Obituary: Elsie Osborne

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The Independent Online
Elsie Osborne was a clinical child psychologist in the Child and Family Department of the Tavistock Clinic in north London, and for many years head of the Psychology Discipline and Senior Tutor to the postgraduate training course for educational psychologists.

Her principal interests included learning and examination difficulties in children and adolescents, process, practice and training in supervision, educational therapy and group relations. She was a main contributor to the original "Tavistock Series" of books on child development for parents and recently edited and contributed to an updated version, the "New Series". She was co-author with Isca Salzberger- Wittenberg and Gianna Henry of The Emotional Experience of Learning and Teaching (1983) and co-edited (with myself) The Family and the School: a joint systems approach to problems with children (1985).

Elsie Osborne was born in 1924, one of a family of 10 children. She won a scholarship to Koloma Convent High School in Croydon, and on leaving school worked for a short time in an advertising agency in London. However, wishing to aid the war effort, in about 1943 she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a Morse signaller, eventually communicating and issuing false orders to the enemy and forwarding incoming encoded messages to the code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park.

After the war she worked on the Times newspaper, before taking a psychology degree at Birkbeck College in London. She married, in 1950, John Osborne, a Times colleague. For a time she worked as a primary school teacher and from 1956 trained as an educational psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic. She worked briefly as an Educational Psychologist in a Local Education Authority Child Guidance Clinic, and then joined the staff of the Tavistock Clinic in 1959, where she remained for her whole career in this field, chairing the Child and Family Department before her retirement in 1988. She then took an honorary appointment, as well as continuing to collaborate elsewhere, and giving seminars and workshops in Norway, Spain, Italy and Greece. At the time of her death she was planning further writing on supervision and professional aspects of training.

Working with Elsie Osborne was always rewarding. Her creativity and enthusiasm were coupled with a calm attitude that enabled one to deal with the many hurdles attached to producing a book. She always managed to find a solution for problems that seemed insoluble.

Emilia Dowling

Elsie Grayston, psychologist: born 9 August 1924; married 1950 John Osborne; died Godalming 7 December 1995.

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