On 10th and 11th May 2002 at the Moat House Hotel, Glasgow, a conference was held in memory of Dr Denis Carpy.
This memorial conference was organised jointly by the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the N.H.S, the British Psycho-Analytical Society, the Greater Glasgow Primary Care Trust, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Scottish Association of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapists, the Scottish Institute of Human Relations, and the Tavistock Clinic.
The speakers and participants in the conference werere psychoanalysts,psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and psychiatrists who knew and worked with Dr. Carpy in some of the professional organisations in which he was active. Newsletter no. 8 carries a report of the conference.
Denis Vernon Carpy, MRCP., FRCPsych.,
Born 24th July 1951 - Died 9th June 2000 The sudden and untimely death of Denis Carpy, at such a young age, robbed British Psychoanalysis and Scottish Psychiatry of one of its most prominent figures. His contributions as a clinician, supervisor and teacher were widely recognised as immense, and his loss is still sorely felt by many people.
Denis Carpy was brought up in Rutherglen and educated at Holy Cross High School in Hamilton. He went to Glasgow University in 1968 to study medicine and graduated in 1974. His early postgraduate posts were in general medicine but it was always his intention to practice psychiatry and he became a Registrar in Psychiatry at the Southern General Hospital in 1977. Thereafter he was a Lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Glasgow before moving to London to specialise in Psychoanalysis. He initially worked at the Cassell Hospital before moving to the Tavistock Clinic. He completed his psychoanalytic training, becoming an Associate Member of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Consultant Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic. Throughout his time in London he always remained close to his roots in the West of Scotland and when an opportunity arose to return he took it, becoming a Consultant Psychotherapist at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow in 1990.
After his return to Glasgow he remained active in the British Psychoanalytical Society in London. His reputation there had been high and it increased during these years. He was very keen to foster wider links between Scottish based psychotherapists and the practitioners of the British Psychoanalytic Society.
Denis Carpy was an inspiring teacher, keenly interested in transmitting to other people the effectiveness of psychoanalytic theory in understanding people who present with emotional problems to psychotherapists and general psychiatrists. To further this aim, he took on the position of Course Organiser for the West of Scotland Postgraduate Psychiatry Training Scheme. In the field of psychotherapy in Scotland he provided a degree of intellectual leadership which was much admired. He was the Specialty Tutor for Psychotherapy in the West of Scotland Postgraduate Training Scheme, a Training Analyst and Secretary of the Psychoanalytic Training Committee of the Scottish Institute of Human Relations, and an active member of the Scottish Association of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapists and the Psychotherapy Section of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In his work, Denis exhibited a high level of clinical expertise. He was keenly aware of the importance of psychotherapeutic insights to the work of general psychiatry and he worked hard to build links between these two disciplines. His opinions on clinical matters were widely sought by psychotherapy colleagues and general psychiatrists. His pupils and his colleagues found his insight helpful, but also memorable for the humour and rich language he brought to his work.
Denis' paper "Tolerating the Countertransference: a Mutative Process", was published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1989. Since then it has been recognised as a seminal contribution and much quoted in the international psychoanalytic literature. It was Denis' keen insight and sensitive supervisory work in this area that made him so admired by pupils and senior colleagues. It is therefore fitting that a conference being held in his memory in Glasgow on 10th - 12th May should be about this theme. The quality of the speakers and the large attendance expected is evidence of the high regard that Denis was held in throughout the UK.
Despite his heavy professional commitments, the most important part of Denis Carpy's life was his marriage and his family. He was happily married to his wife Carol-Anne, and their close relationship and mutual support for each other was recognised by all who knew them. Together they established a loving and caring environment in which they raised their two children, Brian and Eleanor. Their welfare was always a priority in their lives. As a couple they had a wide variety of joint friendships. Carol-Anne played a great role in supporting her husband in his professional career. In the year prior to his death they together organised a 25 year reunion meeting of Denis' medical year group. The great success of the reunion was testimony to the way they worked as a couple to bring it about. The loss to his family is immense.
More memorable for all who knew Denis was the liveliness of his personality, a constant sense of humour and an infectious laugh. He had a love of life and a wide variety of interests outside his professional concerns. These ranged from Barber Shop Singing and watching Coronation Street, to being a keen follower of Pollok Junior Football Club. He brought the same passion to these leisure pursuits as he did to his psychoanalytical career. He lived his life to the fullest extent and had enormous and infectious energy which he shared with everyone he met.
Denis' life was cut short but not before he had already made a lasting contribution which will live on in so many lives; his family, his friends and colleagues, his patients and his students.
Jim Gallagher, Margaret Malcolm