Obituary: Tony Lake

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The Independent Online
John Anthony Lake, psychologist and broadcaster: born Mansfield, Nottinghamshire 19 April 1939; married (one daughter; marriage dissolved); died Redhill, Surrey 5 April 1993.

THE SUDDEN death of the psychologist, author and broadcaster Tony Lake has cut short a life that was just reaching its full potential.

Tony Lake was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1939. The struggles of his early life, times of hardship for his family during the Second World War, informed the man he became. His passionate concern for others had its roots in this time and led him to be active in socialism and the co-operative movement early in his life. From his family background, too, came his many talents in music, science, drawing, painting, singing and a deep love of the natural world.

Although his education was interrupted by the death of his father and National Service, Lake qualified as a teacher in 1963 and then studied psychology part-time at London University whilst teaching in children's homes and the children's department of the Maudsley psychiatric hospital. He gained his first degree in 1969 and his Ph D in 1976 for research on the process of acquaintance.

Lake combined a restless, searching intellect with a deep concern for the suffering of the individual. He was an inspired teacher, seizing the imagination of his audience, whether instructing children in the intricacies of pond life or senior managers in the art of understanding their workforce.

From 1973 Lake was self-employed, specialising in management training. His work in recent years was based on his own theory of psychoeconomics, which was a means of understanding human needs and resources, and their management and control in individuals and groups. He developed this as a method of profiling behaviour and personality, based on the effect of childhood controls, and as a synthesis of other psychological techniques, making them more accessible in a practical way to the layman.

It is hoped that Lake's ideas will live on and be propagated by those with whom he worked. As a friend, counsellor and teacher, he touched countless people in a personal way, sowing the seeds for change and development in their lives. His publications include Loneliness (1980), How to Manage your Nerves (1982), Living with Grief (1984) and Defeating Depression (1987). He wrote and presented programmes on counselling and psychotherapy for BBC radio. His books and broadcasts, along with many talks to Samaritans groups, bereavement and counselling services, have given him a wide influence. He was unstintingly generous in the time and compassion which he gave to those who turned to him for help.