From therapeutic work to inestimable work. “Don’t separate pure theory from what’s going on”


This article articulates therapeutic work as discussed in the 1960s by psychiatrists of the institutional psychotherapy movement with the inestimable work conceptualized by Jean Oury in the 2000s in response to managerial evaluation. Inestimable work is understood at the therapeutic, economic and ethical levels. This last dimension appears to be linked to the rise of a perfectionist approach to care. Its development and transmission over several decades around the notions of daily life and “caring function” are essential in front of the analysis of other aspects linked to hierarchical relationships and the division of labour between employees, an analysis which is also essential but which is left to others.

Anteriority of ethics on the collective work


In a cross-reading of psychodynamics of work with institutional psychotherapy, the author questions the relationship between the collective – conceived as an agonistic space – and the underlining of ethics. She analyzes the relationship between courtesy as a social rule and kindness as an ethical rule and stresses the limits of the Aristotelian model of collective deliberation, when one needs to think about the dynamics of the caring collective taking into account its heterogeneity. Ethics is considered as a condition of the collective around a “necessary minimum” that makes possible the conflict and the elaboration of ethical rules for action. The article concludes with the questions raised by the articulation between the peer group and the function of director.


Ethics and ends of threads

Abstract. In this article, the author summarizes the itinary of research that led her to put on the same level the “coffee break stories’ by caregivers with the “little stories” by Jean Oury in his seminar at St.Anne Hospital. These narratives are set out on a cathartic and humorous, tragi-comic mode, and used to elaborate the suffering generated by the care activity and trasmit work’s experience, developing incidents where ethics takes the form of self irony and tricky behavior.