Thomas Mckenzie Caine (1918–2015)

Tom Caine, who died on 8 July at the age of 96, had been a Fellow of the British Psychological Society since 1976. Tom was born in Bebington in 1918. When he was six, the family emigrated to farm in Ontario, Canada. He returned to England in 1940 with the Canadian Army, and participated in the Dunkirk landing. He then took a BA and MA in psychology at the University of Toronto, before coming back to the UK in 1950 as an occupational psychologist with the Department of Employment. He eventually moved into clinical psychology, working in Graham Foulds’s Department in Runwell Hospital, Essex before being appointed Head of the Psychology Department at Claybury Hospital, Essex, and, 14 years later, becoming Head of the Clinical Psychology Department at University College Hospital, where he remained until retiring in 1983.

It was at Claybury that Tom carried out his most significant research. Initially, this was for a PhD, obtained from the University of London, on the expression of hostility and guilt, and he collaborated with Foulds in developing the Hostility and Direction of Hostility and Hysteroid-Obsessoid Questionnaires, and on Foulds’s (1965) book Personality and Personal Illness.

These were exciting times at Claybury, which was undergoing a transition from a traditional psychiatric hospital to a therapeutic community, sparking considerable debate, and this stimulated Tom’s subsequent writings. Firstly, in The Treatment of Mental Illness (1979) he and David Smail argued that disputes between professionals about the relative merits of different treatments were based not on facts but on fundamental differences in values. Support for this was provided by a research programme on ‘personal styles’, indicating that the attitudes and responses of staff and clients to different types of treatment, and the symptoms which clients presented, reflected their more general attitudes, adjustment strategies and patterns of construing. Various questionnaires, and even a projective test, were developed during this research, and the questionnaires, published as the Claybury Selection Battery in 1982, differentially predicted outcome in different therapeutic approaches. Specifically, the type of client likely to improve during behaviour therapy was the complete opposite (e.g. outer-directed and conservative) of the type likely to improve during group psychotherapy. The implication that one therapy does not fit all is as relevant today, at a time of prescriptive therapeutic services, as it was when the research was first conducted, and this was highlighted by the re-publication in 2014 of Personal Styles in Neurosis, the book reporting the research, 33 years after its original publication.

I was fortunate to obtain my first clinical psychologist post in Tom’s Department at Claybury, and recall a heady, idyllic atmosphere in which staff would sit on deckchairs on the balconies outside their offices discussing a diverse range of topics. After work many of us, including Tom, who was no mean player, would repair to the hospital tennis courts. This was far removed from the managerialist culture of the current NHS, but staff willingly went the extra mile and probably had much larger caseloads than most contemporary NHS clinical psychologists. It was also an atmosphere in which young people, perhaps seeking their first clinical experience, were welcomed, trusted, and given opportunities to contribute their ideas and develop skills.

In later life Tom became a practising Roman Catholic. He is survived by Maxine, whom he married 60 years ago after meeting her at Edgbaston Tennis Club, and his children Marian, John and Chris.
David A. Winter
University of Hertfordshire

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber