Obituary: Thomas Hayley

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The Independent Online
Thomas Theodore Steiger (Thomas Hayley), social anthropologist and psychoanalyst: born Ceylon 13 October 1913; Indian Civil Service (Assam) 1938-50; Honorary Secretary, British Psycho-Analytical Society 1967-69; Vice-President 1969-72; Editor, International Journal and International Review of PsychoAnalysis 1978-93; married 1946 Audrey Cantlie (three sons, two daughters); died London 23 June 1993.

TOM HAYLEY, one of a handful of Indian Civil Service officers who chose to remain in India after Independence, became a psychoanalyst and will be remembered as an outstanding organiser as the Vice-President of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Psycho-Analysis and then as Editor and Joint Editor of the International Journal and International Review of Psycho-Analysis.

He was born Thomas Steiger in 1913 in Ceylon, the son of a Swiss father and an English mother, but was sent to be educated at Clifton College where he was head boy and captain of games. He gained First Class honours in Social Anthropology at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he was a scholar and also Leafe Research and Bartle Freer Exhibitioner. On leaving Cambridge he did social anthropological fieldwork among the Lango tribe in Uganda, eventually publishing a monograph, The Anatomy of Lango Religion and Groups (1947).

After he and his father became naturalised British citizens (and Thomas took his mother's maiden name, Hayley), he entered the Indian Civil Service in Assam in 1938. He was Under-Secretary and then Director of Publicity and after Independence remained, by invitation of the Prime Minister of Assam, as Secretary and Director of Rural Development to the Government of Assam. He wrote up aspects of his experience in India for a Ph D thesis, awarded by the London School of Economics, on 'Ritual Pollution and Social Structure in Hindu Assam'.

Hayley and his wife Audrey Cantlie, a social anthropologist he had met in Assam, returned to England in 1950 to start a family. He then began a career as a psychoanalyst. He qualified as an Associate Member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in 1957 and soon became a full member and training analyst.

Hayley's contributions to the British Psycho-Analytical Society were recognised just a month ago when he was given the coveted but rarely awarded status of Honorary Member. As Vice-President and Chairman, Hayley consolidated the administrative foundations of psychoanalysis in Britain particularly through his creation of the 'red book', a kind of written constitution which clarified authority and decision-making in the British Psycho-Analytical Society, setting out the precise delegation of authority to each committee and establishing rules and procedures governing the way it should be exercised. Many psychoanalytical societies have been unable to contain disagreement and rivalry and this constitution, based as it was on Hayley's experience as a social anthropologist and in the Indian Civil Service, undoubtedly played a leading part in allowing the British society to contain a variety of potentially conflicting and divergent creative talents and so allow it to consolidate its position as one of the smallest but none the less most influential in the world.

As Editor of the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, founded in 1920 by Ernest Jones under the direction of Sigmund Freud and pre-eminent in the field, Hayley will be remembered for his contribution to its organisational and financial health and also as a fair editor who knew whom to turn to for advice and who introduced the present system of Regional Boards of editors which has made the Journal truly international and enhanced its reputation. He was much appreciated especially in Latin America where he will be recalled with particular warmth and affection. He helped to found the Libro Anual - a volume of papers from the International Journal and International Review of PsychoAnalysis published in Spanish every year and intended to extend the Journal's influence.

Tom Hayley will be remembered as an exceptionally caring and devoted psychoanalyst by many patients and students of psychoanalysis. Anyone who knew him was immediately struck by his enormous capacity for tact and diplomacy, his quick grasp of detail and his very high level of competence. He was devoted to the Psycho-Analytical Society and its interests and quick to offer help or support to anyone in need of it.

When, after inviting me to join him as Joint Editor of the Journal, he asked me to take over the main responsibility five years ago, he had no difficulty taking a back seat. I can imagine few people who could treat someone about half their age in such a straightforward way. He loved life and was a very hard worker, always seeking to serve. To quote the President-Elect of the International Psychoanalytical Association, Dr Horacio Etchegoyen, 'Tom was an honest man, a good friend with a noble soul. We will all remember him through all our lifetime.' He remained fully involved and active in psychoanalysis until only a few months ago.