociology and Social Policy, for three years starting in August 2015. This is in recognition of his lifetime’s work in therapeutic communities and the development of clinical, training and research approaches based on the democratic and relationship-based principles in the TC tradition.
Rex has had a long involvement with Nottingham, since working with Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust and the Department of Health to set up one of the national Personality Disorder Pilot projects, and the development and delivery of the Institute of Mental Health’s national ‘Knowledge and Understanding Framework’ (KUF) for Personality Disorder.
More recently, he has been focussing on broader aspects of therapeutic and positive environments, including founding the ‘Enabling Environments’ project at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and using ‘greencare’ in clinical practice, where nature is an important part of therapeutic programmes. He believes that greencare has the potential to offer a radical alternative to traditional psychiatric approaches by helping people to relate to each other, and to nature, in a way that ‘gives people a life worth living on a planet that is worth living on’. In scale and philosophy, it avoids the institutional, industrial and corporate trends of mainstream mental health.
The ‘Growing Better Lives’ social enterprise, of which he is chair, won the Royal College of Psychiatrists 2014 Sustainability Award, and is part of the Institute of Mental Health’s Social Futures Centre as an Integrated Research Group.