Dr Harry Wilmer

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Dr Harry Willmer

Therapeutic Community Memories:

Back to Therapeutic Community Pioneers Dr. Harry Wilmer II passed away March 13, 2005 at the age of 88. A Jungian analyst, Dr. Wilmer was one of the pioneers of group therapy in North America.

Dr. Wilmer had a measurable impact on the field of psychiatry, beginning in the 1960s.

He was responsible for helping introduce the practice of group therapy to North America at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, CA. His book, Social Psychiatry in Action, was made into the 1961 Emmy-nominated TV docudrama "People Need People."

He explored new avenues of prison reform as a consultant to the California state prison system in the mid 1960s. As professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, he created the Youth Drug Ward, an innovative group therapy to help the drug casualties of the Haight Ashbury, utilizing the emerging technology of videotape.

He moved away from his Freudian roots in the late 1960s to become a Jungian analyst. He became professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, where he created one of the first wards for the training of AIDS patient caregivers, as well as studying the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Vietnam veterans, assisting their recovery by listening to and analyzing the dreams and nightmares that haunted them.

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